Will a Real Catholic Please Stand Up?

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion in the press and certainly in the pews, about whether one politician or another should call themselves Catholic based upon their public support for abortion.

In article written by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur, entitled Time to End the Catholic Wars, she posits that there is room in Catholic Church for all, and that there will always be differences of opinion.  She lists issues such as the environment, social justice, whether Vatican II was a good idea, whether Natural Family Planning is wrong, and whether you send your children to Catholic schools, as some of the issues that divide Catholic’s into groups.

I do agree that some people in the Church may disagree about those topics and still remain faithful Catholics, however I do disagree with her premise that you may consider yourself Catholic, and still disagree with the Magisterium of the Church.  That is where the line is drawn in order to be Catholic.  If you cannot follow the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church, then you cease being a member of the Church, whether you consider yourself to be a member in good standing or not.

Catholics in public life who outwardly oppose the teachings of the Church and the Magisterium, should be disciplined by the local ordinary.  That is a good way Catholics who are not in the public eye will see how their own views may conflict with Church teachings and have the opportunity to reflect on why the Church teaches as it does and possibly come into the fold of the Church.  Leaving the public Catholics to continue with their public opposition to Church teachings without retribution is damaging the flock now and in the future.

So what is a real Catholic?  One that follows and assents to all of the teachings and obligations of the Catholic Church.  What is so hard about that?

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5 responses to “Will a Real Catholic Please Stand Up?

  1. Amen! I couldn’t agree more. I don’t understand why the Bishops don’t grasp how many people are scandalized by their lack of public discipline of public dissenters.

    I posted a comment saying something similar under the original article:

    I don’t think this is all that complicated. Where we get lost in the weeds is when we debate whether this or that Catholic teaching must be believed in order to be considered a faithful Catholic.

    We have The Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    The most fundamental issue is this: do you or do you not accept the authority of the Catholic Church to bind and loose the Catholic conscience? If you do, then you accept what the Church teaches as binding on your conscience. If you do not, then you reject the authority of the Church. If you reject the authority of the Church, in what sense are you Catholic except as a kind of ethnic or cultural perfume?

    God, indeed, will judge us by our personal conscience. Anyone who rejects the authority of the Church as a matter of conscience is free to do so and to trust in the mercy of God, as do we all. But the right to call oneself a Catholic is much simpler than that: you are or are not a Catholic based on shared belief and faith, such as whether you accept the teaching authority of the Church as more than advisory.

    There is no “mostly Catholic” in the definition of Catholic. You either are or you are not on the basis of a rather easy definition. We are all sinners and fall short of almost every spiritual ideal, but sin is not incompatible with the act of faith. The Church has authority or it doesn’t. End of story. Let’s have more intellectual honesty and integrity and less of this cheap grace.

  2. I don’t believe anything that comes from the mouth of a politician. When they speak about morals, I’m normally laughing so hard I can’t listen.

  3. This post has troubled me for some time. Not in it’s content but in it’s title and the image posted with it.
    Our order was founded by St.Dominic to convert the Albigensians who shunned the riches of the church. To convert them we walked barefoot and abstained from property of any sort. To show that the glory of the church came from the sacrifice of God’s son for our salvation. Even the image of armor and weapons is counterpoint to this. Yes we must fight, but not with steel, with scripture, and why wear armor if death brings salvation? I understand it feels as though we are under assault each day, but we need to take those blows and bleed for God, for Jesus, for Mary, and Dominic. Though the sins of others are not our own, they are ours as members of the church. It is not a time for arms, it is a time for alms. We must be battered and abused once again to prove that we can never be defeated. No armor is stronger than God’s love, and no sword is a greater weapon than the rosary. Brothers and sisters we will win through love, and love alone. Now go and beat that damn sword into a plowshare, and make that armor a stewpot.

  4. Steve,

    I appreciate your comment and criticism of the title and picture.

    I agree with you on everything you said. The point I was attempting to make with the title and picture is this: Our faith is under attack, yes, from the outside, but that is only expected and will always be that way. But it is also under attack from within, and that is the real danger when self-appointed “Catholic’s” sign laws or make statements that are in opposition to the Magisteriium of the Church. The average Joe in the pew is constantly bombarded with this conflict: “I know the Church teaches this, but in real life, that just doesn’t work. Just look at Public Figure X. He did/said that, which was against the Churches teaching, and nothing happened to him”.

    So my title was offered to challenge us Joe’s to stand up for the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church, and to ask our Bishop’s to teach us authentically. The picture of the Knight Crusader was a visual to remind us that in years past the Church used military might to protect the Faithful from attack; now we don’t need military might, we just need courageous and faith filled Joe’s to stand up with their Rosary sword to lead us to live our lives consistent with the Magisterium of the Church.

  5. Sorry I was so grumpy Steve, lately I’ve been doing a lot of explaining to a lot of people about the church. Since everyone knows I’m Catholic I end up having to explain everything from Opus Dei to pedophelia to whatever lead tounged remark a cardinal happens to make. Study and clear explanation have been the only things change peoples minds in my limited experience. Striking an aggressive posture when faced with criticisim or questions would be improper. And dealing with that is what got my rosary all twisted about your image and title.

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