Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Salvation and CINO's

"rhapsody" asked a good question in response to my post on salvation and the Catholic Church:
What about the fact that one must be a faithful Catholic - not just a CINO? Some of my non-Catholic Christian friends point to well-known CINO's as examples of hypocrisy within our Church, which is an inaccuracy. When a Kerry-Catholic is pointed out to me, I will mention that our former president & his misses made quite a photo op out of holding hands Sundays at church. That usually makes my point that hypocrites are everywhere. So being a Catholic does not assure Heaven, whereas many of my Protestant friends think they're going straight up. How else might this misconception be corrected?
First of all, I'm assuming that "CINO" stands for "Catholic In Name Only." That said, why do people get so excited about exposing Catholic hypocrites, as if it were this big secret that no one knows about? So they found a hypocrite. Congratulations. All they did was prove that men are sinners....but then again, we knew that already (see this post).

What they haven't proven is that the Catholic Church is bogus, or not the Church of Christ. Since when do CINO's become the stewards of a Church they don't even follow? That doesn't even make any sense, and this same standard applied to any other institution or group of people would instantly result in public outcry. If you want to see the fruit of the Church, look for the ones who actually live the life of the Church, and who inform their lives by what she teaches. A representative or a steward embodies his affiliation. He brings his business/corporation/institution/church/community/nation to others. You can only do that by being as faithful to your group as possible.

Furthermore, saying that the Catholic Church possesses "the fullness of truth" and that it is the Church founded by Jesus Christ Himself does not mean that every member of the Church will be a perfect saint. All men sin. What makes the Catholic Church unique is that she is the normative and most perfect instrument through which these sinful men may find salvation. In her are found inumerable graces and the Real Presence of Jesus Christ Himself. But, the radical freedom that we all possess is such that, even in the midst of so many heavenly aids, men still have the power to turn away from God and reject his grace.

As such, your ticket isn't punched, so to speak, just because you happen to be a Catholic. We must still be faithful and obedient, and avoid sin if we are to enter heaven. A Catholic in name only is in a particularly perilous position because of the scandal that he causes to the Church and to the world by poorly representing the Church. We must all conform ourselves to Christ and make his presence more profound in the world. Only then will we come to see Him face to face.

Pax Christi,

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