MU Cerebellum

"Writers, especially when they act in a body and with one direction, have great influence on the public mind." -Edmund Burke

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Can I be in the Catholic Club too?

I hope MU-Cerebellum doesn't get lost in hustle and bustle of the Marquette blogosphere. I am sure many other organizations feel that at one point or another. So to give other blogs some exposure, the Gay-Straight Alliance blog has a few interesting things to say. I don't know how I found it because I am not involved with that organization, but I was on Facebook and stumbled across the GSA facebook group and discovered its blog. I took a peek and found something that is pretty relevant to the spirit of Mission Week. Is Catholicism really an exclusive club?

Jason Brent, Secretary of GSA, surely thinks it is. In his February 7th post on the GSA Blog he commented about how two people wrote viewpoints responding against Robert Graf's anti-ROTC article because he said they meant, "if Marquette were truly sticking to Catholic teachings, GSA would not be allowed on campus."

Here is where Jason makes the kicker:

The fact is we [GSA] do belong at Marquette University. Real Catholic teaching is not that Catholicism is some exclusive club where only those who strictly follow the Catechism and what the bishops say are allowed to join. It is everybody. Don't let anyone tell you something different.


So, Jason, if strictly following the Catechism is not real Catholic teaching or being a true Catholic, then what is ? Is it following the Koran? Adding ERA statements to the appendix of the Bible?

Since Jason's "it is everybody" statement is poorly grammatically structured, I will try to interpret and clarify what he means. I think Jason is trying to say that Catholics who strictly follow the Catechism are exclusive (gasp!), and instead encourage others to disregard it and so the Church can just let everyone - even if those people's lifestyles and political activism goes directly against what the Church teaches. Well, Catholicism DOES let "everybody" in so as long as those people follow the Catechism and do what the bishops say (and actually really comes down to what the Pope says). If you don't follow the Cathechism and Church teaching, you aren't Catholic. That doesn't make you a bad person necessarily, you just aren't Catholic.

Being a Catholic or qualifying yourself to call yourself one, in principle, is like being in any other "club" or qualifying for a specific program. For example, to qualify to be on Marquette Student Government, I'm sure you have to have a certain GPA, good standing with the University, etc. Or to qualify to receive Social Security you would have to be a certain age, among other factors.

The difference with Catholicism is that qualification depends a lot more on choice. To be Catholic, there is no qualification as far as your age, social standing, academic standing, race, etc. However, a choice to follow Church teaching to the highest of one's ability is the only requirement to be Catholic. The Catholic "club" is exclusive only in the perspective of those who do not agree with the Church's stance.

If you don't agree with the Catholic Church on such a hot button issue such as homosexuality, then don't be Catholic? People who are not a part of MUSG don't list it under their "clubs and jobs" section of their Facebook profiles. People don't tell others they collect Social Security if they don't receive a Social Security check in the mail. Not only is it just not cool, it's just common sense.

But those who do not follow Catholic teaching still claim to be an call themselves Catholic. Worse yet, they call the entire Church to change just because it goes against what they stand for. If the members of GSA and their sympathizers don't agree with the Church's stance on homosexuality, then why be Catholic? Is it the name "Catholic" so appealing or is it the fact that they cannot come to terms with the fact they are out of mainstream Catholic thought? Could someone please tell me?


  • At 12:26 AM, Blogger HB said…

    so i guess you're not a really catholic since you clearly disagree with the section (section 11) of Lumen Gentium, aka the Dogmatic Constitution that teaches that what makes us all catholics is that we are one Church of Christ. if you're not familiar with the term Church of Christ, it refers to the one Christian Church, even though it is divided into many denominations, Catholicism being but one. Nothing in there that says "listen to the local bishop and follow the canon law to the letter or you are not a catholic"

  • At 1:35 AM, Anonymous Allison said…

    very, very, very good points, Ego

  • At 7:52 AM, Blogger Ego said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 7:56 AM, Blogger Ego said…

    Catholic doctrine doesn't have to explicitly say what you hypothetically stated. If we are one Church of Christ means we follow what makes us one church of Christ, which is following bishops, the Pope, the Catechism, or what have you. When I brought in the MUSG and Social Security, neither example, from my knowledge, instruct one how to formally say he or she is a part of that organization or group. MUSG rules probably does not have a section that says something to the effect, "You have to actually be on MUSG in order to call yourself a part of MUSG." That is just common sense. I am no expert on Catholicism or am a perfect Catholic, but I don't condemn what the Church says or claim what real Catholic teaching is based on my personal preferences and or political views.

  • At 8:45 AM, Blogger HB said…

    that's very demonstrative that you're not very familiar with catholic documents, papal ones especially. it isn't the priests and bishops that make catholicism, it's the community. the church of christ stems from the body of christ image paul himself used in his letters to the Corinthians. the priests and bishops serve the community. you get into that community when you are baptised, not from listening to any priests or bishops. should any member of the gay community be baptised, there is nothing in any catholic document that says they should be excluded. even though st. augustine wrote a catholic version of the "elect," the church never adopted it.

  • At 9:56 AM, Blogger Stolpa said…

    There needs to be a dinstinctiob between catholic and Catholic. Indeed Lumen Gentium does say that anyone outside of the Church has the opportunity to be saved, provided they have not rejected any key teachings of the Church. However, if you call yourself Catholic, and you accept homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle, then you are in fact rejecting the Church's teaching. And the community does not make Catholicism. We are not some 13th Street Community Church. In fact, it's not even the Bishops that make the Church either. It's God and his Incarnate Son. The Church has been based upon that one event in human history, and everything that stems from it has become Church teaching. Go back and read the Patristics and learn the Tradition of the Church, and you will discover that the Church exists as a means of salvation, and that is where the people fit in.

  • At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Is it the name "Catholic" so appealing or is it the fact that they cannot come to terms with the fact they are out of mainstream Catholic thought?"

    Please see my response to the later post. This goes way deeper than just calling yourself a name, or joining/disjoining a "club". Religion is way more than that, a badge, to me. It is family, tradition, a way of living one's life.

    My question to you is: who or when were you annointed to proclaim who is or is not a Roman Catholic? Did you earn a theology degree or gain a leadership position that somehow entitled you to judge other people like this?

    This seems to go against the grain of the faith as I have understood it from priests, nuns, elders and the books I know. Even the bishops and Pope may choose to take the radical step of denying someone communion in the Church, but none are as blatant as you in setting black letter rules of who is and who isn't to call themselves Catholic.

    I suggest you re-think your attitude of superiority here and leave it to others mightier than you to judge.

  • At 3:09 PM, Anonymous Chuck said…

    Note: You just judged somebody who judges.

  • At 8:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Note: You just judged somebody who judges."

    I asked questions. I did not try to deny someone. Reread please.

  • At 4:21 PM, Anonymous Chuck said…

    "I suggest you re-think your attitude of superiority..."

    Action recommendation, from an authority on attitudes of superiority. That is a judgement.

  • At 7:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The fact is that the INTERNET is making people RICH! Shouldn't YOU be one of them? Click here: FIND OUT NOW!


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