Selective Catholicism

Earlier today I witnessed what I would describe as a horrible display of understanding of Church teaching I have ever seen and from “solid” Catholics. My heart is so heavy over this and while not despairing, I am close and clinging to Christ Crucified right now.

We often hear of the tern “cafeteria Catholic” and it is used to describe those Catholics who dissent from the teachings of Holy Mother Church on issues of birth control, abortion, and other various sex.ual issues.  Can’t we say that about Catholics who reject the Catechism and teachings of our Magisterium about just war and torture, along with the teaching on Subsidiarity?

Where is the line? The Just War Doctrine and teachings on torture are pretty cut and dry, as are the teachings on abortion and ho.mosexua.lity. So, how is it that people can decide that Just War and torture are open to “interpretation” and “debate”?

I said to my husband, if Just War and torture are up for debate, then why can’t using a non-abortifacient birth control be on the table too? It seems to me that if I leave one clear teaching open for debate then the rest become debatable too.

I have read more this election cycle on Catholic Church teaching than I have read in years. I have read the Catechism, I have combed through encyclicals, I have read the recent writings of the current Holy Father. Nothing I have read shows that there is a gray area, so I am wondering where does this idea come from?

I’d really like to have a serious debate about this but I get shut down and told I am judging the hearts of men when I don’t know what he is confessing. I am being defriended by people I have known for years, I have been told I am going to hell, I am being called the devil and worse, but I am not getting answers to these questions.


Filed under: Catholic, Church Laws, Social Commentary

1 Comment

  1. That’s too bad about your friends. All I can say is that those people must not be true friends. I have been able to have similar conversations with some of my best friends who are supporting Santorum, without it threatening our friendship in any way.

    In regards to these people’s thinking, though: this is the exact danger that Mark Shea has mentioned (link below) – that by viewing Santorum as a “friend” who shares our views on abortion, etc., we automatically jump to the defense of our friend, and fail to critically assess some of his other views, and in the process we compromise our faith in order to defend a politician.

    That said, the Church’s teaching on torture is fairly recent (before it was simply not defined with any clarity). The fact that the Church’s teaching on torture is recent, though, does not mean that it is any less authoritative.

    For just war, the teaching itself is quite clear, ancient, and consistent. However, there are those who try to say that, though the teaching is clear, the application of the teaching is not. This is true, to a certain extent, but to claim that our past actions in Iraq, and proposed actions in Iran could meet the conditions for a just war is pure insanity! By the same justification, any country in the world could, by reference to our existing nuclear arsenal, the fact that we have USED nuclear weapons in the past, and a few threatening quotes by a political official of the U.S., attack us!!

    There are also those who attempt to claim that the Just War teaching is “outdated.” Hmmmm….where have we heard that before? You are quite right. If the Just War teaching is declared to be outdated, then why can’t the Church’s teaching on any matter that happens to cause difficulties for us be declared outdated?

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