I know, I know. Shame on me for ordering my doctrine off the a la carte menu when the prix fixe would buy me so much more salvation, right? If only my conscience weren't so lax, my lifestyle so self-serving, and my spiritual practice so undisciplined. If only I weren't so lazy, ignorant and uneducated about my religion, I might understand the benefits I'm missing when I refuse to order the items that stick in my throat.
But I just can't get there.Always lay the groundwork. She starts with the presumption of salvation. She says "more salvation" which is incoherent. But she knows people will jump to "saved regardless." That is not what the church teaches. The fact is you can lose your soul by doing this. The fact that she dismisses that concern is even more troubling.
Then she frames the conflict not as a theological discussion but a personal attack. That is common. If you try and argue theology it is likely people will notice your position makes no sense. If you imply some phantom Catholic is calling you lax, self-serving and undisciplined then people are likely to be sympathetic. Don't both with actually quoting someone because prominent Catholics don't actually actually call anyone lax, self-serving and undisciplined so quotes are hard to find. Just count on people's prejudice to get their heads nodding when you talk about all those judgmental concervative Catholics.
A little background -- I love the Catholic religion, and not just the ancient ritual, pomp and circumstance. I'm the product of (among other things) 16 years of Catholic schooling by highly educated, surprisingly open-minded, and inspiring priests, nuns and Catholic lay people. I have a pretty comprehensive grasp of the doctrines. I've studied the mystics and read the Summa by Thomas Aquinas just for fun. I've read the entire Bible more than once and the Gnostic gospels too. I've read every word Thomas Merton and Teilhard de Chardin ever published. I practice Lectio Divina and Centering Prayer. I was baptized and married in the Church and raised my children here. Although I have studied and admired many a spiritual master, Christ is my go to. He's the one I look to for spiritual guidance, inspiration, counsel, and redemption. He's the inner voice I check-in with all day long.
That's why I'm a cafeteria Catholic.You always need this. When you are challenging the authority of the church then you need some sort of authority for yourself. She claims it based on doing a fair bit of reading and praying. I am glad she does that. Still this is all her approving of parts of Catholicism. There is nothing to indicate the catholic church approves of her. So we need to accept her word that she understands the doctrines. Nobody in authority has verified it. Even understanding them is not enough. You need to live them.
If there's one thing Christ taught me, it's to challenge the status quo. Why? Because the movement of massive institutions is glacial, while the evolution of humanity compounds with time and picks up speed. Massive, ancient institutions generally have at least one foot stuck in outdated socio-political customs at all times. The rigid customs and belief systems they perpetuate are sometimes not just outdated, but also false, destructive, and biased against at least one group of people. I think it's fair to say that every ancient institution needs a redress at least once a century. To that point, Christ redressed the corruptive socio-political norms of his own religion. He befriended the disenfranchised, worked on the Sabbath, and upended the tables of the moneychangers.First, Catholicism may have some holdovers from"outdated socio-political customs" but it is not like her thinking is immune to socio-political forces. I am sure they are not out-dated. I am sure they are trendy. Are they right? Why should we presume so?
Christ was a cafeteria Jew.
She does not deal at all with the claims of the church to speak for Christ. I don't know is she simply does not understand the doctrinal issues. Perhaps she does and is simply counting on her readers to be ignorant. That is the essence of being Catholic to believe that he church is more than just another ancient institution but is in fact God's chosen vehicle to teach, govern, and sanctify his covenant community.
She does not address whether the church speaks for Christ but she speaks for Christ herself. She twists His teaching quite badly. Jesus did claim an authority to change Jewish teaching. That is because He is God. He was not just a pew-sitter with a big ego. Even so, He did not ignore any teachings of the Jews. He fulfilled them. He said not the smallest letter of the law would be ignored. He has such respect for the Word of God.
So checking-in with Christ, here are the items I can't stomach. Yours may be different; I respect that. It's a conversation.What a boring list. I deleted the paragraphs because they are tired arguments that come from pop culture. No point in answering them again. The list really does not matter. The question is who do you trust? Do you trust the intellectual elites more than you trust God? If so, can you really worship God?
#1 -I find it impossible to swallow the Catholic Church's stance on women
#2 -I also find it impossible to accept the position of the Catholic Church on gays and lesbians.
#3-- I reject the Church's stance on divorced members
#4-- The Church's stance on birth control based on the above ethics.
Okay that's my list. (I could add married clergy, but that would exceed the word count.) What's yours? If you think you are not a cafeteria Catholic, consider Pope Francis' recent references to capitalism. Are you a capitalist? And what about war? Notwithstanding abject evil, are you in favor of killing people to protect the economic interests of your population? Such wars have been waged with and without our knowledge. Even the "holy" Crusades were acknowledged as a moral debacle centuries later.This is just nonsense. The church does not claim to have spoken infallibly on every issue. So faith is not even an issue on matters like Pope Francis' recent references to capitalism. You should read them better than Ms Martin did because he does not actually reject capitalism. Still if you disagree it does not make you a cafeteria Catholic.
The bottom line is, these are all complex issues deserving deep thought and consideration. To be a cafeteria Catholic is a good thing if it means you are putting your conscience first. As long as your conscience is in good shape and your ego is in check, it works. After all, history has proven that individuals, not institutions, lead the parade of evolutionary progress. Customs rooted in society must change; only truth is eternal.
Conscience? Another word to throw out without knowing what it means. Again it comes down to what do you allow to form your conscience? Is it society or God's word?
The last sentence is so backwards it is mind boggling. Customs rooted in society are what we find in the church's teaching? Eternal truth is what we find in popular culture? Weird.
Here is the truth Christ gave us:Yes love. But love requires truth. The quote at the top of this blog comes from Caritas in Veritas. It is an encyclical by Pope Benedict. It means truth in love or charity. Here is a little more of it.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12:30-31
Only in truth does charity shine forth, only in truth can charity be authentically lived. Truth is the light that gives meaning and value to charity. That light is both the light of reason and the light of faith, through which the intellect attains to the natural and supernatural truth of charity: it grasps its meaning as gift, acceptance, and communion. Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love. It falls prey to contingent subjective emotions and opinions, the word “love” is abused and distorted, to the point where it comes to mean the opposite. Truth frees charity from the constraints of an emotionalism that deprives it of relational and social content, and of a fideism that deprives it of human and universal breathing-space. In the truth, charity reflects the personal yet public dimension of faith in the God of the Bible, who is both Agápe and Lógos: Charity and Truth, Love and Word.[Emphasis in original]