Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Catholic Teaching: All or Nothing

So-called “cafeteria Catholics” believe that they can pick and choose from the teachings of the Faith, accepting certain doctrines and rejecting others, while still remaining Catholic.
This is a foolish belief. One cannot pick and choose among the doctrines of the Faith. To be a true Catholic, one must follow all the teachings of the Faith, or follow none at all.
For the Catholic faith is not like a Jenga tower, where pieces can be removed and the tower will survive, so long as the basic structure remains. It is more akin to a log cabin. Remove one post, and the cabin collapses.
The truths of the faith are interconnected. They support each other; they cannot stand without each other.
For example, the doctrine of original sin directly ties in with Christ’s death on the cross, which connects with His Resurrection, which leads to His divinity, which leads to – the list could go on indefinitely.
This is merely one example of the reality that every truth of the Faith is linked.
This is a major reason why heresy was and is so strongly opposed by the Church. Remove one element from the Faith, and the Faith changes completely. One cannot be a faithful Catholic unless he or she believes and follows ALL the teachings of the Church – without exception.
The Church is wiser than those who fail to make the connections between different doctrines and dogmas of the faith. She sees the connections linking the truths of Christianity, which duller humans fail to observe. And Her wisdom is manifest in Her survival through two thousand years of persecution, hatred, and heresy. Since her beginning, She has held to the same, unchanging truths, despite fierce opposition from many within and without the Church. And She has survived, while Her challengers have faded into obscurity.
Those who attempt to defy one teaching of the Church are in reality denying them all. And those who do so effectively sunder themselves from the bosom of the Church.


  1. As a convert, it is disappointing to see so many "cafeteria Catholics", CEO (Christmas and Easter Only Catholics), CNO (Catholics in name only) and "cultural Catholics". I really don't know what to call them and my impulse is "not Catholic" but that is uncharitable and has other problems. First, they are technically Catholic no matter what. Second, there is always the hope that they will turn-around.

    FWIW - I have some thoughts on why this problem is so big. It's debatable, but my conclusion is woefully inadequate catechesis probably resulting from "spirit of Vatican II" excesses.

  2. This is very similar to a post I wanted to write. So, instead of writing it, I decided to link to this post instead.
    I hope to write (well, rant) about what seems to underpin the 'cafeteria catholic' mentality.
    Pax et bonum,

  3. "One cannot pick and choose among the doctrines of the Faith. To be a true Catholic, one must follow all the teachings of the Faith, or follow none at all."

    But that's not how they see it. They see it as development of doctrine where they're simply the bellwether's leading the way.

  4. Love the girls - What you said is true. But that does not mean that they are correct in thinking so. While disciplinary measures may change, the Church's teaching remains timeless.


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