A question of combined beliefs


#1

Recently, I had a discussion with another Unitarian Universalist who was a Roman Catholic.

Lent is apparently a time when he sometimes wishes for some of the ritual that he grew up with - although he is quick to point out that he doesn't desire to return to being Catholic.

But he did say he liked the idea of observing lent, getting ashes on Ash Wednesday, and conducting a bit of self examination.

Anyway, long story short, he considers himself a Unitarian Universalist Roman Catholic, and says there are still some aspects of Catholicism that he practices, such as the ash service.

For Unitarian Universalists, the concept of being a Unitarian Universalist Roman Catholic would be acceptable, although a tad unusual. We have members who are UU Wicdans, UU Jews, UU Deists, etc.

So, the question that popped into my mind, and which I asked this gentleman, was how the Roman Catholic Church woudl view such a union of belief systems.

He didn't think the Catholic hierachy would be amenable to such a linkage, but wasn't sure how lay Catholics would respond.

So, lay Catholics, what do you think.

Peace,

Seeker


#2

[quote="seeker57, post:1, topic:276434"]
Recently, I had a discussion with another Unitarian Universalist who was a Roman Catholic.

Lent is apparently a time when he sometimes wishes for some of the ritual that he grew up with - although he is quick to point out that he doesn't desire to return to being Catholic.

But he did say he liked the idea of observing lent, getting ashes on Ash Wednesday, and conducting a bit of self examination.

Anyway, long story short, he considers himself a Unitarian Universalist Roman Catholic, and says there are still some aspects of Catholicism that he practices, such as the ash service.

For Unitarian Universalists, the concept of being a Unitarian Universalist Roman Catholic would be acceptable, although a tad unusual. We have members who are UU Wicdans, UU Jews, UU Deists, etc.

So, the question that popped into my mind, and which I asked this gentleman, was how the Roman Catholic Church woudl view such a union of belief systems.

He didn't think the Catholic hierachy would be amenable to such a linkage, but wasn't sure how lay Catholics would respond.

So, lay Catholics, what do you think.

Peace,

Seeker

[/quote]

:) Seeker, oh boy the contents of this can you're opening could be interesting. Can't wait to hear the thoughts about such a person.


#3

[quote="seeker57, post:1, topic:276434"]
Recently, I had a discussion with another Unitarian Universalist who was a Roman Catholic.

So, the question that popped into my mind, and which I asked this gentleman, was how the Roman Catholic Church woudl view such a union of belief systems.

He didn't think the Catholic hierachy would be amenable to such a linkage, but wasn't sure how lay Catholics would respond.

So, lay Catholics, what do you think.

Peace,

Seeker

[/quote]

Are your beliefs in accord with Rome? If not, then you are protestants.

Whatever the Pope says, so says the Catholic laymen.


#4

[quote="pablope, post:3, topic:276434"]
Are your beliefs in accord with Rome? If not, then you are protestants.

Whatever the Pope says, so says the Catholic laymen.

[/quote]

I've been told by a bishop, albeit not the bishop of Rome, but another bishop, that the Church teaches if a person was made a member of the CC thru Baptism, that they are Catholic, albeit perhaps non practicing. Or I presume lapsed, unfaithful, unorthodox, or whatever other simliar adjective might be used here. Why wouldn't the bishop of Rome and laity then apply this theology to the RC who went to UU too?


#5

I asked this gentleman, was how the Roman Catholic Church woudl view such a union of belief systems.
http://www.filii.info/g.gif


#6

[quote="CMatt25, post:4, topic:276434"]
I've been told by a bishop, albeit not the bishop of Rome, but another bishop, that the Church teaches if a person was made a member of the CC thru Baptism, that they are Catholic, albeit perhaps non practicing. Or I presume lapsed, unfaithful, unorthodox, or whatever other simliar adjective might be used here. Why wouldn't the bishop of Rome and laity then apply this theology to the RC who went to UU too?

[/quote]

The difference is; Baptism in the Catholic Church is a sacrament. This seal From God not man, can never be removed. The Church never has the power to "put asunder what God has joined together.

A Baptized Catholic who leaves his communion with the body of Christ, to join another such as the UU is a whole other matter that deals with the disposition of the prodigal member.

If he rejects Catholic doctrine, he excommunicates himself.

If he likes the other community and is ignorant of his catholic faith? by virtue of his baptism the graces of God will always be calling him home. From this grace he will find joy and contentment for a while apart from his Catholic communion, and will find himself always thirsting and changing communities of believers as time goes on, until he returns.

We are all prodigal sons in one way or another. If his heart continues to seek "Truth" and not be moved by self, The Father will always be looking out for him to return home.

The only begotten Son of God, Jesus himself prayed "Let this cup pass from me, but not my will, but the Father's will be done". When one surrenders his own will to the will of the Father's will, can make his way back home, but pride and ignorance of the Catholic faith will keep him searching.

We pray for members such as these, who of their own freewill leave the Catholic Church from their misunderstandings and lack of faith or disgruntles.

In any case the baptized remain in the body of Christ, even if they excommunicate themselves unofficially.

Now this same Catholic UU can approach his Catholic Bishop and make it formal to be excommunicated, but it still does not remove his baptism as a Catholic. If the Catholic UU is serious about addressing the bishop officially, he may learn a few things and get his misunderstandings corrected.

But most fallen away Catholics do not make the official excommunication through their bishop, thus they become Prodigal Sons.


#7

There can be no such "union of beliefs". Your friend deludes himself.


#8

[quote="seeker57, post:1, topic:276434"]
Anyway, long story short, he considers himself a Unitarian Universalist Roman Catholic, and says there are still some aspects of Catholicism that he practices, such as the ash service.

[/quote]

There are some aspects of Catholicism that all Prostestants practice: baptism, for example. For a Roman Catholic to pick and choose which Catholic beliefs he follows or doesn't follow is to possibly commit heresy.

I'd imagine that as a Protestant or UU he may consider himself to be a part of any Protestant denomination that he dreams up, but I don't think in doing so he could claim to be Roman Catholic.


#9

[quote="seeker57, post:1, topic:276434"]

So, the question that popped into my mind, and which I asked this gentleman, was how the Roman Catholic Church woudl view such a union of belief systems.

He didn't think the Catholic hierachy would be amenable to such a linkage, but wasn't sure how lay Catholics would respond.

So, lay Catholics, what do you think.

Peace,

Seeker

[/quote]

Hi Seeker,

Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and various dogmatic Protestant denominations are incompatible with Unitarian Universalism on a very fundamental level.

The general UU beliefs assert such things as various religions being of equal value and a means to search for truth. Truth itself is typically seen as something personal and not universal.

It is this non-dogmatic approach of UU itself that finds itself more in conflict with Catholicism than any contradictory teaching of a dogmatic Protestant denomination or even Islam. This is because the philosophy underlying this approach is relativism, which is an affirmation of personal, subjective truth and at the same time, a denial of objective truth.

Given that Catholic teaching states that Jesus Christ is the Truth, that is an implicit denial of the very basis of Christianity. He cannot be "true for you" but not for somebody else. He either is Truth or He isn't. All Catholic teachings are underpinned by the idea that truth is an objective, external fact, independent of the subjective perspective of the individual. Relativism, as such, is therefore an implicit denial of every single teaching of the Catholic Church and, indeed, of Christianity as a whole.

So while Catholicism may be acceptable from the UU perspective, as a Unitarian Universalist may affirm that "Roman Catholicism is true for your friend but not for me," from the Catholic perspective, UU is radically in opposition to Christianity at its very core. Indeed, relativism is even more fundamentally at odds with Christianity than many forms of atheism itself, and that's because whereas atheism explicitly denies God, relativism implicitly denies everything.


#10

[quote="Splagchnizomai, post:8, topic:276434"]
There are some aspects of Catholicism that all Prostestants practice: baptism, for example. For a Roman Catholic to pick and choose which Catholic beliefs he follows or doesn't follow is to possibly commit heresy.

I'd imagine that as a Protestant or UU he may consider himself to be a part of any Protestant denomination that he dreams up, but I don't think in doing so he could claim to be Roman Catholic.

[/quote]

I had a hunch from my experiences that the answers might vary.

You state you don't think they could claim to be Roman Catholic.

Yet Gabriel stated Catholic teaching in this light: Saying the Catholic Baptismal seal is from God not man and can never be removed. In Gabriel's answer he went on to say, "The baptized remain in the body of Christ, even if they excommunicate themselves unofficially. Now this same Catholic UU can approach his Catholic Bishop and make it formal to be excommunicated, but it still does not remove his baptism as a Catholic."

So while I understand some Catholics might not like less faithful Catholics identifying themselves as Catholics, from the answer a bishop gave me about who is a Catholic and from what Gabriel said, if Seeker's friend was baptized, his becoming UU apparently has not removed his identification as a Catholic by virtue of his Baptism at least according to the Catholic Church's theology.

But in any case if Seeker's fellow UU wishes to consider himself a UU RC, I shall simply truly wish him peace along his faith journey and leave it at that.


#11

[quote="CMatt25, post:10, topic:276434"]

But in any case if Seeker's fellow UU wishes to consider himself a UU RC, I shall simply truly wish him peace along his faith journey and leave it at that.

[/quote]

Actually, you are right. Even if he were to renounce his Catholicism, he would still technically be a Christian as a result of baptism, and there is no way he could become non-Christian, at least in a technical sense.

In terms of belief, however, Catholicism and Unitarian Universalism are absolutely in contradiction, so you cannot be Catholic in terms of belief and be UU at the same time.

So the question on how a Catholic should view a union of such belief systems, which is what OP also asked, can be concisely answered in two words: "logical contradiction."


#12

An unanswered question is: why does this person desire to be known as a Roman Catholic?

For some reason, it is important for him, and I wouldn't buy a response which suggested he does so because he likes Ash Wednesday.

No, either he's clinging to a familial, cultural identity (ie his family is largely Catholic and he does not want to abandon the identity) and/or he is significantly confused over what he truly believes. My guess is both.


#13

[quote="SteveGC, post:12, topic:276434"]
An unanswered question is: why does this person desire to be known as a Roman Catholic?

For some reason, it is important for him, and I wouldn't buy a response which suggested he does so because he likes Ash Wednesday.

No, either he's clinging to a familial, cultural identity (ie his family is largely Catholic and he does not want to abandon the identity) and/or he is significantly confused over what he truly believes. My guess is both.

[/quote]

I have no problem buying his response even if it were because he likes Ash Wed. If that were the case, then that would be why it is important to him. :shrug: There are all sorts of reasons though why someone might want to be known as such. I'm not saying this is the case for the gentleman Seeker introduced us to. But perhaps for one person it might be familial, cultural. For another it might be they became members by Baptism and still hold to some beliefs. For others it might be they have been so indoctrinated with the idea of the Catholic Church being the only true faith, that they have had a fear placed into them, and so want to hold onto ties just incase. And one never knows along their journey whether they might reconcile. In the end only God knows the heart. And if they desire to be known as Catholic and the Church Herself considers them Catholic by virtue of Baptism, that's a good enough Catholic answer for me. Peace.


#14

[quote="SteveGC, post:12, topic:276434"]
An unanswered question is: why does this person desire to be known as a Roman Catholic?

For some reason, it is important for him, and I wouldn't buy a response which suggested he does so because he likes Ash Wednesday.

No, either he's clinging to a familial, cultural identity (ie his family is largely Catholic and he does not want to abandon the identity) and/or he is significantly confused over what he truly believes. My guess is both.

[/quote]

He may find the disiplines and traditions of the Catholic church to be of value to him to develop his spirituality while holding to some of the tenets and precepts of Unitarian/Universalists.....he may not embrace all Catholic doctrine evidently...but finds value with some of it's practices.....much like many Friends find Buddhist mediation practices...or find Orthodox prayer ropes beneficial for "entering into Meeting"....if they find benefit...it doesn't invalidate their experience.....perhaps this gentleman has chosen "the best of both" to incorprate into his life and spiritual practice.....HIS PRACTICE is what he finds beneficial....no what others think of it...if he wishes to identify as UU/Catholic.....it's his spirituality that benefits.

I utilize the "Jesus Prayer" and carry a chokti...doesn't mean I identify myself as Orthodox...but I find benefit in the use of the prayer rope.....if I found the veneration...or meditation in front of icons beneficial...I would utilize the practice...but I do not.....how this man wishes to identify his spiritual practice is is concern and joy...not ours.


#15

A Catholic can not be a Unitarian, nor a Universalist, nor can one subscribe to the modern inclusive non-creed of Unitarian Universalism while remaining in communion with the Holy See.

Self-identification is a different matter, but your friend is not a Catholic: he is a Unitarian Universalist or whatever else, who likes or incorporates elements of Catholicism in to his personal practice or faith.


#16

[quote="Splagchnizomai, post:8, topic:276434"]
There are some aspects of Catholicism that all Prostestants practice: baptism, for example. For a Roman Catholic to pick and choose which Catholic beliefs he follows or doesn't follow is to possibly commit heresy.

I'd imagine that as a Protestant or UU he may consider himself to be a part of any Protestant denomination that he dreams up, but I don't think in doing so he could claim to be Roman Catholic.

[/quote]

Nah, almost all Protestantisms reject Unitarian Universalism as strongly or more so than does Catholicism.

[quote="CMatt25, post:10, topic:276434"]
...if Seeker's friend was baptized, his becoming UU apparently has not removed his identification as a Catholic by virtue of his Baptism at least according to the Catholic Church's theology.

[/quote]

To put it bluntly, he's either an heretical or apostate Catholic if that is the case. It's more charitable to view him as non-Catholic, I think.


#17

To put it bluntly, he’s either an heretical or apostate Catholic if that is the case. It’s more charitable to view him as non-Catholic, I think.


#18

Thank you all for the thoughtful responses.

As someone whose spirituality and faith community are Unitarian Universalist, I find myself sometimes at a loss to understand how those who have more defined beliefs understand their faith.

That is why I enjoy coming here. It is instructive, sometimes alarming, but usually interesting.

When I told my friend, the one who considers himself a UU Roman Catholic, that I had posted my question here, he laughed and said I would probably be scalped.

Well, I still have what's left of my hair, and I have a better understanding of the distictive differences between our faith communities.

Peace,

Seeker


#19

I’m suddenly reminded of this old video clip. Especially the part starting about 2:10.
colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/59606/february-27-2006/the-de-deification-of-the-american-faithscape

:smiley:


#20

Publisher;9052785]I utilize the "Jesus Prayer" and carry a chokti...doesn't mean I identify myself as Orthodox...but I find benefit in the use of the prayer rope.....if I found the veneration...or meditation in front of icons beneficial...I would utilize the practice...but I do not.....how this man wishes to identify his spiritual practice is is concern and joy...not ours.

There is a critical distinction here in regards to Catholicism. Any one can use such tools and disciplines for prayers to benefit ones discipline. The Critical mark is "Faith believed in" is what separates and binds the particpants to these disciplines.

For example; Satanist have a black mass to mock the Catholic Mass. This extreme example reveals the disposition of faith how one applies these tools and disciplines as being totally separated and different from "Faith expressed and Faith believed in from practices".

The UU non-practicing Catholic does not and cannot excercise his Catholic faith in the UU community. For one they have no valid apostolic priesthood, secondly the UU have no valid sacraments for this non-practicing Catholic UU member to practice his Catholic faith.

Thus there remains a "critical" separation and conflict of Catholic faith and UU faith. The non-practicing Catholic does not maintain the status of a Roman Catholic so long as he rejects his Roman Catholic faith and practices for the UU faith.

What the non-practicing Catholic UU member maintains is his baptism in the body of Christ as a Christian. In other words this member ceases to be Roman Catholic if he rejects his Roman Catholic faith for the UU faith and becomes a non-catholic in practice.

This non-catholic UU member remains under the umbrella of the Catholic Church in the body of Christ, just as all non-catholic members do who have a valid Christian baptism.

For this member to return to the Roman Catholic faith, he cannot attend the sacramental life again without repentance in the ministry of reconciliation. This is how the prodigal son returns to the Father with true contrition.


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