Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Reclaiming Catholic: The Time Has Come To Drop The Labels

I recently had a conversation with a fellow Catholic that left me feeling frustrated with the thought that many of us feel the need to qualify what we mean when we call ourselves Catholic.

How many of us have felt compelled to label ourselves as a specific type of Catholic when we engage in conversations with others, so as to let them know that we really mean business when it comes to our faith?

We've all heard and have probably used the labels of "Conservative Catholic," "Practicing Catholic," "Actually Catholic," and the ever-so-popular "We Are The Kind of Catholics Who Use NFP Catholic."

But why do we have to do this to ourselves?

Why can't "Catholic" mean what it is supposed to mean, and what I'm guessing it used to mean in the past?

Obviously, this has happened over time because of the tons of people who are "Catholic," meaning "Culturally Catholic," who continue to use the term despite having almost zero attachment to their faith.

They're typically the spiritual-but-not-religious, don't-want-to-impose-my-beliefs-on-others, who-am-I-to-judge kind of folks.

Simply because they continue to identify as Catholics, we actual Catholics find the need to qualify our Catholic-ness.

*Brief aside: This post is not about me being some mega Catholic, better than everyone else, kind of person. And it isn't even about trying to convince people who don't actually engage with their faith to stop calling themselves Catholic. Instead, this post is about getting rid of the compulsion to label ourselves as a "real Catholic" and to instead reclaim the term Catholic for what it actually means.

I'm calling on us all to start simply saying we're Catholic, letting go of all the desires to label it to make sure people know what we mean. I'm calling on us all to start simply saying we're Catholic, so as to re-evangelize our culture with the knowledge about what being Catholic actually means. 

I'm calling on us to reclaim Catholic, and I'm starting now.

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