In order to be Catholic, you have to hold opinions which are distinctively Catholic, right?

So it’s no good looking for ways to interpret Catholicism which are acceptable to non Catholics.

Do you agree?

I don’t agree. It is hard to know what you are asking. Going by your title, opinions are just opinions–they don’t have much to do with the Truth. If I have an opinion, and a non-Catholic has the same opinion, who cares? What matters is the Truth. That’s a lot different than a mere “opinion.”


Emphatically no! Baptized Catholic = Catholic. Period


In order to live a Catholic faith you have to assent to the dogmas and doctrines of the Church. Your opening statement is a bit too vague and broad for me to answer with just a yes or no.

And as DeaconJeff said, being Catholic is more than just active participation or belief. Once you’re incorporated into the Church you are Catholic.


Actually denial of Dogma is heresy. Assenting to Dogma gets more complicated. In any event, like any mortal sin, heresy separates you from God. However, like DeaconJeff says, if you are Baptized you are Catholic. You may find yourself damned, but …you would still be Catholic. Presumably lots of Catholics live and die in mortal sin.

So, as you indicate, the question is complicated.

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“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

George Bernard Shaw

There are examples where church teaching has changed (for the better). If we didn’t challenge the belief system in place we’d never progress.

So why be a Catholic if you can believe what you like…

It’s good to agree wherever we can-without compromising truth. In some areas their theology is not far off from ours, or even in complete agreement, sometimes it’s very far off the mark. Sometimes it’s just a matter of clarifying terms.

Not exactly. One is baptized Catholic and that is indelible. But one has the choice then to be a Catholic who follows the teachings, or rejects them. . .A ‘practicing Catholic’ as opposed to a non practicing one as it were.

If you said, “In order to be a practicing Catholic who is faithful to the Magesterium one must uphold and maintain Catholic dogma, doctrine, and discipline to the best of one’s abilities’. . .I think you’d have had it.

People will (I’m counting the posts, oh what the heck, I’ll do it now) bring up the “Hitler was a Catholic” argument. Most people will correctly bring up that no matter what he was baptized, the majority of his words and actions did not uphold Catholic dogma, doctrine, or discipline and often directly contradicted the same.

Then one contrasts with Mother Theresa. Here is a person who, despite going through all kinds of ‘unseen’ but terribly difficult mental doubts and dryness still spoke, thought, and acted Catholic dogma, doctrine, and discipline to the max.

Most of us fall in between Hitler and Mother Theresa.

Mother Theresa is a Catholic saint (which we should all strive to be.). Hitler was the ultimate CINO (Catholic in name only) whose rejection of Catholicism was near-total (I say that because we cannot know if he repented before death and was forgiven).

Most people until modern times were quite capable of seeing the difference between the two and of thinking that Mother Theresa was a ‘true Catholic’ and a role model, and Hitler a “Catholic Judas’ for whom it would have been better had he never been born. The modern ‘critical thinker’ (more accent on ‘critical’ than ‘thinker’) instead of comparing and contrasting the actions and words of the two to see which more closely adhered to the definition of ‘Catholic’ is more concerned with pettifogging attempts to claim that a particular word ‘Catholic’ applied to two different people means ‘the same’ and to then bleat that since the two people are so ‘different’, the word itself is meaningless.

Yep, it’s a real ‘critically thinking’ world out there.


Agreed. If a non-Catholic wants to accept Catholicism, then it must be accepted based upon the truth of its Traditions and doctrine. We can’t discard those teachings which one finds difficult to accept, simply to accommodate their personal beliefs.


Everyone is called to be part of the Catholic Church. (LG 13) The likelihood is that their sincere beliefs match the Catholic faith, though obviously there are exceptions.

As Catholics, we are called to be charitable and give the best possible interpretation to whatever others say to us. “Best possible” is often what is closest to our Catholic faith.

Ultimately our desire is that all may be one. It means calling some to repent and turn toward God. More often it means discovering what is good in them and giving praise to God for it.

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Depends what you are holding as opinion. There are many things which have not been declared dogma and you can have your opinion and I can have mine. For example, whether St John the Baptist was born without sin or whether St Joseph was always celibate.

St. Paul says he must become all things to all men in order to save them–the faith can be presented in different ways to be more easily understood by different audiences, without watering it down or changing the meaning.

St. John Paul II, Ut Unum Sint

  1. Taking up an idea expressed by Pope John XXIII at the opening of the Council, the Decree on Ecumenism mentions the way of formulating doctrine as one of the elements of a continuing reform. Here it is not a question of altering the deposit of faith, changing the meaning of dogmas, eliminating essential words from them, accommodating truth to the preferences of a particular age, or suppressing certain articles of the Creed under the false pretext that they are no longer understood today. The unity willed by God can be attained only by the adherence of all to the content of revealed faith in its entirety. In matters of faith, compromise is in contradiction with God who is Truth. In the Body of Christ, “the way, and the truth, and the life”, who could consider legitimate a reconciliation brought about at the expense of the truth? The Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom Dignitatis Humanae attributes to human dignity the quest for truth, “especially in what concerns God and his Church”, and adherence to truth’s demands. A “being together” which betrayed the truth would thus be opposed both to the nature of God who offers his communion and to the need for truth found in the depths of every human heart.

  2. Even so, doctrine needs to be presented in a way that makes it understandable to those for whom God himself intends it. In my Encyclical Epistle Slavorum Apostoli, I recalled that this was the very reason why Saints Cyril and Methodius laboured to translate the ideas of the Bible and the concepts of Greek theology in the context of very different historical experiences and ways of thinking. They wanted the one word of God to be “made accessible in each civilization’s own forms of expression”. They recognized that they could not therefore “impose on the peoples assigned to their preaching either the undeniable superiority of the Greek language and Byzantine culture, or the customs and way of life of the more advanced society in which they had grown up”. Thus they put into practice that “perfect communion in love which preserves the Church from all forms of particularism, ethnic exclusivism or racial prejudice, and from any nationalistic arrogance”. In the same spirit, I did not hesitate to say to the Aboriginal Peoples of Australia: “You do not have to be divided into two parts … Jesus calls you to accept his words and his values into your own culture”. Because by its nature the content of faith is meant for all humanity, it must be translated into all cultures. Indeed, the element which determines communion in truth is the meaning of truth. The expression of truth can take different forms. The renewal of these forms of expression becomes necessary for the sake of transmitting to the people of today the Gospel message in its unchanging meaning.

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For example, I keep seeing surveys say that a huge percentage of Catholics don’t believe in the Real Presence.

On that basis everyone who has ever been baptized has to be regarded as a Catholic because baptism can be done by any baptised person and all baptisms trace back to the original baptism of the apostles. On your interpretation therefore all Christians are Catholic. Sorry I don’t buy that.

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In order to be Catholic you must be baptized then confirmed in the Catholic church. Complete those rites and you’re Catholic, no matter what your opinions or beliefs.

Now, being a good Catholic is a little more complicated, but nobody can say “He’s not a real Catholic” of someone who doesn’t fully agree with the Church.


So a baptised, confirmed Catholic who becomes a Moslem is still a Catholic? Sorry I don’t buy that.

According to the Church he’s still a Catholic - though a very poor one. If he repented and returned to the church he would not need to get baptized a second time because the first one would still have held.

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Oh good! So Orthodox are Catholics, and so are Protestants, Nestorians, Monophysites, Mormons…

Some of them weren’t baptized in the Catholic Church to begin with, some weren’t baptized at all.

My main point is that any “Traditional” Catholic who says that you aren’t a Catholic if you disagree with the church on anything is wrong.

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