Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Meat Eating Vegetarians

A friend of mine has started a new blog, called REAL Catholics Online. One of her first posts concerns the talk that Gavin Newsom gave (I blogged on this earlier). She was sitting a couple of seats away from me, so also got to experience Newsom's charisma up close. In her post she recalls a quote from the audience that I had forgotten about.

Someone said "Isn't saying you're a Catholic but you disagree with the Church on abortion and homosexual marriage like saying 'I'm a vegetarian but I still eat meat?'"

Isn't it, indeed!

The whole post is worth reading.

Being a Catholic in today's progressive society means it's up to me to decide which teachings I am going to accept or reject. No more of this "accepting the authority of the Church." If I believe a woman should have the right to kill her unborn child, surely my 20-some odd years of wisdom and experience outweighs the 2,000 years of the Church's. After all, God gave me the gift of freedom of choice--shouldn't I exercise it?

Of course, if I'm exercising my will, and my next-door-neighbor is exercising his will, and Gavin Newsom is exercising another will all together, where does that leave us?

What does it mean to be Catholic? To put it simply, I suppose it is something similar to what is means to be a vegetarian: that there are a set of beliefs and standards of living that one adheres to. Period. If there are a million different contradicting beliefs that one group of people subscribe to, what is the commonality that binds them together? If there is no central standard, what is Catholicism?

Mayor Newsom can call himself whatever he wants, but "[coming] to terms with [his] difference of opinion" with the Church does not change the state of his soul or the teachings of the Church. It simply gives him a way to sleep at night, and perhaps a way to keep his mother happy.

To be Catholic--to REALLY be Catholic--means understanding and accepting the teachings of the Church; not because you are a brainless lemming, but because you understand that the authority of the Church comes directly from Christ. It means that when you fail, you ask for forgiveness and try again--you don't try and disguise your failure as an ultimate success.

BTW, one of the audience members gave Newsom a paperback copy of the Catechism (which is really a beautifully written document). When Newsom finished his talk and left, the Catechism remained on the podium.

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