Who decides what it means to be Catholic? - Macleans.ca

Who decides what it means to be Catholic?

Religious identity politics heat up over abortion


When Rome-based Archbishop Raymond Burke accused Boston Cardinal Seán O’Malley with being under the influence of Satan, “the father of lies,” because O’Malley permitted and presided over a funeral mass for Senator Ted Kennedy, it sent U.S. Catholicism into an uproar. More than protests over the University of Notre Dame’s decision to invite President Barack Obama to speak, disputes over the Kennedy funeral rose from a slow-burning fight: what to do with politicians who support abortion rights. Burke and others who believe a Catholic’s position on abortion trumps all other teachings oppose those who take a more holistic view of the faith. But at the core, the divide is over who decides what it means to be Catholic—and over whether the cost of rubbing along peacefully with secular society is worth the religious cost.


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Who decides what it means to be Catholic?

  1. Burke didn't accuse O'Malley of anything. What he said was this: "One sees the hand of the Father of Lies at work in the disregard for the situation of scandal or in the ridicule and even censure of those who experience scandal. "

    Also, no one believes that "a Catholic's position on abortion trumps all other teachings". That is a gross misrepresentation. What many do believe is that one can't define one's self as Catholic while rejecting bedrock Catholic teachings. Those who are generally in agreement with the Catholic Church while disregarding the Church's authority are called "Protestants".

    Ultimately, though, this is not an issue of faith. It's an issue of human rights, and I for one am glad to see the Catholic Church standing up for the victims. In 100 years people will wonder how our society could be so crazy as to honour men like Morgentaler and the Quisling politicians who support them. My guess is that when that time comes, secularists will accuse the Catholic Church of not having spoken out forcefully enough. Examples like the Kennedy funeral will be brought up as "evidence" that the Catholic Church held to a Concordat with the barbarism of our society.

  2. Who decides? Well, the Catholic church has a top-down structure. The Pope decides what it means to be a catholic. You either get in step or get out (or fake it).

  3. The person who does these "need to know" segments does a really poor job of understanding the stories he or she summarizes.

    But yeah, being Catholic means that you accept the authority of the magesterium on matters of faith and doctrine. It isn't an ethnicity like being Jewish is.

  4. if you are catholic and get too liberal shouldn't you become a protestant? ..or just be like most catholics and ignore certain things the church teaches that go against common western beliefs

  5. I hear they have fist fights over whether electricity can be used, whether it can be used in just the barn, or the house and the barn.

    • I hear people stil believe in discredited 19th century notions of societal and moral progress being linked with technological progress.

  6. Christianity has many vulnerable points of view. Unfortunately, "Christian" children are taught by their parents and Catholic teachers — at a time when the chidren accept parental and teacher instructions without question — but before the child has the defense of reason. Little wonder why teenagers rebel against parental authority! The teenager is trying to introduce his/her reason into the order of their parents and teachers. And why not? With elementary knowledge of biology, it is impossible to have a "virgin birth" — and with a virgin birth Jesus Christ could not be of the house of David — you cannot have it both ways!