Should cafeteria Catholics leave the Church?


I know that our goal, as Catholics, is to be in one accord with the Church and her teachings. Is it better to be a cafeteria Catholic and just agree on some things and disagree on others, or should you just leave the Church since you’re not in total agreement with what the Church teaches?


It is best for those in disagreement with what the Church teaches to study the issues to try and better understand why the Church teaches as it does. If they can, in conscience, do so, those with disagreements might say, “I can’t understand why the Church teaches this, but I will trust that the Church is wiser than I and accept this teaching to be true.” As St. Ambrose liked to say, understanding often follows faith.

If a person cannot, in conscience, accept what the Church teaches to be true, and the disagreement with the Church is on a matter of doctrine or morals (as opposed to, say, a disciplinary measure with which disagreement is permitted), then that person should take responsibility for his beliefs and follow them in the manner to which they should call him. If those beliefs are irreconcilable with the Catholic faith, then, yes, that person may have to consider whether or not he should leave the Church. Simply picking and choosing what he will believe and what he will reject is, in itself, an attitude contrary to the Catholic faith.

Recommended reading:

The Long Way Home by Karl Keating

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