Friday, 8 March 2013

Atheist Tells 'Catholic' How It Really Is


Every Day Is An Atheist Holiday

Piers Morgan quite proudly proclaims that he is a Catholic.  Yet he seems, like many cultural Catholics today, to lack any real understanding of our Catholic Faith.  He also seems to be a selective Catholic.  This is obvious from this video clip of Piers Morgan interviewing Penn Jillette.

What is amazing is how Penn Jillette, author of “Every Day Is An Atheist Holiday”, actually does seem to get Catholics.  Jillette certainly does a damn fine job of telling Piers Morgan that possibly, just possibly, Piers Morgan is not really a Catholic after all.  Maybe Piers Morgan is something else . . . Lutheran . . .?


I think Penn Jillette could in fact be speaking to many cultural Catholics today.  It really is unacceptable that one claims to be a Catholic but then only selectively accepts our Catholic beliefs! 

Catholics who don’t accept Catholic beliefs, yet insist that they’re Catholic, are just confusing themselves and the rest of the world.  They’re doing the Catholic faith a tremendous injustice.  Come on, have the courage to say sorry but I am not Catholic because I actually disagree with what you guys believe.  I promise Catholics won’t think any less of you.

39 comments:

  1. Yes, this is what I don't understand: if you don't accept all of the Catholic teachings then why remain Catholic and demand that the Church and the Faith and Christ Himself change to meet your demands? Just... stop being Catholic and go elsewhere? Why is that so difficult?

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  2. My respect for Penn just went up quite a bit. Its too bad though that the discussion on scripture wasn't a little bit better, but, what do you expect?

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  3. The idea that dissenters should just quit the church rather than muddy the waters for unquestioning Catholics? It makes for a funny blog post, but what you're saying, itself, goes against the magisterium. "Catholic" means "universal." Dissenters belong inside the church. Considering the atrocious abuses committed by our loyalest clerics in recent decades, let's thank God for the dissenters and lend them an ear.

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    1. What a facile understanding of the word Catholic/universal. It does not mean that everyone is part of the Church. "Many are called, few are chosen".

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  4. Exactly, there is no shame in saying I don't share your beliefs and am therefore not Catholic. Its shameful to claim you are Catholic when really you don't share our beliefs and then go out of your way to knock our beliefs. Give us the respect you want us to show you.

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  5. what you are forgetting is that a baptized/confirmed Catholic is always a Catholic. There is no opt out option in Catholicism. Everyone belongs in the church and everyone is at a different place in their faith journey. We need to pray for each other as to be healed of our blindness in sin, as we all share in the glory of the saints and feel the burn of communal sin. Pierce belongs in the church as much as any holy obedient people of the church. Perhaps God's plan for holiness in both Pierce and Penn includes this interview! What glorious faithful they both would make!

    “Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.” - St. Catherine of Siena

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    1. What a load of horse shit. Everyone might belong in the Church, but it certainly does not mean they are in the Church. "Everyones is at a different place in their faith journey". Yes baptism leaves an indellible mark, and in fact is the sacrament of faith (where the Church imparts her knowledge of God) . To come to such position Morgan would have had to relinquish his baptism (not the mark but the fruits) . Unrepented he would go to hell. Therefore he would not be in the Church. See Gospel of John 15

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  6. I stayed as a dissenter for too long. I have since stopped calling myself a Catholic when I realized that there was no way I could reconcile my personal ethical and moral beliefs with the teachings of the church, particularly under Benedict. Perhaps if the Cardinals choose more wisely, I may feel able to return.

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  7. You don't have to be a "dissenter" (a Catholic who publicly disagrees with some aspect of the Faith because they "know" it to be wrong) to hold our leaders accountable to what they do. Faithful Catholics with courage can do the same. Exhibit A: Catherine of Sienna.
    There is a difference between having "doubts" about a Church teaching and being a dissenter. If a faithful Catholic has doubts, it is incumbent upon them to hold to the Faith while seeking the answers to their doubts. That is faith seeking understanding.
    If one is a true dissenter and is obstinate in their dissent of some unchangeable aspect of the Faith, one should be honest and admit they may not be cut out to be a Catholic.

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  8. remember that a sacrament is final. Just like a valid marriage sacrament cannot be divorced, a valid confirmation sacrament cannot be undone. If a child is bad the parent is always there to unconditionally love him/her likewise the church does not dismiss the prodigal children but seeks them with all her heart. Excommunication is not he role of the laity and does not make someone not Catholic.

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  9. You aren't supposed to reconcile *your* "personal ethical and moral beliefs" with the teachings of the Church. You lay them aside, and take up the universal teaching. That is the whole point of being Catholic. That is how you become Catholic if you are not already. When you are at odds with the Church's teachings, you change your mind, if you consider yourself Catholic. That is the whole, entire, and complete point of faith just as Jesus taught.

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  10. You make an assumption that those who accept Church teaching are unquestioning Catholics. I am an Anglican convert to Catholicism from 25 years ago. Tons of questioning took place before I made the decision to convert. Sadly I found that here in the Catholic Church far less people truly believed in what the Church believed than I had in the Anglican Church that I left behind.

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  11. Denise, you are right, a baptised person never loses the baptismal character. That does not however change the fact that we can, through an act of heresy, cut ourselves off from the Church. The most common form of heresy today is indifferentism. In other words claiming that it does not really matter what one believes, as long as one means well and does good things.

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  12. Here's the thing. I'm Catholic, but I'll try to explain this from purely a logical standpoint. The Catholic Church believes that it alone is the true Church, and that it's teachings and dogma are the teachings of God. All of them. God cannot change. We've had the same teachings for 2000 years. If you say...well, I think this video explains it rather well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ds3RP2WV4rs&list=UUH4-usupiIjtT7uETsnLnnQ&index=2

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  13. However, the problems I had has to do with Church priorities. For example, there is more to being Catholic than abortion rights. Here in the US, nuns are speaking out on social justice issues and agitating from within to attempt to change the focus of American Catholicism from a strict focus on the unborn, to a more holistic focus that truly includes the poor and the unfortunate. That is why I left the church. I could no longer stand the exclusive focus on the fetus, and the marginalization of those of us who are not just potentially born, but already here.


    This is just one example of the way the Catholic church does not fit *my* needs as an ethical follower of Jesus' words, and why I felt that, after many years of disagreement, I had to leave the church. I realize that Mark is not American (and you may not be, either,) so my struggle may in fact be limited to Americans, but I am not alone in my opinions.

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  14. Because some Catholics interpret what Jesus and the Apostles said differently than what previous Catholics have. The Church has not always held the same ideals, and the changes are apparent in the way the Catechism has changed over the years. Catholicism changes, even if they are very slow changes. People who believe that today's Catholicism is THE correct way to worship God and forever shall be are ignoring the fact that we are only human and have to continually interpret and grow with the lessons we were given thousands of years ago to try to be as close to God as possible. Asserting you know exactly what God is thinking is putting yourself on the same level as the Almighty, and that is blasphemy.

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  15. Not true.. The Catholic Church doesnt "know what God is thinking" and it never said that. We just know what was revealed to us, through Holy Spirit. And it has the same beliefs early Christians had. Ex. Eucharist, immaculate Mary, Tradition, saints who can intercede for us in Heaven, Trinity, Rome's church primacy, salvation, etc.... Unlike protestants who negate all of that..

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  16. Last time I checked, all it takes to be considered Catholic is a belief in the Niacene Creed and the 7 Sacraments (and practice thereof).

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  17. Watch the video. It is not for Catholics individually to interpret what Jesus taught. The Magisterium does that for us. That is a core characteristic of being Catholic. We don't each individually interpret.

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  18. Every Catholic is called to personal holiness in the circumstances of his or her ordinary life. Not everyone can and needs to be proactively involved in fighting, for example, abortion. I disagree with abortion and will speak out if asked about it or the situation presents. That is not however where I believe called to minister. Clearly Joanne Q neither do you. That's good. Find that which you believe is important and work in that area as a Catholic. That way we get to touch every aspect of society, even if some are more visible and high profile than others.

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  19. "Ubi Petrus ibi ecclesia, et ibi ecclesia vita eterna"

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  20. Joanne here is another Blog post I wrote about what different Catholics do: http://marknelza.blogspot.com/2013/02/death-of-spirit-of-vatican-ii.html

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  21. Yes indeed: Where there is Peter there is the Church, where there is the Church there is life eternal (St. Ambrose of Milan)

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  22. You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. Heretics and schismatics are outside of the Church, period.

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  23. What you espouse is modernism and is heretical. Church teaching does not change. Read the old catechisms.

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  24. That's not correct. Baptism leaves an indelible mark on the soul, but if you reject the Church and adhere to a heretical or schismatic creed after the age of reason (typically 8 years old), you are no longer a member of the Catholic Church. You are deemed a heretic and/or schismatic.

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  25. I am insulted by Piers Morgan's reference to 'young catholics' believing the same as he does.

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  26. A sad reality many of them overlook. One cannot blatantly reject Church teaching on matters of Faith and Morals and then continue as though one is still a Catholic.

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  27. Agree! I was extremely amused by his outrageous statement about the younger Catholics. If anything it is the younger Catholics who are showing us the way back. Just look at the turn out at World Youth Day, the number of young Catholics going to Confession regularly and how many young people are asking for the Tridentine Mass. Then look at the number of young Catholics involved in the ProLife movement. Sorry Piers, you have no idea what young Catholics want!

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  28. Thank you for the link. I think the most important part of the blog post had to do with the clarification of the roles of the lay person vs, the Church hierarchy. It clearly backs up my feeling that for me, faith is best reflected in my daily life. As many in my acquaintance have said, "the church are the people, not the institution."

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  29. I left the catholic Church once, but at least I had the integrity to admit that I didn't believe what the Church believed and didn't come back until I could say with all honesty that I did agree with it and would obey even if I didn't understand.

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  30. Those who have pointed out clerics engaging in sin aren't dissenting with Catholic teaching - they are living it! There's a HUGE difference. Christ told us that when we see our brother engaging in sin (no matter who that brother may be) we are to let them know they are sinning so that they might correct their behavior and be saved! Admonishing sinners is and has always been a spiritual act of mercy in the eyes of the Church.

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  31. Today we have Catholics, people that go to the Catholic Church and Catholic-Atheists. Of these groups the last category is dangerous, these are the people who have the view that GOD thinks the way I do and if I think the magisterium messed up on a certain teaching 'most definitely' God thinks the way I do. They are dangerous in that they are the most vocal and they take up most influential and teaching apostolates in parishes and spread their dissent to 'people who go to the Catholic Church'.

    I had a chat with a seminarian and we were speaking about salvation and about grace. I said to him that death of Christ on the cross is a propitiation for our sins, where He opens up the way to the Father and that as Christians we now have to live under 'actual grace' leading to 'sanctifying grace' - this entails prayer, confession and penance to inherit the reward He promised. This scandalised the seminarian who said that the death of Christ on the cross takes our original sin and all our sins in such a way that we should not look to confession as a means of staying in the grace of God but just rather accept Christ and we will be saved. This is Protestant Theology right from Martin Luther, that all that is required is to accept Christ and we will waltz straight into Heaven no matter what we do in our day to day lives.

    Another 'renowned' Catechist teaching in the Neo-Catecumenate community said that Mary doubted the words of the angel and so we in our turn should not doubt. This is wrong, Zaccharia doubted and was made dumb up to and until John the Baptist was born, Mary was surprised that she was to be pregnant without a husband but never doubted that is why the angel explained.

    We have come to a point where those who do not understand the faith are very vocal and they spread pseudo-Christianity under the guise of spirituality in which it is feelings rather than Word and Reason that rules the day. The results are disastrous, those who understand the faith are not allowed to teach, many reasons are given why they shouldn't teach ... God Help Us!

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  32. Just to clarify what I said on the death of Christ at Calvary: Jesus Christ died for our sins, original sin and sins we commit daily, this is why we have confession. If we confess and are truly contrite He forgives us and wipes the slate clean so He can 'look not on our sins but on the faith of His Church'. Am I saved? Yes, by the waters of Baptism I died with Christ and was born into new life and through Confirmation I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. However, I now have to live this life through prayer and penance and have recourse to Confession every time I fall.

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  33. Mark, you raise a very important point. A key difference between Catholicism and other denominations is that Catholics see Jesus as having given to Peter (and his successors) authority to make the rules of the church. So there is not much room for personal interpretation and how I feel. If I want to be Catholic, I can check what the church teaches. If I don't agree, I can research and hopefully come home.

    Piers Morgan may claim himself as a Catholic, but if there are some things he does not agree with in the church, he is by definition not Catholic. He can say he was raised Catholic, but he shouldn't call himself Catholic.

    Joanne Q - you are absolutely right: "the church are the people, not the institution.", if by institution you mean buildings, which are not important. What is more important is Tradition, because that's the way the 1st Christians lived.

    As the Catholic church, we must pray for those outside the church, that they will return like the prodigal son. We must explain calmly to them what Catholicism is. But, let us be clear that Catholicism is the "whole thing", not the parts we agree with. Anybody in disagreement with some teachings of the church should just do their best to be the best person they can be, everyday. They can be a saint too.

    Taso

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  35. Hey Mark
    Great blog
    I thought I was the only Catholic who dared post on the Mail and Guardian website

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  36. Thanks Isabella. I enjoy your comments on M & G because no other person seems to ever want to speak the truth. Keep it up.

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