I Just Want To Be Catholic

I just want to be Catholic.  So what does that mean?  Of course, these days, that has to be defined.  It is difficult to imagine that what one means by the term “Catholic” has to be defined in this age.  Yet, it does because so many claim the mantle and then deny much of what the Church teaches and practices, many being part of religious orders, priests, bishops and cardinals.  Am I a “traditionalist”, a “progressive”, a “devout”, or a “catholyc”?  It is apparent that we are placed into categories to divide us, rather than being united in one body, the Body of Christ, one Catholic Church.  So, a Catholic is one who holds everything the Church proposes for our belief in matter of Faith and Morals, one who holds to traditions and Tradition, one who is devout in practice, one who is progressive only in aiding in building the Kingdom, who is obedient to the magisterial authority of his or her bishop and the pope.  A “catholyc” is one who is not all of these, who is really in truth a protestant who is not honest enough to admit it to himself or herself, and which I am not.

I fit into no box as I am a member of the Body of Christ.  I believe everything that the Church proposes for my belief in matters of Faith and Morals.  I do not reject any dogma of the Faith as a matter of my own warped “conscience”, making myself my own god. My interpretation of Scripture depends on what the Church informs me the correct interpretation is, even if I fancy in my mind an interpretation could be something else.  I know Jesus is present in the Eucharist.  I know Jesus is in the confessional.  I know that I have a reason to hope that when I die I might be able to spend eternity before the face of God in Heaven and I know that I might end up in hell, and that Heaven and hell are real.  I take the words of Jesus as they are, even if He makes me squirm.

I know that being a Christian is not easy, that the bar is set high, and that I must strive to achieve that standard, not have it lowered and not costing me anything.  I don’t want a trophy for just showing up, saying I believe in Jesus and thereby have my salvation “assured” and told no one really goes to hell.  I am trying “to work out my salvation in fear and trembling,” trusting in the mercy of God and knowing that justice requires of me penance for the sins I have committed and will likely commit.

I just want to be Catholic.  I want the fullness of the Truth, not have the Truth obscured, watered down, hidden and even denied to me, because it may hurt my feelings somehow.  I can handle it.  The Truth may hurt, but only if I resist.  In accepting the Truth, I am set free to soar or to flounder on the wave-battered shoals.  But being denied the full Truth, by having it hidden from me, others could take my freedom away and dash me on those shoals and deny me the opportunity to fly, my wings clipped, in “mercifully” not hurting my feelings.  I want my feelings hurt, because that means that I know and understand that I have sinned and need to repent and pay for my sins.  I don’t want to run from the Truth, I want to run to the Truth.  I don’t want to change the Faith, I want it to change me.

I expect also that priests will celebrate the Mass, whether the Mass is the Tridentine Rite or the Ordinary Form, with reverence, with strict adherence to every detail the rubrics require, with all the respect the highest form of worship and praise we give to God demands and requires, and I do not want to be entertained.  The sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross and offering Himself to the Father for the forgiveness of our sins, opening up Heaven for us, giving us the real hope of salvation, is not entertainment, and for all Catholics, this is the Mass.  As a Catholic, I do not go to Mass to feel good, although that may be the result afterward by the grace I may receive as a gift.

I expect that those ordained to teach and defend the Truth will do just that, no more and no less.  I expect even more that they do not hide the Faith or apologize for it, or deny any part of it.  When they do fail to teach or defend the full Faith, when they hide or obscure the fullness of the Faith, apologize for it, or deny any aspect of the Faith, I expect myself to set them straight, not as I want the Faith to be but as it is.  I expect the same from other lay Catholics, and I expect that those who don’t hold the full Faith publicly, who deny any dogma of the Faith publicly whether in speaking or writing to leave the Church.  They can expect the derision and withering correction they will get.  As a Catholic, I will defend the Church and the Faith.

I have heard directly and implicitly that I am not to confront any contradiction of the Faith, any denial of the Truth, any derogation of the liturgy or insults to the practice of the Faith, if it comes from a priest, a bishop, a cardinal or the pope, because it’s disrespectful and could cause a schism.  To the contrary, sharing in the priesthood as we are taught, I have an obligation as well to them, and those in these positions of authority ought to know better and ought to know that they can expect what is to come.  I, and those like me who are Catholics who actually care, deserve absolutely orthodox and zealous prelates and have a right to so expect and demand.  I am a Catholic and if I wanted something else, the world offers me all kinds of half-truths, banalities, stupidities, and evil religions to choose from.  I have a right to demand that those in the Church who have chosen those paths leave the Church, not twist it into what She is not from within.  I am not going, and I am not going to be quiet about those who use their positions in the Church to cloth, feed and shelter themselves while working to undermine, diminish or destroy the Church or the Faith.  It is not I who needs to be silenced and show respect.  Respect is earned, as is scorn.

Am I too zealous?  Mindful of what Jesus says that I cannot be lukewarm, knowing I cannot be cold, I have no other choice, and I want to be counted among the sheep when he separates the sheep from the goats.

I just want to be Catholic, and fully so.

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Posted in Cardinal Dolan, Faith, Family, Jesuits, Life, Parish Life, Pope Francis the Muddle-Headed?, Profaning the Eucharist or Trying To, The Mass, The Point of The Blog, The Priesthood
18 comments on “I Just Want To Be Catholic
  1. Maryo says:

    God bless you!

    Like

  2. kathleen says:

    You have nailed it Steve – thank you for this great post! You have expressed my heartfelt desire, and that of thousands and thousands of other Catholics who love our Holy Catholic Church and ALL SHE TEACHES, but who are finding it harder every day to just BE CATHOLIC.

    Liked by 1 person

    • steveesq says:

      Thank you Kathleen for your kind words. It’s reassuring to know I’m not alone, although i didn’t think I was, believing there are many feeling the same way, like you! What are we asking for that’s so hard to grasp?

      Liked by 1 person

      • kathleen says:

        That is the million dollar question Steve!
        Could it be that those who appear to be so determined Catholics do not get what we ask for, have an anti-Catholic agenda? Sinister idea, but could be true… and should motivate us to ask louder and more insistently than ever.
        And I’m pretty sure we are not “alone”! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • steveesq says:

        It’s really a horrible thought and it bothers me very much, but what else are we to think? We’re seeing what they do, hearing what they say and we also know the Truth, leading to the conclusions we are drawing. And we have been warned of this by Jesus and the Apostles that false prophets and teachers would come among us. It’s become clear that “wolves” are in the sheepfold.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. kathleen says:

    We are seeing all Our Blessed Lady’s prophesies in her Church-approved apparitions (like the little known apparition under the title of Our Lady of Good Success that you blogged about recently) are coming true before our eyes. These are difficult times for faithful Catholics; it should make us redouble our efforts to cling to the Rock of our Faith with greater courage and steadfastness than ever before, helping other lost and dismayed Catholics to do the same. We have Our Lady’s promise to the little visionaries at Fatima that in the end her Immaculate Heart will Triumph – but how far in the future this will be, we have no idea. In the meantime we must take her appeals to us to heart, to pray constantly and make sacrifices for the conversion of sinners.

    BTW, I wrote a comment to say that I was re-blogging your great article on Catholicism Pure & Simple, but that seems to have disappeared. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • steveesq says:

      Thanks for the reblog. I see the notice of that but no comment from you. Please feel free to write it again. I am truly grateful for your support and I hope I am able to give some benefit to your readers.

      Like

  4. toadspittle says:

    Why does “Heaven” get a capital letter, whereas “hell” does not?

    Like

  5. toadspittle says:

    “My interpretation of Scripture depends on what the Church informs me the correct interpretation is, even if I fancy in my mind an interpretation could be something else. “
    …in other words, when I’m told by the Church to say, “Baaah,” I say, “Baaah.” And why not? I’m a sheep.

    Like

    • steveesq says:

      The Church has never told anyone to say “Baaah”. She does want us to avoid taking Scripture and twisting it to mean what we want it to mean or to justify what we may want it to justify. A good discussion of the proper way to read and understand Scripture can be found in Providentissimus Deus, an encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on the study of Holy Scripture.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Personally, I am just a Catholic, that is one who accepts Scripture, Revelation, Tradition and the Magisterium. Quite simple really.

    As for current issues, well, certain things are forbidden. Apart from Greed and Pride and so on, so is Lust. Various things come into that such as divorce and remarriage, homosexual practices, contraception, abortion, all currently the obsession of the Secularist world and so of many “secularised” Catholics.

    So, yes, quite difficult to be Catholic these days, especially when there is so little RE and even sections of the Church having gone a bit soft.

    But then, as the good bishop said recently, somewhere in America, East Coast but can’t get the reference, “no one has to be a Catholic”.

    Like

    • steveesq says:

      Thanks for your comment. I do believe that there are many like you and me and others that have chimed in here. It really is quite simple, until the sophists and “theologians” try to confuse and complicate it. And your last quote there could be the best response to those who claim to be Catholic and then want to change the Faith and the Church, but I might add “so if you don’t like it, leave.”

      Liked by 1 person

  7. piliersdelaterre says:

    In trying to fit into the category you have just described (above)- with which I fully concur (having been brought up to understand Catholicism that way- as the Objective Answering of all our deepest yearning for the REALITY of truth) – I have recognised one big problem.
    I am not a maths teacher (though I love maths, I am very bad at it). I do know, however, that the “working out” of a problem is more authentic than if students just rattle off answers (at a certain level, this is just cheating, and superficial learning).
    Catholics are no longer formed by a learning which presents them with the truth as axiomatic- we are all expected to be Mystics or baby Einsteins, and come to it through direct intuition (or oily equivocation). Liturgy, formerly appreciated even by non-Catholics as some complete form of great beauty, has been attacked for its very complexity (as though the best, the most complex, is Elitist- whereas, in fact withholding it from everyone is).
    Theology once seemed mathematical in its axiomatic character. Great cathedrals required a geometric accuracy which has its parallel in the glories of Theology.
    But we are no longer as wise and as clever as the Mediaevalists. We inhabit the dark ages (look at our debased aesthetic). Romanesque is yet more beautiful, and we are being asked to relearn a Catholicism “purified” of all taint of the “imperialist” Roman Empire.
    We are still squirming with the problem of legitimate authority, which was rejected thoroughly in the 60s and is now being reasserted by “other traditions” (somewhat- hmm- traumatically).
    I just don’t think we are going to get back our axioms so easily. The way maths (and everything else) is being taught now requires that we don’t cheat, that we only reflect in ourselves what we have truly learnt for ourselves. This is a bit of a tall order because the genius of the Church is like all genius, rare, and given to few individuals (called saints and doctors of the Church). Which is probably why we Catholics seem to be in a bit of a mess…

    Liked by 1 person

    • steveesq says:

      We are so much more enlightened than our forefathers, those simpletons who came before us. The spirit of ’68 is still rampant among us with its rejection of tradition and time-honored truths and we are still paying the price for that insipidity. Yet, we have discovered that the Truth does not change, that the Truth does not change from age to age to meet the fancies of the times, and that the axioms remain, valid no matter how they might be challenged and even rejected by those enlightened by the spirit of ’68, who are proven to be fools among us. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Truth is the Truth no matter what the current fad may put forth. Catholics are in a mess only because most do not bother to learn for themselves what the Church has always taught, the axioms held throughout the ages, that have appealed to the minds of the billions of people throughout the ages. When we take the time to learn the Faith, the spirit of ’68 is revealed to be nothing more than stupidity and child’s play.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. piliersdelaterre says:

    Things have, in a sense, been broken and it is very painful. Learning things from scratch, reinventing the wheel…all the things which Tradition was supposed to spare us, wisdom hard won, passed down to help us to live more freely and in greater truth.
    The Powers that Be decided that the Church was too hermetically sealed, often politically smug, static, that the forgiving of sin had deteriorated to a mere formula, and that this pure time capsule of a Church was not reaching out to the whole of the rest of the world.
    So they broke it (or it seems they did).
    Perhaps they’d decided the Beatles were right (all you need is Love).
    People outside the Church criticised that the Emperor had no clothes, so they took all the clothes away, in case this was true. They smashed our altars, our statues, our formalistic devotions, our proud citadel of the Latin Mass…
    They left us standing, shivering without the carapace of a strong identity. Just left us with struggling and questions, so many questions.
    I am still not sure if this has tended more to purify or demolish us.
    Christ did say that all we would have left was faith, hope and love (rather like those engineers who assure us that the solidity of steel is an illusion).
    And we have incontestable proof growing before our eyes, in the Middle East, that an eye for an eye is horrific, utter madness.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ponder Anew says:

    thank you. From another who just wants to be Catholic, i miss references such as the encyclical of Pope Leo XIII from Holy Fathers. but alas, I suppose we are assumed to be just too ‘progressive’ for such…

    Like

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