Of the utmost importance is our union with the risen Jesus as our Savior and Lord. We can only participate in the salvation that Jesus offers when we are united to him. We are united to him first through faith and baptism. This communion with the risen Lord Jesus is furthered through our prayer and the other sacraments – especially in the Eucharist.
Within Gnosticism, the Gnostic Redeemer does not do anything other than give knowledge and once he has given us knowledge, his importance ceases. (All world religions are Gnostic, except Judaism and Christianity. Mohammed simply informs people what they are to do if they are to please God. Buddha, similarly, tells us what we should do in order to live properly. Once they have done so, their contemporary importance ceases because we now "know" what we are obliged to do.)
The problem facing humankind is not ignorance, but sin. Within Christianity, Jesus' saving presence is everlastingly necessary for we must always be united to him, even in heaven, as members of his body, if we are to reap the saving benefits of his salvific work. Unlike all forms of Gnosticism, we must have a personal relationship with Jesus through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit so as to be in communion with God the Father.
Christians, in faith, hold all of the above to be true – this is why we recite the Creed every Sunday during Mass. What we know are the saving mysteries of our faith – the Trinity, the Incarnation, the sacraments, Jesus' real presence in the Eucharist. Moreover, we believe that we can lovingly obey God's commandments (the Ten Commandments) because we now life in Christ Jesus our Savior and Lord. Christians are Christians precisely because they believe in Christ – the eternal Spirit-filled incarnate Son of the Father.
Sadly, and even troubling, some people today, even in high places within the Church, accuse some Catholics of Gnosticism because these so-called Gnostic Catholics believe they "know" the truth and look down upon their fellow Catholic brethren who seemingly do not keep God's commandments. But such an accusation is slanderous. Some Catholic may be arrogant in their faith and prideful about their presumed holiness, but this is not Gnosticism – this is the sin of judgmentalism, self-conceit and egotism.
So-called Catholic Gnostics today do not hold and teach anything other than what Jesus has revealed and the Church authoritatively teaches. On the whole they are simply ordinary faithful Catholic bishops, priests and, most of all, laity. To call the faithful Catholic laity Gnostics is an egregious falsehood. It is an insult to their Catholic integrity.
Your essay claims that those who accuse others of neo-Gnosticism often propose a kind of moral relativism, in which the conscience supersedes Catholic doctrine. How does that viewpoint relate to Gnosticism?
Many of the controverted issues within the Church today revolve around questions of sexual morality – adultery, fornication, contraception, abortion, homosexual acts, etc.
While the Church has always condemned such actions as sinful because they are contrary to what it means to be truly human and so actions that God himself has condemned, some within the Church today claim that, given particular circumstances, such acts may no longer be sinful for some people in certain situations- they may even be good actions.
Those who disagree with such arguments are often called Gnostics because they think they have all of the right answers. They know the truth. Again, this is a false accusation, for such accused people only hold what the Church has always taught. If such people are Gnostic, then the entire Catholic Church has been Gnostic from the time of the apostles.
Actually, those who claim that their now "enlightened" conscience allows them to supersede God's previous revelation and the Church's constant teaching are the real Gnostics, for they now claim to have knowledge that most of the Catholic faithful do not possess. In a way, such "enlightened" Catholics have fallen into the moral relativism of the secular world, where everyone is permitted to do what they feel is personally right for them. There is no such thing as unchanging "truth." But this is to deny God, who is the ultimate source of all truth.
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