Recently much confusion has been spread in Catholic circles concerning our need to be less rigid in the religious views that we hold. There could be some truth in such a statement if one held these beliefs based solely on personal desire or prejudice and without the aid of reason or logic. Such rigidity would likely make a person obstinate to truth should it be presented to him.
However, true rigidity in Catholic thought might be better described as the persistent refusal to accept a truth of the faith even though it is recognized and understood to be true. The reason for this stubbornness might then be the result of personal sin or a disordered attachment to the world and may find its root in pride or sloth etc. Such a reluctance to adhere to truth would certainly qualify one to be categorized as rigid.
But for those who have been confronted with the truths of the faith, submitting these truths to reason and prayer ought not be slandered for persistence in their beliefs. Instead they ought to be praised when seen clinging to truth in the face of adversity and at times faced with a martyrs death. This is the nature of truth: it is worth dying for, it gives meaning to an otherwise meaningless universe, and it transcends the world and its conventions. Truth transforms the believer and gives meaning to all of his actions and is thereby the whole of what the believer seeks: for Christ is ‘the way, and the truth, and the life’ and the Truth is inseparable from Christ.
The Catholic today is more likely to hear a challenge to his beliefs from another Catholic than he is from a person of another faith. He will hear theologians claim that Christ did not know that He was God, though Pope St. Pius X taught definitively the opposite to be true in the Condemnation of the Error of Modernists, 1907. Was Pope St. Pius X guilty of rigidity? Or was he merely persistent in the truths of the faith as taught for 2000 years?
When we are confronted by novel theories, though presented by reputable scholars, one must always understand that theories and hypotheses are only that: theories and hypotheses. But if Christ was God (which we believe to be true) and if Christ established a Church to carry on His ministry in the world (which we also believe to be true), real truth must necessarily be consistent with Church teaching. Without these beliefs there is nothing that could be fully accepted as true: a Christ who is nothing but our projection of what we desire, could not be the Authority that we seek. Likewise if Christ is our creation, there could never be a Church that would possess true Authority given Her by Christ. Such thought makes a mockery of Christianity and places us back into the ranks of agnostic or atheistic belief.
Therefore being persistent in our faith is a virtue that is not to be confused with ignorance, prejudice or rigidity. Let no one convince you that adherence to the truths of the Catholic faith is the same as being intolerant of other credible ideas and thus close-minded. If such is the case, remember that we are in good company; never forgetting the countless saints and martyrs that died for these same beliefs. “Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine (2 Timothy 4:2).”