Catholics Don't Think for Themselves!

… at least that’s what many of my friends and associates say.

Their reasoning is that we just do what the Pope tells us to do and that we therefore do not need to figure anything our for ourselves. We let our Pope do our thinking for us.

The inference in all this of course is that they are the enlightened, intelligent, free-thinkers, and that Catholics are mindless followers.

Any ideas on a response to this accussation, other than the obvious one of telling them to take a hike?

Such an accusation is too vague to work with. Make them give you one example, and work with that one example.

I think what they are really saying is that they prefer to make up their own morality (very convenient) rather than listening to God’s views on the subject.

BTW are they Christians, other religious believers or atheists. The arguments will be very different for each group.

The Pope doesn’t really tell people what to do, he might say what not to do and when doing something, possible guidelines to keep in mind.

I am so sorry that someone’s faith would require them to say something so very nasty to you.

I’m guessing that your friend thinks that we are oppressed. I would ask them which one of the Church’s teachings are not clear to them.

No one is forcing anyone to stay Catholic.

Ask them if they want to know what you think about that? Then tell them, “I’ll contact you after I get a call made to the Pope.”

Yeah, it’s kind of ridiculous given that some of the best thinkers in the history of civilization (Aquinas, Augustine, etc.) have also been loyal to the Pope.

Ask them what they’d like you to think. :wink:

Catholics are to do what God tells them without question–that is faith–because God cannot deceive. When He told Abraham to sacrifice his son, what did Abraham do? He obeyed. What did Mary say? “Be it done unto me according to thy word.” and “Do what He tells you.” And par excellance, Jesus was obedient even unto death, death on a Cross.

The Pope and bishops simply hand down the word of God and explain it so that all generations can embrace and follow it.

Hey, maybe that’s why I couldn’t figure out what to wear to work this morning! I tried to figure it out on my own instead of asking the Pope! Do I need to go to Confession for this?

Read post #21 at this thread

Catholics here at CA are not representative of the Catholic population.

Protestants have their fair share of those that can’t think for themselves as well. They believe and do whatever their Pastor tells them.

If one makes a habit of simply reading Papal Encyclicals many would understand the fact many great Pope’s want Catholics to study their faith. To examine their faith. And examine themselves.

This isn’t even getting into the Catechism and the volumes and volmes of books available to guide Catholics to think for themselves. Yet, sadly too many allow themselves to be guided by *other *things…

I’ve been struggling with this problem as well.

Here’s some solid advice I’ve gotten that seems to help:[LIST=1]
*]Question their assumptions
*]Use humor and good cheer
*]Be patient[/LIST]I’m pretty good at #1. Need to learn to use my natural humor in faith matters #2, where up to now I’ve been mostly only very serious. And I’m really, really, bad at #3.

But the more I employ these three things together, the more I see the Holy Spirit at work.

I think if the atmosphere is such that they can actually hear and consider the questions you put to them, then it may have the effect of casting doubt on their positions.

I’ll pray for you in this . Please pray for me. :rolleyes:

I suppose it never occurred to these ‘free thinkers’ that the reason that this Catholic, after carefully thinking for myself, might agree with the Pope on various teachings would be that (gasp) he happens to be right.

It also appears that (praise God) there are still a lot of Catholics who feel the same.

It is not stupid to agree with someone who teaches the truth; it is, in fact, far more silly to disagree with someone who teaches the truth and then to proudly proclaim that means that you are ‘thinking for yourself’–as though the fact that what you think happens to be ‘false’ doesn’t matter–truth doesn’t matter but only your ‘making your own choice’.

This is very true. In some discussions with non-Catholics, I’ve often heard, “Well, Scripture says…”, but then they go on to tell me what their pastor told them it meant. Very interesting, when you consider that if the Bible is their sole rule of faith, then why do they need their pastor to tell them what it means? Why would they need pastors or ministers, period?

I’ve been doing nothing but “thinking for myself”, quite deeply, I might add, for nearly 1/2 a century. At the conclusion of all that thought, I was confirmed and had my first eucharist 2 Easters ago. I still feel like I’m thinking plenty. In fact, even in Buddhism, I never devoted so much time to study and meditation on life, the universe and everything. There is no limit to how much thought and depth you can apply to the Catholic Church. It is the most intellectually stimulating path I’ve ever started on, with more to learn and think about then I ever could have hoped or imagined. I guess I don’t understand what folks are talking about. I pray these people you know find just one iota in their entire lifetimes, of the fascination, true freedom, peace and wonder that I experience each and every day on my new journey.

Yours in Christ,


What in particular do they disagree with the pope about? What brilliant “thou shalt nots” have they come up with on their own?

Good point. It reminds of how some people claim Catholics are discouraged from reading the Bible ourselves–when there’s a plenary indulgence attached to Bible reading! :smiley:

Here’s an article from Catholic Answer’s “This Rock” Magazine that may be helpful:

**Catholics Can’t Think for Themselves **

That is so right, their Pastor is the Pope for them, a lot of them hang on their every word and drink the Poison KOOL-Aid.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit