Sanctity and Mental Health (or lack thereof)

Some time ago, I saw a documentary on the Jonestown Massacre and recall hearing a survivor say that he decided to travel to Guyana against his better judgement because he thought that living on the agricultural compound would mold him into a better person, and help him become overcome the shortcomings that he perceived to be present in his life. While Jonestown is an extreme example, I think this general sentiment of putting one’s hope in an outside organization or guru-type figure to help “straighten one out” is common, and is one reason why so many people are attracted to groups, religious or otherwise, that are categorized as “high demand.” In the context of Catholicism, I think that the rigors of monastic life or what I call “high demand lay spirituality” can be attractive for people who are suffering from some kind of mental illness or emotional imbalance.

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Thoughts on Objective Morality

One of the biggest “selling points,” if you will of conservative religion and of the Catholic church in particular is the idea of objective morality, that you are being provided with age-old truths that are thousands of years old and can be guaranteed not to change just because of the fashions of the age. Of course, it’s not that simple, but to my younger, more naive self, the promise of objective morality seemed like a welcome thing, especially since I was looking for capital T “Truth.”

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