Perhaps those of you from a Reformed background are familiar with the phrase “Truly Reformed” - used by some to distinguish Christians who actually have embraced the “true Gospel” as opposed to those who haven’t. That’s not what this thread is about; this is only to explain the source of the title.
At times, like yesterday in Mass and today in my church service, I think I am more Catholic than Presbyterian, but I am not Catholic in faith or practice (I’m working through a rather long list, and I still freak out at things, like the St.Joseph Table yesterday or the Stations of the Cross mess I dealt with last weekend). I am not “truly Catholic” because to me that means one who goes to Confession at least once a year, receives the Eucharist at least once a year, believes all the teachings of the Church, observes fast days and days of obligation, goes to Mass every Sunday and supports the Church with resources of time, talent and treasure. But I’m wondering. Suppose I did all these things. Would I be “truly Catholic”, or would I see those as “truly Catholic” who do the above but also go to Confession weekly, receive the Eucharist daily, go on retreats, fast twice a week, and, well, you get the idea. Do those in the religious orders consider themselves more Catholic, somehow, than those outside? Do those who adhere to all the teachings of the Church look down on those who don’t as “not truly Catholic”? At what point does one consider oneself Catholic? At what point does one consider others who claim to be Catholic not Catholic?
Isn’t there occaision for spiritual pride here? And where does it stop? When are you “truly Catholic” Is there an innermost ring to this onion, or are there rings at all?
To be perfectly frank, joining the Catholic Church is tempting to me in the sense that I could bring all my Protestant zeal and Bible knowledge, and feel superior to the other Catholics in doing so, and feel superior to all the Protestants because now I have the full truth. In short, I could look down on everybody, and that has a certain appeal. It is partly to avoid this that I ask the question - and part of why I hesitate to get my snorkel and cross the Tiber. I could compile a list of the world’s worst reasons to join the Catholic Church. This is one of them.