Liberal Arts: Has nothing whatsoever to do with religion or politics or relativism. Has everything to do with offering history, science, art, math, and all those good things and going more in-depth than your average college into all of those subjects. Stop thinking it means your political view, already. Idiot.
Catholic: Just because Catholics do it, doesn’t mean it is.
Inclusive: Means that yes, anyone can come to a Catholic school. Yes, you are free to believe (or not believe) whatever you like (or don’t like). No, does not mean that you get to impose your beliefs on us, but yes, you can discuss and question all you want. Expecting us, however, to quit saying the Rosary because you feel uncomfortable, is like going into a religious household and telling the inhabitants that they have to get rid of their menorah, or crucifix, or arabic script with Allah’s name on it because you feel uncomfortable…well its just rude.
Free Range: AWESOME IDEA! Seriously, I’m addicted to this blog. It ranks up there with Conversion Diary for me. Hello, lets get kids to think independently and grow! I don’t agree 100% with Free Range (some things are a bit risky) but I agree with a good chunk of the philosophy.
Also…bunnies. They’re just…cute.
Okay, ADHD done.
Now, on to Compare and Contrast, where I’m going to pit Mormonism vs Catholicism!
Mormons and Catholics use some similar terms. That makes sense, since I’m pretty convinced that a lot of terms were “stolen” to add some validity to the Mormon side. However, these terms have different meanings even if they sound a like. So, let’s start with round one.
- As far as I can tell, its actually a formal procedure, complete with meeting with and talking to people, and paper work.
- Is going to involve a whole lot of shunning.
- Your family might be instructed to not be so close to you, so as to make their place in the church more secure.
- Your family might be shunned, even if they’re totally in love with Mormonism.
- Can be given for anything from questioning doctrine to actually being a heretic according to the sect’s beliefs.
- Everybody knows.
- 2 kinds:
- Formal Excommunication- This is the one that’s got fancy paper, a ritual, and is like the biggest, strongest, sternest way of saying “Cease and Desist with your Heresy already”. This is only really given to heretics who will not quit distorting Church teaching, and can’t seem to handle the fact that they are basically no longer Catholic. Included in the excommunication is a plea to return to the Church, and its made pretty clear that the person is welcomed back (however with caution). Martin Luther got one of these, I think.
- Informal Excommunication- This is the one that’s automatically conferred. Hitler most certainly got this one. He didn’t get the fancy one because he never tried to claim that he spoke for the Church. Nope, instead he killed off a ton of Polish Priests, and had words with the Pope, in addition to killing off Jews and whoever else he was angry at. However, you don’t need to be Hitler to get this Excommunication. Committing a mortal sin with full knowledge, full consent, and grave matter will do the trick.
2. Shunning generally doesn’t happen. In the first case, the most that will happen is that you aren’t going to be allowed to speak with or identify with the Church until you reconcile. Family and friends are not discouraged from associating with you, unless you’re a renegade priest who insists on serving an invalid or illicit Mass. Even then, people are just told not to go to your Mass. In the second case, most people aren’t even going to know what mortal sin you committed, and its entirely self policing. For example, if I masturbated, which is grave matter, knew it was wrong and why, and basically said “Screw you, Jesus” and proceeded to look at porn, I’d have excommunicated myself.
3. Self-policing. Excommunication (automatic or formal) means that I can still attend Mass, but may not go up for Communion. I have the option of coming up to receive a blessing, but until I go to Confession and do penance, I shouldn’t be going up for Communion. There aren’t any Communion police (please, please don’t commit sacrilege because of this…) so I could go up for Communion and commit sacrilege if I wanted to. With a formal Excommunication, I may need to go to a Bishop or directly to the Pope in order to have it lifted.
4. Excommunication only happens under specific circumstances. It always needs grave matter, full consent of the will, and full knowledge. Therefore, while some people may have grave matter and full consent of the will, they might not have full knowledge, as is the case with masturbation at certain stages of life- especially if teachings have been watered down. Formal Excommunication is under even more specific circumstances. It takes a lot to have that done.
5. Families are NEVER told to stay away from you. For example, lets say you have apostatized from the Catholic Church. For one thing, it probably won’t cause a stir if you were already a lapsed Catholic, because you’re an adult and you handle your own faith. Yes, we all consider it sad, but what you choose is what you choose, and we cannot force you to choose the Church. If anything, they are asked to pray for you, and to be charitable and non-judgemental towards you. Culturally speaking, its looked down upon to brow-beat people who have fallen away, or to “love-bomb” them. Your decisions are respected, whether they are popular or not.
6. Probably nobody knows. Its not that people do not care (we do) its just that when one is an adult, its expected that you’ll make your own faith choices. Your own family might be very distressed at you leaving the Church, but the answer to that distress will probably be discussions and prayer. If you’re not open to discussion or prayer…well the prayer will continue but the discussion will be cut off.
The main difference I see between the Catholic Church and the Mormon religion when it comes to excommunication (or apostasy) is that it all boils down to respect. I don’t see a lot of respect from Mormons when someone apostatizes. It seems that a lot of assumptions are made about the character of the excommunicated/apostate. There seems to be a lot of gossiping, that the person in question must be under the influence of Satan or an Anti-Mormon, or they’ve done something wrong with their life (like maybe drinking coffee or something), or that someone Mormon must have really pissed them off. Its also assumed that the person will suddenly have a horrible life that isn’t as happy as their Mormon one, and I’ve seen that a lot of divorces seem to follow when one spouse becomes not-Mormon.
Catholics, on the other hand, might engage in a little gossip but it usually tends to follow one of two routes. 1) Catechism needs to get better (usually this one is said if an apostate is incorrect, or if one is a blatant heretic) 2) They’re just lost (meaning the now non-Catholic party). Its certainly never assumed that your life will get any better or worse for not being Catholic. I suspect that is due to how Catholics are not adverse to the idea that suffering could be something God-given and something to be thankful for, in an odd way. The idea that prosperity=happiness=God’s love and approval is completely antithetical to Catholic teaching. Also, we might say that someone has been swayed by the Devil, but its not in the way that means the other person is somehow “tainted” and now should be avoided.
Its more like acknowledging that Evil exists, and that all of us are susceptible. Besides, if anyone starts actually bad-mouthing the heretic/apostate, someone else is bound to bring up that being charitable is being Christian, and the badmouthing will be quickly muzzled.
I’ve never heard of a Catholic divorcing because of a change in religion, unless the other spouse insists upon it, or the religion requires something of the Catholic spouse that is impossible to reconcile. Serious Catholics strive never to divorce, because we really do believe that “til death do us part”. Also, there are examples, like Saint Monica, of Catholics who married non-Catholics and spent their days praying for their spouses.
However, as in all things, the Catholic Church assumes that when you are an adult, you can handle your own faith. You need support and a community to help you with that, but if you want to live the rest of your life as something else, the Church will respect that all the way to your death. You will always be Catholic in baptism, but if you become an atheist, we aren’t going to come to your funeral, perform a Mass, and insist that you were a Rosary wielding, incense sniffing, fish-eating honest to goodness Catholic. We just think that it would be insulting to pretend there’s no difference of belief when clearly there is.
I’m going to try posting this every Friday. Compare, Contrast, ADHD.
Wow, I wrote a lot!