Fr. Tim McCauley: Gnosticism Still a Challenge to Christianity

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Editor’s note: Pictured above is the fresco of the Eucharistic adoration of angels on the ceiling of the church Chiesa di Santo Tomaso, Turin, painted by N. Arduino (1938).  (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

By Fr. Tim McCauley, Crisis Magazine, May 21, 2019

Fr. Tim McCauleyGnostic philosophy, like a noxious weed, thrives in the barren soil of our post-Christian culture. It also emits a foul odor akin to the smoke of Satan, filtering through the doors of the Church and influencing our anthropology, as well as severely compromising the integrity of our worship of Christ in the Eucharist.

Catholicism is incarnational. Reverence and respect for the body is central to our worship and our way of life. Unfortunately, Western culture has in many ways devolved into a form of Gnosticism: an anti-incarnational, dualist ideology of the separation of body and soul.  Gnosticism is a false spiritualism that values the soul or the mind as the true self. It denigrates the body as an object, a lesser creation, an encumbrance for the soul, or it treats the body as raw matter to be manipulated by the will.

In the Catholic understanding, human beings are not souls who “have” bodies as objects; rather, we are subjects with a body-soul unity. Thinking we “have” bodies can lead us to live in our heads, disconnected from our bodies.

Gender identity is the most obvious example of the influence of Gnostic concepts on our culture. Some people actually believe they can have a gender identity in their minds which is the opposite of the gender of their bodies! Such people are clearly suffering and in need of compassion, but the absurdity of gender ideology is an indication of the degree to which we human beings are capable of dissociating from the reality of our bodies….Read the entire article: