Saturday, 6 November 2010

On being a Cafeteria Catholic

"Cafeteria Christianity" according to the definition by Wikipedia is a derogatory term used by some Christians, and others, to accuse other Christian individuals or denominations of selecting which Christian doctrines they will follow, and which they will not. In more complimentary terms I like to think of it as Jesus inviting everyone to come and eat with him regardless of their particular beliefs or disposition. Jesus accepts us to come and eat as we are not as others would have us be.

Michael Coren is a well known British born Canadian Radio & TV personality hosting his own daily talk show on the Global network. Brutally honest, spiritual, strong-minded, author, compassionate, opinionated, ethical, witty, confident, are just a few of the self appointed attributes taken from his own website.

As a writer he is a frequent contributor to Canada’s conservative religious newspaper ‘The Catholic Register’. Michael’s entries consistently display a heavy Catholic apologetic emphasis - often quick to condemn those who fall short of his idea of what it means to be Catholic . This week’s uncompromising essay ‘On ‘Cafeteria Catholicism’ is his latest damning contribution. This article is a typical expression of a fundamentalist understanding of what it means to be a Christian and or a Catholic. You could be forgiven for believing that the two terms are necessarily synonymous. In the case of Mr. Coren the Catholic Church is God and all other churches using the words of Pope Benedict “are not Churches in the proper sense and that non-Christians are seriously deficient in terms of access to the means of salvation.” Catholic or otherwise this supremist attitude is hardly likely to bring reconciliation among the world’s competing religions. More importantly it completely contradicts a God who loves all humankind unconditionally. What follows is his article to the Catholic Register which appeared on line together with my posted response.

On 'cafeteria Catholicism'
Written by Michael Coren Wednesday, 03 November 2010 10:43

In mid-October I was part of a panel at a Toronto university discussing how the world views the Church. It was all pretty good stuff with some faithful and successful Catholic writers on the platform. The academic present, however, was not known to me. But her views were. Not that I had ever heard of the woman before; what I mean is that her opinions on Catholicism were entirely typical of an attitude that has caused colossal damage to the Church in recent years. While discussing abortion, for example, she said that there were “gradations” within Catholicism and implied that supporting the rights of the unborn or promoting their slaughter were various and valid Roman Catholic positions.I asked her if she liked Jews. 

Read the rest here

My Response:

Reading this self righteous and sad article one can clearly hear the mobs gathered once again to witness the fires licking at the bodies of thousands of innocent heretics being burned at the stake. One can hear the instructions from the Inquisitor to ratchet up the ‘strappado’ and other instruments of torture as they try to unmask those wrongly accused of “treason against God”. There is the voice of Pope Innocent VIII condemning those blameless victims who supposedly had ‘blasphemously rejected the Faith’ and were now accused of witchcraft to be drowned or burned at the stake without trial. Again, we can hear the echoes of crowds chanting “Christ-killers” against our Jewish brethren. Hear the miserable shouts from those accusing others of their sins at the expense of their own. Here then is the new Inquisitor ready to condemn anyone who dares to challenge an institution mired in the cover-up of sexual abuse - the institution that wants to return to darker ages rather than embrace the God of the present the God who loves his children unconditionally.
A God who invites all to come and eat at his table.

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