If one would attentively listen to and dutifully analyze the loud and repeated teachings of a good number of the so-called “Ministers of the Gospel” – irrespective of the Christian church, religion or sect they belong to – a good number of them engage in “Sterilized Preaching”. This is also called purely “vertical” preaching about the attributions of God Who should be praised while forgetting its “horizontal” dimension such as the nature, the dignity and the rights of man that should be acknowledged, respected and protected respectively. When one only focuses his/her attention on the greatness of God while conveniently keeping silent about the misery of man, this is nothing more than convenient and profitable “Sterilized Preaching”.
Some of the more common characteristics of such an approach attentively observed and dutifully kept by many Christian preachers are the following: One, they stick to the wonderful truths of heaven above while keeping altogether quiet about the detestable realities on earth. Two, they only speak about the greatness and goodness of God while saying and pointing at nothing about the evil deeds of man. Three, they please their listeners, make them comfortable by praising their faith in God while staying keeping quiet about their obligations towards their neighbors. Four, they comfort everybody, offending no one, and thus receive the generous donations everyone. Five, they thus stick to the perpendicular (man-to-God) dimension while conveniently forgetting the horizontal (man-to-man) constitution of the Cross of Christ as a whole.
When the Ten Commandments are reduced to but Two Commandments, “Sterilized Preaching” sticks but to the first mandate to love of God – which is rather easy and self-satisfying – while conveniently forgetting the second mandate of loving one’s neighbor which is difficult and challenging. One thing is certain: Loving one’s neighbor is not simply giving him food when hungry, etc., etc., whereas one does the same to his pets. When someone plays blind, deaf and dumb whenever human nature is trampled upon, when human dignity is ignored, when human rights are violated – is this loving one’s neighbor?
The Catholic Church has her well-integrated, properly structured and duly explained Social Doctrine. Even but its summation is quite significant in the same way that its actual application is very relevant. And let it be expressly pointed out that the starring role in the Social Doctrine of the Church is man – considering that for the Catholic Church, man is made to the Image of God. Therein are found the principles and teachings about the human person and human rights, about the social dimension of human individuals and the purposes of human society, about truth, justice, economy and development, about the dignity of labor, the rights of workers, the matter of family wage, the political authority, the democratic system, the international community, the value of peace and the cost of war, etc., etc. “Sterilized Preaching”? Come on!