The beauty of our Catholic faith provides us with the tools we need to live as the children of God we were created to be. The various elements of our faith all aim to preserve this freedom. Everything in our faith is interconnected and reasonable.
Sometimes it is said pejoratively that “cafeteria Catholics” pick and choose what they want to believe from the smorgasbord of Catholic beliefs, as if they are each displayed a la carte. Likewise, they choose to leave behind a host of other beliefs. While the moniker might not be the most charitable, it expresses a reality.
There are Catholics who believe that gay “marriage” is a right, because “love is love,” or that women have the right to be ordained priests if the Church is truly a just institution. And these are just a couple of the situations where some Catholics easily part ways with Church teaching.
There are several questions that seem to always come to my mind about situations like this. What makes certain aspects of our faith reasonable or unreasonable to others?
For instance, consider the Church’s teaching on marriage. How could a lifelong marriage between one man and one woman, to bring forth children, seem unreasonable, yet the transubstantiation of bread and wine into the Lord’s body and blood seem reasonable?
Or how do people truly see themselves as people of faith if there is little or no attempt to submit their intellect to the wisdom of Scripture or 2,000 years of Christian tradition? Before they have made their mind up to pass on one teaching or another, have they intellectually engaged all of that? What makes them think they know more than all of the information provided by those resources?
There’s no doubt that each one of us must work out our individual understanding of the Faith on our own terms. But we are obviously not doing it in a bubble — we are formed and conditioned by our surroundings. A question each and every Catholic must face in the process of seeking understanding of the Faith is who or what are we allowing ourselves to be formed by? Moreover, what’s the goal of our life of faith?
Our Sunday Visitor and The Catholic Answer have had one goal: to help inform the faith of Catholics. We are grateful that you’ve turned to us over the years for that purpose. While the print edition of TCA might be going away for now, we will continue to provide you with quality content online to help you understand the Faith we profess and see it all as reasonable and interconnected. Stay tuned via TheCatholicAnswer.com.
Michael R. Heinlein is editor of OSV’s The Catholic Answer. A graduate of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., he resides in Indiana where he teaches high school theology. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @HeinleinMichael.