Liberal Catholic, Cafeteria Catholic, Conservative Catholic and the list goes on…I wonder to myself, is this acceptable to Christ? Does he really think this way too? I find that all this does is create division and prejudice. Why not just accept people where they are at in their faith and spiritual development. All this thinking does is stunt growth. Faith is a process and never static. More of a comment than a question.
In a way I agree. The problem is we humans tend to try and label everything. It’s also important that we don’t see telling people what it means to be Catholic is a way of labeling. I try not to use terms like Cafeteria Catholic but it is an apropos description of what some people think the faith is. That it’s something that happens only once in a while and doesn’t affect the rest of their life. Then you have the term I hear once in a while, Chreasters. (Those who only show up on Christmas and Easter). It’s semi offensive, but it’s very accurate in some cases.
For me, if I am ever labeled as one of those… it will remind me that I’m not living up to being Catholic. Yet, none of us ever live up to that… but we are supposed to try you know?
You have somewhat of a point. There is really no such thing as conservative Catholic, liberal Catholic, etc.
We are Catholic only to the degree we accept the teachings of the Catholic Church, i.e., the fullness of Divine Revelation, which is the Truth of Christ. Truth does not lend itself to conservative or liberal. Those terms were actually political terms created in France a couple centuries ago. They really do not apply to the faith. We either believe all that Christ taught, or we do not. It’s a binary situation.
To give an example, say we were talking about math, rather than religion. And I made the statement, “You know, I really love math! I love everything about math. Subtraction, Division, Multiplication… Well, maybe except Addition. I really can’t accept Addition. You can accept Addition, if you like, if that’s what you feel is right for you. But I just can’t.” What would I have with regard to math? Nothing! Why? Because Addition is an integral part of math. Without it, I can do none of the other functions of math!
The same is true for the Catholic faith. We either accept it all, or we accept none of it. Why? Because the Catholic faith teaches the Truth. And, strictly speaking, the Truth is not an opinion or a viewpoint. It is a Person! Jesus Christ, Who said, 'I am the way, the Truth, and the life…!" And Jesus cannot be divided or separated. He is God, and has a strict unity of being!
I think it’s almost human nature to want to categorize and label things. Or maybe it’s just our current culture here in the U.S. :o
I understand the tendency to want to use words to describe what we see and the experiences we have. But it can definitely become problematic when we start taking one thing a person says and using that to apply a label to them which we think indicates exactly where they stand on virtually everything.
For example, I know “liberal” Catholics who believe in the real Presence and I know “conservative” Catholics who are against capital punishment and in favor of gun control. Not everyone fits in the same boxes. When we start to assume that they do, we encounter a lot of talking past each other.
Sometimes that even happens here on CAF.
the labels arise out of a disunity of belief among the body.
if we all believed the same thing, there wouldn’t be an issue.
I for one think labels are important. The “Lose the Label” idea has a point, but it does no good because it is devoid of any critical thinking. I am fine with people attaching such words to others; it’s only harmful when labels hinder potential communication and possible friendship. When I think Cafeteria Christians I know they pick and choose; when I think of Conservative Christians I think of someone who is socially conservative; Liberal Catholics could mean they are socially liberal etc. It’s the idea of knowing what you’re getting into.
Pope Benedict XVI stated that we should stop this labelling as we are all Catholics.
In fact there are only two types of Catholics - those in a state of grace and those in a state of mortal sin.
I think that we “label” things, people etc. in attempt to better understand and define them. Yes, labeling can be detrimental and divisive, but it can be useful as well.
I think there is a difference in saying, for example, that someone is a liberal or conservative Catholic and saying that they view the faith through a liberal or conservative lens. One says this is what they “are”, and the other says this is how they think.
I like Scoobyshme’s math example.
Labels tend to be misleading. Individuals are much more complex and should not be boxed in by hasty labeling.
I start by knowing that we ALL are imperfect. There are things I know and do not know. And what I know I may not understand fully. And what I know may not be what I want to accept. And I may want to accept but find acceptance a great struggle.
What is important is that I recognize that I must make continual efforts to get to know, understand, and accept, and follow God’s teachings as best I can.
I should not label myself or try to label others.
Another math example: Would a liberal say 2 +2 = 5 because there is more while a conservative maintains that 2 + 2 = 3 because that is all we need?
Such efforts take us away from the Truth.
I’m interested in why you think that not using labels is “devoid of critical thinking”. I ordinarily think of it the other way around. I’ve always viewed using labels (i.e. sterotypes) as the intellectual shortcut. Why bother getting to know someone as a person or listening to their positions when you can listen to them for 30 seconds, slap a label on them, and call it a day?
I’m not trying to be flip. I’m genuinely interested in why you think that.