Exactly how does one determine who is “serious” about their faith? How is this measured? What makes you serious about your faith, and me “not serious?”
Many of the “traditional” Catholics I know do not consider many of the “modern” Catholics “serious” about their Catholicism. They base their assessment on externals–the “modern” Catholic attends an OF Mass, receives Holy Communion standing and in the hand, does not use Latin in their prayers, does not have many children, etc.
I know that among the “modern” Catholics that I associate with, it is easy to believe that other “modern” Catholics aren’t “serious”, again, because of externals that we can see. E.g.,they don’t attend parish Bible studies, they don’t get involved with any parish ministries, they never make it to the “Life Chain” events, they don’t send their children to the parish schools, they don’t have the “Religious Liberty” bumper stickers on their cars, etc.
This is not right. We shouldn’t base our assessment of seriousness of faith on externals. This is what the Evangelical Protestants do–assess the faith of others by a set of unwritten “rules.” Catholics don’t judge people by their “works,” do we?
Our faith is a work in progress, and at any given moment in our lives, our faith will be less than it will be at a later moment in our lives. My faith is more serious now than it was last week, last year, last decade, and God willing, if I live another ten years, my faith will be more serious then.
Two young parents who have just had a baby (and are dead tired, emotional, and probably broke, as well as exhausted trying to please everyone in the family with the Perfect Baptism Party) present their child for baptism. They don’t have a particularly stellar record of visible Catholicism in their parish, but they tell the priest that they plan to raise the child in the Catholic faith.
How can someone say that they are “not serious?” Of course they’re not as serious as some Catholics, but they are more serious than other Catholics. What is the “cut-off?”
Seriousness about our faith is something that grows through the years. Many young parents start out foolish and silly and even a bit worldly, but having a baby really does change everything!
A child should not be refused the saving Sacrament of baptism because the parents are young and immature in their faith.