Maybe Fr. Thomas Reese, editor of National Catholic Reporter, is right when he says, “Welcome to the cafeteria” as a way of expressing Catholic unity. He explains why…
“The truth is all Catholics are cafeteria Catholics. Conservative Catholics were quite willing to ignore John Paul’s and Benedict’s strong statements on justice and peace, and progressive Catholics are happy to ignore Francis’ opposition to women priests.”
If this is cafeteria Catholicism, then certainly it will continue to obstruct change in the Catholic Church for generations to come. Thus the Catholic Church will remain one big unhappy family adamantly arguing back and forth as we decide what to fight and what to ignore about liturgy, justice and peace, and opposition to women priests, etc, etc.
So what happens to deep Vatican II reform of the Catholic Church…beyond even its pastoral and merciful approach? Does it simply die of benign neglect or fear of causing schism?
Fr. Reese says, “Catholics need to grow up and learn to live in a church where arguments take place, but we should not let disagreements break up the family. We need to understand that people have different viewpoints and that we can learn from one another by having dialogue. Rather than dividing into partisan factions, we need to model what it means to be a community.”
Yes, “WE ARE Family!” But family cannot grow if it cannot respect each other’s differences and allow one another the space to grow differently. And what if certain members of the family are against differences, against change and against dialog? Do the other family members just bow their heads in submission…in hope that something someday will change before or long after they die? We think NOT!
In 2015, Cardinal Walter Kasper wrote an article in ORIGINS “Vatican II: Toward a Multifaceted Unity”. (Vol 45, #9). He wrote about the unity in diversity needed if we are to make any further progress in ecumenical endeavors. We suggest it is time to look WITHIN our Church to see the possibilities for a “multifaceted unity” because cafeteria style is definitely NOT working for either side of the Church. Pick&Choose cafeteria-style offers no challenge for growth on either side.
We say, “NO” to Cafeteria Catholicism and “YES” to Multifaceted Unity!
Fr. Reese’s article: https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/more-catholic-pope
3 thoughts on ““All Catholics are cafeteria Catholics” says Jesuit priest. Is this a good thing?”
Dear Consilia and Lea Anne, Great article and ever so true! I remember when I was in class for a course I was taking in Spirituality, the instructor said that America has become the country of “cafeteria Catholics” and the country of “12 Step” spirituality. Interesting! Many blessing to you both, Barbara
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