Skip to content

Fr Dwight Longenecker on Tinkerbell Catholicism

By Fr Dwight Longenecker
5/1/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

No wonder we call them

When Catholics fall into the ways of the world and pick and choose what  elements of the church they think is true and reject other parts they really, in a profound way, cease to be Catholics because by doing so they are saying, "This is not a revealed religion. This is, after all, simply a man made rule of a man made institution. I can therefore do what I like." What the Catholic Church needs now more than ever are good, solid, supernaturally inspired, joyful, dynamic and energetic Catholics. What we need are Catholics who are empowered by the supernatural vision of the Church of Christ alive in the world as an objective reality--not something that exists - only if you happen to like it.

GREENVILLE, S.C. (Catholic Online) - Do you remember that episode in Peter Pan when Tinkerbell is about to perish and all the children in the audience are asked to clap their hands if they believe in fairies? Their clapping makes Tinkerbell come back to life.

Tinkerbell seems to have invaded the mindset of modern man. That is to say, too many people think that if you believe something it makes it so, and if you do not believe something that makes it so. How often have you heard people say, "Well, I don't believe in Hell." Then they go on living like the devil-imagining that just not believing in Hell makes Hell go away. 

Likewise a good number of religious people think that just by believing a particular doctrine makes it so. This is not belief. It is wishful thinking.

This form of relativism is sometimes expressed as "If that belief works for you, then that's good. It doesn't work for me." This is not faith it is utilitarianism. A person chooses a belief according to how useful it is. 

Most non Catholic Christians treat the church as simply a useful, man made institution.  They do not stop to think what might be the true church, because they don't think such a thing exists. Instead church is like a fast food franchise. You choose which one you works for you and you can "have it your way."

An increasing number of Catholics operate the same way. They choose the items of church belief and practice they like best, and reject what they don't like. St Benedict named four types of monks, and these he called the "gyrovagues". He writes in the Rule,

"They are never stable throughout their own lives, but wanderers through diverse regions, receiving hospitality in the monastic cells of others.Always roving and never settling, they follow their own wills, enslaved by the attractions of gluttony.

He calls these church shoppers gluttons! No wonder we call them "Cafeteria Catholics". Like diners at a buffet they sniff out what what they like and don't like and take a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

The reason St Benedict links this kind of Christianity with gluttony is because the church shoppers are driven by pleasure. Cafeteria Catholics choose what they like and reject what doesn't suit them, never realizing that in doing so they are undermining the very Catholicism they profess.

If you choose to believe in something just because it attracts you or because you think it is useful, then you are living in Never Never Land with Tinkerbell. We don't believe Catholicism because we find it useful or attractive; we believe Catholicism because it's true. 

Catholicism is solid and real. It is based on the life, teaching, passion, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ-a real historical figure who was God in human form. He founded the Catholic Church by giving his apostles his own divine authority on earth. That Catholic Church is a real, historical institution. It has laws and property and prelates and priests and people. Each element of the Catholic Church is part human and part divine. The Body of Christ is incarnate today in a real and solid way within the structures and teachings and people and sacraments of this church.

It is not fairyland. It is not a fantasy. It is not something that happens to be true if you happen to choose to believe in it. The Catholic Church does not exist because you clap your hands.

When Catholics fall into the ways of the world and pick and choose what  elements of the church they think is true and reject other parts they really, in a profound way, cease to be Catholics because by doing so they are saying, "This is not a revealed religion. This is, after all, simply a man made rule of a man made institution. I can therefore do what I like."

What the Catholic Church needs now more than ever are good, solid, supernaturally inspired, joyful, dynamic and energetic Catholics. What we need are Catholics who are empowered by the supernatural vision of the Church of Christ alive in the world as an objective reality--not something that exists - only if you happen to like it.

-----

Fr Dwight Longenecker is the parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary church in Greenville, South Carolina.Visit his blog, listen to his radio show, subscribe to his weekly newsletter and be in touch at dwightlongenecker.com Join Fr Longenecker during Lent for a Blobble Study. That is a Bible study on a blog. On his blog, Standing on My Head he will lead readers through a study of Mark's gospel. There will be a reading from the gospel each day with a short reflection. Then the combox is open for comment and discussion. His latest book is The Romance of Religion --Fighting for Goodness, Truth and Beauty

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for APRIL 2017
Young People.
That young people may respond generously to their vocations and seriously consider offering themselves to God in the priesthood or consecrated life.


Comments


More U.S.

Deacon Keith Fournier: Road to Emmaus - Jesus Walks with Us on the Road of Life Watch

Image of

We can learn a vital lesson from this account in the Gospel of Luke; one which can radically reorient our entire life. Jesus is always ... continue reading


How a pile of BONES in San Diego is upsetting everything we know about human arrival in North America Watch

Image of Did prehistoric humans slay a mastodon outside modern San Diego 130,000 years ago?

According to the conventional theory, humans migrated into the Americas just about 15,000 years ago, following herds of animals they hunted ... continue reading


The Saint Pio Foundation to Honor Hon. Rick and Karen Santorum and Father John Enzler

Image of Hon. Rick and Karen Santorum will receive the Saint Pio Award jointly.

The Saint Pio Foundation has chosen former Congressman and Senator Hon. Rick Santorum, his wife Karen, and Father John Enzler to receive ... continue reading


Secret shadowy terrorist group uncovered in the US, and you will be surprised to see who it is Watch

Image of The terrorist are our own children, recruited at college to incite violence and mayhem.

Following the election of Barack Obama, a move that displeased conservatives, how long did it take for conservatives to arm themselves and ... continue reading


Cherokee Nation sues drug distributors while CDC claims opioid deaths are underreported Watch

Image of The opioid epidemic continues to wreak havoc across the United States.

As the CDC admits the opioid epidemic may be worse than originally believed, the Cherokee Nation files a lawsuit against pharmacies and ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.