Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Cafeteria v. Banquet

It's a pretty safe bet that you've heard of cafeteria Catholocism. It unfortunately is probably the majority of Catholics in America. It's the belief that the dogmas and teachings of the Church are lined up for us like the entrees and veggies of a buffet and that we can subscribe to those we like and ignore those that we find distasteful. Hence we have politicians who on the one hand proclaim themsleves good Catholics and use their faith for political advantage and on the other hand loudly and proudly proclaim their disagreement with the Church on abortion. Large percentages of Catholics practice birth control. When it comes to the teachings of the Church we are obligated to obey and follow those teachings. Even if we dissent, we are still obligated to obey.

But thinking about cafeteriaism has led me to think about a spread put out for us by the Church where we are given the opportunity to choose as we wish. This is the many forms of devotions given to us by the Church and by God. I like to think of it as a banquet of faith. There's almost a dizzying array of medals, scapulars, chaplets, saints and prayers. All there to lead us ultimately to the Truth and to help us conform to the Truth. Marian devotion is one of the largest sections of this banquet. When I converted a dozen years ago it wasn't one that I felt particularly drawn towards. Being raised Southern Baptist will do that. The Marian teachings of the Church were hard for me. But because I believed in the Magisterium of the Church I believed in the Truth of these teachings, even if I did not avail myself of the grace, comfort and wisdom that they impart. That was ok, the Church has multitudes of avenues to apply the grace of our Lord. And that's part of the genius of the multitudes of these avenues of faith that God has made available for us. Oh, as I've gotten older I've been more drawn to the Blessed Virgin. It actually began with a single word, "theotokos". But that's another post.

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