Going to Mass Doesn’t Make You a Catholic Any More Than Standing in Your Garage Makes You a Car.
Sun City, AZ – Koionia News
Pew poll finds many U.S. Catholics breaking with church over contraception, abortion and L.G.B.T. rights
Where do you stand on matters of faith and morals? I’m often amazed at the number of folks that are claiming to be Catholic but disregard church teachings in matters of morals. I seem to bring up this topic regularly, especially leading up to election seasons.
This article is in response to a recent Pew Research Poll (article posted below) regarding those who identify as Catholic, and their attitudes towards some of the moral issues of our day. Considering the liberal voting record of many Catholics, I’m pretty sure the results don’t come as a surprise to many.
No, going to Mass each week doesn’t seem to affect American Catholics opinion on church teaching on issues like contraception, abortion and L.G.B.T. rights. It seems that the mainstream of Catholicism is becoming increasingly liberal. In fact, this is not only a Catholic issue, but, a systemic problem of Christianity in our times.
In my article yesterday (Born This Way), I bought up the fact that Western Culture is failing when it comes to issues of faith and morals. In fact it is believed by many that we are now in a “Post-Christian” age.
Why is it that our society listens more to the voice of popular culture than traditional moral teachings of the church?
As the presiding bishop of a conservative Catholic jurisdiction, I consider this an important question. Could it be as simple as a failure among the bishops and clergy to teach the truth and take a stand against error? Or, could this be a symptom of end-times prophesy coming to fruition?
In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus Christ not only informs us that in the last days the true faith would hardly be found on the Earth, but, that “in the holy place” itself there will be “the abomination of desolation” (Mt. 24:15), and a deception so profound that, if it were possible, even the elect would be deceived (Mt. 24:24). St. Paul says that the man of sin will sit “in the temple of God” (2 Thess. 2:4). The Apocalypse describes in detail the Harlot of Babylon, a false bride (i.e. a Counter Church) which arises in the last days in the city of seven hills (Rome) and which spreads spiritual fornication all over the Earth. The fact that the last days are characterized by a spiritual deception intending to ensnare Catholics proves, rather than disproves, the authenticity of the Catholic Church.
Catholic eschatology, or end-times theology usually references the above in the past tense – relating to the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 ad. However, many use similar language to condemn the current situation in the Roman Catholic Church. Modern problems reach much deeper.
You would have to be blind not to recognize at least a symbolic reference to Rome. This is especially cogent considering the confusing and often contradictory messages coming from the most sacred shrine in Christendom, and Pope Francis specifically. However, Protestant denominations, and Liberal Independent Catholic jurisdictions are experiencing similar decline and symptomology.
One must seriously ask, if Jesus were to return today, how many who affirm the title Christian will actually be saved? Scripture tells us that not everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved? (Matthew 7:20)
It has been my observation that the Church has been on a slippery slope decent since the Sexual Revolution of the Sixties. The cultural polemic of that decade still resonates with popular culture today. Rather than abating, the mantra of unlimited sex without costs or consequences has expanded to include every sort of sexual deviation one could imagine.
Is it any wonder that fifty years later the hew and cry of the liberal church is “if it feels good, do it”? The Christian ethic of dying to self just isn’t resonating with our self-centered culture any longer. Hearts in our age are being hardened to the Gospel truth. Even many in church leadership would rather appease cultural sensitivities than speak a more difficult message.
What was once black and white shifted to fifty shades of grey, and has now transformed into a rainbow of spiritual and moral relativistic pabulum. It’s so bad that even suggesting that truth is black and white; we get labeled with the term “hater.” Is the gospel message really now “hate-speak?”
In many areas in the US and around the world it is now illegal to profess our Christian beliefs. Whether it is in business, or politics, proclaiming your firmly held beliefs in public carries a monetary and sometimes a punitive penalty.
It was my intention when forming the International Catholic Confederation, to gather together men of God from around the world who are committed to Catholic orthodoxy. This position also includes supporting traditional moral values. Our goal is to gather a remnant of Christians who are seeking to remain faithful to the teachings of Christ, His Apostles, and the doctrines instituted by the primitive Church, in contradiction to the wisdom of this age. (1 Corinthians 3:19)
It is only by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-9) that our message may have any effect on the majority culture. It is the task of our bishops and clergy to maintain an orthodox polemic, or teaching. In this we will be able to properly catechize our faithful. Additionally, through God’s divine providence, others may even be converted to the one, true faith.
Teaching the TRUTH in love is our sacred responsibility, anything less should be anathema. Woe be unto clergy who teach a strange gospel. (Luke 12:48, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
The faithful in our pews have too many voices competing for attention. Without a consistent teaching from our leadership on the basic tenets of faith, they will be in mortal danger. Faith comes by hearing the word of truth. (Romans 10:17) In this aim, the people of God must be encouraged to study the truth found in scripture and interpreted by the historic deposit of faith.
No, going to church regularly doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to the garage makes you a car. Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does. Your words mean nothing if your actions are the complete opposite.
Having an Authentic Catholic Faith requires aligning your faith and actions; believing is only half the battle. The truth of the Gospel message must resonate within you louder than your personal feelings.
Actually, the truth doesn’t care about your feelings. Truth is still true no matter what you believe. Truth does not crumble under the weight of popular opinion or majority rule or public opinion.
This brings up an interesting question, one that Pontius Pilate asked Jesus – “What is Truth?” (John 18:38) The Catholic Church as always relied on a metaphorical three-legged stool in support of truth.
- Holy Tradition, and the
- Teaching Magisterium
No, sola scriptura is not sufficient, as your protestant friends will tell you. Even the Reformers themselves could not agree on all of their doctrinal statements.
If your church is not exhibiting the Four Marks of the one, true, Church and relying on the three pillars above, and teaching strange doctrine, you should consider a change. If your church is actively supporting the normalization of homosexuality and gender identity politics, you need to escape to a place that offers sound teachings.
Without sound teachings you will be unable to endure until the end. (Matthew 24:13)
A Sad Commentary On Our Times
A Pew Research Center report released Sept. 28 measured the attitudes of Americans on three culture-war fronts that in recent years have clashed with religious liberty: whether vendors like bakers and florists can refuse to cater to same-sex weddings; whether transgender people can choose which bathroom to use; and whether employers can opt out of providing insurance plans that cover contraception.
Most American Catholics, including those who go to church on a regular basis, have no moral problem with contraception, the survey found.
Just 8 percent said contraception is morally wrong, with 89 percent saying it was either morally acceptable or not a moral issue at all.
The Catholic Church teaches that artificial contraception, such as condoms and birth control pills, is morally unacceptable.
This teaching is rejected even among Catholics who attend Mass at least weekly, who tend to hold views on other social issues that fall more in line with official teaching when compared to the wider Catholic population. About one in 10 (13 percent) in this group said contraception is morally wrong, with 87 percent saying it is either acceptable or not a moral issue.
In recent years, many Catholic institutions have sparred with the federal government over a rule that requires employers to provide insurance plans that cover contraception. Some Catholic leaders have argued that doing so would make them complicit in behavior they find sinful, thus violating their religious freedom.
The Pew poll found that a majority of U.S. Catholics seem to reject that argument.
Sixty-five percent of Catholics say employers should not be able to opt out of the law based on religious objections, while 32 percent say they should. Those numbers are nearly identical to the views of the U.S. population as a whole.
On the issue of abortion, about half of all U.S. Catholics say it is morally wrong, though that number shoots up to 83 percent among Catholics who attend services regularly.
Another issue that has spawned numerous court cases, pitting religious liberty against advances for gay and lesbian Americans, is whether or not business owners with religious objections to same-sex marriage can withhold services for gay weddings.
There have been a handful of lawsuits in recent years by Christian bakers, florists and photographers who say they should not have to provide services to same-sex couples getting married. They say doing so infringes on their religious liberty, while critics contend such views discriminate against gays and lesbians.
Overall, Americans are split on the question, with 49 percent saying businesses should be required to provide services and 48 percent saying they should have the right to refuse.
But Catholics seem slightly more supportive of the rights of gay couples, with 54 percent saying businesses should be required to provide services and 43 percent saying they should be able to refuse.
When it comes to views on homosexual behavior, church attendance affects what Catholics believe. The church teaches that gays and lesbians should not face unjust discrimination, but it condemns both same-sex marriage and sexual acts.
About two-thirds of all U.S. Catholics (64 percent) say that homosexual behavior is either morally acceptable or not a moral issue at all, while 32 percent say it’s morally wrong.
But Catholics who attend Mass weekly are more evenly split, with half labeling homosexual behavior as morally wrong. Overall, 35 percent of Americans say that homosexual behavior is morally wrong.
Then there’s the issue of bathroom access for transgender people. Last year, some states considered legislation that would require people to use bathrooms corresponding to their birth gender. Supporters said such laws were needed to protect people who felt uncomfortable sharing facilities with people of another biological sex, while critics said they were largely unnecessary and discriminatory against a small minority.
A slight majority of Americans (51 percent) said in the survey that individuals should be able to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender with which they currently identify, while 46 percent say people should use facilities that correspond with their gender at birth.
Among Catholics, however, 47 percent said people should use the bathroom of their choice and 50 percent said people should use bathrooms corresponding to their gender at birth.
Church leaders have generally not been as vocal on this issue as they have on contraception and same-sex marriage. But just this week, in response to threats by the N.C.A.A. to punish colleges and universities that don’t offer gender-neutral facilities, the president of the University of Notre Dame, Father John Jenkins, penned an essay in The Wall Street Journal calling for understanding between those with differing views on the issue.
That may be easier said than done.
The Pew poll found that only about two in 10 Americans could sympathize with both sides when considering the questions about contraception insurance, wedding vendors and bathroom access.
Catholics, however, fared a bit better on the understanding front. Still, only about a quarter said they could see where both sides were coming from.
The survey polled 4,538 Americans earlier this summer. The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.
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