“Cave-in Catholics”

Carl Olson at Catholic World Report has a good piece to which I direct your attention:

The CWR Blog
The Emptiness and Deceit of Cave-in “Catholicism”
March 21, 2012 06:20 EST
By Carl E. Olson

“The Bishops speak for the Catholic and apostolic faith, and those who hold that faith gather around them. Others disperse.” — Francis Cardinal George (Feb. 14, 2012)

It is no surprise that dissenting, protesting Catholics—those I’ve lately been calling “cave-in Catholics”, in homage to Cardinal Dolan’s retort to the weak-kneed editors of America magazine—thumb their noses at papal speeches, conciliar texts, and formal, Magisterial teaching. What is somewhat curious is how they try to justify their disdain for popes, bishops and the dread “Vatican” by simply saying, “After all, very few Catholics in the U.S. pay attention to Church teaching anymore. See this poll! Watch this interview! Check out these stats!”

What is far more curious is how these cave-in Catholics—having indeed caved-in to the dominant beliefs about contraception, abortion, cohabitation, homosexuality, and so forth—think this “argument” is both pure genius and completely unassailable. But such Catholics are not, when all is said and done, truthful with the facts, willing to face the truth, or interested in seeing how truth, facts, and the Catholic faith are not only compatible, but are competely and fully compatible.

Let’s take a couple of examples, both courtesy of the Pompous Journal for Advanced and Agitated Bashing of Catholicism, more circumspectly known as The New York Times. Last month, a Notre Dame professor of philosophy, Gary Gutting, wrote an essay, “Birth Control, Bishops and Religious Authority” (Feb. 15, 2012). Gutting begins by saying that what interests him “as a philosopher — and a Catholic — is that virtually all parties to this often acrimonious debate have assumed that the bishops are right about this, that birth control is contrary to ‘the teachings of the Catholic Church.’ The only issue is how, if at all, the government should ‘respect’ this teaching.”

He then takes a clever but misleading tact:


To find out the rest, go there.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. catholicmidwest says:

    Catholics need to close ranks. We need to get to know each other and support each other in real time, and in our own lives. We should know each other and be talking about the things of the Church, including scripture & teachings, on a daily basis. We need to know who is “us” and who is someone else with an agenda.

  2. catholicmidwest says:

    This knowing who is “us” is the task of obtaining a Catholic identity. In reality, having a Catholic identity that consists only of a t-shirt, a slogan or a magazine subscription isn’t really a Catholic identity; rather, it’s our inclusion in a target market which is a far different thing than having a Catholic identity.

    Having a Catholic identity is when 50 people in your parish know your first name AND where you live.
    Having a Catholic identity is when you can say the rosary in the local McDonald’s, library, etc while you wait for someone else Catholic to show up for something, no one is surprised and you say “hi” at least once in the process to someone Catholic you know.
    Having a Catholic identity is when you have a bunch of kids &/or grandkids and no apologies for it.
    Having a Catholic identity is when you wear your crucifix or Tau or cross on the outside of your clothes and forget it’s there except when you do the laundry.
    Having a Catholic identity is when you know how to get into the Church without a key because you have to go down there sometimes on weekday evenings to let yourself or somebody else in.
    Having a Catholic identity is when you know exactly how long it takes to attend daily mass at your parish because your day is built around it.
    Having a Catholic identity is when you read scripture on a regular basis and you actually have copies of a concordance, dictionary and commentary that match the version you’re using and you made sure they match when you bought them.

  3. anilwang says:

    I think the heart of the issue has to do with Protestantism being the standard-bearer of Christianity in the US.

    If you go to an Islamic country or Hindu country, the following argument argument completely false: “99% of Name-A-Religion believe Heretical-Statement, so you can dismiss anyone in Name-A-Religion who believes the contrary”. In those countries, they would understand that only 1% of believers of Name-A-Religion are true believers, because truth and falsehood have nothing to do with popularity in either Hinduism or Islam.

    In Protestantism however, it’s usual for denominations to break apart over trivial doctrinal differences or adapt to the times. If 99% of people in a denomination believe something is true, then inevitably the denomination will change their beliefs, and if the belief is important enough, the 1% will break off and form another denomination with the original faith.

    So it’s perfectly natural to understand why in the U.S. and Canada the average secularist and Protestant beliefs statistics determine the doctrines of the Church.

    What is inexcusable is that so many Catholics believe this.

  4. chantgirl says:

    Great article. Now I want a bumper sticker that says ” Contraception bad. Abortion bad. Barney bad.”. I’ve noticed that in this healthcare mandate debate, people refuse to talk about the issue at hand. We are not discussing freedom of religion. We are throwing around questionable statistics to make ourselves feel less alone in our guilt. The more sinners the merrier until the sin ceases to be a sin, becomes a virtue, and then a right, and then a right which tramples everyone else’s rights. Everyone of us will have to give an individual accounting to God. No hordes of sinners are going to be standing behind us defending our sins.

  5. catholicmidwest says:

    Having a Catholic identity is when you don’t have to figure out or look up when Confession is, because you already know.
    Having a Catholic identity is having a liturgical life, a group prayer life, and a private prayer life. All in the same day, every day.
    Having a Catholic identity is when you can sing the Pange Lingua that Aquinas wrote. In Latin. By yourself. Or with 50 people on Friday night.
    Having a Catholic identity is when you’ve learned to tolerate fish on Fridays for a good reason and you really understand why you do it.
    Having a Catholic identity is helping to bring someone else into the Church for all the right reasons.

  6. catholicmidwest says:

    And finally, having a Catholic identity is when you look at the world and the culture through the eyes of the Church, rather than the other way around.

  7. AnAmericanMother says:

    Does being able to get into the choir room without a key count?
    And don’t shortchange the “Pange lingua” of St. Venantius Fortunatus (attr.) . . . we sing that one too! (especially the Crux fidelis part . . . alternating chant and the setting by King John of Portugal (attr.)) :-D

  8. Johnno says:

    I daresay Catholics could use a bit of the Protestant zeal…

    A Protestant will always hold up any doctrine or teaching he is given to scrutiny to his first source which for him is the Bible alone (more accurately, his own interpretation, therefore ironically he is his own authority, like these kooks here).


    Catholics should likewise have a zeal to hold up any academic claptrap and modernist thought and liturgical or doctrinal innovation to scrutiny according to our first source, which is the Deposit of Faith and wealth of apologetic, hermeneutic, Scripture and Tradition that is in the Holy Catholic Church.

    The rampant secularism and religious indifferentism where despite that yours contradicts mine we are somehow in union spiritually by virtue of our conscience and limited understanding, is the sad inevitable and logical outcome of Protestant theology. This is why the Church has preferred a hierarchical model of the divine right of Kings where power descends from the top down, versus the Protestants who adhere to democracy where power (theoretically) comes from the bottom up, and a majority of opinion is the standard of infallibility.

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