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By Luke Kusick

Individualism and the elevation of its desires over anything else is the trademark of liberalism. From classical to neo-liberal, from progressive to cuckservative, the hallmark of liberalism is the emphasis of the individual. Whether one wants to be liberated from societal norms, from big government or from God, liberalism inherently places the emphasis on the individual. Either make or break for the rugged individualist.

Why do I bring up the topic of individualism? Last issue, an author wrote on the topic of left-leaning Catholicism and the idea that one can be Catholic and still support issues such as homosexual marriage, birth control, etc. While the Church teaches against and firmly rejects an individual’s ability to be a Catholic in good standing be supportive of such causes, we must examine why many Catholics believe that they can remain Catholic and agree with the Church. The honest truth is that most Catholics in America agree with the sentiment brought up by the author of “Left-Leaning Catholics Are a Thing”. According to Pew Poll research 67% of self-identified Catholics favor same-sex marriage in America. According to research done in 2016 by Pew Poll, 41% of Catholics believe contraception is a moral good and 48% believe it is not a moral issue at all. The numbers on homosexual relationships and abortion are not reflective of what the Church teaches either, so it appears on the surface that “Left-Leaning Catholics Are a Thing” is pointing out a phenomena that is real. However, how can a majority of self-identified Catholics disagree with the Church’s moral positions and still consider themselves a part of said Church? Has the Church recently turned back on these positions and am I just back in the Feudal Ages with my beliefs? No. Rather, the rise of individualism in the Latin West has led to a tragic fate of the Church established by Christ himself. The focus on the individual caused the Protestant Reformation, a crisis that shook the Church in the 15th century. The focus on the individual caused the French Revolution in the 18th century. Now, individualism is rocking the Church again with modernism. Modernism is a heresy that again focuses on the individual, and we shall examine how the overwhelming majority of Catholics can reject the Church’s teachings and still consider themselves Catholic.

When discussing the social teachings of the Church, many in the “left-leaning” Catholicism crowd will often cite Pope Francis and how he has recently embarked on a crusade of social justice, morally reforming the Church. to them, he is the living embodiment of a “left-leaning” Catholic. However, let us take a look at Pope Francis back in 2010 when he was known as Cardinal Bergogilo. As Cardinal, he vocally opposed a bill in his home country of Argentina that would permit gay marriage and gay adoption. He stated, “Let us not be naive: this is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill (a mere instrument) but a ‘move’ of the father of lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.” The Pope’s harsh stance on homosexual marriages is clear in this statement. Pope Francis’s remarks clearly reflect that of the Church’s teaching on homosexual marriage, an ideological tenet since its inception. Pope Francis, while making claims such as “who am I to judge” with regards to homosexuals, has only made clear statements about the act itself being morally wrong. But, we are called to love the sinner and teach the sinner to go forth and sin no more.

However, let us get back to the idea of being a left-leaning Catholic. To be a Catholic, one must submit to the Church. If one wants to pick and choose what they like and dislike about the Church and what doctrines they want to believe in and don’t, there are about 30,000 Protestant denominations you can choose from. The idea of being a left-leaning Catholic is about as absurd as being a right leaning Catholic. If you are a Catholic, you must accept the teachings of the Church. You cannot stray from the Church teachings or decide your own morals. In the past there were many heretics such as Arius, who would deny theological teachings of the Church. Today, man cares less about theology and more about modernity. In this way, humanity continues to go against the Church, but this time instead of arguing over the issue of whether or not Jesus was fully divine or fully human, people decide to pick on his social teachings. I guess many people forget that Christ stated, “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to depart into hell.” (Matthew 5:29-30). Unlike a Protestant reading of the Bible, Jesus obviously did not mean for his followers to self-mutilate. The spirit of this passage is that any attempt to cater to an earthly, temporary value or idea instead of what Christ’s Church teaches is ultimately deadly to one’s soul.

In conclusion, one cannot be a left-leaning Catholic, a right-leaning Catholic, a Catholic who likes abortion or a Catholic who wants female priests. One can only be a Catholic. If one calls themselves a Catholic yet disagrees with the Church, then one is not truly Catholic. With a lowercase “c”, the word means universal. The Church cannot have universality if its members can pick and choose which doctrines they believe in for the sake of adhering to modernism.

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