Why should Cafeteria Catholics leave the Church? How could we?

Yes, I am a cafeteria catholic. There are many issues in which I feel the Church is wrong. At first, I though I was wrong, but after asking for guidance from God, I believe He has told me that the Church has, indeed, stayed, and therefore I keep my beliefs.

Some have told me I am not a true Catholic, and I should leave the Church. I have considered this many times, but there is a problem. I agree with the Church on all issues of " faith". I believe the Catholic Church is the religion started by Jesus. So why would I leave just because they made a few mistakes?

I believe the Church is the religion started by Jesus, and I believe the Pope is the rightful Head of that faith, whose job it is to be a spiritual leader to all Catholics.

I believe that works, along with faith, are required for salvation.

I do not believe the Bible is the sole source of God’s word on earth.

I believe in the intercession of saints, the assumption, the immaculate conception, perpetual virginity, and the transubstantiation.

So I agree with the Church on all matters I consider " faith". I just disagree with them on matters of social customs. Yet people think I can abandon my beliefs and go be a Protestant, even though I strongly disagree with them on almost all core issues.

I see no reason why women should not be priests. I believe this descends from the now-outdated idea of " some jobs belong to women, some belong to men".

I see nothing wrong with homosexual unions. Since they have the same reproductive chances of a sterile heterosexual couple, I believe they are morally equal.

I see no problem with non-abortiofacient contraception. Condos have a 1% failure rate, NFP has a 1% failure rate. Neither is more open to conception, so both are equal.

Notice that I do not disagree with the church on any issues decided “ex cathedra”, or infallibly. Of course, some people on here claim all moral teaching of the church is infallible, which is not correct, for if it were then “ex cathedra” teachings would be unnecessary. (Those people should probably take a lesson on papal infallibility here)

Yet these people want me to give up my deeply held beliefs to join another church. But my beliefs have MUCH more in common with Catholicism than with any other faith. So why would I leave to become a " cafeteria Episcopalian" or whatever, especially when my disagreements with that faith ate so much more important than my relatively minor disagreements with Catholicism?

I don’t think you should leave. I think you should further examine why you think that you are right and that it’s the church who has “strayed.” The only reason I would see a need for you to leave the faith is if you are outspoken against church teaching. If that were the case, then you’re just a rabble-rouser.

The three items you listed that you “see nothing wrong” with are topics which you should investigate as deeply as you can as to why the church teaches what it does. If you do that, you’ll see why the church has no choice than to speak out against them. If you can’t be bothered to do this sort of research, then you should not be espousing these beliefs as a “catholic,” cafeteria style or not.

Honestly, there is no such thing as a cafeteria catholic. Embrace your faith, or don’t. Half-hearted measures are no good for you or the church.

Well, I’m not going to tell you to leave the Church. I do think you ought to spend some time looking into which things are “social customs” and which unchangeable, since you do believe some things are infallibly taught. Perhaps your priest could help you, but I know, you are busy as a father and he is busy as another kind of father. :slight_smile: Still, it is your faith and life, so it is worth it.

A priest could help you understand the standing that various teachings have, such as the teaching that it is not okay for two men to have sexual relations with each other, or that marriage is for a man and a woman. Things that have not been fully defined through an ex cathedra statement can still be unchangeable truths, so you need to be sure you aren’t putting yourself in the position of refusing to believe something that is in fact true.

Isn’t the Church, Christs Bride? If the priest stands in the person in Christ, wouldn’t that need to be a man?

I am a recent convert and those issues were the very ones that kept me friom joining the church for 20 years. I remember that it hit me like a ton of bricks when I realized that these aren’t opinions of the church or extra restrictions put on by the church. This is what the Church believes is the truthful interpretation of the scriptures. And since that interpretation is guided by the Holy Spirit, it is correct.

Don’t leave the church. Pray for guidance and wisdom on those matters and as others have suggested, speak to a Priest or Deacon about why these teachings are true, even if in our modern culture they seem outdated or unrealistic.


Hi Kevin, those who tell you that are not fully espousing the Catholic faith themselves. Anyone who tells you to leave the Church or says you can not consider yourself a Catholic is a cafeteria Catholic themselves. Besides the problems with you leaving which you explained, the Catholic Church also teaches you are a Catholic with a permanent, indelible character upon your soul. A Catholic perhaps can leave the fully faithful practice of the faith. Another might even no longer consider themselves Catholic. But you can’t leave the Catholic Church even if you wanted. According to a bishop of whom I once asked this very thing about, your Baptism or otherwise receipt into the Catholic Church made you a member. Once you are a Catholic you are considered to be a Catholic at least by the Catholic Church. I’d take the answer of someone believed to be an apostolic successor about who the Catholic Church considers to be a Catholic over laity on a an internet forum or elsewhere. God bless you on your journey with Him. Peace.

Well, I must say you are quite brave posting here. No doubt you will be battered by us traditional apologists.

Has it occurred to you that eternal Truth may not be subject to your feelings, or your perceptions, or even your logic? That perhaps the Divine Creator has explained certain Truths to His Church that He has not to you?

Perhaps you could enlighten us, why would the HS reveal something to Kevin B that opposes what He has revealed to His Holy Apostles and Prophets, and to His One Bride, the Church?

Well, if what you have stated above is true, and you really are a “cafeteria Catholic” and you have rejected, on the basis of your own private beliefs, the TEachings of the Church, then you have already left the Church, and lost your Catholicity. You are a rebellious subject of the Roman Pontiff.

It does not sound like you have left because of “mistakes” but because you believe the Church has gone off the rails. You left because you no longer believe that Jesus is keeping His promise to prevent the Church from passing through the Gates of hell. When error is taught, souls fall headlong through the gates of hell.

Not really. If you really believed this, then you would receive the One Faith, committed to the Church once for all through the Apostles, and to which the Holy Father has pledged himself to support and defend, but you say you don’t.

Yes. faith that saves is faith that works. However, I am sure you can find many Protestant communities that believe this also. Anglicans and Lutherans also believe this, and practice a form of cafeteria catholicism that might be more appealing.

Again, there are Protestant ecclesial communities (noted above) that believe this too.

Well, if you just keep these things to yourself, you will be ok in another community. :wink:

Since the Church has no position on “social customs”, then such a position would not separate you from the Church. But, if you describe yourself as “cafeteria Catholic”, it obviously has more to do with morals than perhaps you realize.

If you have rejected the doctrines of the faith, then you have, in fact, become Protestant. I am sure you will setlle into it with time. Choose a “high” Church that retains more of the Apostolic Tradition.

At least it is good to know that you have reached this conclusion based upon a false premise. Your statement, though contradicts what you stated above about the Divine appointment of the Holy Fathers, as JPII was very clear on the reasons why this cannot happen.

Again, glad to know that your objection is based upon a false premise.

Yet another objection based upon a falsehood. This is getting more exciting by the minute! It means that, were you properly catechized, you might return to the One Fatih!

The gift of infalliblity is not restricted to ex cathedra statements. What Jesus taught the Apostles on all these issues was most definitely infallible.

I dont think you have to give up anything more than you already have. You have already given up the most difficult part, which is to accept the teaching of the Magesterium as though it came from Jesus Himself.

Luke 10:16

16 “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

Once you have done that, the rest will get progressively easier.

You don’t “have” to join another ecclesial community, but it seems that you would like to continue to practice as a cafeteria Catholic, so you can just not advertise your secretely Apostolic beliefs so you can fit in better.

I would recommend a high Anglican community rather, or high Liturgical Lutheran perhaps? Or maybe “Old Catholic”?

The truth is you have already left, so the question is, what now?

I think you should articulate in this thread what you think is the Church’s teaching on all these issues to see if you are rejecting the actual theology of why the Church teaches what it does, or some fanciful secular claim. The rationale you provide for each of the above does not address the Church’s theology at all.

Notice that I do not disagree with the church on any issues decided “ex cathedra”, or infallibly. Of course, some people on here claim all moral teaching of the church is infallible, which is not correct, for if it were then “ex cathedra” teachings would be unnecessary.

Actually, you have described at least 3 teachings that are matters of faith or morals that the Church has infallibly defined. Ex cathedra is simply a vehicle through which the Spirit teaches the Church. The Spirit is not forbidden from teaching via the Ordinary Magisterium as well as the Pope by way of an infallible confirmation. Your logic above is not rational.

No doubt. :frowning: Hopefully the battering does not lead him further away if your intent is for him to be more faithful.

I think such a statement is misleading. Of course men and women are equal in dignity as persons before God, and we are equal in the life of faith, as both men and women have equal choice and responsiblity to choose and life the life that God has ordained. We are different in creation, and in how God intends for us to fulfill our responsibilies before Him. But to one woman He has already given the greatest honor in the universe.

The idea that “somethings are proper of men and other of women” can, as the OP has indicated, just be a matter of social customs.

Yet there are some aspects, such as fatherhood and motherhood, that are “proper” with regard to gender, but many of the social norms about roles do not emanate from God’s perspective, but human.

But my dear R_C! This is exactly what causes cafeteria catholicis!

Unfortunately, these two statements demonstrate a serious misunderstanding of Church teaching.

The Church teaches that each sexual act must be open to the possibility of life in order for that particular act to not be sinful, it says nothing about factors unrelated to the act of sex needing to be aligned in such a way that they are also open to the possibility of life (such as the time of month, a woman’s state of maturity in life, or the physical reproductive health of the couple). As long as an act of sex is doing nothing to bottleneck the possibility of life (let’s make all other factors outside of that particular act, which could influence fertility, a question mark), then there is nothing sinful regarding that particular act of intercourse.

This is the key difference between NFP vs. sodomy and contracepted sex. In the latter two cases, there is something within the act itself that is closing the act to the possibility of life (ie. making the sexual act itself a bottleneck with regards to a couple’s openness to life). With NFP, that is not the case since the time of the month is exterior to the specific act of intercourse (therefore, it has no influence on the morality of that particular act). Of course, NFP abused can be sinful, but it would be the sin of greed which has absolutely nothing to do with any particular sexual act. Contraception and homosexual sodomy are sins of the flesh and are very serious.

Furthermore, both the Church’s teachings on sodomy and contraception are infallible according to the ordinary magisterium. You must not recieve holy communion while you are in dissent with these teachings and if you die in this state, there is a very real possibility that your soul can fall into hell.

My prayers are with you.

Should you leave the Church? Of course not. That is like asking if you should commit suicide, for apostasy is spiritual suicide.

What you should do is study and pray. I know that it is so unfashionable to say this, but Christ and his Church know better than you and I or our liberal friends or even the Great Matt Damon. Humanae Vitae seemed so odd when it came out in the 1960’s but today it reads as inspired prophecy.

Wow. You may feel that this is rude, but it seems as though you were not properly taught what does or does not constitute a matter of faith.

Starting with priesthood (because, truthfully, this is very straightforward), your idea that this is merely an issue of gender-stereotypes is irrelevant as to why a woman cannot be a priest. The sacrament of Holy Orders configures a man to Christ in a unique way, and the ability for the sacrament to be valid has not a matter of policy. A priest literally becomes “another Christ” and act in persona Christi when he performs sacraments. Well, who is Christ? Christ is the man also known as Jesus of Nazareth. He’s not a mythological figure or an abstract philisophical archetype. He is a male homo sapiens. This is historical fact. God chose to enter history as a man and to establish his sacraments with men. It’s not that women aren’t allowed to be priests, it’s that it is impossible for a sacrament to configure a woman to Christ in the way a man can be. Similarly, it’s not that you aren’t allowed to flap your wings and fly, it’s that you, too, are a human and not a bird.

As for contraceptives, the difference between NFP and condoms and/or the pill is that God put in place mechanisms in human biology for natural infertility. Making use of something that is part of God’s plan fr secuality is quite different than a couple deciding to try and block God’s plan, to make a selfish grab at the gift of sexuality while divorcing themselves from the gravity of it. This is a rather succint summary ofthe Fall, in which man and woman made to grab at God’s gifts rather than to be open to receive them and were thus expelled from Eden. Using contraception takes the focus away from “I give” to “gimme, gimme, gimme!” in the married relationship.

As for homosexual unions, it is not the same situation as a couple who is infertile (though with otherwise working “equipment”). The man and woman can continue to have sex and be spiritually and physically (within their control) open to the possibility of children; there is such a thing as miracles, and God can overcome when He sees fit. This is not the case for gay couples. No matter what, biology makes it impossible for two women or two men to conceive a child together. There is a missing piece of the puzzle.

It is worth noting that you are, for many intents and purposes, not Catholic. Willfully and intentionally putting one’s self in a position of protest against the Church, it’s doctrines or directives, whether made by an individual Pontiff or by the Magesterium is un-Catholic. I am surprised, too, that your protests that you are Catholic did not include a profession of faith in the Eucharist, but rather a legalistic attempt at finding loopholes in “the rules.” But should you leave? No. It would also be un-Catholic to suggest that someone ought to leave the Church. Rather, look more deeply into the teachings of the Church that trouble you and find out why the Church teaches what she does.

I hope that you find this crash-course catechesis illuminating in some way, and maybe you will be inspired to find more in-depth resources on these subjects. I would recommend Bl. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, or perhaps a beginner’s commentary of it, for more information regarding same sex unions and contraception.

You are in my prayers.

Become an Episcopalian or a High Church Anglican. They’re basically protestants who play dress up and like to think they are Catholic. In all seriousness though I think you need to do what the other posters have advised and stay in the church and find out why you disagree with it. I think you may find yourself growing in your faith and who knows, you may end up becoming more convinced about Catholicism

There isn’t really such a thing as a “cafeteria Episcopalian”, though. Unlike the Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church doesn’t demand that its laity believe detailed sets of dogma as a condition of membership. You can believe in a transubstantiation and still be an Episcopalian in good conscience, but you can’t believe in a female priesthood and be a Catholic in good conscience.

Everybody is a “cafeteria Catholic” Kevin. Well, except for Br JR, I guess. Maybe a few others. It’s relative. You’ll find the staunchly self-identified “Traditionalist” who will make clear if you read enough posts that they believe NOTHING that came from Vatican 2 or most of what Blessed John Paul II said and wrote because it disagrees with the Church they want to believe in which was what they understood from prior to 1962. They reject most of what the postVat2 Church has given us, like the NABRE, replace Church teachings with their own interpretations and think somebody should put the SSPX in charge. They think the Catechism promulgated by the Church contains heresy.

I agree there was this sort of mini-generation of way out there religious and priests, people who actually don’t believe in miracles, people who preached something not-God.

But I don’t think you and I are anything but normal Catholics, not shoved to one end or the other, just members of the faithful doing our best to make our way through life and follow Jesus as best we can through our Church.

Let’s not hang someone else’s label around our necks. Or any label but Catholic. I was only asked to be able to sincerely say the Nicene Creed when I came into the Church and I can still say that and it sounds like so can you.

Jesus said He would know who loved Him, they would be following His commands. Love, charity, humility, compassion, these are the commands I recall. No one can say who is in or out or real or whatever but Him.

We’re not going anywhere.

sigh, once again…

"2088 The first commandment requires us to nourish and protect our faith with prudence and vigilance, and to reject everything that is opposed to it. There are various ways of sinning against faith:

Voluntary doubt about the faith disregards or refuses to hold as true what God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief. Involuntary doubt refers to hesitation in believing, difficulty in overcoming objections connected with the faith, or also anxiety aroused by its obscurity. If deliberately cultivated doubt can lead to spiritual blindness.

2089 Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it. “Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.”

Julia, if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and quacks like a duck there’s no point letting it think it’s a swan :shrug:

Kevin B, you don’t need to leave the Church. What you need is Catechism, God’s grace, and the humility of faith.

I find that there are things you already believe in which are logically incompatible with your unbelief in other Catholic doctrines. Knowing more about the faith will help you connect the dots and realize this yourself. I believe our resident apologists here are competent enough to explain why so feel free to ask questions.

But in the end, you have to have an open mind and the humility to accept the truth. Anyone who has a closed heart will find any amount of reasoning insufficient to change his mind.

God bless! :slight_smile:

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