Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Reply to Catholic Cathy, Part One.

Dear Catholic Cathy,

        From reading your work, published in the twenty fourth issue of Quasimodo, I was given the (possibly false) impression that you don’t fully understand what it means to be Catholic. The work I refer to herein is a section of the article Split Personality that is under the heading Catholic Cathy. This open letter is to clarify - both for you and for others who may have read your work - what it does mean to be Catholic.

Firstly, the Catholic faith is not a set of ideals. It is a concrete way of living; ‘"Now this is the Catholic faith: We worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity, without either confusing the persons or dividing the substance; for the person of the Father is one, the Son's is another, the Holy Spirit's another; but the Godhead of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one, their glory equal, their majesty coeternal" (Athanasian Creed: DS 75; ND 16).’ [CCC 266] Admittedly, you do say that you are “not [t]here to rant about how great God is,” but what you do write about seems to be drastically inconsistent.
To highlight this inconsistency, I will quote directly from your writing. “’…trust no one but yourself’…this embodies the fundamental construct around which I life my life. When all of these [negative] things happen, I turn to my faith in God.” Or, “…even when you turn away from God, your faith never leaves.” And, again, “Just because you don’t go to church every Sunday does not mean that you don’t have the same views of what is right and wrong.”

There is a direct and logical contradiction contained within your third paragraph. That is to say, trusting no one but yourself is not the same as trusting God, in fact it is the complete opposite. Unless, that is, you are claiming to be God (which I assume you’re not because that would be contrary to the entire rest of your section of the article. Perhaps this is an unfair assumption.)

Considering the definition of the Catholic faith given in the Catechism of the Catholic Church  which is quoted above, ‘turning away from God’ seems to mean the same as ‘turning away from the Faith.’ Although what you have said here is not a logical contradiction, it still appears to be largely inconsistent. That is to say, turning your back of God is necessarily turning your back on the Faith. Admittedly, the Faith never leaves you: God never leaves you and your Baptism is forever. Also, your faith may not be the same as the Faith as described above.

This third point is one that I have a lot of trouble with because it too contains an implied logical contradiction. The Catholic Church clearly teaches the Six Precepts of the Catholic Church are binding on each individual, they have “obligatory character” (CCC 2041). “The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life.” (Ibid.) The First Precept is this: “You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labour" (CCC 2042). That is to say, it is impossible to believe that you are “a good moral person”, hold the Catholic faith, and not go to Mass (“church”) every Sunday.

What, then, does it mean to be Catholic? It is this: To love and serve God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love our neighbour as our self. (Cf Matthew 22:37-40 ).

May God bless you, Cathy.
- "Orthodox Olivia"


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