Paul Challenges Peter…
When St. Peter made poor choices, St. Paul was not afraid to correct him:
For, until some people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to draw back and separated himself, because he was afraid of the circumcised. And the rest of the Jews (also) acted hypocritically along with him, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. -Galatians 2:11-13, NAB
St. Peter is known as the first Pope – the first leader of the Church, yet St. Paul does not hesitate to correct him when he is wrong. Separating himself from the Gentiles, St. Peter was acting hypocritical, and St. Paul was not afraid to say something.
After their earlier meeting, it seemed as if Ss. Peter and Paul were on the same page about the Gentiles; St. Peter was even eating with them. But when pressure came from other Jews, St. Peter backed down.
The problem with our poor choices is that they can spread. It was bad enough that St. Peter was making this mistake, but because of his influential position, others followed. Even Barnabas, who had been working with St. Paul to preach to the Gentiles, caved to peer pressure.
Within our Church today, we can see evidence of this. One member may fall to the pressures of society and begin acting against Church teaching. As others follow that one member’s example, it only magnifies the problem.
In the midst of an election season, we see this rampantly. Society pressures us to be more “tolerant” of other viewpoints. Yes, we must be tolerant of other’s viewpoints, but we do not need to legalize what we know to be morally wrong – simply in the name of tolerance.
As Christians and Catholics, we stand for a high moral standard, and we must never let this waiver in favor of pleasing society. The world may think we’re intolerant, but in truth, we are standing up for the same beliefs and values that we have held for 2,000 years.