Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Cafeteria Catholicism

One of my frustrations in discussions with progressive Catholics is their tendency to discard truths (especially of a sexual nature) which they disagree with. Other Catholics certainly may tend to do the same thing with other teachings, but this particular Catholic (me) accepts every teaching of the Church, because of Jesus' promise that the Church would not fail.

For instance, one progressive Catholic blogger recently wrote the following:
    I mentioned a couple of days ago that most of the arguments made by the Christian Right against equal rights for our GLBT citizens are scripturally based (the Catholic Church's objections are based in the "natural law" tradition, and have to do with a religious anthropology of sexuality as being licit only when it is open to procreation--I'll deal with the weaknesses of that argument at another time) and, as such, are open to opposition on scriptural basis.
This blogger obviously disagrees with the Church's teaching on homosexuality and marriage.

Another progressive Catholic blogger said the following in a comments box:
    Apply all this to discussions of the Nicene Creed. Is it, or should it be, a gold standard of belief? No--I take the liberal view there. But should it be dismissed for any and all limitations it has and/or is perceived to have? No--I take a stance defending the Catholic Church on that score.
I know the good heart of this blogger, but such a statement saddens me: the Nicene Creed was the standard by which one was judged to be a right-thinking Christian in the fourth century; if you couldn't recite the Nicene Creed, you didn't believe as Christians believe, it's that simple. To deny it as a "gold standard" is to deny a defining statement for Christians.

There are all sorts of motivations for such actions... some good, some not. But whatever the reason, there is no rational basis for a Catholic to deny church teaching, whether it be a moral teaching or a credal statement. To be Catholic means many things, but one thing it means it to recognize the authority of the Magisterium in matters of faith and morals, and it disappoints me to see charitable and intelligent people disregard the gift which is the Magisterium in such a manner.

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