To All Liberal Catholics

For the sake of informing others, I'd like to hear in this thread why you believe being a Liberal Catholic does not automatically put one in a bad standing with the Church and its social doctrine.

[quote="Flavius_Aetius, post:1, topic:255089"]
For the sake of informing others, I'd like to hear in this thread why you believe being a Liberal Catholic does not automatically put one in a bad standing with the Church and its social doctrine.

[/quote]

What constitutes a liberal Catholic? What do you think they have to believe to not be in good standing with the Church? Socialized Medicine? Big Government? Taxing the rich? Supporting social services? Labor Unions and collective bargaining for just wages?

Peace,

David

What does being a "liberal Catholic" mean to you? Which social justice teaches are you talking about? If you read the popes' (not just JPII but even earlier ones) encylicals on social justice issues, you will find that then church does not teach straight from any political party's platform. Each person needs to learn and form his conscience according to actual church teaching, not according to what a particular news outlet, political party, or other group of lay people say.

[quote="davidmlamb, post:2, topic:255089"]
What constitutes a liberal Catholic? What do you think they have to believe to not be in good standing with the Church? Socialized Medicine? Big Government? Taxing the rich? Supporting social services? Labor Unions and collective bargaining for just wages?

Peace,

David

[/quote]

Yes, it's amazing how much faith some folks on this forum put in labels like "liberal."

To the OP: how about naming some specific issues. Women's ordination, say?

Edwin

What constitutes a liberal Catholic? What do you think they have to believe to not be in good standing with the Church? Socialized Medicine? Big Government? Taxing the rich? Supporting social services? Labor Unions and collective bargaining for just wages?

Ok, for the sake of not putting myself in a box how about two examples.

1st example: A Catholic who is in fact at heart pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, ect. based upon their own personal view of the world, while still believing themselves to be good Catholics.

2nd example: A Catholic who votes for pro-choice, pro-gay, ect politicians based on the fact that they agree more with said politicians political stance more than any other chioce. They don't believe they are wrong for voting this manner and that they're still in good standing with the Church.

[quote="Flavius_Aetius, post:5, topic:255089"]
Ok, for the sake of not putting myself in a box how about two examples.

1st example: A Catholic who is in fact at heart pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, ect. based upon their own personal view of the world, while still believing themselves to be good Catholics.

2nd example: A Catholic who votes for pro-choice, pro-gay, ect politicians based on the fact that they agree more with said politicians political stance more than any other chioce. They don't believe they are wrong for voting this manner and that they're still in good standing with the Church.

[/quote]

1st example: I can not imagine someone like this, unless they seriously do not understand their faith!

2nd example: This is tricky. In the extreme case, refer to my commemt on the first example. In reality, it is not so clear cut. I see ( from my location), for example, the political party that is officially against abortion and gay marriage effectively doing nothing, thus effectively being pro choice etc by their actions. How do you vote then? More issues are present....

To: All Conservative Catholics

On the flip side, I would like to know how you could ever vote for a conservative politician who clearly would be going against the Church's social doctrine on issues like:
1. capital punishment
2. health care (remember, the Church teaches that this a a right)
3. the war in Iraq
4. labor unions
5. immigration
6. treatment vs. incarceration for drug addicts
7. taking care of the poor, etc.
My point is that if we are going to deny communion to John Kerry then we damn well ought to deny it to Rick Santorum as well. Better yet, let's give them both communion and try to get them both closer to what the Church teaches.....

[quote="FrIntervention, post:7, topic:255089"]
To: All Conservative Catholics

On the flip side, I would like to know how you could ever vote for a conservative politician who clearly would be going against the Church's social doctrine on issues like:
1. capital punishment
2. health care (remember, the Church teaches that this a a right)
3. the war in Iraq
4. labor unions
5. immigration
6. treatment vs. incarceration for drug addicts
7. taking care of the poor, etc.
My point is that if we are going to deny communion to John Kerry then we damn well ought to deny it to Rick Santorum as well. Better yet, let's give them both communion and try to get them both closer to what the Church teaches.....

[/quote]


Dear Observing Member,

While I largely agree with your post, boy are you going to catch Heqq BIG TIME on this board!!! Just be ready. I know from my own experience here that personal morality for many extreme conservatives begins and ends with the abortion. They generally refuse to acknowledge the difference between pro-choice and pro-abortion (a difference which is real and clear to logical thinking). And they'll blast you to pieces if you promote "socialist" ideas such as public neo-natal care for poor young mothers and their babies. The original post itself is clearly "loaded."

Good luck and God be with you my friend!

I can't speak for other Catholics who are liberal in the way you are defining it, but I can tell you about myself. I don't consider myself in good standing with the Church, but I feel that I'm right in being upset with people who want to get rid of me (from the threads I've read on this board, many people seem unwelcoming about this). I can't ever not be Catholic, because I was baptized Catholic. I can be a bad Catholic, but I can't be not Catholic until I completely renounce religion or convert to something else (which, I'm not very clear on the specifics of how baptism works in these cases, so I'm willing to listen to someone who has more knowledge on this). Right now, I'm personally at a place where I don't know exactly what to do. I go to Mass and listen, I observe Lent, but I don't know if it is fair to me or the Church to continue being Catholic without really knowing.

However, there are parts of the Church's social doctrine that I believe I am upholding with my views. (Though, yes, I am aware there are other parts I am not.)

[quote="crayons, post:9, topic:255089"]
I can't speak for other Catholics who are liberal in the way you are defining it, but I can tell you about myself. I don't consider myself in good standing with the Church, but I feel that I'm right in being upset with people who want to get rid of me (from the threads I've read on this board, many people seem unwelcoming about this). I can't ever not be Catholic, because I was baptized Catholic. I can be a bad Catholic, but I can't be not Catholic until I completely renounce religion or convert to something else (which, I'm not very clear on the specifics of how baptism works in these cases, so I'm willing to listen to someone who has more knowledge on this). Right now, I'm personally at a place where I don't know exactly what to do. I go to Mass and listen, I observe Lent, but I don't know if it is fair to me or the Church to continue being Catholic without really knowing.

However, there are parts of the Church's social doctrine that I believe I am upholding with my views. (Though, yes, I am aware there are other parts I am not.)

[/quote]

I would go further and claim that all baptized Christians are Catholics, even if we are bad Catholics:p

I don't know why you think of this in terms of "fairness." Don't let the worshipers of certitude on this forum persuade you that you can't doubt and be a Catholic. The Church is a hospital for sinners, remember.

At the same time, I encourage you to be open to the possibility that you may be wrong in some of your views that contradict Catholic teaching.

That is my stance on women's ordination, for instance, I don't find the arguments people bring against women's ordination to be at all convincing, but I recognize that I am quite likely to be wrong (whether because the arguments are stronger than I think, or perhaps more likely because there are stronger arguments out there).

Edwin

[quote="Contarini, post:10, topic:255089"]
I would go further and claim that all baptized Christians are Catholics, even if we are bad Catholics:p

I don't know why you think of this in terms of "fairness." Don't let the worshipers of certitude on this forum persuade you that you can't doubt and be a Catholic. The Church is a hospital for sinners, remember.

At the same time, I encourage you to be open to the possibility that you may be wrong in some of your views that contradict Catholic teaching.

That is my stance on women's ordination, for instance, I don't find the arguments people bring against women's ordination to be at all convincing, but I recognize that I am quite likely to be wrong (whether because the arguments are stronger than I think, or perhaps more likely because there are stronger arguments out there).

Edwin

[/quote]

haha
Well, that is just a personal thing of mine. Being overly concerned about how 'fair' it would be. But thinking about it, I understand what you're saying. It's good to remember that having doubts does not mean that one is a 'bad' Catholic or whatever, because asking questions is a good way to learn more about one's faith. That's what I was taught in religious education, anyway.

Yes, that's a good point about being open to the possibility of that.

[quote="FrIntervention, post:7, topic:255089"]
To: All Conservative Catholics

On the flip side, I would like to know how you could ever vote for a conservative politician who clearly would be going against the Church's social doctrine on issues like:
1. capital punishment
2. health care (remember, the Church teaches that this a a right)
3. the war in Iraq
4. labor unions
5. immigration
6. treatment vs. incarceration for drug addicts
7. taking care of the poor, etc.

[/quote]

Let me start out by saying that the Church transcends the labels liberal and conservative. The issues you mention are very much open up to debate. For instance, the Church accepts the death penalty in some circumstances (CCC, 2267). What do you mean health care is a right? Please define health care. The War in Iraq is not cut and dry either. For instance, what is the most prudent course considering we are already in Iraq? We have to remember that the Church believes in Just War (we can debate whether the Iraq war was just). Labor unions actually increase unemployment (and so do minimum wage laws; but I think unions are important and that individuals should have the right to join them). Regarding immigration, where does the Church teach individuals to break a country's laws (illegal immigration)? The treatment and incarceration of drug addicts is open to honest and informed debate. And we can argue about the best ways to take care of the poor.

I can respond just as easily to a list of criticisms of liberals. The point is that we should follow the Church when she has spoken definitively and avoid broad labels like liberal and conservative. Even individual issues are open to debate in most cases.

[quote="crayons, post:9, topic:255089"]
I feel that I'm right in being upset with people who want to get rid of me

[/quote]

Please stay

[quote="akasseb, post:12, topic:255089"]
Let me start out by saying that the Church transcends the labels liberal and conservative. The issues you mention are very much open up to debate. For instance, the Church accepts the death penalty in some circumstances (CCC, 2267). What do you mean health care is a right? Please define health care. The War in Iraq is not cut and dry either. For instance, what is the most prudent course considering we are already in Iraq? We have to remember that the Church believes in Just War (we can debate whether the Iraq war was just). Labor unions actually increase unemployment. Regarding immigration, where does the Church teach individuals to break a country's laws (illegal immigration)? The treatment and incarceration of drug addicts is open to honest and informed debate. And we can argue about the best ways to take care of the poor.

I can respond just as easily to a list of criticisms of liberals. The point is that we should follow the Church when she has spoken definitively and avoid broad labels like liberal and conservative. Even individual issues are open to debate in most cases.

[/quote]

This.

Issues such as the FINANCING of health care (not health care itself, I wish people would stop confusing the two), war, welfare, food stamps, and so on are all open to debate within the church. See, we get tied up in the lies of the media that says that conservatives don't care about the poor, or that liberals hate the rich. Both are absolute lies. BOTH sides want to help everyone and do what is best for the country. People just disagree on those means, which is why the church does not publicly support any party. We are allowed to seek the best ways to fulfill our christian duty to protect the innocent and feed/clothe the poor. All this vitriol about who-hates-who is just endless bickering and divisiveness that gets us nowhere and only breeds hate and division and ADDS to the problem.

This is why I will never vote for a pro-choice democrat however:

ALL issues are allowed to be open for debate as to the proper solution to the problem. The liberal or the conservative solutions to help everyone. There is only ONE issue that is not open to debate - abortion.

The church has made it totally and abundantly clear that abortion can never, ever, EVER be tolerated under any circumstance. Yet, despite this clear instruction, people are choosing to ignore this horrific crime perpetuated by the typically left leaning ideas by trying to convince themselves that they are seeking a greater good. This is illogical. Just call a spade a spade - you don't agree that abortion is more important that how YOU (and I am speaking of the generic "you" here, not any specific person!) feel that social programs should be run to help the poor.

The Catholic church puts emphasis on the following items when selecting a candidate for office:

  1. Abortion
  2. Euthanasia
  3. Embronic Stem Cell Research
  4. Gay Marriage

Personally, I wish there was a candidate that truly followed all the teachings of the church, but the bishops have given us the knowledge of what issues should carry the most weight.

Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican: "Catholics who support pro-abortion candidates participate in a grave evil. They must show a change of heart and be sacramentally reconciled or refrain from receiving Holy Communion."

"The inalienable right to life of every innocent human person outweighs other concerns where Catholics may use prudential judgment, such as how best to meet the needs of the poor or to increase access to health care for all. The right to life is the right through which all others flow," New York's bishops wrote.

We must be careful not to place our own conscience over that of which the church teaches. Our consciences can be in error. In countless times I know mine has been. This is the reason Christ left us his church, to help us form our conscience and to correct us when WE are in error.

We need to rely on the churches teaching for our decision making wherever the church has been clear. Church teaching should override our own personal beliefs. We live in a society that praises doing what we want how we want and believing what we want. This is not the teaching of the church. Living by our own wills will only lead us down a path to damnation. (I took that road for far too long)

In areas where the church has not spoken or leaves it up to the individual in those cases we are free to use our own conscience and understanding. In areas where we differ with the clear teachings of the church we must humble ourselves and realize that we are wrong and the church is right to use its authority over us.

One of the things I struggled with for years is truly turning my will over to God’s will. I’ve always wanted it the other way around. I think this is the reason many people justify voting for pro-choice candidates. They justify there vote by claiming they are voting in “Good Conscience”, however, they are refusing to listen to the correction of the bishops where their consceinces is our error.

Like I have said, I was dedicated to that road for far too long. Now I am working on following the path of Christ with the wisdom of his church. It would be lie to say that I don’t still choose my will atleast 90% of the time when it conflicts with the Holy Will of God, but I’m working on it.

Thanks be to God for his Holy Church who teaches us the truth so that we may see where we are in error. I pray for all those still working on surrendering their wills to God’s will and don’t want to see people being pushed out of the church because they haven’t reached that spot yet. Follow our bishops and pray for the Pope.

[quote="Andrew1980, post:17, topic:255089"]
We must be careful not to place our own conscience over that of which the church teaches.

[/quote]

As I understand Catholic teaching (and I recognize that this is very controversial right now in Catholic circles), it holds that you must follow your conscience, period. Even if it turns out to be in error, you are responsible to follow it until it is better formed. But you are also responsible to form it by listening to the teaching of the Church.

Our consciences can be in error. In countless times I know mine has been.

Right. But if you don't follow your conscience just because you know it might be in error, then you have lost your compass altogether. If you come to believe on totally non-conscience-related grounds that radical Islam is more convincing than Catholicism, then you might find yourself blowing up buildings full of innocent people. Or even if you stay Catholic, you might find yourself becoming an anti-Semitic sedevacantist who thinks that all non-Catholics and the vast majority of Catholics are going to hell. . . .

To stop listening to your conscience is always a bad idea.

Furthermore, a given statement from the Vatican might be in error too (at least as you understand it). It might not turn out to be "Church teaching" in the dogmatic sense, or you might be understanding it incorrectly.

This is the reason Christ left us his church, to help us form our conscience and to correct us when WE are in error.

Indeed. No dispute there. But it corrects us by helping us form our consciences and by guiding us on those things regarding which our consciences do not speak clearly.

One of the things I struggled with for years is truly turning my will over to God's will. I've always wanted it the other way around. I think this is the reason many people justify voting for pro-choice candidates. They justify there vote by claiming they are voting in "Good Conscience", however, they are refusing to listen to the correction of the bishops where their consceinces is our error.

Those relatively few individual bishops who have said that it is always wrong to vote for "pro-choice" candidates are not speaking for the Church as a whole. However, I would still expect good Catholics who are subject to those particular bishops to obey them unless their consciences absolutely dictate otherwise. And it's hard to see how one's conscience could ever dictate voting for a particular candidate. Perhaps if one thought that the only alternative was a truly evil candidate winning, but I think a conscience that said that would indeed be a badly formed conscience, because it would be a consequentialist conscience and consequentialism really is the path to damnation.

If the bishops were to say that people must vote for a particular candidate because of his or her correct stance on abortion, that would violate a lot of people's consciences. But it's hard to imagine a contemporary Catholic bishop (at least in the U.S.) doing such a thing. Certainly none has that I know of. One can always abstain from voting.

Like I have said, I was dedicated to that road for far too long. Now I am working on following the path of Christ with the wisdom of his church.

I get where you are coming from, but surrendering your will does not mean surrendering your conscience. Surrender your conscience and you have nothing left. If you follow the teaching of the Church for any reason other than because your conscience tells you to, you are going down a very dark road.

Edwin

[quote="Andrew1980, post:15, topic:255089"]
The Catholic church puts emphasis on the following items when selecting a candidate for office:

  1. Abortion
  2. Euthanasia
  3. Embronic Stem Cell Research
  4. Gay Marriage

[/quote]

I am aware that Catholic Answers says that these are the only issues that really matter. That is not, however, what the Catholic bishops of the United States say in the voters' guide they put out. Catholic Answers sets itself against the bishops by putting out a rival voting guide purporting to be more "seriously Catholic."

Edwin

Saint Paul exhorts us not to be conformed to the mentality of this world, but to be transformed by the renewal of our mind (cf. Rom 12:2). It is the "heart" converted to the Lord and to the love of what is good which is really the source of true judgments of conscience. Indeed, in order to "prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Rom 12:2), knowledge of God's law in general is certainly necessary, but it is not sufficient: what is essential is a sort of "connaturality" between man and the true good. Such a connaturality is rooted in and develops through the virtuous attitudes of the individual himself: prudence and the other cardinal virtues, and even before these the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. This is the meaning of Jesus' saying: "He who does what is true comes to the light" (Jn 3:21).

Christians have a great help for the formation of conscience in the Church and her Magisterium. As the Council affirms: "In forming their consciences the Christian faithful must give careful attention to the sacred and certain teaching of the Church. For the Catholic Church is by the will of Christ the teacher of truth. Her charge is to announce and teach authentically that truth which is Christ, and at the same time with her authority to declare and confirm the principles of the moral order which derive from human nature itself ". It follows that the authority of the Church, when she pronounces on moral questions, in no way undermines the freedom of conscience of Christians. This is so not only because freedom of conscience is never freedom "from" the truth but always and only freedom "in" the truth, but also because the Magisterium does not bring to the Christian conscience truths which are extraneous to it; rather it brings to light the truths which it ought already to possess, developing them from the starting point of the primordial act of faith. The Church puts herself always and only at the service of conscience, helping it to avoid being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine proposed by human deceit (cf. Eph 4:14), and helping it not to swerve from the truth about the good of man, but rather, especially in more difficult questions, to attain the truth with certainty and to abide in it.

This words it better than what I was trying to say.

Also see below so as not to confuse what the church teaches on priorities for voting. I can't really stated it clearly than the way they state it.

Pope John Paul II, and the Bishops who teach in union with the Pope, speak loud and clear what the church's priorities are for voting as a Catholic. They teach that one may not consider other human conditions without giving first predominant consideration of the five most important conditions of the right to life: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, cloning and same-sex marriage.

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