If Cafeteria Catholicism is a Thing, Then I’m the Head Lunch Lady

Sarah del Rio
Written by Sarah del Rio

Confession time: I am a Cafeteria Catholic.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, or if you’re a little rusty on your Catholic lingo, let me break it down for you. A Cafeteria Catholic is someone who strongly identifies as Catholic but has THE AUDACITY! THE TEMERITY! THE VERY GALL! to disagree with some of the Church’s teachings.

The imagery you need to understand the concept is right in the words themselves. Just picture a Ponderosa Steakhouse-style buffet, but with religious tenets hanging out behind the sneeze guard instead of food. Then visualize the self-proclaimed “good” Catholic walking by and piling his or her plate high and full with Every. Single. Possible. Thing. Leaving no item untouched.

Even the gross stuff.

And then there’s people like me. We lag at the back of the buffet line. We hem. We haw. We waffle. We waver. We take forever to decide, and in the end we pick just the few items we like while completely disregarding the rest.

We are the Cafeteria Catholics, and make no mistake about it – it’s a derogatory term.

Because it’s a derogatory term, I used to feel a lot of shame about being classified that way. It made me feel inadequate. It made me feel like a hypocrite. It made me feel like I was taking advantage of my own religion. Above all, it made me feel like a bad Catholic.

It took me a long time to realize that’s exactly what that label is *supposed* to do.

Upon this realization, I started to pay closer attention, and I noticed that the people throwing around the label of Cafeteria Catholic were almost always conservative Catholics who saw it as an easy way to tear down progressive Catholics, primarily for their dissenting views on sexytimes.

Like so:

“Oh, you think masturbation isn’t a sin? Tch. Cafeteria Catholic.”

“Oh, you support a woman’s right to use birth control or have an abortion? That’s nice.” (side whisper to friend: “Cafeteria Catholic.”)

“Oh, you shacked up with your boyfriend and engaged in all kinds of freaky good premarital sex?” *cough “CAFETERIA CATHOLIC”*

And if you’re gay? And you want to get MARRIED? You, my friend, are the biggest and most flaming Cafeteria Catholic of all. You might as well get that shit tattooed on your forehead.

Cafeteria Catholics are also sometimes referred to as “Catholics-in-Name-Only,” or CINOs. And once again, those of us who get called out for being CINOs only ever seem to hear the term in the context of sex- or gender-related issues. Catholics who dissent against Church doctrine in other ways — such as politics, economics, social justice, capital punishment, or military ethics — are given a gigantic pass.

Because it’s the SEX STUFF THAT MATTERS, GOD DAMN IT.

And why exactly is it the sex stuff that matters? I’ll tell you. It’s because the sex stuff presses our shame buttons. And when our shame buttons are pressed, we back off.

Conservative Catholics get extremely nervous when progressive Catholics start talking about doctrinal reform. But they’re not stupid. They figured out that that quickest and easiest way to avoid bringing these matters to a civilized debate they might actually lose is to quickly jump on a moral high horse and start shrieking about THE SEX. And how Cafeteria Catholics who don’t abide by the Vatican’s policies regarding THE SEX are unorthodox by default and therefore unqualified to weigh in on *any* religious matters whatsoever, sexytimes-related or otherwise.

Basically, they want to drive the point home that we CINOs aren’t “good enough” Catholics. And what’s the best way to make people feel like they’re not good enough? Call them names and press their shame buttons.

It’s juvenile, but it works.

Let’s take a quick look at reality for a moment – there is not one person in this whole god damn world who believes 100% of what their faith or overall moral construct teaches. Why? Because it is simple human nature to question, to assess, to reassess. It is our biological imperative to think, adapt, and evolve. It is the reason we currently sit around staring at 50” HD televisions instead of at a collection of enormous rocks.

And like everything else in life, sexual mores change. They are fluid. As society improves and develops, so must our views about sexuality. Just as we would no longer burn someone alive as part of a witch trial, or torture someone for heresy by lowering them butthole-first onto a Judas cradle, or spend our entire Sabbath day doing nothing but sitting and staring at a dirt wall, we should no longer accept religious tenets based on antiquated views of sexuality and gender.

That shit needs to go the way of the overly restrictive corset.

In light of all that, I’ve decided that I need to go ahead and embrace the label of Cafeteria Catholic. Some may see it as “picking and choosing” what portions of my faith buffet to partake in, but I see it as having realistic expectations. For example, I’m not going to subscribe to the belief that masturbation is a sin when everything we’ve learned over the past 2000 years tells us it’s perfectly natural and harms no one. And that 99.9999999% of people do it.

Rather, I will continue to practice what I call “relevant Catholicism” while I wait patiently for the Church and its doctrine to catch up to modern society. If it doesn’t happen in my lifetime, that’s all right – I’ll go to my grave knowing I stood up for what was practical and real. And if that makes me a Cafeteria Catholic, so be it.

Because I *am* a Catholic. That part I know. Catholicism is the foundation on which I have built my life. It is the place I go for comfort and solace during hard times. It is the platform on which I stand to celebrate my family’s victories and achievements. It is woven into the fabric of my marriage, it is the basis of my approach to parenting, and it is the inspiration behind my views on philanthropy, good works, and service to others. It is the most critical component to my relationship with God.

It is everything to me.

And I’m not going to think of myself as a lesser Catholic just because I don’t go to Mass every Sunday. Or confess before Communion. Or refrain from flicking the bean in the privacy of my own home.

If Cafeteria Catholicism is really a thing, you best believe I’m the head lunch lady.

And proud of it.

About the author

Sarah del Rio

Sarah del Rio

Sarah del Rio is a comedy writer whose award-winning humor blog est.1975 brings snark, levity, and perspective to the ladies of Generation X.

Despite being a corporate refugee with absolutely no formal training in English, journalism, or writing of any kind, Sarah earns her daily bread as a freelance writer and editor. She has also contributed to several anthologies, including I STILL Just Want to Pee Alone, the latest installment in the national-bestselling I Just Want to Pee Alone series.

Sarah contributes regularly to BLUNTMoms and has made frequent appearances on The Huffington Post Best Parenting Tweets of the Week List. She has also been featured on Scary Mommy, In the Powder Room, and the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop.

You can also follow Sarah on her blog est.1975 and on Facebook and Twitter.

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47 Comments

  • TOTALLY agree, 100% with everything you said. It’s time the Vatican and the entire Catholic Church came into the new millennium rather than stay in the dark ages.

  • Hi Sarah,
    I’m a conservative Catholic and I would like to apologize for anyone who has made you feel unembraced by the church.
    “Cafeteria Catholic” and other such negative terms indicate an interior space which us anything but Catholic; Jesus taught us not to throw stones at each other, but rather to love one another.
    I hope that you will continue to pursue your faith and share your opinions freely. I don’t share your opinions, but I see judging and name-calling as fundamentally wrong.

  • Let’s be honest. The sex stuff matters and the priests who suffer with stinted sexual development and are attracted to too young boys know it.

    I like cafeteria catholics because nobody should blindly stumble into a belief system without questions or dissents.

  • Oh, totally get this one. The kindest way to describe my family is that they are “zealous” Catholics. While growing up I recall there being the C-and-E (Christmas and Easter) Catholic contingent–of which we were shamed with until my brother and sisters and I grew up and mostly renounced our faith. My mother has since rejoined the zealous flock.

    • I don’t understand people who are zealous ANYTHING. Isn’t it our prerogative as human beings to ask questions?

      People might think I’m a zealous nail polish fanatic, but I’ll tell you what: I WILL NEVER, EVER TRY NEWSPAPER NAILS.

  • Agreed! I remember learning in a secular bible studies class that the prohibition on masturbation was the result of a misunderstanding. A man’s brother died and he was supposed to have sex with his brother’s wife to continue his brother’s line of heirs. Instead he “spilled his seed.” And that was his sin, not the spilling of seed itself. His name was Onan, thus Onanism. End pedantic speech! Of course I’m a lapsed Catholic altogether but I loved your head lunch lady analogy! Perfect.

  • Flicking the bean….rotflmao. I have never heard that one before. Its funny how people only become their religion when its convenient. Never the less people will always do it

    • I never become my religion. But I do lean on it. Heavily. And I embrace the fact that I can lean on it while at the same time questioning it. Just like I would lean on a friend, a family member, a partner… lean on them but not take every single one of their opinions as gospel truth.

  • I love this. I grew in a very Catholic household and really love the Catholic church, but left it when I married my husband who is not Catholic. We have spent 10 years looking for a church and still haven’t found one that we love. My very, very Catholic older sister (who used to be a nun… long story) uses the term Cafeteria Catholic all the time. She would never dream of thinking outside of what the church teaches. It kills her that I am no longer Catholic, but I really couldn’t be a part of a church that believes so many things that are different from my own beliefs. It makes me sad because the Catholic church really feels the most like home to me and when I go to mass, I feel closer to God than at any of the many churches we have tried out over the past 10 years. But I just don’t believe in all the judgment and negativity that the Church teaches.

    • “It kills her that I am no longer Catholic.”

      I just don’t get this. Why does it bother people so much when their loved ones have different lives, beliefs, and opinions? It’s so much stress for everyone involved and… for what?

      As for Catholicism… I invite you to join me me at my lunch table. *pats seat*

      • Maybe the fact that they’d like to keep running into them occasionally for like, eternity?

        Hell is real. Don’t go there.

  • I don’t even want to know what a Judas Cradle is. Great post, Sarah – very passionate. Jesus said the greatest two commandments were to love God and love others, so… all the other stuff – it just seems to create a mess.

  • I never knew there was a word for this. I made my break with the Church when my husband wouldn’t go through the classes, so we’re Methodist (ish) now but I have to say, there are some things I miss. I always strongly disagreed with the birth control topic.

    I enjoyed reading this. You brought up a lot of the same things I’ve always thought but never really talked about. Love your writing!

  • Taking the Lord’s name in vain on multiple occasions & supporting the right to murder unborn babies (science has proven there’s a human genome present after conception) goes against two of the most basic tenets laid out by our Lord in the 10 Commandments. I pray that you find God’s loving Grace to broaden your Spirit in Christ.

    • I’m not sure, but I think it’s possible that you missed the entire point of the piece. I’m not orthodox and/or fundamentalist and I never claimed to be. And yet my opinions and the opinions of others like me deserve to be recognized. I give large amounts of time, talent and treasure to my church. I educate my son in the church. I care deeply for the church. And yet? The first thing you jump to is the fact that I use curse words and believe something different than you about sexytimes.

      That said, I’m never going to say no to prayers. Thank you for that.

    • Marie, science can prove that there’s a complete human genome left on the toilet paper after one wipes their hind end. This said, I must congratulate you for your unorthodox views in using science to back up doctrine. It took the Catholic church almost 400 years to forgive Galileo for stating that the Earth went around the sun, in spite of scientific evidence.

      Also, Sarah is correct. The whole point of her piece was that she is marginalized and her faith invalidated because she believes portions of Catholic doctrine are outdated or in need of reevaluation. They are. Do you remember the way the Catholic church sold indulgences? When they beggared families to assure them that their loved ones would go to heaven? Fortunately, the Catholic church revised and reevaluated their own practices.

      To breed, unchecked, is unhealthy for a woman, not conducive to the health of small children, hard for families to support, and terrible for the Earth and environment. Do you disagree? Do you believe that there’s no exception to abortion that allows for the health of the mother?

      I believe a just God would want us to be fruitful and multiply… sustainably… not overrun the Earth like a plague of locusts. And I don’t believe he would make a woman sacrifice herself to be a brood mare to the point that she dies in childbed.

      • Anne, you said this better than I ever could. Thank you. <3 (And thanks for bringing up indulgences as a great example of what I'm talking about in this piece.)

        Also, good points about the tenet of "be fruitful and multiply." I would like to remind Marie and all of the other pro-life advocates out there that those of us who believe in the right to choice are not necessarily going around knocking ourselves up willy-nilly and having abortions like mad woah. It's a question of circumstance and having the freedom to make the best decision for ourselves and our families in light of said circumstance. /soapbox

  • My two cents only, but I think that organized religion, and Catholicism in particular should be grateful that anybody shows up at all anymore. To have a young person believe in even half the stuff is still a win.

    People are generally not sheep, and think for themselves. If they still show up at church take it as a bonus and move on. Don’t judge a young woman like Sarah for buying into part of the story but not all of it.

    Oh and by the way, if priests could marry and women could be priests, the PR problems of the old doctrine would start to fade. However if everybody is busy judging inadequate believers, we will find the Vatican in a museum some day.

    • Thank you Magnolia. Particularly for calling me “young.” 😀

      In all seriousness, your observation that “people are not sheep, and think for themselves” is really the concept that lies beneath this whole piece. Every moral construct has its flaws, from organized religion to fundamentalist atheism. The key is thinking, analyzing, re-analyzing, and doing what needs to be done to make yourself a better person.

  • “The thing is: A kind of miracle happens when we don’t label people but love people.” — Ann Voskamp

    YES. If people truly just loved and (at least) respected each other and didn’t use labels—what a different world we would live in. I get labeled a Christian (which I am) but with that label comes a LOT of unfair assumptions. An example would be that I must “hate” certain people for living certain lifestyles and that I judge those who believe differently than I etc. but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. If we loved the world and each other the way Jesus loves us, the world would be a better place.

    “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” — Ephesians 4:2

  • I understand the name of your website is “Blunt Moms”, & after reading Anne’s response comparing a developing baby’s DNA with feces on a toilet paper (for which I’ll let the statement speak for itself), it’s easy too see why. However, in my response, I will try to work beyond the headlines of the Catholic Church being anti-science, endorsing the sale of indulgences & attempt to add some needed context to the dialogue.

    First, in Galileo’s life, the Jesuits had a highly respected group of astronomers and scientists in Rome. Many notable scientists received encouragement and funding from the Church and a lot of the scientific advances during this period were made either by clerics or as a result of Church funding. Unfortunately, the scientific instruments of the time were incapable of observing parallax shifts (which would have affirmed Galileo’s heliocentric view) in the stars’ positions as the earth moved in its orbit around the sun. Hence, the scientists of this period were in favor of the geocentric view & that greatly influenced (not tradition or the Bible) the Church & is why Galileo’s theory was refuted, but there was never any infallible ruling. In time, science advanced & the Church lifted the ban on Galileo’s books 76 years after his death. Finally, the Church was correct in backing the scientists who believed in the sun’s mobility, whereas, Galileo incorrectly believed the sun to be the center of the universe (instead of the solar system).

    As for the sale of indulgences, the Catholic Church has never approved of the sale of them. Obviously, there’s the undeniable fact during the 16th Century individual Catholics did sell indulgences, but in doing so they acted contrary to explicit Church regulations. The abuse got so out of hand, that they had to be addressed in greater detail at the Council of Trent.

    As for “portions of Catholic doctrine are outdated or in need of reevaluation”, this is where being Catholic comes down to having Faith, that Jesus Himself founded the Church when he told St. Peter (the 1st Pope) he was the rock of His Church & “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” All of Jesus Disciples (except one), died a martyr’s death, because they believed he conquered death & was truly God, this holds a lot of weight in my Faith. If the term “religion” is used to describe following the Church Jesus founded, then I’m all for it. Have people twisted the word “religion”? Absolutely! Yet, this is part of the beauty as to why the Church has survived for 2000 years, because the Traditions founded by Jesus, his Disciples & recorded in the 1st Century, have persevered, because they can’t be altered by modern man, only twisted by those who are allowed to get away with it, due to a lack of knowledge. Don’t be a “sheep” or just go for social reasons, take the time to research “why” (Catholic Answers is a good organization) the Church is what it is, there is much Wisdom to be found if one is indeed a “thinker”. That said, lay people still need to question bishops & priests who don’t practice what they preach as it is all to easy (the human element) to become enveloped by power & corruption.

    “Breeding” is a scientific term, that generally used for describing the selective process of reproducing offspring for animals (horses for example) and plants. As the manager of a non-GMO seed-bank, the term is often used when discussing cross-pollination, but I’ve never heard it used as a clinical term to describe human procreation. Are there medical journals that use this term to describe human reproduction? Like everyone in this forum, we are entitled to our opinion & I believe human life is sacred from conception until death. & felt better after reading Sarah follow up comments that involved some consideration on the subject.

    Like Sarah (NurseLovesFarmer.com), I don’t hate anyone & I certainly don’t wish anyone ill-will, but in good conscience, thought it best to speak from my heart. Hopefully, some of the misconceptions about Catholics that were compounded by the WASPs who dominated this country for such a long period of time, will be given further consideration. Peace be with you all 🙂

    • Marie:

      I’ll just say this up front: Anne was absolutely not comparing a baby’s developing DNA to human feces. She was saying you could pull a map of the complete human genome from each. I’m not a scientist so I don’t know if that’s accurate, but Anne *does* know her science, so I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she’s right. I also know that she is a wonderful mother who wouldn’t literally or meaningfully compare a child to a piece of poop.

      That said, your comment clearly took a lot of thought and hard work and I think all of us here at BLUNTMoms appreciate that. We hope that you continue to join us here at the web site and to leave comments even if some of us don’t agree with them. I for one do not believe that every single tenet of a 2000-year old organization remains relevant today and never will. But you are certainly comfortable with your beliefs and your faith and I respect that.

      It was my hope that despite our disagreement, you would appreciate the fact that I am an active (volunteering, donating, prayerful) member of my parish and my son’s parish school, and be content with the fact that Catholicism brings our family a sense of community and peace that is often lost in these troubled and largely secular times. However, if your stance is truly “go all the way or go home,” I guess I can’t change that. Thanks again for your thoughtful participation in this discussion…

      Sarah

  • Thank you for the thoughtful response Sarah. I must admit I was a little cross eyed ( 10 1/2 month old daughter fell asleep early, allowing me to respond) by the time I wrapped up last night’s response & neglected to say it’s great that you attend Mass, volunteer, pray & donate your time. I think it’s best to fully open that door when He knocks, but ultimately it isn’t my final judgement call, to claim how far that door needs to be opened or to say who is doing a better job of keeping those hinges oiled. Also, I’m certainly no Saint, yet I do seek to understand how I can do a better job of understanding & measuring up to my shortcomings. Finally, I apologize for coming across as, “go all the way or go home”, that wasn’t my intention. Again, thank you for your thoughtful response & God Bless.

  • In a real cafeteria I load up on mac and cheese and ice cream, and go back for drink refills. I’m not sure how to make this metaphor work, but I’m glad cafeterias are there, even if I wrinkle my nose at some of their offerings. *nailed it*

  • Well, I found this after googling “Cafeteria Catholics”…because even though I’m going for my RCIA, I realize that’s what I am. But I shut up about it, because I know I’d be kicked out of RCIA for opening my mouth.

    Look, I adore the theology, but not so crazy about the church. When I found out missing mass on Sunday and masturbation were MORTAL sins, I just cringed. Say it ain’t so! I love Jesus! I try to live right…now you tell me I’m going to burn in hell? Then on the day our facilitator brought in bottles of Holy Water to our RCIA class and passed them around like she was handing out soda pop, without any real explanation of what Holy Water really is – like her telling us to cook with it, sprinkle it around the house, blah, blah…I knew right then and there there’s a lot more to Catholicism than this RCIA class. So I’m getting confirmed, but they don’t know my secrets! God bless for a wonderful, honest article that tells it like it is.

    • When was the last time you read your 10 commandments ? I was young once and had the same thinking as you but now I realized after reading a lot of things about the Church I now see the beauty of it. Creation is good. Start with G.K. Chesterton, Bp. Fulton Sheen, Bp. Robert Barron, Catholic Answer, Catholic Radio and TV (EWTN), Peter Kreeft etc etc..

  • I know this an older post and I’m just stumbling on it now. Apologies if it is no longer relevant for you. I appreciate the thought that went into this self-justification (I mean that in charity, I’m not quite sure how to classify it) into why you feel it is important to accept or embrace the label cafeteria Catholic. While I certainly believe that uber conservative Catholics can be judgmental of anyone who doesn’t embrace every teaching of the Church, and that certainly is a flaw that I believe Pope Francis is asking Catholics to keep in check, I also think that being a cafeteria Catholic, as a reaction to uber conservatives, is like looking at a sunset and commenting on its beauty while it is overcast outside. If you can imagine that it is truely beautiful, but you cannot see it, and if you were asked to decribe what it might look like, you’d likely be subjective in your description of its beauty.

    When we can’t see the Church for what it is, and only see its human imperfection, then we don’t see its beauty. Or if we try to define its beauty by our subjective view of it, then it would be easy to assess it as something it is not.

    Socially liberal or conservative Catholics do not have the authority or moral righteousness to interpret divine revelation. Although many will act like they do.

    If the Church, is seen as another institution among many, claiming to possess the fullness of the Truth, and does not, indeed possess that binding authority coming from the Holy Spirit, exercised by the Apostles and their successors, the bishops, then, the Church truly is not a mother leading us to Heaven in Spirit and Truth, and in which case, cafeteria Catholicism, which is really just another word for Protestantism, would be a valid stance.

    However, if the Church is who she understands herself to be in relation to her spouse Jesus Christ, then she is the light in a darkened world, a sacrament to lead us to God, by His grace. And if this is the case, then everything she teaches on faith and morals, even if culturally unpopular, is True and is not uncharitable but is quite the opposite. For it is the Truth that sets us free to be in proximity to the Kingdom of God.

    People hear what they want to hear though. And if the Church says no, some think that it is oppressive, and in need of reform. Others use the Church to shame others. Still others, accept her teachings and seek to live it, which means stop judging, love God, love your neighbor, stay faithful, and above all, stay humble and close to Jesus, most especially His mercy while striving to keep his commands and share the reason for our joy.

    We are people of mercy and that should be our philosophy.

    We are all on a journey, I hope you find your way back to the Church which teaches, in no way the purpose of making us feel guilty, but rather offers the solution to guilt; guilt, which is healthy, not to be oppressed if we actually have committed sin, which we all do. Guilt can lead us to repentance, i.e. God’s infinite mercy.

    We are all sinners, we all fall in areas of sexuality from time to time. The Church has had some terrifically terrible leaders in her History, but she has also had saints, who are essentially sinners who repent and keep trying, over and over. Thank goodness for Mercy. Sexuality directed to Heaven and not to worldly ideology, is beautiful, and at the same time challenging. It goes against the tide of the culture which is always challenging sexual norms. But we do live in a very sexually confused society. The cross is beautiful because it leads to heaven, but challenging because it demands acceptance of God’s plan, and trust. Therefore it looks foolish to the world. The garden of Eden, they couldn’t accept God’s way, so they ate the forbidden fruit. They didn’t trust God, they wanted to decide for themselves what was correct. The oldest trick of Satan.

    Mary’s obedience gave us Jesus who reversed everything and got us back on the right path though perfect obedience to His Father.

    How do we know what is God’s way now? By prayer, discernment and obedience. God would not lead into something which is actively against what he has revealed through His Church. Satan would.

  • Sarah – I am a what you will call a conservative Catholic. Once in a while I do not follow the Church’s teachings but the difference between me and you is whenever I failed to follow I know I failed Jesus. Then go to confession. Each one of us have an obligation to remind each other of what the teachings of the Church is. If you dont follow, thats your problem. If you think the Church’s teaching will change, you are living in fantasy lab. Peace okay.

  • Oh, how wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Thank you. I have a fractious relationship with the Church but it is the way God has come into my life, and your post made me feel so much more at ease. God bless you. I shall no longer be ashamed of being a Cafeteria Catholic but instead be grateful for the largesse on offer in the messy restaurant of faith.

  • Sarah
    The Church will never change it’s teaching to fit modern times.
    We all are free to believe what we want. God gives us free will. Free will has been the downfall of man since Eve ate the fruit from the tree. Hence sin.
    This article promotes mortal sin. Why is it necessary fot you to take God’s name in vain?
    If you really believe its ok for a mother to kill her own child that is called murder whether its legal or not.
    Jesus said we will be hated for following him and boy was he right. Jesus died because of our sins. Sin is what causes Him to suffer still. Our world is walking in darkness right now. We must step up and be an example to others to bring Jesus yo others He is in the members of the Body of Christ. We are called to be Jesus to others. We are called to love as he did but never ever did Our Lord accept or promote sin. Somehow I doubt he thinks its ok to flick your bean in the privacy of your home. God is always watching and we are called to be saints to be pure and beautiful like Our Blessed Mother.
    You cant just pick and choose what you like and leave it at that. Waiting for the Church to adhere to modernism?
    It hurts Him and we crucify him over and over again. Its not about me taking the moral high ground. Its about truth. When you Love someone you speak the truth to them not your truth or their truth but the Truth.
    I pray for you and it saddens me to read this article. Jesus himself warned us about being lukewarm. He said he spits out the lukewarm. It is better that they were not born. Not my words but His. It is easy to go along with the world. But as Christ himself pointed out “The world will hate you because of me” . We are called to love and care for all but that doesn’t give us a free pass to sin. We are called to represent Jesus Christ pure love and humility. He said we must die to ourselves. We must suffer for sin for Him who was nailed to a wooden cross so we can live forever with him in Heaven. It requires much sacrifice to be a follower of Jesus. We have to say yes to God like Mary. We have to deny ourselves and our will and submit to Our Heavenly Fathers will.
    May God bless you
    Michelle

  • Sarah,

    Spoiler alert: Every Catholic is a cafeteria Catholic, as I will now hopefully demonstrate. (what they neglected to tell you in First Communion class)

    While grace/charity may be the vital principle animating the person baptized as Catholic (CCC 1856) according to the Sacramental Economy, as a Catholic actively participating in Mass which is rightly offered for even the gravest crimes and sins (Trent 22) and reconciles us with the Divine Majesty (CCC 1354), come Heaven or hell I am alive spiritually. “Lift up your hearts”. The priest escorts us into the throne room (Heb. 4:16) of our Father Who Art In Heaven which is the very essence of being spiritually alive. Our Catholic Church has two theologies (soteriologies) of the baptized Catholic. In the Mass though I be guilty of horrendous sin I am alive spiritually, but in the Sacramental Economy, I’m either spiritually dead or spiritually alive depending on my behavior.

    At Mass the Lord says, through the priest, “take this…eat”. In RCIA the same priest say’s “if you’re in mortal sin you’re dead, don’t eat”. I’m hearing echoes from Eden.

    We are offering God his crucified Son in atonement for our sins and for the sins of the whole world (cf. Divine Mercy Chaplet). We eat Holy Communion because we are the priest’ (cf. Lev. 10; Heb 13:10). That’s a lower case w we, inclusive of the whole assembly, in “In memory of his death and resurrection, we offer you, Father, this life-giving bread, this saving cup. We thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you.” (EP II)

    “And thenceforth, the Apostles, and their successors in the priesthood, began to lift to heaven that “clean oblation” foretold by Malachy (Malachi 1:11), through which the name of God is great among the gentiles. And now, that same oblation in every part of the world and at every hour of the day and night, is offered and will continue to be offered without interruption till the end of time: a true sacrificial act, not merely symbolical, which has a real efficacy unto the reconciliation of sinners with the Divine Majesty.” (Pius XI, 20 December 1935)

    And I’m going to confession why ? It seems somebody forgot to tell the teacher that Mass is truly propitiatory (Trent 22).

    “To avoid any misunderstanding, it should be noted that Jesus’ mercy was not expressed by putting moral law in parentheses. For Jesus, good is good and evil is evil. Mercy does not change the connotations of sin but consumes it in a fire of love.” (Benedict XVI, 17 June 2007)

  • Jesus died on the cross and rose again while defending traditional marriage, selfless love, and more, and His Apostles and first Christians were tortured and martyred for upholding “outdated beliefs” that you scoff at. 2000 years of a timeless Church and Her Teachings from God being thrown out because you think you know more than Him.

    Well, how’s this for being blunt? If countless regimes and empires and persecutions couldn’t wipe out the Trtuh, what makes you think you can?

    God doesn’t evolve. You don’t have to like all Teachings of His, that’s actually part of the struggle: not understanding why this or that thing is true but following it anyway. You are free to question and learn, and to use this drive to read into biblical history, the Catechism, the works of the saints, and more. And sometimes, not understanding or accepting a teaching right away is its own cross.

    I will pray for you and other “cafeteria Catholics” because you are partaking in the Eucharist without truly being in Communion with the Church who has defended and bled for Christ and His Truth in that little host; such a thing has serious consequences to your immortal soul. Or is that one of those disgusting dishes in the buffet you haw and hum at?

    • Ginnie,
      I am quite open to being told where my post is in error. You didn’t point out where I was mistaken. Maybe it wasn’t my post you had in mind.

      Steve