Over at aCatholica Forum (which I won't link to here, though its in the sidebar) it's just an incitement to heresy) they are wondering what to call themselves on the next census form given that their "faith journeys" make it a big stretch for them to continue to claim to be catholics.
One or two are insisting on the voice of God speaking personally to them before they give up the claim (well, given the average age of the liberals, I imagine that voice will be speaking pretty soon....). But most are a little more honest.
Now the most obvious term for a 'cafeteria catholic' or self-proclaimed 'dissenter' might be protestant - almost the definition of the term in fact! But over at Catholica Forum they are thinking about whether they should write 'lapsed catholic', 'progressive catholic', 'Catholic without boarders'(!)...or wait for it, the current favourite - 'free range catholic'!?
I nearly rolled on the floor laughing at the image of a bunch of chooks running about the yard (yes acatholicas, you do indeed have a few unfriendly lurkers as one on the board warned), though I fear for that the quality of the eggs delivered will belie the name! So yes, cathlites, do go for it!
Pell on the pollies
And one of the current subjects of their barnyard squawking is Cardinal Pell's comments reported in some of the News Ltd papers including the Courier Mail on Catholic politicians who have publicly adopted positions contrary to Church teaching, and voted immoral laws into existence.
The story goes on to say that:
Cardinal Pell sharply rebuked MPs who "fly under the Christian or Captain Catholic flag" but "blithely disregard Christian perspectives" when they voted in parliament on moral issues.
"If a person says, 'look, I'm not a Christian, I've a different set of perspectives', I disagree but I understand," the Archbishop of Sydney told The Sunday Mail.
"If a person says to me, 'look I'm nominally a Christian but it sits lightly with me', I understand that.
"But it's incongruous for somebody to be a Captain Catholic one minute, saying they're as good a Catholic as the Pope, then regularly voting against the established Christian traditions."
Time for action?
The story notes that Cardinal Pell refused to name names.
It isn't like it is a secret. Their disobedience from Church teachings, in the form of voting records, is clearly on the public record.
Indeed, the media without any prompting can readily identify NSW Premier Kristina Keneally, a self-proclaimed "committed Catholic" with a degree in theology who voted for same-sex adoption, and Federal Liberal MP Teresa Gambaro who recently indicated she might support homosexual 'marriage', as amongst them. Nor is the much fuller list that hard to uncover.
I do feel sorry for bishops such as Cardinal Pell who are trying to stand up for the Church. He is constantly being attacked by the gay lobby and similar groups for the sin of daring to insist that his priests teach the truth on moral subjects. And by those loosely in the Church (or maybe not as the case may be!) such as the acatholicas, who are talking about 'catholic sharia law' and accuse him of being a 'Taliban catholic' for the mere mention in public that these politicians' position is untenable!
Yet really, what is to be gained by failing to act? Public leaders who claim to be catholic while acting directly counter to the moral law are a serious danger to the rest of the faithful, and above all, are putting their own immortal souls at risk.
In those circumstances bishops surely have a duty to act - to counsel them privately, to warn them publicly, and then to take canonical action. Hopefully, Cardinal Pell's comments represent stage two of this process...And perhaps we can look forward to similar action by the bishops of other States with similarly problematic MPs amongst their flocks.