Some people might think that the Catholic Church is too rigid; however, while it may be rigid for some, others may find that it provides a perfect balance in their lives. The word rigid is subjective and is relative to your preference, your upbringing, your acceptance, and your being.
This criticism, however, has been around for a long time and will most likely continue into the millennium. The charge of rigidness most likely comes from the fact that the Catholic Church uses two books which provide instruction to Catholics. They are the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” and the “Code of the Canon Law.” Both of these books provide guidelines on how to live a good Christian life and are seen by most Catholics as a great reference manual. Those that are outside of this religious sphere and not Catholic are usually the first ones to criticize these steadfast rules.
It is important to note that all successful institutions have guidelines and manuals to proceed with their daily tasks. Example – the legal environment. There are stacks upon stacks of law books that denote the many rules and regulations that populations adhere to. Without these regulations, this legal institution would not be as successful as it is. The same applies to the Catholic Church. In order to provide law and order amongst the masses these rules and guidelines need to be in place for its success.
Just about every institution that exists has some kind of structure to keep it intact and workable. Sports have rule books and all businesses have operating manuals – some are written and some are not; however, they still exist.
So is the Catholic too rigid in its stance and how it operates? Again this is all subjective. Let’s first take a look at the church service called Mass. Most people who are not Catholic could easily point out that this service is just too orderly and that it requires everyone to endure the same sort of dogmatic show every week. However, the fact is that Mass is an historic event that has been going on for quite a long time. For those in the church, it is a way to get back in touch with God and to come back to a place that is familiar. One could say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. If you find it boring, you could easily find a Catholic church where the mass is perhaps more abbreviated or is even enlightened by music. Music has now become part of the Mass in many Catholic services.
Doctrine of the church is another area where others may feel it is too rigid. For instance, many may claim that the Catholic church is filled with mindless sheep who just do what the Pope says. However, one must consider that while every Catholic likely supports the Pope, that does not necessarily mean they agree with everything. Yes, the clergy are more bound by the church to “agree”, but the people have free will and can still be considered good practicing Catholics even if they are not 100 percent behind the Pope and his ideologies.
So if you believe that the Catholic Church has entirely too many rules, ask yourself how many rules are in place within your organization or place of work before you pass judgment. In addition, some others may see that all these guidelines from the Catholic Church actually provide them with more freedom as they don’t have to constantly wrestle with what is acceptable or not. Again, it’s all a matter of perspective.