What Catholicism has Taught me, and What it can Teach Other Gentlemen

Welcome back gents! It’s Max from the Young Gentleman’s Guide here, back from my not-so-long hiatus to bring you some more advice on how to be true gentlemen! Unfortunately, since I’m currently swamped with classes and projects at San Francisco State, I’ll have to cut back to one post a week, at least until our new admin starts (more info on that to come). Anyways, onto the topic of today’s post, which hopefully I won’t get shot over!

A disclaimer; while I myself have a Catholic background and upbringing, which will obviously influence just about everything in this post, it is not meant to push any kind of Catholic or Christian agenda. It is only my intent to share my life experiences and show how the teachings and messages of the Catholic faith could possibly help other young, up-and-coming gentlemen. If you hold any other religious or spiritual beliefs, or are even an atheist, that’s fine. I am in no way trying to convert you, condemn you, or pass judgement on you. You are entitled to believe in whatever you want to believe.

So with that out of the way, let’s get on to what the Catholic faith can teach you young gents!

1. Basic Moral Values

I feel like this should be fairly common knowledge. The basis for most modern western law can be traced back the the Bible. Specifically the book of Exodus and the Ten Commandments. While it is true that some of modern western law has had its influence from some places other than the Ten Commandments, it’s no doubt that those Commandments had the strongest influence. For instance, in just about every developed western nation, most forms of murder are illegal. This comes directly from the Sixth Commandment, “You shall not murder.” Most forms of robbery and theft are illegal too, branching from the Eighth Commandment, “You shall not steal.” And while not not being explicitly enforced by the law, most of the other Ten Commandments are still very pervasive throughout western ideals and morality. In many western societies, adultery is usually frowned upon taken directly from the Seventh Commandment “You shall not commit adultery.” The same goes for feelings of jealousy. Jealousy has been shown constantly to affect people in negative way, and the idea that you shouldn’t feel jealous comes straight from the Tenth Commandment, “You shall not covet.” I could keep going, but I think I’ve made my point. Whether or not you believe in God, follow the Bible, or follow the teachings of Jesus, it’s almost impossible to deny that the most basic laws and moralities that you can’t live without branched at least in part from Christian teachings, which how I largely learned about basic moral code. Without the Ten Commandments, I don’t think I could’ve made it very far in life not knowing what’s ethical and what isn’t. And while much of modern law is based on the Ten Commandments and I strive every day to abide by the laws of my nation, the Commandments have shown me how important obeying the law and having upstanding morals actually is.

2. Traditional Family Values

Call me an old soul, but as a person raised on traditional family values, with two biological parents who, to this day, are still married and living under the same roof, I believe in those same family values and that said values should be preserved. It is almost impossible to deny the benefits of families, whether you’re growing up in one or are starting one of your own. Families are the building blocks of society. Children who grow up in traditional families (having been raised by two biological parents) are far less likely to drop out of school, exhibit behavioral disorders, or live in poverty.  And if there’s one thing that the Bible and/or general Catholic teaching defends in spades, it’s the traditional family! One of the best examples is this: which says “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). With this passage in mind, even if you take out the faith aspect of it, this reflects the majority of people’s ideas about fostering a family. If you saw a parent, mother or father, ignore their child and only provide for themselves, what would you think of them? You would most likely see them as a horrible, selfish person. Again, whether or not you believe in God or follow the Bible, the idea of the traditional family is a cornerstone of our entire civilization, it just so happens that I was taught such a thing through Catholic teachings. With the help of the church and my parents, who are both also Catholic, I was able to learn how integral families are to the building of societies and civilization, and why it’s important to uphold traditional family values.

3. Patience and tolerance

Now, when a lot of people think or Catholicism or Christianity, they think of possibly the most intolerant group of people in modern society. And while yes, there are certains sects of Christianity that are objectively intolerant, growing up with Catholic teachings and on Catholic values seems to have taught me the exact opposite. This passage essentially sums it up:

“As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.  One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.  Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand” (Romans 14:1-4).

This seems to pretty strongly advocate for tolerance, doesn’t it? It’s literally saying not to judge another person simply because they have different beliefs than you. It almost serves as a preamble to Pope Francis’ controversial statement about gay people in the church, “Who am I to judge?” But it doesn’t stop there. There’s also this: “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains” (James 5:7).  Again, even if you take the God aspect of it, the message is still fairly clear; those who are patient will be rewarded. While a lot of people can learn patience and tolerance at school or through common sense, which I did to a certain extent, it was the church, my youth ministers, and other ministers at my parish that have taught me not to judge others, and that being patient and working hard will reap the best benefits.

So there it is! Those are three things that I learned through my Catholic upbringing. While I’m not denying that you can learn these things through normal society and common sense, the church was simply the vessel that allowed me to learn such things. So, no matter what your beliefs, I encourage you to simply keep an open mind. Even if you don’t believe in God, the Bible, or anything in between, there are still some good things that the Bible and the church teach even if you take out the faith aspect of those teachings. At any rate, thank you for reading today’s post, it is good to be back! Be sure to share the post with your friends, follow The Young Gentleman’s Guide on Facebook and Instagram, and also send an e-mail to younggentlemansguide@gmail.com to send us some feedback or suggestions for future posts! And with that in mind, this is Max from The Young Gentleman’s Guide, and I’ll see you next time!

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