Thursday, January 17, 2008

Being a "practicing" Roman Catholic

My new e-pal finally wrote back to define "orthodox, practicing and believing Roman Catholic." Armed with two academic degrees in theology, RJ is surveying people "somehow involved in the public square," hoping to convey that "there are all these serious Catholics out there in all walks of life!" I wonder how RJ defines "serious." Sure hope a quirky sense of humor is included.

Since I don't follow the Eastern Rite, I qualify as a Roman Catholic, albeit one who loves stuffed dolma and whose home is filled with icons. Here's RJ's definition of practicing:
basically one who fulfills his or her weekly Mass obligation on Sundays and who receives the Blessed Sacrament at least once a year. Beyond that, one who tries his or her best to live out the commands and teachings of God as revealed by Christ in the Spirit, entrusted to the Church. And of course this takes into account the "we are all sinners" caveat.
Yay! Looks like I'm a practicing Roman Catholic and not just because of the "we are all sinners" caveat. So maybe I don't always fulfill my weekly Mass obligation on Sundays. Maybe now that I've been practicing for a while, the Vigil Mass on Saturday counts? How about attending Mass during the week? I think that boosts my grade by a +.

Of course I receive the Blessed Sacrament at least once a year. The Eucharist is "the source and summit of Christian life." Look! I can quote from Lumen gentium!! I also receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation more often than once a decade. I do my best to live my faith, trusting that God will always provide another growth opportunity.

Yes, I'd say I'm a "practicing" Roman Catholic. I also have evidence to prove I'm a "real" Roman Catholic. I'll have more to say about that in another post.


  1. Humm, I'd have a more complete definition of a practicing Roman Catholic to include:
    - believes abortion is wrong & will tell you so
    - believes Natural Family Planning and teen abstinence is plurable alternative to contraception, which separates the act from the body, and in other areas as well
    - believes and educated that adult stem cell research is a good thing, and embryonic stem cell research has yet to produce any medical breakthrough, drug or treatment... and is morally wrong, besides being ineffective.
    - places where a Gov't public office candidate's view on abortion in the top three criteria in consideration of a candidate
    - makes their Holy Day attendance at Mass.
    - goes to Confession more than once a year to get white-allover again.
    - believes that Jesus is indeed in the Eucharist

    I'm actually 40 years a Protestant, who converted to Catholicism 11 years ago, primarily because of one person (Dr. Scott Hahn) and two books (that both said the same things): The Final Hour by Michael Brown & Thunder of Justice (

    Anyone wanting more resources, I would highly recommend

  2. I am not sure if this is tongue in cheek or not, I had a lesbian friend who ended up going from high anglican (Catholic by another name) to Catholic based entirely on her love of ceremonies and processions. And the fact that she could go to a church service and not have to talk to anyone (I have no idea if this is just her area or not).

    I guess the part I have the greatest difficulty with is not in practicing Christianity but in the order to "Gather together" because this is when everyone seems to get tetchy and no one ever sees things eye to eye and all that resulting humanish stuff.

  3. Yes, Elizabeth, "gathering together" does present somewhat of a challenge for some people at times. The Body of Christ does tend to slap itself around, which is why I frequently meditate on James Joyce's observation about the Catholic Church, "here comes everybody."


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