The Dangers of “Cafeteria Catholicism”

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By Doug Lawrence

The term “Cafeteria Catholic” typically refers to those Catholics who prefer to pick and choose which truths of the faith they wish to accept. That kind of thinking is a huge mistake, which can lead people into all kinds of misunderstandings and miseries.

People haven’t changed much over the last 5000 years. They still tend to make the same stupid mistakes and get caught up in the same, hard to control, emotional situations. Often both. When it comes to critical matters of faith and morals, the Catholic Church has been around for a very long time and has “seen it all”.

Through its’ Magisterial teachings, Sacred and Apostolic Tradition and the Holy Bible, the Church, which is charged by God with the care of souls, wisely and charitably cautions the faithful about the real spiritual and temporal dangers of things.

When people fail, the Church is there to freely absolve them of their sins, but the temporal, physical injuries and damages – the unfortunate results of those sins – typically remain – to the detriment of all. The modern world provides a very accurate picture of all these accumulated evils and corruptions.

Individual free will and conscience is rightly a part of all this, but conscience can only be relied upon once it has been fully informed and illuminated by all the applicable teachings and practical graces of the Church. Unfortunately, that rarely occurs, these days.

HINT: It’s always much smarter and easier to faithfully rely on the authentic teachings and accumulated wisdom of the Catholic Church, with the help of God’s grace, in order to successfully avoid some/many/most of the trials and tribulations caused by our own bad choices!

“Cafeteria Catholics” who pick and choose which authentic truths and teachings of the Catholic Church they wish to believe, needlessly and pridefully reject thousands of years of practical church experience and wisdom in favor of personally reliving the original “Adam and Eve experience”. It was a “fool’s bargain” then and it’s still a “fool’s bargain” today!

Proverbs 16:16-24

Get wisdom, because it is better than gold: and purchase prudence, for it is more precious than silver. 

The path of the just departs from evils: he that keeps his soul keeps his way.

Pride goes before destruction: and the spirit is lifted up before a fall.

It is better to be humbled with the meek, than to divide spoils with the proud.

The learned in word shall find good things: and he that trusts in the Lord is blessed.

The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and he that is sweet in words, shall attain to greater things.

Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesses it: the instruction of fools is foolishness.

The heart of the wise shall instruct his mouth: and shall add grace to his lips.

Well ordered words are as a honeycomb: sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

The end of the world has already happened. It’s just not what you think.

apocalypse

The end of the world has indeed happened. It did not happen on a specific day, but has spread out over several decades. The world that disappeared was a world where most children knew how to read and write. A world where we admired the heroes rather than the victims. A world where political machines had not turned into the soul grinding machines. A world where we had more role models than rights. A world where one could understand what Pascal had meant when he wrote that entertainments distracted us from living a real human life. A world where the borders safeguarded those who lived their way of life and a life of their own.

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Words of Wisdom for the Ages

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My son, forget not my law, and let thy heart keep my commandments. For they shall add to thee length of days, and years of life, and peace.

Let not mercy and truth leave thee, put them about thy neck, and write them in the tables of thy heart. And thou shalt find grace, and good understanding before God and men.

Have confidence in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not upon thy own prudence. In all thy ways think on him, and he will direct thy steps.

Be not wise in thy own conceit: fear God, and depart from evil: For it shall be health to thy navel, and moistening to thy bones.

Honor the Lord with thy substance, and give him of the first of all thy fruits; And thy barns shall be filled with abundance, and thy presses shall run over with wine.

My son, reject not the correction of the Lord: and do not faint when thou art chastised by him: For whom the Lord loves, he chastises: and as a father in the son he pleases himself.

Blessed is the man that finds wisdom, and is rich in prudence: The purchasing thereof is better than the merchandise of silver, and her fruit than the chief and purest gold: She is more precious than all riches: and all the things that are desired, are not to be compared to her. Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and glory. Her ways are beautiful ways, and all her paths are peaceable. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold on her: and he that shall retain her is blessed. The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth, hath established the heavens by prudence. By his wisdom the depths have broken out, and the clouds grow thick with dew.

My son, let not these things depart from thy eyes: keep the law and counsel: And there shall be life to thy soul, and grace to thy mouth. Then shalt thou walk confidently in thy way, and thy foot shall not stumble: If thou sleep, thou shalt not fear: thou shalt rest, and thy sleep shall be sweet.

Be not afraid of sudden fear, nor of the power of the wicked falling upon thee. For the Lord will be at thy side, and will keep thy foot that thou be not taken.

Do not withhold him from doing good, who is able: if thou art able, do good thyself also. Say not to thy friend: Go, and come again: and to morrow I will give to thee: when thou can give at present.

Practice not evil against thy friend, when he hath confidence in thee.

Strive not against a man without cause, when he hath done thee no evil.

Envy not the unjust man, and do not follow his ways. For every mocker is an abomination to the Lord, and his communication is with the simple.

Want is from the Lord in the house of the wicked: but the habitations of the just shall be blessed.

He shall scorn the scorners, and to the meek he will give grace. The wise shall possess glory: the promotion of fools is disgrace.

(Proverbs 3:1-35)

Classical Liberal Education: The cure for the dumbed-down culture of death?

Classical education, the institute explained, is meant to help students learn how to think, giving them “the tools of lifelong learning,” rather than merely teaching them “subjects.” The foundation of classical education is a set of three methods of learning subjects, called the trivium, which consists of grammar, logic, and rhetoric.

“By uniting faith and reason across the curriculum, this approach aims to form students in wisdom and virtue,” the institute added. Classical Catholic education is also meant to “form an educational community that is fully Catholic,” rather than being merely “secular schools with a Catholic name and a religion class.”

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Editor’s note: This is the authentic, original and beneficial type of Liberal Arts that forms the basis for all the best features of western civilization. Not the Marxist, Socialist, virtually useless aberration currently provided by many/most of today’s institutions of higher learning.

The divine institution of the natural law

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From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

II. THE VISIBLE WORLD

337 God himself created the visible world in all its richness, diversity and order. Scripture presents the work of the Creator symbolically as a succession of six days of divine “work”, concluded by the “rest” of the seventh day.204 On the subject of creation, the sacred text teaches the truths revealed by God for our salvation,205permitting us to “recognize the inner nature, the value and the ordering of the whole of creation to the praise of God.”206

338 Nothing exists that does not owe its existence to God the Creator. The world began when God’s word drew it out of nothingness; all existent beings, all of nature, and all human history are rooted in this primordial event, the very genesis by which the world was constituted and time begun.207

339 Each creature possesses its own particular goodness and perfection. For each one of the works of the “six days” it is said: “And God saw that it was good.” “By the very nature of creation, material being is endowed with its own stability, truth and excellence, its own order and laws.”208 Each of the various creatures, willed in its own being, reflects in its own way a ray of God’s infinite wisdom and goodness. Man must therefore respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid any disordered use of things which would be in contempt of the Creator and would bring disastrous consequences for human beings and their environment.

353     God willed the diversity of his creatures and their own particular goodness, their interdependence and their order. He destined all material creatures for the good of the human race. Man, and through him all creation, is destined for the glory of God.

354     Respect for laws inscribed in creation and the relations which derive from the nature of things is a principle of wisdom and a foundation for morality.

V. THE PROLIFERATION OF SIN

1865 Sin creates a proclivity to sin; it engenders vice by repetition of the same acts. This results in perverse inclinations which cloud conscience and corrupt the concrete judgment of good and evil. Thus sin tends to reproduce itself and reinforce itself, but it cannot destroy the moral sense at its root.

1866 Vices can be classified according to the virtues they oppose, or also be linked to the capital sins which Christian experience has distinguished, following St. John Cassian and St. Gregory the Great. They are called “capital” because they engender other sins, other vices.138 They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia.

1867 The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are “sins that cry to heaven”: the blood of Abel,139 the sin of the Sodomites,140 the cry of the people oppressed in Egypt,141 the cry of the foreigner, the widow, and the orphan,142 injustice to the wage earner.143

1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:

– by participating directly and voluntarily in them;

– by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;

– by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;

– by protecting evil-doers.

1869 Thus sin makes men accomplices of one another and causes concupiscence, violence, and injustice to reign among them. Sins give rise to social situations and institutions that are contrary to the divine goodness. “Structures of sin” are the expression and effect of personal sins. They lead their victims to do evil in their turn. In an analogous sense, they constitute a “social sin.”144

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Justice Scalia: have “the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity” by society’s sophisticates.

The 75-year-old Scalia said that today one can believe in a creator and the teachings of Jesus without being the brunt of too much ridicule, but that to hold traditional Christian beliefs that Jesus is God and He physically rose from the grave is to be derided as simple-minded by those considered leading intellectuals.

Traditional Catholics, Scalia said, are seen as peasant-like in their saying the Rosary, kneeling before the Holy Eucharist and indiscriminately following the teachings of the pope.

“(Yet) the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight,” Scalia said, quoting the Bible.

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The commencement speech President Obama should have delivered at Notre Dame

By Laurie Higgins, DSA Director –Illinois Family Institute

I can think of no more fitting way to conclude the school year than with excerpts from the retirement speech delivered by retiring Glenbrook North High School social studies teacher, James McPherrin, who is retiring after 33 years of teaching.

The words he expressed put to shame countless commencement speeches by celebrities who have little to offer students other than pedestrian cliches. It would behoove administrators, faculty, and students to hear Mr. McPherrin’s speech at the start and end of every school year.

Mr. McPherrin offers wisdom and erudition through eloquent prose that points those who have ears to hear toward truth:

St. Thomas More, the intrepid 16th century chancellor to King Henry VIII of England, once said, “When statesmen forsake their own private consciences for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.” Now, I would suggest that the very same quotation might be tailored so as to apply directly to teachers. It would read, “When teachers forsake their own private consciences for the sake of their public school duties, they lead their students by a short route to chaos.”

Thomas More was among the sterling individuals in the western intellectual tradition who understood well the necessary relationship between the natural law and the human law, and that circumstances often challenge us to acknowledge the rational demands the former places upon the latter. More, as we know, would later sacrifice his very life in defense of that compelling idea. In essence, dear colleagues, please consider that our cardinal duty as instructors of the young is to shepherd them in their journey towards truth.

Whether it be European History, English Lit, Calc, Phys Ed, or Music, our task is to foster in students a love for and desire to acknowledge what is true. If such a premise does not inspire our efforts, then I’m afraid they might well be for naught. Make it your purpose to ignite the element of intellectual longing that exists in all young people; that desire to know, that desire to bring order out of chaos. Give them that education to which the English writer, G.K. Chesterton, alluded, when he said, “Many are schooled, but few are educated.” There is a difference, and it would behoove us all to acknowledge it openly.

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