How do we combat the ignorance of the laity?

The following conversation absolutely, 100% happened. It took place two days ago between myself, and a friend who claims to be Catholic. Throughout this conversation, he argued that the fact he was pro-gay marriage/gay rights and was pro-choice in instances of rape as well as other mitigating factors, did not make him any less of a Catholic. I argued that such beliefs go against the Church and that he should not be receiving communion until he sorts through these differences. He declined my advice.

Somehow, and I can’t remember how the conversation arrived at this point, he claimed (quite seriously I might add) that even if Jesus Christ himself came down from Heaven to tell the world that gay marriage and homosexual acts were sinful, he would disagree with him, shrug it off as just another opinion, and his stance toward the issue would not change at all.

I was floored.

How does one deal with Catholics like my friend?

It sounds like you handled the situation correctly, assuming you didn’t get into a brawl! :slight_smile:
You did what Catholics are required to do. You “Instructed the ignorant” and “Admonished the sinner” which are Spiritual Works of Mercy. We are to do so gently and lovingly. (You didn’t hit him did you??? :D)
Some people are unaware of Church teachings, while others choose to follow some teachings and dismiss those that don’t fall in line with their way of thinking.
Although it may be difficult, I would agree to disagree and “Let Go And Let God”.
Another Spiritual Work of Mercy is to “Pray for the living and the dead”. This is the most important thing that you can do for your friend. Pray that God will change his heart and help him to walk in the light! Be at peace knowing that you did what you were called to do!God bless you!

I would suggest your pray to the Holy Spirit for His gift of wisdom and knowledge for your friend. Understand that many, many sheep have been bowled over by the incessant politically correct support for the Gay and Lesbian, Transgender, Polygender, Gender Confused; Generally bewildered Lobby. They are often aping what they believe will be socially acceptable without much cognitive analysis. Their lack of understanding that you do not kill an innocent to overcome the horror of rape is also part of the argot of the acceptable.
If he would not accept the words of Jesus there is little more to say. Prayer and strong support for the truth is all you can offer your friend.

Another spiritual work of mercy is to bear wrongs patiently.

If there is a “heart happy” answer to your question it is one that has eluded me for 50+ years. I have family members who choose to ignore the sacrament of confession yet never miss Holy Communion. Others who choose to ignore the sacrament of marriage and have relationships outside the marriage up to and including remarrying after a civil divorce which hasn’t been annulled within the Church. I can’t begin to tell you the frustration involved in attempting to explain to a family member that he/she shouldn’t be voting for a candidate that supports abortion. All these family members self-identify themselves as being Catholic. I’ve pretty much given up on trying to discuss these issues with them and have instead turned it over to God. I keep them in my prayers and ask God to convince them as I am apparently poor at explaining the incongruity of the situation.

Your problem, as well as mine, is that you see things as being either black or white while others who don’t want to subscribe to ALL Church teaching see a wide variety of gray… and thus the term “Cafeteria Catholics” pops into existence. :frowning:

You might have gone too far with that. I would not be so sure that he is in a state of mortal sin simply because he thinks these things and discusses them with you as a friend. Now, if he were actually doing those things, we might then consider whether it met all three conditions of mortal sin. Even so, I am not sure how to charitably instruct, advise, or correct a friend on such matters

That’s just talk. Do not take offense. At that moment, he perhaps imagined that Jesus would speak to him just as you spoke to him. If Jesus were to meet your friend in human form, most likely things would have gone better.

I would not have remarked about his reception of communion. That turns the discussion into an attack on his behaviour, rather than the specific moral issues.

The problem is not only ignorance, but also arrogance. The sin of pride in one’s own ideas, thinking, and judgment leads people to reject or radically reinterpret Church teaching.

The remedy: prayer, self-denial, works of mercy.

Just a minor sticking point. This is a distinct difference from supporting a person and supporting or condoning them to sin (I do think the emphasis between the two is needed). We are called to support LGBT/ssa individuals, but we support by mentioning the truth in love with compassion and offering support for them to live in a chaste way. We show then the way but we do not condone or encourage sin. This is I think a major clarification that needs to be made.

For the OP, with regards to your friend, try asking they about other sexual morality issues too. Do they understand the Catholic position on contraception, divorce (maybe even just encourage them to read Theology of the Body). I think they might be lacking from an understanding of the connections between sex, marriage, and openness to life. With regards to the rape and abortion comment, simply try asking them when does a second wrong ever make a right? It may be that they simply haven’t approached it from that line of thinking. Finally, maybe they are unaware of the importance of being in a state of grace when receiving communion (and for that matter what constitutes mortal sin). Maybe encouragement to talk with a priest would be helpful for them or provide an example of when you abstained from communion after examining your personal conscious.

The hardest part I think is to not get angry of frustrated while at the same time mentioning their errors and conflict with Catholic teaching.

Last night reading some posts on CAF I got similarly overwhelmed. The basic ability to reason seems not to exist in this meme-driven,144 character limited, era of superficial nonsense. The ability to reason and debate is non existent. Without theology and philosophy people will just go merrily along with relativism and whatever “ism” comes along.

I don’t have an answer, but I feel your pain.

Americanism may be the worst Hersey of all.

The problem (as I see it) is Liberalism, (the modern American Orthodoxy --which infects all of the “West.”) It has unraveled dogmatic Faith, and even Revelation itself and instead has raised up relativism as a new Idol. The only “anchor” in this ocean of relativism is scientific empirical proof. No Philosophy, Theology or morality can be discussed because they have been reduced in one sweeping dismissal to “opinions.”

To correct this modern error, we need first of all to RECOGNIZE IT.

In cases such as this, I just tell the person to discuss these issues with a confessor.

I also have no problems with same sex marriage, as long as churches are not forced to perform the ceremony. I grew up with the European concept that civil and religious marriage were two separate things. I think of civil “marriage” as a legal contract, not a sacrament. That being said, in a public discussion I always try to present and defend the church’s teaching on this matter.

But, really, in this day, when the church is openly debating allowing people who are remarried outside the church into full communion, it is understandable that many Catholics are beginning to think that some church teachings are built on sand. It will be interesting to see what the Pope’s final document on the Synod of the Family says about this issue.

But it IS a sacrament when two baptized non-Catholics marry civilly. And it is a valid natural marriage when the unbaptized do so.

The idea that civil and religious marriage are different is in error. That isn’t what the Church teaches at all.

Marriage is marriage. The Church requires certain witnesses when her own subjects are involved, that is all.

St. Paul’s advise:
We urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, cheer the fainthearted, support the weak, be patient with all. (1 Thes 5:14)

Everyone is in a different place on their journey. Look at St. Augustine. Please *be patient *with Catholics who are not up to your speed.

Here is my Bishop’s guide to giving admonishment, in a nutshell: (based on The Call of Simon the Fisherman)

  1. Examine your conscience, go to confession. Luke 5:8

  2. Invite them into communion with the Church. Luke 5:3

  3. Cast into the deep; think big. Luke 5:4

  4. Do not be afraid. Luke 5:10

This advice, I think, can be used for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

[quote=]How do we combat the ignorance of the laity?

Why are they ignorant?

I would say first we must combat the ignorance of the ordained and religious who ‘teach’ or fail to teach the laity. Who is guarding the sheepfolds? There are not enough good shepherds and this has allowed wolves into the fold. I have encountered too many wolves who snatch the minds of sheep, leading them astray with all sorts of erroneous teachings. Do you know the ‘philosophy’ of your Religious Ed director? Do they know the ideas that their RE teachers are teaching? Who is guarding the sheepfolds?

I would say overhaul RE, sack the banal programs and ‘teachers’ and get some real faithful, spiritual, training: intense Bible study, church history, lives of the saints, church tradition…

Very Prayerfully. I pray for Our Lord to send them a “Simon”, someone that will be able to help them. You might ask him if what he believes is worth possibly loosing his soul over. Prayers for him and you, God Bless, Memaw


We see it on CAF all the time.
“It doesn’t make me less Catholic”.
People are always rewriting the faith to suit their opinions.

May God have mercy.

Yes, Pride: always trying to create God in our own image!

There are thousands–maybe millions-- of catholics who feel the way this friend does–the so-called cafeteria catholics.
If it makes them “less” catholic than others, then should we be reducing the official count of Catholics in the world?
I thought that once u r Catholic, that’s it–u r always Catholic. You may be a Catholic who doesn’t agree with doctrine or follow teachings…but you are still catholic.
I didn’t realize people could be “part” or “less” Catholic.

If so, there are far fewer Catholics in the world than the official count.

From post #10:

… try asking they about other sexual morality issues too.

Yes, use the Socratic method. Trent Horn uses this technique, along with a lot of patience, to dialogue with ppl in the areas of pro-life ethics, and atheism.

However, is not the obstinently ignorant church-going, communion-receiving Catholic obligated to leave (the communion of the Catholic Church) IF s/he does not believe all the Church teaches?

Seems to me, many would be happier attending the Episcopal ‘church’ if they thought same-sex unions should be thought of as Marriage, etc. Otherwise, they are continuing to harm the Body by remaining (and spreading their erroneous ideas among the congregation, even if they are not catechists – and some are).

Blessed Lent,

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