I remember learning about mores in college. They are cultural norms about how a people collectively are supposed to live regarding both big and small things. I had to take at least one course in sociology to get into my Bachelors in Social Work program I suppose to fit a proverb one teacher said that, “the macro helps you understand the micro” (Andre Pruit, personal conversation, 2012).
But in a religious context this could lead to what is a called a moral life. In a society that embraces moral relativism, it is helpful to see the moral norms for what they are when fully expressed: objective realities that are pointed to by natural law implicitly but articulated in a religious life explicitly. This is pointed to by those in authority no matter what society one belongs to. What smaller rules there can change but on the bigger ones it is a matter of objectivity being unmovable if it is religious and calling itself divine. Moral truth also would need to be the wisdom of the ages and not the wisdom of just this age right now. Or another point would be a “Church that is not moved by the world, but moves the world” (GK Chesterton).
“They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life [fellowship], to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers” (Acts 2:20).
To be moved and illuminated by the apostles’ teaching was to be tied to the example of giving all of ones self to the will of the Father. This meant that the original Christians saw that to tie themselves to Jesus was to be tied together in living the life of holiness. The cultural norm for them was in the commandment of Jesus “to love one another, just as I have loved you”.
But that is just the principle of this holy people then as well as those who walk in that calling now and is both redemptive, internalized and continuous.
Resting on the fullness of the gospel, kingdom message, of Jesus Christ there is a proper definition of the dignity of the human person and of God’s covenant love in the Christian life.
But you are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Once you were “no people” but now you are God’s people; you “had not received mercy”
but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and sojourners to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against the soul. Maintain good conduct among the Gentiles, so that if they speak of you as evildoers, they may observe your good works and glorify God on the day of visitation (1 Peter 2:9-3:1)
This is a word about being those who experience Jesus in a community setting. God has touched them, they live out a life of grace and the glory is given to God. When people of faith go off track is fundamentally because they go into a downward spiral from forgetting God as their first love, they live off of their guts and glory is withheld to a human kingdom (sometimes with the most fluent of Christianese).
But do the apostles put themselves out of a job if a community does so well? Maybe in part if if in part a true overseer of God’s people would rejoice about it. What can be said is that whether the Body of Christ walking in the fulness of truth is observed in the 1st century or the 21st, there is a divine calling of should that should be there.
But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Timothy 3:15).
So can there be holiness in Church? In as much as it is tied to first right instruction from apostles teaching/Sacred Tradition (which preceded the Sacred Scripture of the NT for hundreds of years in canon form) and unity in common life. Do you, dear reader, know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? If so, I rejoice over what God has done. But to be baptized into Christ is to be baptized into a holy nation that can be “sharing in a heavenly calling, reflect on Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession” (Hebrews 3:1). Most fundamentally in the balance of these principles is what I embrace now as a received member in the Catholic Church.