Bad Catholic, good Catholic

Bad Catholic, good Catholic

There are fewer things sadder than hearing non-practicing Catholics rationalizing their behavior. The AP discusses the low Mass attendance in Boston—“Fewer than 1 in 5 attend Mass in Boston”—and quotes a typical non-practicing Catholic.

“Having to go some place to pay homage to God every Sunday doesn’t mean you’re a good Catholic, or a bad Catholic, or whatever,” said Gaul, a Boston equities trader. “I don’t think you’re going to die and go to heaven and hear, ‘Frank, you didn’t go to church for 15 years.’”

Look everybody! It’s Frank the prophet. Well, he must be a prophet because he knows the mind of God. It’s funny seeing all the self-justification that goes on: “God doesn’t care.” “God knows I’m a good person.” “God doesn’t need me to go to church.” Really, have you asked Him? Because everything I’ve read by Him says the opposite.

The definition of what it means to be a good Catholic comes not from those who reject the Church, but from the Church itself. If I join the Boy Scouts, but don’t attend troop meetings, don’t go out for merit badges, don’t wear my uniform, and only show up for the occasional camping trip, the Boy Scouts would be completely justified in saying that I’m a bad Boy Scout and throwing me out on my butt.

True, simply occupying space in a pew on Sunday doesn’t make you a Catholic either, but these people should at least be honest with themselves. They just don’t care what God says and they’d rather be the ones in charges of their lives—at least until something goes wrong and they need Him.

Frank says he doesn’t think when he dies he’ll go to heaven and hear God chastise him for not going to church. Unfortunately, all things being equal and conceding I don’t know the state of Frank’s soul, the objective reality is that he’s probably right about the first part. A Catholic who doesn’t go to Mass and willfully violates the Second Commandment probably won’t be going to heaven. It’s a hard truth, but someone’s got to tell them.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli