Anonymousasked this question on 1/13/2001:
As I was reading the question regarding "cradle Catholics" it brought to mind several issues on which I would appreciate your feedback.
I am also a "cradle Catholic." Except that I was born long enough ago to have been 16 years old when Vatican II literally changed the very liturgy of the Church and the way I practiced my religion (without asking me, of course, if I minded that they do this). As a result, around 1965, I climbed out of the highchair and refused to go to church.
I am and always have been a devout Catholic. I was raised an Italian Catholic and once a Catholic, always a Catholic. There are many converts to Catholicism but few converts from Catholicism to other religions.
Catholicism is the one, true Church. We, as Catholics know that as fact. There is only one God.
I would liken religion to restaurants; different restaurants have different menus but they all serve food. It is prepared and served differently but it started out as food; i.e., beef, for example.
Some restaurants have different and varied dress codes (disciplines); some have signs at the door saying, "No shirt, no shoes, no service." Some restaurants provide entertainment; others are rather hushed and quiet.
My son decided he liked what the Mormons had on their menu. My daughter would prefer to cook at home. To me, they are both still Catholics. When my son was "baptized" into the Mormon church, our family attended, brought refreshments, his sister sang, and we celebrated with him. The Mormon bishop came up to me and told me he was surprised and gladdened by the fact that my son's family supported his choice (he knew we were Catholic). I explained to him that I was supporting my son in his decision, not his chosen religion. He, in my mind and heart, will always be a Catholic because he was baptized as such.
Regardless of the religion practiced, they each have one God. Does it really matter what God is called...Jehovah, Allah, etc.? If there is only one God then regardless "what" someone names God, he is still God. So, we shouldn't worry so much about those so-called "pagans"...if they are praying to "God" they are praying to God because there IS only ONE God.
What upsets me most about "new" Catholics (those either converted to the faith or born too late), is their lack of faith. I have a friend who converted from Islam to Catholicism as an adult. He, I would term, is an evangelical, "born again" Catholic (ever go to a Catholic "prayer meeting where people talked in tongues??? Scary thing, let me tell you!). who is fearful that satan is hiding behind every rock.
I don't fear satan because of my FAITH. Faith is the absence of fear. "I will fear no evil because thou art with me." Some of you won't recognize that quote because someone in the Church saw fit to change even the Psalms of David.
On the Larry King show last night a fellow by the name of Bob Jones (never heard of him before but he is the president of Bob Jones University in S.Carolina). He said something which made me think....He said that Jesus was the only one who ever declared himself to be God. This is what separates religions, is it not? No other "prophet" declared themselves to be the deity. Therefore, if one is to be a Christian, you have to believe that Jesus is God..."I am my Father."
So, to the convert who asked the question about "cradle Catholics" I can only reply that I am so sorry you weren't Catholic when the menu was always the same regardless of when you went and you could always depend on the consistency of the preparation of the food.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be; world without end,
If we are talking about the same convert, you might observe that his-her problem was not about doctrine (menu) but about the way he has been treated. It was about the waiters and the habitué guests.
In the second place the "sameness" of the menu you are longing to get back changed only in language (Latin versus vernacular), in presentations (the Church has recuperated what has been lost through the centuries versus uniformity) and "accessibility" (anyone can understand and participate en the preparation of the menu with the same chef hasn't versus only a few of the initiated). Consequently the menu is very much more attractive.
So if someone wants to become vegetarian or live on pills that's his or her decision. You can't invite him or her anymore out for dinner. Can he come back? Surely!
Instead of looking at your arguments one by one, I would like you to walk you over to a text that has raised some irate responses.
Why do I suggest it? Because it touches one of your basic tenets that underlie all your ponderings. I'm talking about the Church. I think if you could accept the reasoning contained in that paper you will have a clear answer if "once a Catholic always a Catholic" guarantees the unchanged menu.
Be warned, it's dense and profound. Nevertheless, I'm sure it will give you an answer. Please go to
and assimilate it.
It's like a foundational hold up. You remove it and you have to found a new Church.
PS. During centuries the official Catholic Church was firmly in the hands of Italians. They did all right. However, even they did change the menu at the Vatican II! See above. It must have been difficult to acquire as adolescent a staunch faith in times of so many changes! Perhaps it was just asking too much.