Sunday, 18 July 2010

What does 'being a Catholic' mean?

I ask the question, as it seems to me to be used to mean quite contrary things.

When I say that I am a Catholic, I mean that I am a baptised member of he Catholic Church; and that I hold to the promises made at baptism, including believing in one holy Catholic and apostolic Church - and further, by that I mean that I accept the teaching authority of the Church and (strive to) conform my will and intellect to it. And my guess is that many others mean the same; that until recently that is what everyone meant by it, and further that most outsiders would assume that is what is meant.

However, many other people, some prominent (politicians, journalists, academics, self-appointed experts) and some befuddled clergy and laity, seem to use the word in quite a different sense. Tina Beatie is a current example (much blogged about elsewhwere). Here the word seems to mean I am baptised may or may not attend Church and see it as my mission to change the Church to teach and be what I would like it to teach and be.

Frankly, I find the second usage dishonest.