According to an article published in LifeSiteNews today, 43% of French Catholic have declared that they want the Pope to retire and the Catholic Church to change its position on contraception, abortion, and homosexuality. Most of the people interviewed have also identified themselves as non-practicing Catholics. Well, can does someone consider himself Catholic if he does not live his faith? Is one Catholic by simply going to Mass at Christmas and Easter? (According to the poll less than 10% of French ‘Catholic’ attend mass weekly.) Are we Catholic if we pick and choose the teachings that are most convenient and most in-line with popular ideas and a liberal lifestyle? Well, this is not what makes a person Catholic, so people should stop pretending.
You are either following the Church and the Holy Father or you are not. There is no in-between. People should not call themselves Catholic if they do not live according to Church’s teaching and do not miss a chance to criticize the Magisterium. If someone does not agree with what the Church represents and stands for, there are many other ‘churches’ that may suit people’s own ideals of what their individual religion should be like. And if one still cannot find the right ‘church,’ the right preacher who tells him everything he wants to hear (it’s ok to use contraceptives; it’s ok to kill unborn babies; it’s ok to have same-sex unions; it’s ok to kill embryos, it’s ok to…), he can always start his own ‘church.’ Being Catholic is not simply attaching a label to your personality to make you feel good or religious. Being Catholic is living the faith as it has been given, practicing the faith in one’s daily life and being a witness of Christ and His Church to the world. If you are not in for this, then you are not Catholic.