A la carte catholics


I think this is awesome. It’d be great to see so many people get nailed for meaningless posturing.

Does “a la carte” mean served with ice cream? I can’t remember.


I’ve never heard “a la carte” to describe it, but it’s referring to “cafeteria Catholics”. Meaning, people who only pick and choose teachings of Catholicism that they agree with, while ignoring the stuff that they don’t agree with. I suppose an example would be choosing to believe that homosexuality is a sin, while choosing to believe that abortion is a-ok. I myself, think it’s a bad idea, as they’ll be shutting out a large portion of their followers, part-time or not. I’ll reply back with more, later.

Deciding what you believe in is a personal choice. You’re suppose to listen, then judge. That’s why I’m not Catholic (or any other religion) anymore. I still believe in Spirituality… just not an imposed one.

This is retarded, for even among the church’s high ranks there are divisions (those orders which are named after saints or places) with strikingly different views from key points of catholicism.

So what about those who believe in the spiritual aspect but not the institution? Many people I know, myself included, have become disillusioned with the way the Church runs itself.

About five centuries ago they created Protestantism.

Some people would flock back while others would throw all pretense of believing. I don’t know about Ireland but in the rest of Europe this wouldn’t be too successful. And if the power and the economics of the Church suffer, I wouldn’t bet on the proposal being accepted.

You guys who are missing the point. This isn’t about targeting religious dissent or non-conformity in opinion.

This is about “those who only regard church weddings as nice 'because they are traditional and the buildings provide a good setting. Baptisms, first communions and confirmations are handy rite of passage moments that also offer the opportunity for a party and a spending splurge” despite how they’re those “who regard the Catholic church 'as an obscurantist obstacle to progress, and priests as perverts or drunkards or both, but they still want them there to use, whenever the occasion warrants”.

They talk about how its disrespectful to those who are really religious and to their institution that they have to deal with people “with little or no faith commitment celebrations such as first holy communion and confirmation” and that threat these things “as a kind of rite of passage or an excuse for a party, or as something they have to put their child through because everybody else in the class is doing it”.

The point is, someone somewhere realized that a huge portion of people don’t give a shit about religion and like to say all kinds of things about it when they don’t really abide by it. They abide by what is convenient for them to abide to. Thus the “a la carte”. This is a discussion about discriminating against a very common practice in all societies all over the world (even if it is only about Catholics).

I’m obviously not a religious person but I would giggle with glee if this were to really happen because this has the potential to stir a lot of shit. I’m not sure the people here fully appreciate how this category of people is very large and widespread. This is like taking the prom out of high school. This is about confronting the hypocrisy of people’s behavior and justifications. To ignore things like this in our society is like ignoring the elephant in the room.

I do see what you’re saying. I meant from a “membership” point of view, it’s not necessarily a good idea. But you’re right, meaningless bullshit posturing needs to stop. :\

Christianity in particular is replete with these sorts of people, who call themselves Catholics or whatever, but only go to church once a year, if that, and only think of crosses when they’re on ambulances. It’s not endemic in every religion; Islam doesn’t have many people who call themselves Muslims but don’t go to mosque, and up until a hundred years ago, neither did Judaism. Not sure about the other Eastern religions, but then again I have no idea what sorts of ritual they have in the first place.

Part of Christianity’s problem, perhaps, is its emphasis on the fact that Jesus already died for everyone’s sins, so there isn’t all that much absolution that one really has to do. Attending church is not really a tenet of Christianity, from my understanding. What ritual exists in Christianity has long been confined to monasteries and abbeys, with the layperson never taking part in them anyway.

Of course, I’ve never so much as stepped foot in a church, so this is all based on the limited knowledge I have, but that’s what it seems like to me.

In the immortal words of Tyler Durden: Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.

Going to Church, wearing a cross, taking part of superficial and ultimately meaningless ceremonies doesn’t make you a Christian. This is one of the messages to be taken from this article. Along the same lines, doing the same when you’re a muslim, a jew, or anything else doesn’t make you that which you say you are. Your actions define what you are and the current state of the world is simple: religion is a political tool used at one’s convenience, not a guide.

This isn’t only something that concerns Christians and it doesn’t only have to do with religion. We can make the same analogy to a variety of situations; I’ll use Americans; a lot of people like to call themselves American despite how the foundation of American society is being trampled on (Habeas Corpus, right to vote, etc) and despite how they not only allow it to happen but condone their leaders’ actions in doing so. In this context, we have a lot of people that like to say they’re Americans, but they don’t understand the implications of the term. They simply like to have the association so they feel they belong and are accepted within a specific social context. We can apply the same to a lot of other situations, like other Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc.

The only thing we’re observing is a trait that is common in people. Though the trait is expressed differently in these different groups of people (Americanism, Islam, Christianity, etc), it is ultimately the same trait in action (hypocrisy/conforimity/postring/whatever you want to call it), and this trait is a by product of human nature, how people work.

What’s good about this article isn’t that it challenges people that aren’t Christian enough, but this very problem so many people very commonly exhibit.

This is one of the reasons I like Discordianism: one of the definitions is that its followers can define it anyway they want. It’s sort of a Calvinball religion.

That said, I like how the article, targeted at normally-conservative Catholics, calls for an attempt to make waves in ways that one would normally associate with liberals (i.e. legalize abortion and gay marriages!)

Not only I’ve been raised as a catholic, but I’ve also done some voluntary work for the church when I was 15-16. So I think I have a firmer ground here.

These guys you call a la carte catholics, most of them are called by the church “non-ptracticing catholics”. It’s expected from the church that such people act like that. Because one of the things you can say about the Roman Apostolic Catholic Church is that they think the regular folk should not think much about spiritual matters - that’s the priests’ jobs, and that’s what they’re here for. That’s also why there are people (mostly nuns but a lot of men do so too) that live in a kind of voluntary imprisonment, dedicating the whole of their lives to pray for the rest of the humankind. Note that this is different from those who simply live with little contact with civilization, they’re more like a specialized group.

My opinion is that they do so to keep the bulk of people from meddling with or putting too much thought on the affairs and matters of the church. Because one thing I can say from experience is, when you know little about how the church works and thinks, it’s easy to support it. But the more you know and experience, the more you’ll get polarized. Go too far into it and you’ll either end up dedicating your life and spirit to the church, or you’ll get get disaffected and quit, and probably stand against it.

They have a large influence and power over the people whose behavior has already been described here, and they’d rather have a lot of people who have a weak though steady link with the church than risk having a few strongly-faithed people while losing a large mass. Specially nowadays, due to the image they’ve given themselves, they’d have more to lose than to win with such a maneuver.

So why would a few voices speak against the situation? Well, the church has lots of divisions, each with its own view of life, the universe, marriage etc. (for an extremed example, there are divisions which preach that Jesus’s body was made of human flesh, while others say that Jesus’s body was different from ours, so he didn’t have some needs we do and other things) If you want the amount of disagreement that exists within the church, gatehr a large group in a theather and speak about Mary Magdalene.

There are some few specific groups which dislike this so called “a la carte” trend. Ratzinger, prior to being the current pope, was pretty active among such groups - though I find it unlikely that he’ll voice any support to the idea suggested in the article.

Going to Church, wearing a cross, taking part of superficial and ultimately meaningless ceremonies doesn’t make you a Christian.

Then what does? Being nice to people doesn’t make you a Christian either - it makes you a nice guy.

a lot of people like to call themselves American despite how the foundation of American society is being trampled on

Um, if you hold American citizenship and pay American taxes you have the right to call yourself American, regardless of whether you agree or condone anything. On the other hand, being part of a religion requires dedication to the values, customs, and, yes, rituals of that religion.

Upholding the values taught by Christ (or what can be interpreted as such according to the Church). What I said and what you’re challenging is the whole point of the article: you have people take part of these rituals and ceremonies for show. It means absolutely nothing when you don’t put your money where your mouth is. If I was a god and all my followers did things for show, I would be pissed off since that is fundamentally dishonest.

You’re right in that legally, you have the right to call yourself an American. This goes back to the original point: stuffing feathers up your butt doesn’t make you a chicken. You can uphold the values you’re espousing or you can sit on them. Hiding behind a wall of legal terminology is superficial at best and therefore lacks meaning in what the term is supposed to represent.

The big point is the difference between being something and wearing a facade as you pretend something you’re not.

The “values taught by Christ” tend towards the vague and general, and in truth aren’t that different from common sense and altruism for the most part. There are millions of people who uphold those values without considering themselves Christians.

I think you’re entirely misunderstanding the article - to the point of the reverse. The Catholics aren’t upset because people who are doing Catholic customs aren’t thinking like Catholics. Quite the reverse - they’re upset because people are calling themselves Catholics without doing the Catholic customs. Religion (at least as originally conceived) is not simply a set of truisms and beliefs but a set of rituals, customs and rules connected to those beliefs.

What you’re saying is certainly true, to an extent, and is a problem in general, but it isn’t the point of the article.

You’re right in that legally, you have the right to call yourself an American. This goes back to the original point: stuffing feathers up your butt doesn’t make you a chicken. You can uphold the values you’re espousing or you can sit on them. Hiding behind a wall of legal terminology is superficial at best and therefore lacks meaning in what the term is supposed to represent.

But what does it represent? I’m a Canadian, because I’m a Canadian citizen. There’s been a lot of hoopla in recent years about “Canadian values”, but no one has the slightest clue what those actually are. Patriotism isn’t it, because Canadians tend not be particularly patriotic. So how can someone say that someone else is or isn’t more “American”? Free speech is an American value, but so is jingoistic patriotism, depending on who you ask, and the two are often at diamteric odds.

I think you’re both right. The article is talking about people who go through with the sacraments just to gain social contacts who are genuinely spiritual parishioners. This is kinda like in tight knit communities where church is also a social arena as well as ap lace of worship.This is what Sin is talking about.

These same people are calling themselves Catholic but have no belief in the religion, its tenets or anything other than the image the create for themselves. These are the ‘convenience Christians’ the article is talking about. This is what Cid is getting at.

All in all it’s like a Jewish kid who wants a Bar Mitzvah just for the presents.

There is a fine line to walk when considering who these people are, since people in today’s society often work secularly and believe spiritually. There’s almost no way to tell for certain which group the next guy walking in the door belongs to.

Whether or not they’re Christians depends on how they go about justifying it or thinking about what they do and what they choose to believe in , in addition to the altruism and etc. To say you have to go to Church and undergo all kinds of sacrements the Church invented centuries after Christ in order to call yourself a Christian doesn’t hold weight.

No. What the article is saying is that there are a bunch of people who don’t believe and don’t uphold all of the values that then want to have the priviledges of a marriage in a church, communion, baptism, etc. The article is clear in how it states the Church shouldn’t be granting ceremonnies that people are asking for.

I agree to the extent of my first reply in this post.

I agree there are difficulties of this argument and what you stated was the nature of politics and what I was speaking against: using an ideal as a political tool. Its at times like these we need to look at the basic core values upon which the nation was founded on. When you look at institutions, you look at the purpose it was supposed to serve and what were the general principles behind that purpose. Jingoistic patriotism isn’t one of them.

Lex: I’ll just edit what I said and say I’m confused about your point.

But then you run into other problems. For example, one of Canada’s values is now touted as multiculturalism - a great ideal, but certainly not one that the country was founded on.

I think at this point we’re sort of dancing around trying to find something to argue about when we’re really agreeing. 8p However, I do think that ritual and custom are not just window dressing on top of a few basic beliefs, but have a powerful connection to those beliefs and to the identification of the believers with the religion. I think people who ignore them are indicating that they aren’t interested in that connection. And, just in general, those who aren’t interested in any of the trappings tend to be far less knowledgable about the religion, or interested in knowledge, than those who at least make the effort.