Monday, November 22, 2010

Cafeteria Christians

Most Catholics have heard the terminology, "Cafeteria Catholics," whereby they claim to be Catholics, but only accept things which are comfortable to them.  Often with things like artificial birth control, abortion, etc. such Cafeteria Catholics pick and choose how far they want to accept the Church's teachings on these maters.  Can these Cafeteria Catholics truly be considered Catholics at all?  When someone decides for themselves that they will not follow a given teaching, have they not broken communion with the Catholic Faith? 

Then we come to perhaps the ultimate Cafeteria Catholic... Martin Luther.  At least Luther was honest about it though, he allowed himself to be split from the Catholic Church officially.  But consider Luther...  he "protested" against certain Catholic teachings, not the least of which was that over Indulgences.  What if he had remained a faithful Catholic throughout all this?  Once the Church tightened up the policy on Indulgences, Luther could have been viewed a hero by all Christians!  Instead, he drew his line in the sand and separated himself from the Church... getting more and more vile and obstinate as the years went by.  So, now the only ones who see him as heroic are those who followed him out of the Church.  Since the Lord desires we be one, just as He and the Father are One - there was absolutely nothing heroic in separating the Church as he did.  Luther essentially began the concept of "Cafeteria Christians," who pick and choose which doctrines they will follow.  Others followed Luther - dissenting even further from the things which Luther dissented against - so much so that we end up with literally hundreds, if not thousands, of "denominations" which ALL have some level of dissent (or "protest") from the One, True Church from which they have all separated themselves from.


  1. Actually Scott,IMHO, all the heretics that came down the pike in the last 2000 years were "Cafeteria Christians". The only thing different about Marty Lu was his ridiculous 'solas', which no one, even the heretics of the past, have ever heard of before until he came into the scene.

  2. What I find interesting is that some of the newer forms of protestant heresy are trying to justify their existence and their doctrines by appealing to the Early Church Fathers. They pick and choose statements, out of context, which seem to support their view--and then, say, 'see THAT'S what they meant.' Too bad so many claiming to be Christians have no idea what the ECFs actually said and are sucked in by self-proclaimed "leaders." If one studies and believes what the ECFs wrote, one could not help but become Catholic.

    Scott is right, though. So many so-called Christian groups just pick and choose what they will believe. If the church they are attending doesn't agree with them, they go to another until they find one that does agree with them or start their own group.

    God doesn't work that way. Our Lord Jesus Christ founded one Church. He commissioned St. Peter as the first shepherd, then commissioned the rest of his disciples to spread His Gospel to the world. There is ONE Church, ONE Body. It is not a democracy or a club. It is God reaching out in perfect love to us sinners. He is waiting with infinite patience for foolish man to let go of his pride, once again, and come to His Church.

  3. And another thing I meant to bring out in the article - as our sermon for "Christ the King" was on this topic, is that the headship of the Church was established with "leadership" in mind. Christ, our King of Kings, built the Church and designed it with hierarchy. The concept of bishops as the overseers was not something the Apostles invented on their own! And Jesus singled out St. Peter, on several occasions but especially as He was about to ascend into Heaven, to become His Vicar - the Vicar of Christ. Jesus did not leave the Church in disarray and/or for each bishop to go and do his own thing. He desires that we are ONE, just as He and the Father are One. So anything outside of the hierarchy which HE ESTABLISHED is contrary to His Will.

    We should all strive for that UNITY which Jesus desires. Let go of the pride and SERVE HIM through serving His Church.

    In JMJ,

    (I am thinking I should add this to the main article, as I initially intended on doing).

  4. Greetings.
    As I was reading your comments about "Cafeteria Catholics", I noticed you wrote "Once the Church tightened up the policy on indulgences". Does the modern church still practice indulgences? I am sure it does not to the scale of the times of Martin Luther, but does it still go on today in a much smaller scale? This is very interesting. I look forward to your reply.

    1. It is not a matter of reduction in scale, but a change in method. In Luther's day there were many abuses of the practice going on - like the "sale" of indulgences to free loved ones from Purgatory - or reduce ones own time there. One could ALWAYS offer "indulgenced prayers" (no "cost" there) and one can still offer a gift or offering (like to have Mass said for someone). What has changed is you don't have people like Tetzel chatting slogans in an effort to raise money through the "sale" of indulgences.

      PS- Sorry for the delay... Godspeed to you.

  5. Greetings.
    Thank you very much for your reply. I was under the impression that a Catholic indulgence was defined as a guaranteed forgiveness for a future planned sin. Is this not correct? Please excuse my ignorance, I am not Catholic. How much money (offering) does it cost for a indulgence mass, how does someone know if a loved one is in Purgatory and not Heaven or Hell and can a indulgence mass be paid for in advance by the soon to be deceased themselves? Thank you for your time and effort in answering these questions.

  6. Hi David, my apologies for the delay in responding. I appreciate your patience. So, let's answer your questions...

    1) No, indulgences are not for "future sins." You can't really be forgiven of something you haven't committed yet.

    2) Cost? There is no set "cost." You can ask a priest to remember you or a loved one by saying a Mass for them and he will do it. He may have a list of Masses to do, so it may not be immediate, but an honorable priest (and most are!) will get to it when he can. That being said, it is nice to give some sort of stipend to a priest who will do this for you. It is customary to give $10, but it could be more or less, or even free.

    3) Unless the Church has declared someone to be a Saint (canonized) you don't "know" with certainty. You might have relative confidence, like I do for my daughter who passed away 3 years ago, I truly believe she was well prepared for her death and died what we would call "a good death." We must leave that final judgment up to THE Judge. However, like I said, once the Church has canonized someone to be a Saint, then "whatsoever is bound on earth, is bound in heaven," and we can have absolute absurdness that they are in Heaven.

    4) Can you "pay in advance?" It doesn't really work that way. Certainly you will be rewarded for your good works, and the more you have, the more rewards/graces you will have and these can certainly help, but the best goal is to "die a good death" and then you don't need to worry about Purgatory. Now that being said, every single soul in Purgatory IS saved! Not ONE will be lost. Nothing unclean can enter Heaven, so there may be some "purging" and testing "as by fire" which needs to be done - but we can be very sure that those in Purgatory WILL be in Heaven.

    You're welcome and I hope this helps you.


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