On the eve of the historic Presidential Election, I am dismayed at the response to the “Catholic” vote.
Being Catholic in America used to mean something. It used to unify us. It used to transcend race or class. It is, after all, Catholic, or universal. Being Catholic used to mean that we all believed the teachings of the church, we all refrained from meat on Fridays during Lent, we all went to holy days of obligation, we held holy the Sabbath.
It used to mean we were different from the rest of the world, focusing on the next life instead of reveling in this one.
Today, I don’t know.
Somewhere in the last forty years a lot of things have happened to erode the meaning of Catholic.
- The church stopped teaching the tenets of the faith and started focusing on the feelings related to faith.
- People started treating Catholicism as a family tradition instead of a belief structure.
- People started thinking that they could pick and choose what parts of the faith they will adhere to and what parts they will ignore.
- The church leadership has been lax in requiring adherence to the faith.
The end result is that we have a lot of people who call themselves Catholic, but many of which don’t really understand what that means. The “Catholic” vote is not about faithful Catholics, but people who call themselves Catholic. There is a BIG difference between the two.
One of the truths revealed in the Creation Story with Adam and Eve is that part of the consequence of their disobedience in eating the forbidden apple is moral relativism. The act of eating the apple was a sin, but the greater effect was, in doing so, they now believed they could decide what was sinful and what was not.
Being Catholic is not a theological buffet. No one can be 80% Catholic, or 90% or 99%. You are either 100% Catholic or you’re not Catholic. Period.
Being Catholic used to mean something. Being Catholic SHOULD mean one thing; one faith, one set of beliefs, one set of morals, one understanding of the sacraments, one understanding of marriage, one understanding of life.
So, when you hear about the “Catholic” vote, know it should really be called “Catholic-in-name-only” vote, or a CINO Vote. It’s not a real representation of 100% Catholics. Not even close.
Because if all of those “Catholic” voters were 100% Catholics, this country would be drastically different, for the better.