C.S. Lewis’ “The Four Loves” -and Counting?
Probably the greatest discovery a Catholic, young or old, can make is how rich the Church’s tradition is, in terms of both pure thought and practical wisdom. If (taking your cues from mass media and entertainment) you think Catholicism is just a jumble of outdated rules and awful scandals, a quick look into Augustine and Aquinas and Pascal and Newman, Dante and Michelangelo and Mozart, should put that nonsense to rest.
Yes, but we know so much more than all that, someone might argue. Just look at the advances we’ve made in science, and technology, particularly medicine and psychology. All that old stuff was fine in its time, but we have much more knowledge available to help us deal with the human condition.
True, if you have a toothache or a heart problem, you’d rather be treated by a modern dentist or cardiologist than anyone in the past. But as our tradition and all good thinking tells us, in other matters, you have to be able to make careful distinctions between good and bad – and good and evil – if you want to understand anything at all.
Because it’s on the most important questions of all that we’ve gone not forward, but woefully, heedlessly, backwards. Take, as the key instance, questions about love.