Catholic FAQ


Latest Threads
newest posts



Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Apologetics > Social Justice
 

Welcome to Catholic Answers Forums, the largest Catholic Community on the Web.

Here you can join over 400,000 members from around the world discussing all things Catholic. Membership is open to all, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who seek the Truth with Charity.

To gain full access, you must register for a FREE account. Registered members are able to:
  • Submit questions about the faith to experts from Catholic Answers
  • Participate in all forum discussions
  • Communicate privately with Catholics from around the world
  • Plus join a prayer group, read with the Book Club, and much more.
Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free. So join our community today!

Have a question about registration or your account log-in? Just contact our Support Hotline.

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Search Thread Display
  #1  
Old Apr 26, '11, 7:37 am
tom_c tom_c is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: March 1, 2010
Posts: 28
Religion: Catholic
Default Why do liberal Catholics stay in the Church?

I recently read (can't remember where) that the reason most dissident Catholics stay in the Church is because they realize that if they left then their influence would weaken (i.e. no one would really care what they think). I think this seems reasonable enough with respect to Catholic politicians who support abortion, gay marriage, etc. It also could apply to dissident priests. And even those people in charge of organizations like Catholics for Choice.

But my question is, what about the average layman? The man or woman who attends Mass weekly, yet his opinion on many things is not in accord with the Church. Why do these folks remain in the Church? You can't really say that they stay for reasons of influence or power. So what is it?

Thanks.
  #2  
Old Apr 26, '11, 7:58 am
Peepers Peepers is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: April 11, 2011
Posts: 279
Religion: Learning about Catholicism
Default Re: Why do liberal Catholics stay in the Church?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tom_c View Post
I recently read (can't remember where) that the reason most dissident Catholics stay in the Church is because they realize that if they left then their influence would weaken (i.e. no one would really care what they think). I think this seems reasonable enough with respect to Catholic politicians who support abortion, gay marriage, etc. It also could apply to dissident priests. And even those people in charge of organizations like Catholics for Choice.

But my question is, what about the average layman? The man or woman who attends Mass weekly, yet his opinion on many things is not in accord with the Church. Why do these folks remain in the Church? You can't really say that they stay for reasons of influence or power. So what is it?

Thanks.
I am finding that it is a hot topic around here. My take on it so far is that conservative Catholics will even go as far as to see it as heresy to suggest that the Church has ever changed its teachings on moral issues. More moderate Catholics (such as Noonan) make the claim that the Church does change its moral teachings in response to secular change. Liberal or progressive Catholics seem to bring a Protestant ethic to the Church, and want the Church to see their point of view, from what I can tell. My position is somewhere between conservative and moderate. I find the teaching of a static moral code to be the high ground that the Church holds in theological discussions. However, my read of history is that the Church has modified its teachings over time. You could call this an expanded understanding which accumulates with time. There are sincere Christian denominations which are more socially progressive in a secular sense. I have no idea why someone who favors abortion, or who believes in including gays in the sacrament of marriage would want to be in the Catholic Church. Nor do I understand how they are expecting to change the Church in their own lifetimes on these issues. I would think that they would find their efforts to be very frustrating.
  #3  
Old Apr 26, '11, 8:06 am
Prodigal Son1's Avatar
Prodigal Son1 Prodigal Son1 is offline
Forum Master
 
Join Date: May 25, 2008
Posts: 12,838
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Why do liberal Catholics stay in the Church?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tom_c View Post
I recently read (can't remember where) that the reason most dissident Catholics stay in the Church is because they realize that if they left then their influence would weaken (i.e. no one would really care what they think). I think this seems reasonable enough with respect to Catholic politicians who support abortion, gay marriage, etc. It also could apply to dissident priests. And even those people in charge of organizations like Catholics for Choice.

But my question is, what about the average layman? The man or woman who attends Mass weekly, yet his opinion on many things is not in accord with the Church. Why do these folks remain in the Church? You can't really say that they stay for reasons of influence or power. So what is it?

Thanks.

Would you prefer people left the Church that Christ built, or stay within the Church to continue working out their faith with fear and trembling and where they may find the fullness of His truth eventually?
__________________
God Bless,
Howard



Luk 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth that which is evil. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
  #4  
Old Apr 26, '11, 8:25 am
kildare's Avatar
kildare kildare is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: September 27, 2005
Posts: 370
Religion: catholic
Default Re: Why do liberal Catholics stay in the Church?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peepers View Post
I have no idea why someone who favors abortion, or who believes in including gays in the sacrament of marriage would want to be in the Catholic Church.
They wont want to leave if they believe that the real presence of Jesus Christ is there in the Eucharist at Mass. I mean that is beside the point, of whatever economic, social, political, cultural or personal views a person might have.
The Catholic Church is the universal Church and it holds together peoples from all types of backgrounds, however it is held together by obedience to the Magesterium.
I think a great deal of damage was done to that authority in the Galileo affair, which had the affect of seeing the Church backtrack and change its position. Of course it had no other choice and the reality is that the whole affair was never properly explained to the public at large, but that at least is the perception.
Under these circumstance its probably not hard to concieve of the church perhaps modifying its position with regard to something such as married clergy at some point in the future. From there its a short step to women priests etc.
So many people, who are convinced of the Truth of the Church but are socially liberal, remain because they believe that, whatever the church says today, tomorrow it will be agreeing with them.

They are wrong, but they can plead ignorance I suppose.
__________________
Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος.
In principio erat Verbum et Verbum erat apud Deum et Deus erat Verbum
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God

John 1:1
  #5  
Old Apr 26, '11, 8:27 am
TedDC TedDC is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: October 1, 2009
Posts: 1,014
Religion: former Catholic
Default Re: Why do liberal Catholics stay in the Church?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tom_c View Post
I recently read (can't remember where) that the reason most dissident Catholics stay in the Church is because they realize that if they left then their influence would weaken (i.e. no one would really care what they think). I think this seems reasonable enough with respect to Catholic politicians who support abortion, gay marriage, etc. It also could apply to dissident priests. And even those people in charge of organizations like Catholics for Choice.

But my question is, what about the average layman? The man or woman who attends Mass weekly, yet his opinion on many things is not in accord with the Church. Why do these folks remain in the Church? You can't really say that they stay for reasons of influence or power. So what is it?

Thanks.
Probably because of the many things on which he/she is in accord with the Church.
  #6  
Old Apr 26, '11, 8:28 am
Barbkw Barbkw is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: August 18, 2010
Posts: 5,927
Religion: Cradle Catholic - Revert
Default Re: Why do liberal Catholics stay in the Church?

St. Paul asked his congregations to confront the disobedient unrepentant. I believe he said that if they did not, then he would.
  #7  
Old Apr 26, '11, 8:33 am
foundmyfaith's Avatar
foundmyfaith foundmyfaith is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: February 22, 2010
Posts: 179
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Why do liberal Catholics stay in the Church?

I am somewhat liberal.

I returned to the Church after a long absence. There are certain aspects of our Doctrine that make me uneasy. I have wallowed in sin at times, and made decisions that horrify me now. I understand how a person can stay with the church even though they do not agree with some teachings.

For me, It comes down to Papal infallibility. While I might not be able to get it in my thick head that the teaching is 'right' in and of itself, I firmly believe that the Pope has it right. I just pray that God will heal my wrong thinking.
__________________
My son Alex 4/8/93-2/18/11
With God, but never forgotten.

I promise thee, O blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, and I will never cease to honor thee as my special and powerful patron, and to do all in my power to encourage devotion to thee. Amen
  #8  
Old Apr 26, '11, 8:39 am
eagle_eye222001's Avatar
eagle_eye222001 eagle_eye222001 is offline
Junior Member
Prayer Warrior
 
Join Date: February 8, 2008
Posts: 190
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Why do liberal Catholics stay in the Church?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tom_c View Post
But my question is, what about the average layman? The man or woman who attends Mass weekly, yet his opinion on many things is not in accord with the Church. Why do these folks remain in the Church? You can't really say that they stay for reasons of influence or power. So what is it?

Thanks.
Part of the reason people stay in groups they may disagree with in certain areas is they want to remain in the culture of the group. So person A disagrees largely with the Church on abortion, but they don't want to sit at home and lose the culture/social aspect of church. I think for many its simply easier to be partly believing Catholic than to sit at home and declare oneself totally isolated from the church.
__________________
Matthew 16:18

And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it

  #9  
Old Apr 26, '11, 8:39 am
SuscipeMeDomine SuscipeMeDomine is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: April 19, 2007
Posts: 4,927
Religion: Catholic, Obl.OSB
Default Re: Why do liberal Catholics stay in the Church?

I don't understand why so many people on CAF seem to want to push people out of the Church. There's another long thread asking why "cafeteria" Catholics don't leave and join Protestant churches.

How about this: People stay in the Church even when they disagree with some aspects or hope that some aspects will change because they believe it is the Church started by Jesus, believe that even when it isn't perfect it's still good, and believe in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.

In a slightly different area, every time I hear about another case of priestly sex abuse or episcopal cover-up, I'm tempted to leave. How can this keep happening and when will it end? But even though I'm troubled, I remind myself that I believe this is the Church started by Jesus, believe that even when bad things happen there is still good within the Church, and believe in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.
  #10  
Old Apr 26, '11, 8:47 am
kkmousse kkmousse is offline
Observing Member
 
Join Date: April 16, 2011
Posts: 4
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Why do liberal Catholics stay in the Church?

I believe that everyone has the right to their own beliefs, no matter what church they belong to, or whatever. As long as that is what they believe in.
As a Catholic I attend mass on a regular basis and do the best that I can to follow its teachings. However I do have beliefs that do not fit with the Church also. I will have to deal with them at the pearly gates when the time comes.
I think it is wrong to push my beliefs on other people and think a few ways on the topic of abortion. It may be wrong for me, but I have no right to say it is wrong for someone else. It is their right to make that decision themselves. They will deal with the consequences themselves, I can not do that for them either.
I also believe that Laws of man should no in infilltrated with those of a religious faith at all. If that was the case, then someday we will have "Shia" laws impossed on us also. It is not a good idea to open the door to imposing ones beliefs on the masses of those not of your faith. That is why laws should be broadly enough written to accomidate all beliefs. They should have nothing to do with the church. We are not a religious state but a unified Republic that allows people of different beliefs to live togather in peace.

Last edited by kkmousse; Apr 26, '11 at 8:58 am.
  #11  
Old Apr 26, '11, 8:52 am
ndeparis88's Avatar
ndeparis88 ndeparis88 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: April 5, 2011
Posts: 388
Religion: Roman Catholic
Send a message via AIM to ndeparis88
Default Re: Why do liberal Catholics stay in the Church?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuscipeMeDomine View Post
I don't understand why so many people on CAF seem to want to push people out of the Church. There's another long thread asking why "cafeteria" Catholics don't leave and join Protestant churches.

How about this: People stay in the Church even when they disagree with some aspects or hope that some aspects will change because they believe it is the Church started by Jesus, believe that even when it isn't perfect it's still good, and believe in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.

In a slightly different area, every time I hear about another case of priestly sex abuse or episcopal cover-up, I'm tempted to leave. How can this keep happening and when will it end? But even though I'm troubled, I remind myself that I believe this is the Church started by Jesus, believe that even when bad things happen there is still good within the Church, and believe in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.
It helps to remember that it is not the Church's fault for those actions by priest it is the choice of them and only them. The church is good, it's just people that can be bad. But that's why the Church is here.
__________________
Fides quaerens intellectum

faith seeking understanding
  #12  
Old Apr 26, '11, 8:57 am
Peepers Peepers is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: April 11, 2011
Posts: 279
Religion: Learning about Catholicism
Default Re: Why do liberal Catholics stay in the Church?

It us also true that ideas which were once radical, such as giving women the right to own property and to vote, are accepted as moral precepts now. We should be careful when it comes to assessing what is radical in terms of morality. If not for radical thinking, we would not have the freedoms and dignity which we have now. Many of us might be slaves.
  #13  
Old Apr 26, '11, 9:06 am
Elizabeth502 Elizabeth502 is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: November 19, 2008
Posts: 9,120
Religion: Roman Catholic
Default Re: Why do liberal Catholics stay in the Church?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peepers View Post
. However, my read of history is that the Church has modified its teachings over time.
=/= this:

Quote:
You could call this an expanded understanding which accumulates with time.
Two different dynamics there. Understanding and explanation is not the same thing as a principle. Some teachings have undergone modfication in emphasis. In addition, some things were informally "taught" or "understood" or even preached, but never codified. Other teachings were matters of open-ended belief (such as Limbo) or matters of discipline (such as Friday abstinence), rather than dogmatic or doctrinal matters.

The core teachings, however, have not changed. (Both dogma and doctrine). The presentations of those dogmas and doctrines have in many cases been modified or contextualized, but that is not the same thing as what is often misunderstood by Catholics and non-Catholics that there is some possibility of a progressive movement which is more "modern" in quality, simply because the Church does dialogue with the modern world and incorporates (often by contrast) that understanding in her (more modern) explanations.

Anyone who expects to see a change in moral teachings shouldn't hold his or her breath. That includes a surprising number of current and non-practicing Catholics, who announce that they're "waiting" for the Church to "change" on homosexuality, on male priesthood, and much else.
  #14  
Old Apr 26, '11, 9:23 am
Peepers Peepers is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: April 11, 2011
Posts: 279
Religion: Learning about Catholicism
Default Re: Why do liberal Catholics stay in the Church?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth502 View Post
=/= this:



Two different dynamics there. Understanding and explanation is not the same thing as a principle. Some teachings have undergone modfication in emphasis. In addition, some things were informally "taught" or "understood" or even preached, but never codified. Other teachings were matters of open-ended belief (such as Limbo) or matters of discipline (such as Friday abstinence), rather than dogmatic or doctrinal matters.

The core teachings, however, have not changed. (Both dogma and doctrine). The presentations of those dogmas and doctrines have in many cases been modified or contextualized, but that is not the same thing as what is often misunderstood by Catholics and non-Catholics that there is some possibility of a progressive movement which is more "modern" in quality, simply because the Church does dialogue with the modern world and incorporates (often by contrast) that understanding in her (more modern) explanations.

Anyone who expects to see a change in moral teachings shouldn't hold his or her breath. That includes a surprising number of current and non-practicing Catholics, who announce that they're "waiting" for the Church to "change" on homosexuality, on male priesthood, and much else.
Just so I understand you Elizabeth, and where we differ.... My take on the history of slavery and Christianity, is that Christianity introduced the idea of treating slaves fairly and justly, but that slavery was not morally wrong, per se. At least, that is how I read the bible, and that is how I understand the Church's moral teaching for at least 1800 years. As a result of that moral teaching, certainly, some "masters" decided to free their slaves. People like Jefferson condemned slavery, but were unable to part with his hundreds of slaves. There was a turning point which occurred in the 18-19th century in Western Culture, and in the Church which changed that view. While Pope Gregory I accepted a slave as a gift, and rather than liberating that slave, in turn gave the slave as a gift to a bishop, I think it is fair to say that the Church did not oppose slavery at that time. Yet, today, if I understand the Church's teachings today, then owning a human being is a grave moral offense. Am I missing something here?
  #15  
Old Apr 26, '11, 9:31 am
SouthernCelt SouthernCelt is offline
Trial Membership
 
Join Date: April 21, 2011
Posts: 7
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Why do liberal Catholics stay in the Church?

I am a moderate, cradle Catholic. I have differed and had inner struggles with some church teachings and doctrine over the years but I stay in the church because of the real presence of the Eucharist, the sacraments and many, many other things. Catholic is who I am. I could not be anything else.

I answer this type of question this way. Catholics who disagree with parts of the church teaching stay Catholic for the same reason that people still call themselves part of their family even though they might not agree with everything family members do.

Have I agreed with everything my parents thought or did during my lifetime? No, but I love them and the family they created and I would never abandon it.

Same with being a citizen of the United States. I don't agree with everything this country or its government does, have problems with some aspects of American society, but would never consider renouncing my citizenship.

It's the same with the church. Just because my human nature causes me to doubt and disagree with things doesn't mean I am going to automatically leave behind a Church that is a treasured part of who I am.
Just my two cents --- God bless.
Closed Thread

Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Apologetics > Social Justice

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search Thread
Search Thread:

Advanced Search
Display

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Prayer Intentions

Most Active Groups
8348Meet and talk,talk talk
Last by: suko
5088CAF Prayer Warriors Support Group
Last by: eschator83
4407Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother
Last by: FootStool
4037OCD/Scrupulosity Group
Last by: eschator83
3858SOLITUDE
Last by: tuscany
3667Let's empty Purgatory
Last by: RJB
3268Poems and Reflections
Last by: tonyg
3244Petitions Before the Blessed Sacrament
Last by: Amiciel
3218Catholic Vegetarians & Vegans
Last by: memphian
3085For seniors and shut- ins
Last by: flower lady



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 9:25 pm.

Home RSS Feeds - Home - Archive - Top

Copyright © 2004-2014, Catholic Answers.