I Am A Catholic

I Am A Catholic

Today we hear of Liberal Catholics and Conservative Catholics. We hear of Vatican II Catholics and Traditionalist Catholics. We hear of Roman Catholics, Old Catholic, Old Roman Catholics, Anglican Catholics, and many other types of Catholics.


At the only real Vatican Council, commonly called the First Vatican Council to distinguish it from the Second Vatican Council a discussion of what is the name of the Church founded by Jesus Christ. It was proposed that the Church should be named the Roman Catholic Church. The Bishops from England, Scotland and Wales put in an objection and asked to be heard by the whole Council. They choose one of their number to speak on their behalf. In England at the time there was the Oxford Movement. Also there was a conservative movement in Anglicanism. Some believed in what is called the Branch Theory that Jesus' Church currently had three branches, Orthodox, Anglican and Roman Catholic. The Bishop objected that adding a word to distinguish members of Jesus' Church from other catholics would support the Branch Theory. The Council approved their objection and decided not to give an official name to Christ's Church.


You may ask why I am not a Traditionalist. It is true Saint Pius X said that the only real Catholics are the traditionalists. What did he mean by traditionalist and who and what are Traditionalists today? On the latter point, there is controversy and even Traditionalism has been separated into various positions. A person I might call a Traditionalist you might not. Also one Traditionalist would not believe another is actually a Traditionalist. The term Traditionalist in Traditionalist Catholic is imprecise. This is why I rejected this three and a half decades ago.


True followers of Jesus Christ have been given two different names, Christians and Catholics. We are called Christians, because Jesus Christ founded our Church. For this reason we call those in the church founded by Martin Luther, Lutherans. We also have Calvinists, Mennonites, etc. Followers of Buddha are called Buddhists and followers of Mohamed have been called Mohammedans. And to be identified as a Christian is excellent, if I am truly Christian, that is I follow Jesus completely and without reservation, accepting all He taught us as we are advised in Sacred Scripture at the end of Saint Matthew's Gospel.


We are called Catholics, because our doctrine and way of life is for all times and all peoples. We follow the Gospel universally, since Catholic means universal. To add a qualifying term to Catholic is to reject that very universality, because on matters of Faith there is only one true position. We are neither liberal nor conservative, liberal or traditional. Either we are Catholic or we are not Catholic.


Today this requires some explanation, because what non-Catholics believe is the Catholic Church actually is not. It is the Church founded by John the Baptist Montini as Paul VI at and after Vatican II. It is called the Church of the Council, which is also translated by them as the Conciliar Church. However, if you drive down the street, the name of their church is still Saint Peter's Catholic Church. Now, obviously, I am not a member of that sect, but I am a Catholic. As Saint Athanasius said: "They may have the churches, but we have the faith." Now I have to explain that I hold to the Catholic Faith as it was taught before Vatican II. Usually I cite the Baltimore Catechism, because they may be familiar with it. Also I cite the Latin Mass, because they may be familiar with it if they are older.

If someone asks if I am a Roman Catholic, I tell them I am not. Although as Bishop of Rome, in one sense it is true, but I know that this is not the sense they will take it. If they ask what diocese I am from, then I say Rome, which gets their attention. If I were to allow myself to be called anything more than just a Catholic, then I am admitting there are other kinds of legitimate Catholics. To allow myself to be called a Traditionalist Catholic admits that Conciliar Catholics may also be legitimate.


I have been called a sedevacantist, but that is not true. I do not believe the Papacy is vacant, but that I am Pope. I have been called a conclavist, a term, like sedevacantism, which was invented long after the movement began. When I became a sede vacantist, it was still two words. However, I did not describe myself as such. Also I was also for a time a home-aloner before the term was invented.


I am a Catholic. If you want to know more, then we can go into more detail, whether briefly or in depth. We live in a a time of confusion and I have written on this in the past. Would that I could simply say that I am a Catholic and leave it at that. However, where I live, there are various kinds of people claiming to be Catholic and my neighbors have heard of at least two of these sects, the Conciliar Church and the Society of Saint Pius X, which has a large compound west of Topeka. Usually, when they see the cassock, they think I am with that group.


Saint Peter wrote (I Peter 3:15): "But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you." Unless asked, I prefer to demonstrate that I am a Catholic by living the Gospel rather than by words. If there was more living the Gospel and less discussing the various issues, the world would be a better place.


If you ask, I am a Christian and I am a Catholic. If you don't ask, I hope I demonstrate this by living as Jesus Christ teaches us to live.