WHAT IS A CATHOLIC?
Rosemary Esmay has started an interesting discussion, the essence of which is whether one can simultaneously be a Catholic and yet pick and choose the tenets of its beliefs that you wish to adhere to. I take the “no” position on this one.
The essential element of Roman Catholicism, it seems to me, is the claim to unbroken apostolic succession of the Pope as the Vicar of Christ. If you believe the pontiff is the infallible interpreter of God’s word on this Earth then you’re Catholic. If you think he’s a nice old man in a funny hat who renders judgments from which you can pick and choose as if in a cafeteria, you are not Catholic. By this definition, the vast majority of American “Catholics” aren’t Catholics.