MU Cerebellum

"Writers, especially when they act in a body and with one direction, have great influence on the public mind." -Edmund Burke

Friday, February 10, 2006

Catholic? Exclusive? Au contraire...

I have received some comments about my last post about the GSA. Maybe this will clarify.

I think the Catholic Church gets a lot of flack for being "behind the times" or "out of touch with reality," therefore it is hard to relate to and it is exclusive. The Church is hard to relate to and really only exclusive to those who do not agree with the Church's stance on a matter. Anyone can join the Church formally through baptism, but that only makes him or her Catholic-in-Name-Only. To be a good, true Catholic, one must follow what the Church holds as its stances. Like I said before, this is a matter of choice. You can choose to desert viewpoints conflicting with the Church's teachings so you can call yourself a Catholic or keep them and not call yourself a Catholic.

In another attempt to illustrate what I mean, here is an example. Let's say you affiliate with a political party. If you am going to claim you are pro-life, pro-Iraq War, pro-tax cuts, anti-tariff, etc. you probably would not call yourself a Democrat; you would call yourself a Republican. Let's say the political parties make ideological shifts in which the Democrats all of a sudden take on the more conservative/classic liberal views you hold and the Republicans take on the more American liberal/leftist views. It would be ridiculous for you to still call yourself a Republican if the party’s ideological views of the party do not match. You would probably switch parties, or just disassociate yourself.

Maybe you would lament that the Republican Party has deserted the views you hold so dear; heck, you might even write to the National Party complaining about it. But if you do not believe in the party's platform, you wouldn't call yourself a Republican.

And you probably wouldn’t call it exclusive either because there is another major party and several independent parties. This may be a round-about way of making my main point, but I hope it demonstrates it adequately. There is no sense in calling yourself one thing, whether it comes to politics, religion, etc., when you really do not believe in what it stands for. And the Catholic Church is not the only religious establishment out there. If you don’t agree with it, why stay?

I am glad a commenter made a point of saying of how one joins the Church and stressed the importance of the community because that is a major point I missed. But there is no point in Catechism if it is not a necessity for Catholics to follow it.

If someone calls him or herself a Catholic even if he or she is pro-gay marriage (or anything else that conflicts with the Church's stance) why would he or she still want “be” Catholic? A choice has to be made – judging whether one’s allegiance to the Church and its teaching as more important than one’s personal views about certain issues. The Church never tells people what to think unless they decide to be members of the Church. If they want to call themselves Catholic, then they must follow and defend Church teaching. If they do not want to do either, then they do not have to stay Catholic.

If those people would rather stay true to their personal views than to the Church, that does not make them a bad person. That just doesn’t make them a Catholic. And that does not give the real Catholics right to reject those people as people, but as calling themselves Catholics. Loving and accepting people for who they are, whether or not they agree with them, is not just a Catholic ideal, but also a general Christian one. And it also should be one that all people hold no matter which religion they subscribe to, or even if they affiliate with one at all.

This is really just basic common sense. Or so I thought.

10 Comments:

  • At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Sarah K said…

    Wow, that is a lot of explaining for basic common sense. It's kind of like if a pro-choice, anti-war, big-government liberal came to a College Republican meeting just because that person wanted to be a Republican. It just wouldn't make any sense. Good point, Ego.

     
  • At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am 37 years old. Baptized, sacrament of reconciliation, confirmation in seventh grade. Two brothers and two sisters -- public school, full CCD education through 8th grade. My aunt is a Dominican nun, teacher and school principal. 2nd cousins of my mother are priests, one a retired pastor and author. I am a Catholic as my family has been for generations and generations before immigrating. I am also a homosexual. Not you can make all the distinction you like between practicing and non-practicing Catholics and homosexuals too.

    You cannot deny us, though. I am just as Catholic as you, and I will be buried, I am sure, by my family in our traditional way.

    It might be common sense for you to not choose to see people like me, or to cast me out for being true to myself, the way God or nature made me.

    Your words cannot deny me though. Why? Because Jesus loves me, this I know...

    There are others out here like me, gay Catholics. We believe in one God, father of the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen...

    Well you get the idea. Perhaps it is for God, or his son, to judge whether I am worthy of calling myself a Catholic, based on my beliefs and actions. You have no right to deny me or call me Catholic-in-name only, based on who I am.

    I pray you will learn humility and understanding as you grow on your life's journey. Peace of Christ be with you too.

     
  • At 3:55 PM, Blogger Ego said…

    Anyone can "be" Catholic, whether they are black or white, gay or straight, conservative or liberal. This means both those who call themselves Catholic and those who are in the most genuine sense.

    To focus on the issue at hand, I never said that the Church rejects homosexuals as people because they shouldn't and don't. Their stance is not homophobic in the sense that it rejects people just because they homosexuals. But those who participate homosexual activity and favor homosexual marriage go against what the Church teaches. And yet they still do not "reject" those people as people. To put it more simply, the Church is against abortion. If I have an abortion, I am going against Church teaching and it would not reject me as a person.

    From paragraphs 2357 and 2359 of the Catholic Catechism on Homosexuality: "Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complemntarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved'...Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection."

    Here is the key part in paragraph 2358: "They [homosexuals] must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition."

    I don't know why people are getting mad at me, I'm just explaining the views of the Church - though I do not consider myself any sort of unofficial representative on behalf of the Church at large. Stating that participating in homosexual activity is out of line with Church is not my opinion, it is official Church doctrine.

    When I brought in the GSA example, I found it ridiculous that the poster on the GSA blog said that GSA belongs on campus because "real Catholic teaching is not that Catholicism is some exclusive club where only those who strictly follow the Catechism and what the bishops say are allowed to join." A question: does GSA just call for accepting homosexuals as equal peoples, or does it also defend their activity as homosexuals and justify homosexual unions? That question may just be rhetorical because I think many know what it is.

     
  • At 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think that what many "hyphenated" Catholics, whether they call themselves "Gay-Catholics", "Pro-Choice-Catholics", etc. fail to recognize is the inherent sin in their prefix of choice.

    Are not all Catholics sinners? I know I am. Don't we all fall short? I know I do.

    But as Catholics, we acknowledge and ask forgiveness for our sins.

    We don't stand up and shout "I'm a Lying-Catholic", "I'm an Adulterous-Catholic", "I'm a Catholic-Thief", or "I'm a Covetous-Catholic".

    We don't try to make the Church or our fellow Catholics accept that sin so that we may have a clear conscience, we ask forgiveness for that sin.

    It seems to me that those "Hyphenated-Catholics" are proud of their sins, and without trying to judge anyone here, I don't understand how that can in any way be "Catholic".

     
  • At 1:35 PM, Blogger Christopher said…

    It's essentially the same thing as using the superficial terms conservative and liberal Catholic. There is no such thing as either of these denominations; there is only Catholic. Either you accept Catholic teaching, or you don't. And Catholicism is not some cafeteria line where you can pick and choose what you want to believe and what you don't. Ego (every time I use that term I feel like I'm using I as the subject. Oh well.) has made the key distinction with the GSA, in that they're not looking for acceptance as people, they're looking for tolerance of their acts. If they just wanted to be treated as people, there would be no need to form any such group, and in fact, there would be no need for them to openly declare themselves homosexual. Some people suffer from same-sex attraction, that's just a disorder they are going to have to overcome with God's help.

     
  • At 2:13 PM, Blogger Ego said…

    Thank you, Christopher, for your support. Your points are well said :)

     
  • At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Dan said…

    Christopher you hit the nail on the head. I especially liked your point about liberal of conservative Catholics. There shouldn't be a distinction.

    Whenever people tell me I'm a "Conservative Catholic" I tell them to switch the words around. I'm a Catholic before I'm a Conservative. And yes, there is a huge difference.

     
  • At 8:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "I don't know why people are getting mad at me, I'm just explaining the views of the Church - though I do not consider myself any sort of unofficial representative on behalf of the Church at large. Stating that participating in homosexual activity is out of line with Church is not my opinion, it is official Church doctrine."

    "If those people would rather stay true to their personal views than to the Church, that does not make them a bad person. That just doesn’t make them a Catholic. And that does not give the real Catholics right to reject those people as people, but as calling themselves Catholics."

    "And Catholicism is not some cafeteria line where you can pick and choose what you want to believe and what you don't."

    Why don't you and Christopher print up your comments and run them by a clergyperson to see if, technically, you are correct. Your labeling and intolerance are astounding. You just may be wrong in your analysis of another's person's private life and beliefs. Generally, this is why older Catholics do not go around including or excluding, or trying to parse doctrine to define who is a sinner wanting in, and who should be kept out. It's not up to you kids to decide this, and your arrogance in expressing your ability to judge who is in and who is out amazes me. PS. Nobody here is angry at you, honey. Just encouraging some further thought before write.

     
  • At 11:49 AM, Blogger Ego said…

    First I want to say, when I said "liberal and conservative" I meant that in a political sense (do I affilate more with Democrats/left politically or Republicans/right politically). Christopher and Dan made excellent points.

    But to the faithful anonymous poster, in my 16 years of Catholic education (and counting), I was never aware nor was I taught that following Church doctrine was ignorant and intolerant. Perhaps wisdom does not necessarily come with age...

    I think it is sort of interesting that you said older Catholics do not go around including and excluding. I figured it would be the exact opposite - that I, as someone who is barely an adult, can actually distinguish the difference between a Catholic-in-name-only and a true Catholic. As a college student, isn't my brain supposed to be the one that is so open it could fall out - not yours?

     
  • At 5:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "I figured it would be the exact opposite - that I, as someone who is barely an adult, can actually distinguish the difference between a Catholic-in-name-only and a true Catholic."

    The problem is, and I still think you are missing this, you are not in a position to open or close the doors of the Church.

     

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