Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Why Bother to Call Yourself Catholic

This is post from Adam's Ale. I have copied and pasted it here, in its entirety, so that my middle school students can read it. They are NOT allowed to roam the web and getting a site approved takes more time than I have since this information is very timely!
A big H/T to A Cleveland Priest

ou do not join the Catholic Church. People who do so do not know what they are doing. You do not join. Joining is for health clubs. You become part of the Catholic Church. It is part of who you are. It is a lens from which we view the world like being male or female. Being Catholic cannot help but inform what you do because it is part of who you are.

Tomorrow is voting day here in the great state of Ohio (and Texas) and some people have mentioned being part of conversations in which someone says, “The Catholic Church is not going to tell me how to vote.” This is an utterly ridiculous statement for someone who wants to be called Catholic. We cannot put ourselves outside of the Church because we are the Church. We might as well say, “My body is not going to inform me how to live in this world!”

Being Catholic brings with it certain standards in morals. It is a high bar and even if we do not always measure up to it, it is there for us to aspire to. There is not office or group of “Church officials” that are sitting around trying to decide how they want to make you vote. However we all are to remind each other (and it is the duty of those charged with the care of souls to do so in a special way) that we have these standards: that there are good ways of living and there are evil ways of living. There are things that will bring life and dignity and worth to the human cause and that which will degrade and harm us. It is an act of forming a conscience in the fashion that Jesus Christ taught us which we do in the community of the Church that He established.

Once again, to say that the “Church is not going to tell me how to vote,” is not saying that I am not aligning my vote with something some ecclesial overlord is telling me I must do, it is saying that I am making a firm break with the faith and morals with which I have been entrusted.

True, on issues from time to time we may vote differently than a recommendation from, say, a council of bishops. But for a Catholic it is not because we are making a break with Church (The Church won’t tell ME how to vote) but rather it is (or should be) that we are using the same information concerning faith and morals as someone who makes a recommendation and have made an educated, informed, and well thought out decision that is at odds with said recommendation. But one only acts on it because of the belief that it is closer in keeping with the will of Christ and what He wants of us as Church.

Obviously then this person is not putting himself outside of the “power” of the Church but acting fully as a member therein. To simply say, “The Church is not going to tell me how to vote” then is either pure laziness, ignorance, or an indirect denial of the faith the way we believe Christ established it and this should leave others scratching their heads as to why such a person would even bother calling themselves Catholic.


Anonymous said...

I've been looking in on Fr. Valencheck's "Adam's Ale" blog daily for at least a year. He's a-ok. Indeed, a very timely piece, and right to the point.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting post..

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