What does it mean to be a "Faithful" Catholic?


#1

What does it mean to be a “Faithful” Catholic?

Is it agreeing with 80% of what the Church teaches? 90%? 99%?

When the Church calls us the Faithful, what does she mean? What does she expect?

Peace


#2

[quote=dennisknapp]What does it mean to be a “Faithful” Catholic?

Is it agreeing with 80% of what the Church teaches? 90%? 99%?

When the Church calls us the Faithful, what does she mean? What does she expect?

Peace
[/quote]

I think it means to explicitly agree with all the teachings you know, and implicitly with all the teachings you don’t know. I think the Church expects us to be in the position of docile recipient of truth, as if she was to scatter the seeds of truth in the good soil of our hearts. We are to use our brains to understand and apply the truth, not to draw arbitrary lines between the truths we accept and those we don’t.


#3

Here is the section in canon law that details the requirements, except that it contains the old canon 750. Here is a link to the new canon 750. In a nutshell:

Canon 750 §1 covers the (infallible) deposit of faith.
Canon 750 §2 covers those (infallible) truths proximate to the deposit of faith.
Canon 752 covers the non-infallible teachings of the universal Church.
Canon 753 covers the non-infallible teachings of particular bishops.


#4

[quote=Catholic2003]Here is the section in canon law that details the requirements, except that it contains the old canon 750. Here is a link to the new canon 750. In a nutshell:

Canon 750 §1 covers the (infallible) deposit of faith.
Canon 750 §2 covers those (infallible) truths proximate to the deposit of faith.
Canon 752 covers the non-infallible teachings of the universal Church.
Canon 753 covers the non-infallible teachings of particular bishops.
[/quote]

Thanks, so what is our state if we do not agree with these canons?

Peace


#5

[quote=dennisknapp]Thanks, so what is our state if we do not agree with these canons?

Peace
[/quote]

Someone daily praying Lord I believe, help my unbelief…


#6

[quote=dennisknapp]Thanks, so what is our state if we do not agree with these canons?
[/quote]

Canon 751 defines heresy as “the obstinate denial or doubt, after baptism, of a truth which must be believed by divine and catholic faith”, that is, of a truth contained in the deposit of faith covered by canon 750 §1.

Canon 1364 defines the penalty for heresy, that penalty being automatic latae sententiae excommunication.

Canon 1371 1° (as updated by Ad Tuendam Fidem) addresses the obstinate rejection of teachings covered by canon 750 §2 and canon 752, calling for an unspecified “just penalty” to be imposed by Church authorities.

And it appears to me that canon law just lets obstinate rejection of canon 753 teachings slide. (Which is good for the Republicans here who disagree with the Minnesota bishops’ teaching about the immorality of cutting needed social services to the poor in order to lower taxes.)


#7

…to start…
http://gemini.tntech.edu/~dswart/10commandments.gif

…then, don’t get discouraged if you should fail from time to time, Jesus tells us reconcilliation is a big part of it… Peace:thumbsup:


#8

[quote=John_Henry]I think it means to explicitly agree with all the teachings you know, and implicitly with all the teachings you don’t know. I think the Church expects us to be in the position of docile recipient of truth, as if she was to scatter the seeds of truth in the good soil of our hearts. We are to use our brains to understand and apply the truth, not to draw arbitrary lines between the truths we accept and those we don’t.
[/quote]

I agree here (and with all the posts) - I think a lot of it has to do with giving the Church the benefit of doubt when we don’t agree with Her teachings, trusting in God’s providence to do what He said He would do, lead us all into truth.


#9

[quote=space ghost]…to start…
http://gemini.tntech.edu/~dswart/10commandments.gif

…then, don’t get discouraged if you should fail from time to time, Jesus tells us reconcilliation is a big part of it… Peace:thumbsup:
[/quote]

Hey–where’d ya get such a beautiful Ten Commandments?

I think being a good “faithful Catholic” means doing and believing in your heart everything! Partaking of the Eucharist, especially at least minimum weekly, praying the Rosary, praying definately daily to our Lord, having our quiet time with God, supporting our parishes, teaching the faith to our children, and above all else, loving the Lord our God will ALL our heart, soul and mind.

Blessings~~


#10

Y’know thats not how we number the 10 commandments, right?

The Church numbers it thusly:

I. Thou shalt not have other gods besides Me
II. Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain
III. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s day
IV. Honor thy father and thy mother
V. Thou shalt not murder
VI. Thou shalt not commit adultery
VII. Thou shalt not steal
VIII. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor
IX. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife
X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods


#11

Follow the two great commandments of Jesus, to the best of your ability.


#12

[quote=AlanFromWichita]Follow the two great commandments of Jesus, to the best of your ability.
[/quote]

Certainly this is the goal, but does being the Faithful mean more than this? What about faithfulness in regards to belief?

Peace


#13

[quote=dennisknapp]Certainly this is the goal, but does being the Faithful mean more than this? What about faithfulness in regards to belief?
[/quote]

No, I think that those two sum up everything. Of course, with a sufficiently loose definition, they could encompass everything.

As far as belief, I think you have to believe in certain basics such as the Jesus came and died and rose for us. Unlike many apologists, I don’t place a whole lot of value on having all the correct intellectual answers.

I have always been a very technical person, and have placed a lot of value on knowing, intellectually, what the right answers are. I have a MS in electrical engineering and worked doing research and other work for Bell Labs. I worked at Boeing building things that send the computer and electrical signals to drop bombs out of airplanes.

There are scores of factory workers that crank out product everyday and who know their job inside and out. They did not know mine. They had wonderful suggestions for how I did my job, though, because they had lots of experience building things that engineers hand them to build.

Just because these people did not know the technical design and operation of a unit, doesn’t mean they aren’t necessary and valuable toward the production of the product. Not only did I not look down on them but I revered their hands-on experience and their insight in helping me design the equipment so that it is produceable and maintainable the first time around.

Without engineering, their equipment would not have worked. Without production, our engineering would never turn into product.

Every person has his own part. I think it is unnecessary for anybody but apologists and other church leaders to actually know all the details of all this stuff. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, as it were, to know the basic concept of loving v unloving.

I can’t see Christ going around giving His followers a checklist of dogma that they must intellectually assent to in order to be effective followers. He did say to do whatever the Pharisees tell you, so there might be a point to be made there.

I think a church that would insist not only that you follow Christ’s great commandments, but that you must know and abide by a huge set of rules and regulations as well in order to be in good graces, is misguided. Many Catholics literally do not have the brain power to comprehend some of these subtle distinctions, and others honestly try but find their conflicts never get adequately resolved. They can still be great stewards, and do much of the work of the Church.

I like the song “they will know we are Christians by our love,” but I don’t expect to hear a song any time soon that goes, “they will know we are Christians by our theological knowledge.”

Face it, when teaching College Algebra, I often wondered why art majors, who would never take another math class, had to learn the asymptotes of an ellipse. It was my job to teach them that and test them on it, but I could never see any value to their having that information or even to have once gone through it. Luckily last time I taught it, that section was no longer required. Nothing against asymptotes of a hyperbola, and personally I find them fascinating and I wish everybody thought so. They don’t, though.

Here’s another one; synthetic division. I never used synthetic division from the time I had it in high school math until my senior year of college where we were designing radio filters and other networks, at which time we had to be retaught because we had forgotten it. At least when I taught synthetic division (along with long division of polynomials) I knew they mattered to somebody, somewhere, even if not to anybody in this class.

In much the same way, I think there are very few people who actually need to know all the Church teachings on esoteric details such as the details of the Assumption of Mary, papal infallibility, scores of guidelines on culpability for sins and all that. Arguing about this stuff makes it seem like Catholicism is an intellectual exercise. To apologists, maybe it is.

Which reminds me. Real Algebra Teachers like to try to convince their students that they have to learn all this because it applies to the real world. Balderdash. Mathematics applies to so much more than the “real world” that this is not even capturing a glimpse of its beauty. What those teachers really think, but never occurs to them to say, is that they personally love this stuff and that’s why they got good at it.

Not everybody feels that way, though, and that’s what many Real Algebra Teachers just can’t get. A person who doesn’t just naturally thrill at learning all the complex roots of a polynomial equation looks to them like a child who does not want an ice cream cone. It just doesn’t compute. So it seems with apologists, except now I’m in the class instead of at the head of it, looking from the other direction.

Alan


#14

Alan,
You make some very good points. I think ultimately how well you follow the two great commandments of Jesus will be the largest factor in your salvation. I feel you’ve just described the tenants of my faith for the beginning of my life…

But, (you knew that was coming, eh?) when we don’t understand what all the Church teaches and why it teaches it, we are missing out on some of the beauty of our faith. If you love someone, don’t you want to know everything about them? I feel that way with God! I’ve recently come to love God with all my heart (and please, I’m not implying that you don’t, Alan), and with that love has come a burning desire to know everything about Christ and the beautiful Church He gave us!

I know I risk mis-quoting here, but didn’t St. Jerome say, “To know Scripture, is to know God”? If you look through the history of our wonderful Faith, the people that have really become role-models for the Church our the ones that have spent hours a day, studying the Bible and the Church teachings, contemplating the Eucharist, etc. (I could go on and on).

Another danger we risk is that we lose the chance to share our faith with others who have misconceptions about the Church. The attitude that, “I love my Faith, because I know it’s the true Faith”, just doesn’t cut it with someone who is equally passionate in their Faith. What happens to our children, if we don’t teach them all the tenants of our Church? When they move out of the house, how many of them quit going to church or leave for another faith, one that’s easier to handle. You know, “Just accept Jesus as your savior, and you’re guaranteed a slot in heaven”!

It’s simple. Our Church is under attack! You see it everyday. The Catholic Church is the most fertile soil for people looking for converts, AND IT’S OUR OWN FAULT! I love my Church, and it breaks my heart everytime I talk to a childhood friend that I knew back in our CYO days, and they tell me how they’ve gone to another faith.

So what do I do? I study my Church. I learn how beautiful our Church Teachings are, and I learn to love God more Wholly. And I can’t wait to share this with the people around me. I’ve got a friend from another church that says, he’s not used to a Catholic who can actually defend his faith, and I thank him.

Take care, and thanks for letting me ramble.

Until then, I’m NotWorthy.


#15

I’m with you, and that’s one of the reasons I’m on this forum. I am a seeker of intellectual knowledge, even though I never was properly taught in Catholic school. My kids are, and I talk to them about technical issues of faith on a near-daily basis.

Some people aren’t that way, though. As an engineer, I’ve always loved taking things apart to see how they work. Some people love their car, but don’t care to know anything more than how to put gas in it and drive it, preferring to leave the rest to experts.

I am a bit sensitized, perhaps, because at my first job out of college I found myself very unwelcome in the production shop, until the workers got to know me. Apparently they are used to engineers who think they are smarter than the shop people and don’t know how to have a casual conversation with them, much less heed their advice. When I asked around as to why I was being treated with hostility (I was socially very naive) our secretary said “it’s because your badge has 3-7000 on it, so they’re treating you like an engineer.”

Since then, I have worked very hard in all my jobs to bring people together so they can work in harmony. For you and I, to know God is to want to know Him intellectually. What that means for other people is an individual decision. We all have our own areas of expertise and interest.

I know I risk mis-quoting here, but didn’t St. Jerome say, “To know Scripture, is to know God”? If you look through the history of our wonderful Faith, the people that have really become role-models for the Church our the ones that have spent hours a day, studying the Bible and the Church teachings, contemplating the Eucharist, etc. (I could go on and on).

That is not surprising. People who really dig in and study it are the ones who come up with ways to contribute that can be widely read about. The people who quietly go about going to Mass, doing stewardship, feeding the hungry, and doing other good works out of a heart of love, but do not know a bunch of technical stuff, are largely forgotten because they don’t write books or do things that are seen by many…

Another danger we risk is that we lose the chance to share our faith with others who have misconceptions about the Church. The attitude that, “I love my Faith, because I know it’s the true Faith”, just doesn’t cut it with someone who is equally passionate in their Faith. What happens to our children, if we don’t teach them all the tenants of our Church? When they move out of the house, how many of them quit going to church or leave for another faith, one that’s easier to handle. You know, “Just accept Jesus as your savior, and you’re guaranteed a slot in heaven”!

You are right that that attitude is not enough. Not everyone, though, is called to be an apologist in that they intellectually know how to defend their faith. Back to industry analogy, the person working the assembly line is just as critical as the boss, but that person may have no idea why they use a particular cleaning chemical or why they do step A before step B in a particular assembly. If someone comes in and thinks they are doing it all wrong, welcome them as a guest and take them to your leader.

A few weeks ago my son who just graduates from Catholic high school, went on a trip with other students and Father Weldon, the school spiritual director, to D.C. for a pro-life rally. Along the way, he got to really like Father Weldon and confided that he hangs around atheist friends. Anyway he told Fr. that he was trying to convince his friend that the whole concept of the “big bang” is just as much a “religion” as the story of creation. At Father’s request, Chris invited his friend to go to dinner with himself and Father; I guess they talked a couple hours and had a great time.

That’s one thing you can do when people say things that are stupid and you don’t know the answers. You introduce them to somebody who can answer them. Again, for myself, I like to Word up. I have a 17-hour mp3 file of the New Testament I often like to just leave playing around the clock as a background. I defend those who don’t have the same drive to study their faith, though, as just as valid and necessary as anyone else.
(continued)


#16

(continued)

It’s simple. Our Church is under attack! You see it everyday. The Catholic Church is the most fertile soil for people looking for converts, AND IT’S OUR OWN FAULT! I love my Church, and it breaks my heart everytime I talk to a childhood friend that I knew back in our CYO days, and they tell me how they’ve gone to another faith.

Do you know why they left the faith? I suspect some are lured by Protestants who say they know better than us. I suspect more leave because of social or personal issues they incurred involving other parishioners, the priest, and/or lay church officials.

Personally I think the infighting in the church that takes place for any number of reasons, including some of us thinking we’re “more Catholic” than others, poses more of a threat to the Church than anything that goes on outside the Church, including abortion. I have been in church leadership, and have watched this take place and listened to many tales of woe from people who felt they have been treated marginally by other Catholics. That is why I seem to be on a crusade for people to get off their high horses or their pedestals or whatever and get a little love in their heart.

I believe one can know all of scripture and all of Catholic teachings, but if they have not love, they are nothing. I believe that a person who has true love for others regardless of their beliefs, attitude, or state in life, can be a wonderful witness for the Catholic Church regardless of their theological knowledge level.

Look at Mother Theresa. She is considered universally to be a great sign of faith from the Catholic Church, and frankly I’ve never even heard any of her teachings on religion except short quotations. If she did all that good work without knowing a great deal of theology it would not lessen her love.

So what do I do? I study my Church. I learn how beautiful our Church Teachings are, and I learn to love God more Wholly. And I can’t wait to share this with the people around me. I’ve got a friend from another church that says, he’s not used to a Catholic who can actually defend his faith, and I thank him.

I get that too from Protestants all the time. They say they find it unusual for a Catholic to be so excited about Jesus and actually have some idea what He said. I think we are very much on the same wavelength.

Take care, and thanks for letting me ramble.

Until then, I’m NotWorthy.

Thanks, too. BTW I love your handle. :slight_smile:

Alan


#17

[quote=AlanFromWichita]I think a church that would insist not only that you follow Christ’s great commandments, but that you must know and abide by a huge set of rules and regulations as well in order to be in good graces, is misguided.
[/quote]

I agree, Alan. I think it’s fine for the Church to specify in great detail what its doctrines and laws are, but I don’t think it is productive to threaten people who may not be in lock-step with every detail. It is entirely possible for someone to love the Lord with all his/her heart and have honest intellectual issues with a doctrine. Some would say it is better to deny our conscience and believe anyway. They would say we cannot trust our conscience because it may not be fully formed. But to dismiss our conscience entirely is unscriptural. We are obligated to live our faith honestly.

We need to give the Holy Spirit a little more credit in His ability to work with individuals in the specific place they are at in their faith. His guidance and discipline, which can sometimes be quite sharp and directed, is much more effective than external threats. That is because His discipline, no matter how uncomfortable, is always steeped in love.

I think there is a reason that God has permitted His Church to be split and that reunification with the Orthodox and Protestants has remained elusive. I believe it is because the Church is making some errors in pastoral practice. As long as the Church continues to procure obedience to disciplines through threats of mortal sin – disciplines that only apply to Catholics, and therefore are not violations that are inherently and eternally sinful–the body of believers will remain estranged.

One thing I really appreciate about the Orthodox is they give the Holy Spirit a lot more credit. He manages to lovingly prompt His Orthodox children to faithfulness and obedience without the many rules that the Catholic Church has. If the Catholic Church followed the Orthodox example, I am confident we would see Protestants coming home in droves.

To answer Dennis’ original question, I think the Church regards the Catholic faithful as those who agree and submit to Church teachings and disciplines 100%. For some issues about which people are confused or unsure, it is my understanding that the Church requires acceptance and encourages the person to be patient until the time he or she can understand the issue better.

I think “Faithful Catholic” is synonymous with “Faithful Christian”. If the Catholic Church is really the fulness of Christian faith (and I believe it is) there should be no distinction between the terms. Being a faithful Christian is the pursuit of knowing God better, becoming more holy and Spirit-filled, and taking the message of Christ to those that do not know Him.


#18

Ahh, but there I think we might disagree. You see, the more I come to understand the Catholic Faith and Doctrine, the more I come to love these *"***rules and regulations".

Going to Confession? What an emotional release!!! I feel my spirit soar when I realize that Christ has forgiven all my sins and loves me unrelentingly (is that a word?)!

Fasting on Fridays? Every hunger pain I indure reminds me that I’m “offering it up” to God! If God is on my mind, then all other earthly distractions seem to fade away.

All of these guidelines that some see as getting in the way of worshipping God, I see as examples of God’s Love and Grace bestowed on me, NotWorthy Me!

When you talk about the bickering and petty things that go on at a parish, that’s universal, my friend. As soon as you have three people, you have politics. You can go to any church congregation, listen to them Praise the Lord, Speak in Tongues, and go into convulsions…, and they’ll you’ll have some kind of infighting. It’s one of Adam’s “gifts that keep on giving”, I think we call in concupiscience.

Thanks again!

I remain NotWorthy!


#19

I think at least in part it means that when you disagree with what the Church teaches, you don’t try to convince fellow Catholics that the Church is wrong. It’s one thing to struggle with your faith, it’s another to obstinately disagree and try to win others to your way of thinking.


#20

[quote=dennisknapp]What does it mean to be a “Faithful” Catholic?

Is it agreeing with 80% of what the Church teaches? 90%? 99%?

When the Church calls us the Faithful, what does she mean? What does she expect?
Peace
[/quote]

I liken it to being a good citizen of a Divine Kingdom.

What is good citizenship? Submitting to the whole Constitution, or just the parts you like? Submitting to the authority of the government established by the Consitutions and the laws of that government, or just to those you like?

It seems to me, a good citizen accepts the authority of the government and its Constitution in all its parts, even if he disagrees with some aspects. To do otherwise is what? Criminal, right? So it appears we have a choice: Be a good Catholic Citizen, or be a Catholic Criminal.

When one professes citizenship and partakes of the benefits of that citizenship, isn’t it reasonable to expect that they not be criminal? That they submit to and strive to obey the authority of the Constitution and the government established by it?

A faithful Catholic, in my view, will at least be a good Catholic citizen, and strive never to deliberately break the law, submitting to the authority of the Constitutions and laws of Catholicism, even if they do not agree with them. Those that claim Catholic citizenship yet defiantly reject the Constitutions, laws, doctrines, and precepts of the Church are dishonest, and as such would not be considered “faithful Catholics” in my opinion.


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