By Hugh McNichol

April 30, 2008 – Rudy Giuliani, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and a host of other high profile politicians, actors, and social advocates need to clearly understand that the practice of Catholicism is a committed lifestyle of faithful and loving adherence to the Church’s regulations and teachings.

It is indeed the right time for that message to be reiterated to all of our priests, clergy and religious who proclaim in error that the Church’s moral and social declarations on the dignity of human life and the sanctity of marriage are merely subject to personal interpretation. Not so. This viewpoint represents a completely wrong understanding of the mission and message of the Catholic Church’s teaching.

The practice of Catholicism is a lifestyle to which we are called through the grace of the Sacraments of Initiation, and one, which we strive to perfect throughout our temporal lives. While the human person is flawed and fallible the Church in and through her ministry and Sacraments provide all Catholics subsistence and nourishment that assists us on our spiritual journey in life. At the same time, Catholicism is not a cafeteria religion, where you pick-up and choose which part of the theological and sacramental and moral teachings you feel are best for you and your family. I have heard it said many times…”The Cafeteria is Closed!” This message should clearly indicated to all of the Catholics out there that are infused with secular humanism & modernism that these beliefs are incompatible with a true understanding of the moral, ethical and social teachings of the Catholic Church.

The secular press reported the concern both Cardinal Egan and Archbishop Wuerl had about the reception of Holy Communion during the Pope’s visit by politicians that were improperly disposed to receive the Sacrament. The USCCB jumped into the discussion and released a statement about the proper reception of Eucharist and of course, the whole discussion goes on in ad circulum argument.

Let us cut to the chase here.

When it comes to membership in the Church, either you accept the entire deposit of Catholic faith, or you do not. If you do not, simply put — you are not Catholic. If you have, dissenting views about birth control, abortion, the dignity of human life and so on…take it to another religion that supports your opinions of discord and dissent.

Moreover, if you don’t believe in the sanctity of marriage, the permanence of character sacraments, the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, the infallibility of the Pope, the perpetual virginity of Mary, the duality of Jesus’ nature, both human and divine, the Communion of Saints, our belief in resurrection from the dead, and all of the other points defined by the creed of Nicaea…you’re not Catholic either.

Our faith is founded upon beliefs that are immutable and not part of the art of compromise. While I am at it….if you are in favor of a female clergy, join the Anglicans. If you want “gay rights”, lesbian rights, transgendered rights or just the right to dissent openly…join the Democrats. If you want to have a representative vote in any issue that the Church addresses…understand, our Church is not a working democracy.

When considering membership in our divinely instituted and absolute monarchial Church, also realize our message and purpose is to bring the teachings of Jesus Christ as proclaimed by the Apostles to a world of fragile peace and broken promises. We are a faithful community that is trying to make the world a holier place through our evangelical message and sacramental ministry. We are flawed as well.

The Catholic Church collectively has made its share of mistakes over the centuries, and we have admitted and recognized these errors. However, we stand for the development and stability of the natural family unit, advocated freedom of conscience and the fulfillment of human rights for all of our members. Throughout the world the Church, as an institution, provides medical care, food, shelter and other necessary resources for human comfort and sustenance. Additionally, the Church provides spiritual counseling and Eucharistic nourishment to over a billion people that need spiritual nourishment.

We advocate the causes of the poor and underprivileged. Through the diplomatic efforts of the Catholic Church, we are proponents of human rights and freedoms for all humankind in every part of the globe. We have no army, no navy or any other military instruments that are poised to harm the world and destroy the people of the world, and our message is one to bring about world peace and harmony.

If in fact, you want to belong to the Catholic organization and do not want to fully adhere to our beliefs and principles…then please pray some more about the lifestyle commitment the Catholic Church represents. Honestly, we are not looking for perfect members, just members that are willing to work towards human perfection as part of the ongoing process of living a Catholic life. If the pursuit of perfection in a spiritual manner is not something you seek, call the Episcopalians, they have space for dissent based upon secular humanism.

Hugh McNichol is a Catholic author and journalist that writes on Catholic topics and issues. He writes daily at http://verbumcarofactumest.blogspot.com & http://pewsitter.com “Nothing Left Unsaid!” is his daily column @ http://catholicnewsagency.com Comments are always welcome @ hugh.mcnichol@trinettc.com

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