Thursday, September 6, 2012

Newsflash! Catholics Aren’t Perfect!

by M. J. Joachim

Without getting into a long, drawn-out, humiliating, tell-all confession of my personal sins, let me take a moment to state the obvious by telling you that Catholics aren’t perfect.  As if you didn’t already know…

Yet, being Catholic lends itself to all sorts of scrutiny and judgment from others. Hey, you didn’t really think I was just going to suck it up in that last post, and let Catholics be the fall guys for “name only” religious participants, did you?

We have certain criteria which makes us Catholic, and if you believe in Catholicism, you embrace the faith, even though (like most of us) you’re bound to struggle with a precept or two here and there.

Dare I mention Catholic discipline again? “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” I don’t believe the intent of this guideline was ever meant to harm or bully a child into blinded submission. Raising our children with iron fists could easily have the opposite effect, if you ask me. As parents, there’s no doubt we need to teach our children right from wrong. But are we teaching them how to follow Christ and live like good Catholics when we do it?

Many a Catholic hater enjoys pointing out every Catholic fault you can think of. Many a “name only” Catholic does the same thing. People are people. The Catholic faith is full of them, and the neat thing about it is, regardless of how we judge anyone else, being Catholic is still about how Catholics practice what we believe. Sometimes we’re as right as right can be. Other times, mmmm, not so much. 

Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Public Domain
All work published on this blog is protected by individual property rights and copyright.

Personal Thoughts about Name Only Catholics

by M. J. Joachim

While I was walking the dog this morning, I started to think about “name only” Catholics. You can find them almost everywhere. They’re the ones that wear Catholicism like a badge of honor, often snubbing anyone who doesn’t think and act like they do. Then there’s the authoritarian group of “name only” Catholics who enjoy the power of being Catholic. While many pseudo-catholic politicians come to mind, I also couldn’t help but remember the days of good old-fashioned Catholic discipline, administered by parents, siblings, teachers, nuns, priests and pretty much anyone who could get away with it.

Yet the Catechism clearly states that the true Catholic mission is to share Christ with others. Last time I checked, Christ didn’t lord himself over anyone, a pretty remarkable fact, indeed, considering He is Lord. Christ is professed as the center of the Catholic Catechism, the Incarnate Word, second person of the Holy Trinity, truly present and alive in Eucharist.

No matter how we choose to describe Jesus, it is never harsh, cruel or brutal. Christ is all powerful, but in a good way. He teaches us discipline of our senses without bullying us into submission. He shows us how to pray through silent reflection, carefully chosen words and the willingness to open our hearts.

This is not unlike other Christian faiths that understand the joy of knowing and believing in Christ. How is it then that any Christian – Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant,  regardless of individual denomination, would stand against our brothers, either within the community or because they’re not part of our particular group? When did we decide it was our place to judge, which is not to say everyone who believes in Christ has the same tenet of faith?

Being Catholic isn’t about being part of one of the largest religious groups in the world. It’s about discovering Christ, and learning how to live because He is my Lord and Savior. Learning about Catholicism from other Catholics is a good thing, but you have to pick and choose. Some Catholics are definitely “name only.” They’ll always have a lot to say. Just remember what the Gospels teach, “By their fruits, you will know them.” 

Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Public Domain
All work published on this blog is protected by individual property rights and copyright.

The Catholic Blog I’m Supposed to Write

by M. J. Joachim

Funny how God works sometimes….

I started this blog as one of those Catholics on a mission to share my faith. It was about me, and God decided to share a bit of reality with me instead. That took quite a while. Entries to this blog slowly declined and eventually quit for a long time. I hung on knowing the continuation of this blog was only a matter of time.

And then it happened. Blogger added new features. Change has a way of getting people to start working again…usually. So I made some changes – last May…

Every day I opened this blog and something kept holding me back. Perhaps it was the coldness of the idea – read, study, write about and preach the catechism. That’s not what being catholic is all about in my book. It never has been, which is probably why I’ve struggled so much with what I was taught about Catholicism all those years ago.

Oh, I read the next pages of the Catechism – spent quite a bit of time mulling them over too. It wasn’t working for me. I’m no theologian; I’m not an evangelist either. I’m someone who has struggled with my faith over the years, a person who used to live by the saying, “If that’s being Catholic, I want no part of it at all!” I’m the revert – the one who left the Church, only to crawl back and say, “I never knew …”

There are so many things I never knew, things that might have made it easier to be that cradle catholic I was supposed to be without question. These are the things I want to share with you on this blog, not the nuts and bolts, do or die rules of what it takes to be catholic. And now that I’ve off-loaded some of my head trash around it all, I believe it is time to start doing so.

Follow along with me, if you will. A journey like this is always better with more peopleJ

Until next time, I wish you only good things, kind friends, and look forward to when we meet again.

M. J. 

Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Creative Commons Attribution