Question about Catholics

So, I have a question about Catholics. I have an acquaintance, that one day I hope to call friend, who is catholic. She is one of the most wonderful individuals I’ve met in my life. She’s very intelligent, thoughtful, kind, caring and unselfish.

I’v had discussions with her about the catholic faith as I’ve been looking in that direction. Don’t know where I’ll wind up but I do feel for some reason to be pulled in that direction for a couple of years and I’ve tried to learn as much as I could first. I ask her about her catholic faith and she tells me this:

“ I was raised in the church and its teachings, but like most catholics I go do what I want.”

Ok, I’m thinking I’ve heard this from other catholics as well. Also I know she has excellent morals and ethics from associating with her. But to me it shows disdain and contempt. I’m left thinking what’s the point? She does attend Mass every week, but not anything else.

My question is how prevalent is this attitude? Thanks.

That is very sad.

Unfortunately, that attitude is very widespread among modern Christians, both Protestant and Catholic. Many consider themselves Christian, but don’t let it interfere with their personal desires.

That is the attitude amongst most Catholics today. There would choose their political party or their own personal beliefs over God. :frowning:

I agree, this is a modern heresy of relativism, modernism, whatever your -ism, and it is not confined to Catholics.

George Weigel’s book Evangelical Catholicism uses the term “Baptized Pagans.” It’s a good book that can help you understand the state of the American Church.

If you continue to explore Catholicism, you will meet many people who have the view of your friend. The US is still trying to get over the effects of the 1960s sexual revolution. Rejection of authority of all kind in the last two generations hurt the Church, but like others have said, it hurt Protestants too. Traditionally, the faith was primarily spread through the home, but many in the last two generations didn’t receive instruction in the Catholic faith from their parents. So, there is much, much confusion.

Weigel notes in his book that we are in the process of a transition from “cultural Catholicism” to “evangelical Catholicism.” As there is no cultural stigma for not going to church anymore (really, now it is the opposite!), in the future the only people who will be there are those that truly believe in the faith. He sees a smaller but more faithful church coming. Younger Priests are also really, really on fire to teach the complete truth of the faith, including morality. That will be very helpful for the Church.

Furthermore, the effects of the sexual revolution have been individually devastating to many. God is always calling people home to him. Many will give the Church and her teachings a second look once they’ve experienced the exhaustion of living a life of sin. You’ll meet a lot of people on this forum that call themselves “reverts,” who fit this description.

Find a parish with a good orthodox priest and a good RCIA. I think you will be pleased to find that despite the problems the Church faces in the US, there are many, many faithful Catholics, who have a strong belief in the Church and her teachings. Often you will see these Catholics every morning, rain or shine, at daily mass :).

The Catholic Church isn’t like the modern mega-Protestant churches whose only attendants are those who chose to leave whatever faith they had and go to church there. So, there may be less “energy” in a Catholic Parish, less activities, etc. But, the Catholic Church contains the entire truth and the fullness of the Christian faith. Our goal is the make it to heaven, and we want to be on the right ship to get us there!

There have always been problems in the Church, just as Christ said there would be (see Matthew 13:24-30). In fact, at times the problems have been much worse, just look at the lives of the Saints through out history who have experienced great persecution for attempts to reform their religious orders or the Church.

Don’t let the behavior of others influence your decision about the Church or how you will live out your faith if you decide to join the Church. Remember, when you die and meet God, they won’t be there at your judgment and you won’t be there at theirs!

Good luck in your journey. God bless.

TOO prevalent, I’m afraid.


St Augustine once said:

"Love God and do whatever you please"

There is no disdain and contempt if you understand the meaning. Augustine continued:

“…for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.”

Augustine seems to think that if we love God we aren’t going to offend him and so don’t need any “rules”. Jesus seems to agree with him when He said:

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

There are many good Catholics that DO care about their relationship with God, his Son, and the Mother of the Church. Focus on those people, not the ones who sit on the sidelines. At work I don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, if they are getting a better shake than me etc.
Don’t think of yourself as better, just don’t think of them at all. Some will come around, some won’t. Things do drag me down sometimes, but usually my own baggage, not others. Misery does love company, you don’t have to get on that train unless you choose to be on it.

I believe that this attitude is a by-product of misinterpretation of Vatican II as well as the secular world of relativism. I remember hearing over and over: “We don’t have to worry about church on Sundays and all that stuff because God knows what is in our hearts.” I began to use that idea to omit many things true and Catholic in my life. It was the Grace of God and my meeting a very devout Catholic that woke me up and brought me back to conscience and to the truth.

I realize that there might have been some extremes and rigidity in the Church past but the looseness and relativism that I have more recently encountered amongst “smorgasbord” Christian Catholics has been very annoying and troubling. What makes this a Catholic Church and not a ______ Church if these beliefs are unimportant? What is truth?

Truth is one and there are Ten Commandments, not Ten Suggestions.

One of the challenges all Churches face is the member who shows up regularly but who has never really had a conversion experience or made a commitment to live according to what that Church teaches.

This problem seems to be a bit more common among Catholics than Protestants for cultural reasons perhaps but also because church attendance is optional for Protestants. Those who don’t really want to go, don’t go. Catholics who don’t really want to go, show up anyway out of obligation because they’ve been taught (correctly) that missing mass is a sin. They are usually the first ones out to the parking lot without receiving the Eucharist.

So, some Catholics have been baptized but never evangelized (they are not committed disciples of Christ). Others have been poorly catechized (they may be committed to Jesus but have not been taught the faith well). The former are especially resistant to change because they aren’t really committed while the latter are generally more receptive to learning good doctrine.

These are the challenges of being such a big Church.

My question is, what does she mean by that? What does “I go do what I want” mean? Is she taking a more protestant stance of believing that God is the direct authority in her life and she reads the Bible, prays, studies, etc… while shying away from RCC authority, or does she mean that she rejects Christian morality in general?

You say she has excellent morals, I guess it is a question of why she does what she does… If she turns to the Bible and teachings on her own you’re dealing with something different than if she believes in something like Humanism that basically says that humanity defines itself and its own morals.

It is important to keep in mind that this attitude is not unique to Catholics, as there
are Protestants who share this mind set as well. What’s going on with this friend of
yours is a common case of Post-Modernism, a cultural infection that has been lock-
ing horns with Christianity for quite a while now.

Something is really wrong with your friend. I can assure you that she is by no means
a good representative figure for the entire body of Roman Catholics around the world.

I see you live in Northwest Arkansas, which is in America, so that needs to be
brought into consideration. Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, etc etc etc
are all under the threat of this cultural fluctuation from being guided by religion
to being guided by our own wills and desires.


Not saying a free society is a bad thing, but
what people are doing within it is rather bad.

Back to you friend:
I feel that she needs to be born again.

Although this is a valuable question for discerning an answer to the problems we face as a community and society, it is not valuable to your faith journey. As Jesus elaborated in many parables, the Church will be constantly attacked by the enemy resulting in some weeds and some bad fish. Our job is to pray for the Church, the world and live the light of Christ as a testimony. So don’t worry, Jesus already won the fight and he already reigns!! :slight_smile:

On the other hand, if it were not for such people, the church would be a small sect with far, far less than the 1,2 billion members it has now.

It might be more common than we think, in the Divine Mercy Devotion Jesus is repulsed by the Lukewarm…

APOCALYPSE 3:15 I know thy works: that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot:

16 But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.

Sounds like a cradle Catholic.

I :smiley: you, but I’m going to call you out here. Catholics absolutely believe that God is the direct authority of our lives. Or (as my husband the evangelical says) we wouldn’t have so many nonsensical ideas.

(Bold is mine)

How 'bout I rephrase the point :stuck_out_tongue: Is she denying the authority of the Pope, RCC, etc… and moving more toward a protestant perspective (while still believing in God, Jesus, etc…) or is she denying the Truth of God and His Son completely, and moving more toward Humanism?

The reason I ask that is it seems if she is claiming a morality then that view of morality is surely lining up with something for her… and it would seem to be better for her and the perhaps the friendship and further discussions if she isn’t denying God outright.

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