Sin and Cafeteria Catholicism

I was speaking to a woman I know and she said that a man she knows had stopped going to Church months before and that he didn’t believe in many things the Church taught including the Church’s stance on contraception. But he still considered himself a good Catholic. Pretty normal stuff nowadays sadly.

The women is a committed Catholic and she said that she’d told him that she wasn’t a “Cafeteria Catholic” but he reminded her of many things she’d done which are against church teaching throughout her life and he said triumphantly, “See we all pick and choose.”

She said that she’d come to believe what he’d said was true. Now without going into details I told her that her friend was wrong. Very wrong. There is a big difference between sinning and picking and choosing.

We all sin. But that doesn’t make us cafeteria Catholics. The real difference is that cafeteria Catholics simply don’t acknowledge sin.

While we all transgress, a committed Catholic will still judge themselves against an established standard. We will inevitably fall short of those standards but we still strive to achieve it and emulate ourselves after Christ to the best of our ability.

The cafeteria Catholic may act in very much the same manner as a faithful Catholic but simply removes all that striving. When confronted with a discrepancy between their will and the teachings of the Church they simply change the standards based on what they feel is right for them. And let’s face it, when we set our own fungible standards, sin becomes impossible because our decision making becomes the standard of behavior.

We all fall short of the standard. The cafeteria catholic just lowers the standard.

Source: CMR


One Response to Sin and Cafeteria Catholicism

  1. Agellius says:

    What you say reminds me of a sermon I read recently of Cardinal Newman’s, which fortunately I was able to locate online so I can quote it for you:

    “Great, then, is the difference between sincere and insincere Christians, however like their words may be to each other; and it is needless to say, that what I have shown in a few examples, might be instanced again and again from every part of Scripture, particularly from the history of the Jews, as contained in the Prophets. All men, even after the gift of God’s grace, sin: God’s true servants profess and sin,—sin, and are sorry; and hypocrites profess and sin,—sin and are sorry. Thus the two parties look like each other. But the word of God discriminates one from the other by this test,—that Christ dwells in the conscience of one not of the other; that the one opens his heart to God, the other does not; the one views Almighty God only as an accidental guest, the other as Lord and owner of all that he is; the one admits Him as if for a night, or some stated season, the other gives himself over to God, and considers himself God’s servant and instrument now and for ever.”

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