CHRISTIANITY À LA CARTE: Please, Father, Give It To Me Straight!

If you’re like most Catholics in the pew, you have rarely (if ever) heard a priest preach on one of these thorny issues:

  • Contraception
  • Racism
  • Premarital Sex
  • Divorce
  • Mandatory attendance at Sunday Mass

 It’s fairly easy to command, as Christ did, that we “Love one another.”  It’s easy, too, for us to smile and pat ourselves on the back, thinking about all the *LUV* that we dish out each day.  Ah, yes, we must be on the right track!

But when it comes to plain old S-I-N….  Well, a lot of us find that Father just doesn’t want to stand up at the pulpit and point fingers.  The unfortunate end result of Father’s reticence is that a lot of folks may not really understand that their behavior is unacceptable in the eyes of God. 

Pope Benedict addressed this last month, when he led a Scripture meditation for priests and religious from the Diocese of Rome.  In his meditation, he cautioned against preaching “Christianity à la Carte”—what has been snidely referred to here in the U.S. as “Cafeteria Catholicism,” that weakened, sugar-coated faith from which the believer may pick and choose which teachings to uphold in his or her life.  Rather, the Pope reminded, priests should be willing to proclaim “the entire plan of God.” 

“It is our mission to announce all the will of God, in its totality and ultimate simplicity.”

Emphasizing the importance of preaching the word of God in its entirety, Pope Benedict explained:

“The Apostle does not preach Christianity à la carte, according to his own tastes, he does not preach a Gospel according to his own preferred theological ideas; he does not take away from the commitment to announce the entire will of God, even when uncomfortable, nor the themes he may least like personally.”

Pope Benedict recognized that humans have a natural curiosity, a desire to find the truth in the world; and what could be more interesting than to know the will of God?  He called on priests to respond to this natural curiosity and to awaken it in others, helping them to truly know the will of God, and to know how we can and must live, which is the path of our lives. 


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