Humor: On Cafeteria Catholic and...Cafeteria Protestant, an article, by Peter Menkin
by Peter Menkin 8/15/2009 / Church Life
This writer of "Cafeteria Catholic, the article" has a Protestant friend who picks and chooses from her salad what she likes: More tomatoes, maybe extra radishes, but not so much green lettuce. At 77 she has a license, one would think. For another example, she isn't Methodist, but attends the Methodist Church where she can help feed the homeless every month. She is a woman of charity, a good Christian, and God knows she knows her Bible liking to attend Baptist and Evangelical Church Bible studies. She also goes with a friend to both Roman Catholic Bible Study and Roman Catholic services, where she gets a blessing--not wine and wafer, and complains strongly of being denied Communion. A blessing is not enough for her, and that is understandable. I consider her a kind of Cafeteria Protestant.
Yet usually, the real Cafeteria picker and chooser of religion are called a Cafeteria Catholic. In an effort to find out more, here is a short article on the Cafeteria Catholic by a non-Roman Catholic. Consider this writer's observation and research. Consider it amusing as well as telling, for after all, a sense of humor helps when presenting a serious subject. (May these words be palitable.)
In an effort to get to the bottom of the matter, this reporter contacted the offices of two well known Cafeteria Catholics, Maria Shriver and Nancy Pelosi. There was no reply at the time of posting this article. (Maria Shriver is wife of the Governor of California, and Nancy Pelosi is the Congresswoman from San Francisco.)
These were their questions, the same ones to be posed to each:
Do you lead a Eucharistic life, and if so how so?
Are you a regular Sunday Church goer? If unable to go Sunday, do you go Saturday evening?
Is it all right to be a Cafeteria Catholic, as you have self defined your particular inclination of practice regarding certain Roman Catholic Church doctrine?
Have you enjoyed Church?
Can you tell us where you worship?
What is central in your religious life as a worshiper?
Will you tell us what a Cafeteria Catholic may be?
What did you have for lunch this week?
Here is a definition of cafeteria: "self-service restaurant in which customers select various dishes from an open-counter display. The food is usually placed on a tray, paid for at a cashier's station, and carried to a dining table by the customer." This from the 2006 Encyclopedia Britannica computer loaded reference program. Everyone knows Britannica is authoritative, whereas Wikipedia is by someone out there in internet landlots of whomever-someones.
As for Cafeteria Catholic, there was no reference to it. There is reference to: Catholic Recoveries of Protestant Territories (from Protestantism). Also under Cafeteria Catholics is listed Automats:
In full Horn & Hardart Automat any of a chain of cafeterias in New York City and Philadelphia, where low-priced prepared food and beverages were obtained, especially from coin-operated compartments.
This isn't to imply Cafeteria Catholics are organized. They are not. And they are not out of fashion or business.
In an email correspondence with an informed blogger on the subject, this comment helped start the ball rolling. And let me remind you, this is a serious subject for my Toronto based blogging acquaintance, and this writer agrees. But let's indulge ourselves in some pie. The "Malt Monk", as he is called and who is a cradle Roman Catholic of 50 years:
If you are Catholic, you must accept the entire Truth; not just the parts that appeal to you. We must also accept some of the blame for current problems.. because the Church is and will be made up of sinners.
I understand and agree with the Magisterium and Authority of The Catholic Church that comes from Jesus and is passed through His Disciples (Apostles/Bishops/Priests) through time.
I mean, where do people think the bible came from... it didn't drop from the sky it came from the appointed followers of Jesus.. The Royal Priesthood and lineage of our faith.
The Church doesn't make new rules to be fashionable with 'modernism'.
Here is a quote from his blog that does what Britannica fails to do. Malt Monk defines Cafeteria Catholic:
This is an expression that applies to those calling themselves 'Catholic' that want to pick and choose whatever they like about the faith and decide the breadth and width of each topic.
In recent news; some of the chosen people (celebrities) are publically calling themselves 'cafeteria catholics' and wearing this as a badge of honour. Comments like 'I consider myself a Catholic in good standing; but I disagree with a lot of the teachings of the Church'... or 'I don't believe'... And then they proceed to spew their narrow minded canned jargon that is emitted by most of these uninformed sheep.
They stand in their cafeteria line and take similar servings from what is processed and served up by the media-celebrity chefs. Or they simply take it upon themselves to decree their opinions.
So Malt Monk defines our term.
This reporter meditated on the subject while at Church, and by coincidence these words from the hymn, "All Who Hunger Gather Gladly" resonated as a more serious lesson for religious people of various denominations: "Taste and see the grace eternal /Taste and see that God is good." The first words tell more: "All who hunger gather gladly, holy manna is our bread"
--Peter Menkin, Mill Valley, CA USA
Peter Menkin, an aspiring poet, lives in Mill Valley, CA USA where he writes poetry. He is an Oblate of Immaculate Heart Hermitage, Big Sur, CA and that means he is a Camaldoli Benedictine. He is 64 years of age as of 2010.