Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr Dwight Longenecker

5/1/2014 (1 year 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.

Highlights

By Fr Dwight Longenecker

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/1/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Fr Dwight Longenecker, catholicism, catholic, orthodoxy, dynamic orthodoxy, magisterium, living faith, cafetaria catholics


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

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2016
Universal:
Small Farmers: That small farmers may receive a just reward for their precious labor.
Evangelization: African Christians: That Christians in Africa may give witness to love and faith in Jesus Christ amid political-religious conflicts.



Comments


More U.S.

No Phony Truces in the Battle to Block Most Anti-Life, Liberal Court in a Generation

Image of The United States Supreme Court

By J. Kenneth Blackwell

While much of our attention is on the Presidential race, the looming battle over a Supreme Court nomination merits no less attention.  The battle lines are clear in this nomination and the future of the Court and our Constitutional principles are at ... continue reading


Fr Frank Pavone - Amoris Laetitia: Pope Francis' Encouraging Roadmap for Families Watch

Image of Fr Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life

By Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life

Amoris Laetitia is a timely and loving exhortation for families towards genuine charity that begins within the nuclear family. It can be described as a new road-map for a culture that has taken a sad and tragic detour. The Joy of Love recognizes women's ... continue reading


Catherine of Siena: We Need Saints for this Missionary Age Watch

Image of Today, in the Roman Catholic Liturgical Calendar, we commemorate one of the greatest women saints of Christian history, Catherine of Siena.  While praying at Peter's tomb, she experienced the great weight of the Church fall on her shoulders.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Father, raise up women like Catherine of Siena for this new missionary age of your Church. Women who are so in love with you, and so conformed to the Image of your Son, they can do for your Church in this hour, what she did in her own. Saints are a gift for the ... continue reading


Christian student shockingly dropped from master's program for practicing religious rights Watch

Image of Andrew Cash was discriminated against for practicing his religious rights (YouTube).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Andrew Cash practiced his religious rights at Missouri State University - and was dismissed from the master's program in counseling as a result. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the Catholic News Agency, Cash was referring same-sex couples to another ... continue reading


Not a newsflash, U.S. government authorized use of propaganda on American people...in 2013. Here's who to blame Watch

Image of Obama signed the amendment into law in 2013.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Does the news seem a little too pro-American to you? Does it seem reporters pull punches and that the real issues are ignored? Perhaps that's the result of a quiet change to the law that took place in 2013. A law banning the use of government propaganda on the American ... continue reading


The cost of incarceration: What can we do? Watch

Image of What can we do about overpopulated prisons and ex-cons' ability to find work (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)?

By Matt Hadro (CNA)

Experts from across the political spectrum are calling for criminal justice reform, as a new White House report shows the human and economic costs of the current justice system. Washington D.C. (CNA) - "This is a singular moment in one of the most challenging issues ... continue reading


Sickening portrayal of Jesus pinned to a dartboard presented as art in university library Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

An appalling portrayal of Jesus plastered to a dartboard was posted up as artwork inside the Art Library at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The "art piece," titled "Vitruvian Man," shows Jesus nailed to the dartboard ... continue reading


Which bathroom should you use? And why is this a question? Watch

Image of Figuring out which restroom to use isn't supposed to be a dilemma.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The American people are seemingly obsessed with public restrooms these days and precisely how people use the potty. The fear is being stoked by concerns that individuals who "self-identify" as the opposite sex, will take advantage of liberal policies and assault ... continue reading


Prayer Is the Path to Real Freedom Watch

Image of Prayer is the lifeline of a Christian

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Jesus said to his disciples: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. CHESAPEAKE, VA. ... continue reading


Why is Obama now sending 250 MORE troops to Syria? Watch

Image of U.S. President Barack Obama will be sending more troops to the Middle East.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

U.S. President Barack Obama announced 250 more special operations forces are to be deployed to Syria within the next few weeks. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -  Obama stated: "Just as I approved additional support for Iraqi forces against ISIL, I've decided to ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 16:1-10
1 From there he went to Derbe, and then on to Lystra, where there was a ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:1-2, 3, 5
1 [Psalm For thanksgiving] Acclaim Yahweh, all the earth,2 ... Read More

Gospel, John 15:18-21
18 If the world hates you, you must realise that it hated me before it ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 30th, 2016 Image

St. Pius V, Pope
April 30: Pope from 1566-1572 and one of the foremost ... Read More