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"Cafeteria Christianity" is a derogatory term used by some Christians to accuse other Christian individuals or denominations of selecting which Christian doctrines they will follow, and which they will not.[1][2][3][4]

Cafeteria-style means to pick-and-choose, as in choosing what food to purchase from a cafeteria line. The term implies that an individual's professed religious belief is actually a proxy for their personal opinions rather than an acceptance of Christian doctrine. The selectivity implied may relate to the acceptance of Christian doctrines (such as the resurrection or the virgin birth of Jesus), or attitudes to moral and ethical issues (for example abortion, homosexuality, or idolatry) and is sometimes associated with discussions concerning the applicability of Old Testament laws to Christians and interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount.

Cafeteria Christianity is somewhat related to latitudinarianism, the position that differences of opinion on church organization and doctrine are acceptable within a church.

Contents

General use

The term can be used ad hominem, either to disqualify a person's omission of a Christian precept, or to invalidate their advocacy of a different precept entirely.

There is some basis for selectiveness in the New Testament— according to the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 (as well as some of Paul's letters; see Antinomianism in the New Testament), Gentile Christians are not obliged to keep the entire Old Testament Law. However, the Council did retain the prohibitions against eating meat containing blood, or meat of animals not properly slain, and against fornication and idolatry,[5] which is commonly called the Apostolic Decree and is still observed by the Greek Orthodox.[6]

Rabbinic Judaism[7] asserts that the Laws of the Jewish Bible were presented to the Jewish people and converts to Judaism and do not apply to gentiles, including Christians, with the notable exception of the Seven Laws of Noah which apply to all people. Rabbi Emden of the 18th century was of the opinion that Jesus' original objective, and especially Paul's, was only to convert Gentiles to Noahide Law while allowing Jews to follow full Mosaic Law. See also Dual covenant theology.

Historical background

Icon of James the Just, whose judgment was adopted in the Apostolic Decree of Acts 15:19-29, c. 50 AD.

The Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) of about 50 AD was the first meeting in Early Christianity called upon to consider the application of Mosaic Law to the new community. Specifically, it had to consider whether new Gentile converts to Christianity were obligated to undergo biblical circumcision for full membership in the Christian community, though the issue has wider implications. Circumcision was considered repulsive during the period of Hellenization of the Eastern Mediterranean.[8]

The decision of the Council came to be called the Apostolic Decree (Acts 15:19-21) and was that most Jewish law, including the requirement for circumcision of males, was not obligatory for Gentile converts, possibly in order to make it easier for them to join the movement.[9] However, the Council did retain the prohibitions against eating meat containing blood, or meat of animals not properly slain, and against fornication and idolatry.[10] Beginning with Augustine of Hippo,[11] many have seen a connection to Noahide Law, while some modern scholars[12] reject the connection to Noahide Law (Genesis 9) and instead see Lev 17-18 as the basis. See also Old Testament Law directed at non-Jews and Leviticus 18. The modern debate over the definition of fornication and whether or not it includes Leviticus 18 is part of the Homosexuality and Christianity debate. Whether or not Old Testament or Hebrew Bible laws still apply to Christians is part of the Biblical law in Christianity debate.

Cafeteria Catholicism

The term "cafeteria Catholic" (also à la carte Catholic or CINO = "Catholic In Name Only") is applied to those who dissent from Roman Catholic moral teaching on issues such as abortion, contraception, premarital sex, masturbation, and homosexuality.

The term is less frequently applied to those who dissent from other Catholic moral teaching on issues such as social justice, capital punishment, or just war.[13] The term has been in use since the issuance of Humanae Vitae, an official document that propounded the Church's opposition to the use of artificial birth control and advocates natural family planning.

It is sometimes a synonymous phrase for "dissident Catholic", "Cultural Catholic", "Cultural Christian", or "Liberal Catholic", but has also been applied to traditionalist Catholics, such as the Society of St. Pius X.[14]

The term has no status in official Catholic teachings. However, the practice of selective adherence to the teachings of the Church has been repeatedly condemned through the teaching of the Popes:

  • In a homily delivered on April 18, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI clarified the relation of dissent to faith:[15]
"Being an adult means having a faith which does not follow the waves of today's fashions or the latest novelties. A faith which is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ is adult and mature."
"It is sometimes reported that a large number of Catholics today do not adhere to the teaching of the Catholic Church on a number of questions, notably sexual and conjugal morality, divorce and remarriage. Some are reported as not accepting the clear position on abortion. It has to be noted that there is a tendency on the part of some Catholics to be selective in their adherence to the Church's moral teaching. It is sometimes claimed that dissent from the Magisterium is totally compatible with being a "good Catholic," and poses no obstacle to the reception of the Sacraments. This is a grave error that challenges the teaching of the Bishops in the United States and elsewhere."

Alleged Cafeteria Catholics

Self-described Cafeteria Catholics

References

  1. ^ Jacobs, A. J. (2007). The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0743291476.  
  2. ^ Odermann, Valerian (February 2002). "Pass it on: Encouraging the heart". The American Monastic Newsletter (The American Benedictine Academy) 32 (1). http://www.osb.org/aba/news/3201/indexa.html.   "Yet a danger does still remain. It is the danger of "cafeteria Christianity," which lets people mix and match traditions any way they want, without discipline and without accountability. Unless we transcend cafeteria Christianity, our practices will be more sarabaite or gyrovague than Benedictine".
  3. ^ "Archbishop calls on Costa Ricans to abandon “cafeteria Christianity” and defend life". San Jose: Catholic News Agency. 2005-03-29. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=3473.   Archbishop Hugo Barrantes Urena of San Jose, Costa Rica, told Costa Ricans in his Easter message to embrace the faith without conditions or short-cuts and to defend the life of the unborn against efforts to legalize abortion. The archbishop warned that “based on a relativistic understanding of the Christian faith and a conditional adherence to the Church, some Catholics seek to construct a Christianity and, consequently, a Church to their own liking, unilateral and outside the identity and mission that Jesus Christ has fundamentally given us.”".
  4. ^ D'Souza, Dinesh (2007). What's So Great About Christianity. Regnery Publishing. vvi. ISBN 1596985178.   "This is "cafeteria Christianity", and it is worse than literalism. ... The cafeteria Christian simply projects his or her prejudices onto the text.
  5. ^ McGarvey's Commentary on Acts 15: "There was room for no other conclusion than the one which James deduced, that they should impose on the Gentiles, so far as the class of restrictions under consideration were concerned, only those necessary things which were necessary independent of the Mosaic law. Idolatry, with all the pollutions connected with it, was known to be sinful before the law of Moses was given; and so was fornication. The eating of blood, and, by implication, of strangled animals, whose blood was still in them, was forbidden to the whole world in the family of Noah (Gen 9:4). In the restrictions here proposed by James, therefore, there is not the slightest extension of the law of Moses, but a mere enforcement upon the Gentiles of rules of conduct which had ever been binding, and were to be perpetual. They are as binding to-day as they were then. To deny this would be to despise the combined authority of all the apostles, when enjoining upon the Gentile world, of which we form a part, restrictions which they pronounce necessary."
  6. ^ Karl Josef von Hefele's commentary on canon II of Gangra notes: "We further see that, at the time of the Synod of Gangra, the rule of the Apostolic Synod with regard to blood and things strangled was still in force. With the Greeks, indeed, it continued always in force as their Euchologies still show. Balsamon also, the well-known commentator on the canons of the Middle Ages, in his commentary on the sixty-third Apostolic Canon, expressly blames the Latins because they had ceased to observe this command. What the Latin Church, however, thought on this subject about the year 400, is shown by St. Augustine in his work Contra Faustum, where he states that the Apostles had given this command in order to unite the heathens and Jews in the one ark of Noah; but that then, when the barrier between Jewish and heathen converts had fallen, this command concerning things strangled and blood had lost its meaning, and was only observed by few. But still, as late as the eighth century, Pope Gregory the Third (731) forbade the eating of blood or things strangled under threat of a penance of forty days. No one will pretend that the disciplinary enactments of any council, even though it be one of the undisputed Ecumenical Synods, can be of greater and more unchanging force than the decree of that first council, held by the Holy Apostles at Jerusalem, and the fact that its decree has been obsolete for centuries in the West is proof that even Ecumenical canons may be of only temporary utility and may be repealed by disuse, like other laws."
  7. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Gentiles: Gentiles May Not Be Taught the Torah
  8. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Circumcision: In Apocryphal and Rabbinical Literature: "Contact with Grecian life, especially at the games of the arena [which involved nudity], made this distinction obnoxious to the Hellenists, or antinationalists; and the consequence was their attempt to appear like the Greeks by epispasm ("making themselves foreskins"; I Macc. i. 15; Josephus, "Ant." xii. 5, § 1; Assumptio Mosis, viii.; I Cor. vii. 18; , Tosef., Shab. xv. 9; Yeb. 72a, b; Yer. Peah i. 16b; Yeb. viii. 9a). All the more did the law-observing Jews defy the edict of Antiochus Epiphanes prohibiting circumcision (I Macc. i. 48, 60; ii. 46); and the Jewish women showed their loyalty to the Law, even at the risk of their lives, by themselves circumcising their sons."; Hodges, Frederick, M. (2001). "The Ideal Prepuce in Ancient Greece and Rome: Male Genital Aesthetics and Their Relation to Lipodermos, Circumcision, Foreskin Restoration, and the Kynodesme" (PDF). The Bulletin of the History of Medicine 75 (Fall 2001): 375–405. doi:10.1353/bhm.2001.0119. http://www.cirp.org/library/history/hodges2/. Retrieved 2007-07-24.  
  9. ^ Acts 15:19
  10. ^ Karl Josef von Hefele's Commentary on canon II of Gangra notes: "We further see that, at the time of the Synod of Gangra, the rule of the Apostolic Synod with regard to blood and things strangled was still in force. With the Greeks, indeed, it continued always in force as their Euchologies still show. Balsamon also, the well-known commentator on the canons of the Middle Ages, in his commentary on the sixty-third Apostolic Canon, expressly blames the Latins because they had ceased to observe this command. What the Latin Church, however, thought on this subject about the year 400, is shown by St. Augustine in his work Contra Faustum, where he states that the Apostles had given this command in order to unite the heathens and Jews in the one ark of Noah; but that then, when the barrier between Jewish and heathen converts had fallen, this command concerning things strangled and blood had lost its meaning, and was only observed by few. But still, as late as the eighth century, Pope Gregory the Third 731 forbade the eating of blood or things strangled under threat of a penance of forty days. No one will pretend that the disciplinary enactments of any council, even though it be one of the undisputed Ecumenical Synods, can be of greater and more unchanging force than the decree of that first council, held by the Holy Apostles at Jerusalem, and the fact that its decree has been obsolete for centuries in the West is proof that even Ecumenical canons may be of only temporary utility and may be repealed by disuser, like other laws."
  11. ^ Contra Faust, 32.13
  12. ^ For example: Joseph Fitzmyer, The Acts of the Apostles (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries), Yale University Press (December 2, 1998), ISBN 0300139829, chapter V
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ Catholic World News: Wide and Generous"?
  15. ^ Taggiasco, Flavia (2005-04-20). "Ratzinger a close confidant of John Paul II". CNN.com. http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/04/19/ratzinger.profile/index.html.  
  16. ^ "Cafeteria Catholics". http://www.concernedcatholics.org/cafeteria.htm.  
  17. ^ a b c d e f Stevens-Arroyo, Anthony (2008-22-98). "WFB, Jr.: The Primordial Cafeteria Catholic". The Washington Post. http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/catholicamerica/2008/08/wfb_jr_the_primordial_cafeteri.html. Retrieved 2009-06-25.  
  18. ^ Stranahan, Susan Q. (2004-05-23). "Beyond the Wafer Watch". Columbia Journalism Review. http://www.cjr.org/politics/beyond_the_wafer_watch.php. Retrieved 2009-06-25.  
  19. ^ Parker, Jenny (2004-10-21). "Catholics, Black Christians See Through Kerry's Religious Rhetoric". AgapePress. http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/10/afa/212004c.asp. Retrieved 2009-06-25.  
  20. ^ a b Wrenn, Doug (2008-05-12). ""Cafeteria" Catholics Still Consuming Forbidden Fruit From The Treacherous Political Tree". Magic City Morning Star. http://www.magic-city-news.com/Doug_Wrenn_44/Cafeteria_Catholics_Still_Consuming_Forbidden_Fruit_From_The_Treacherous_Political_Tree10045.shtml. Retrieved 2009-06-25.  
  21. ^ Molyneux, Michael (2006). "Faith, hope, and politics: Practicing religion in the public realm". Boston College Magazine. http://bcm.bc.edu/issues/spring_2006/c21_notes/faith-hope-and-politics.html. Retrieved 2009-06-25.  
  22. ^ "Maria Shriver: Why I'm a 'Cafeteria Catholic'". 2008-11-16. http://www.newser.com/story/42816/maria-shriver-why-im-a-cafeteria-catholic.html. Retrieved 2009-06-25.  

See also

External links


"Cafeteria Christianity" is a derogatory term used by some Christians, and others, to accuse other Christian individuals or denominations of selecting which Christian doctrines they will follow, and which they will not.[1][2][3][4]

Cafeteria-style means to pick-and-choose, as in choosing what food to purchase from a cafeteria line. The term implies that an individual's professed religious belief is actually a proxy for their personal opinions rather than an acceptance of Christian doctrine. The selectivity implied may relate to the acceptance of Christian doctrines (such as the resurrection or the virgin birth of Jesus), or attitudes to moral and ethical issues (for example abortion, homosexuality, or idolatry) and is sometimes associated with discussions concerning the applicability of Old Testament laws to Christians and interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount.

Cafeteria Christianity is somewhat related to latitudinarianism, the position that differences of opinion on church organization and doctrine are acceptable within a church.

Contents

General use

The term can be used ad hominem, either to disqualify a person's omission of a Christian precept, or to invalidate their advocacy of a different precept entirely.

There is some basis for selectiveness in the New Testament— according to the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 (as well as some of Paul's letters; see Antinomianism in the New Testament), Gentile Christians are not obliged to keep the entire Old Testament Law. However, the Council did retain the prohibitions against eating meat containing blood, or meat of animals not properly slain, and against "fornication" and "idolatry",[5] which is commonly called the Apostolic Decree and is still observed by the Greek Orthodox.[6]

Rabbinic Judaism[7] asserts that the Laws of the Jewish Bible were presented to the Jewish people and converts to Judaism and do not apply to gentiles, including Christians, with the notable exception of the Seven Laws of Noah which apply to all people. Rabbi Emden of the 18th century was of the opinion that Jesus' original objective, and especially Paul's, was only to convert Gentiles to Noahide Law while allowing Jews to follow full Mosaic Law. See also Dual covenant theology.

Historical background

, whose judgment was adopted in the Apostolic Decree of Acts 15:19-29, c. 50 AD.]]

The Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) of about 50 AD was the first meeting in Early Christianity called upon to consider the application of Mosaic Law to the new community. Specifically, it had to consider whether new Gentile converts to Christianity were obligated to undergo biblical circumcision for full membership in the Christian community, though the issue has wider implications. Circumcision was considered repulsive during the period of Hellenization of the Eastern Mediterranean.[8]

The decision of the Council came to be called the Apostolic Decree (Acts 15:19-21) and was that most Mosaic law[9], including the requirement for circumcision of males, was not obligatory for Gentile converts, possibly in order to make it easier for them to join the movement.[10] However, the Council did retain the prohibitions against eating meat containing blood, or meat of animals not properly slain, and against fornication and idolatry.[11] Beginning with Augustine of Hippo,[12] many have seen a connection to Noahide Law, while some modern scholars[13] reject the connection to Noahide Law (Genesis 9) and instead see Lev 17-18 as the basis. See also Old Testament Law directed at non-Jews and Leviticus 18. The modern debate over the definition of fornication and whether or not it includes Leviticus 18 is part of the Homosexuality and Christianity debate. Whether or not Old Testament or Hebrew Bible laws still apply to Christians is part of the Biblical law in Christianity debate.

Cafeteria Catholicism

The term "cafeteria Catholicism" is a pejorative term applied to Catholics who dissent from Roman Catholic moral teaching on issues such as abortion, birth control, premarital sex, masturbation, and homosexuality.

The term is less frequently applied to those who dissent from other Catholic moral teaching on issues such as social justice, capital punishment, or just war; this is because these areas of Catholic teaching are much less clearly dogmatically defined by the Magisterium, and therefore open to debate.[14] The term has been in use since the issuance of Humanae Vitae, an official document that propounded the Church's opposition to the use of artificial birth control and advocates natural family planning.

See also

Christianity portal

References

  1. ^ Jacobs, A. J. (2007). The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0743291476. 
  2. ^ Odermann, Valerian (February 2002). "Pass it on: Encouraging the heart". The American Monastic Newsletter (The American Benedictine Academy) 32 (1). http://www.osb.org/aba/news/3201/indexa.html.  "Yet a danger does still remain. It is the danger of "cafeteria Christianity," which lets people mix and match traditions any way they want, without discipline and without accountability. Unless we transcend cafeteria Christianity, our practices will be more sarabaite or gyrovague than Benedictine".
  3. ^ "Archbishop calls on Costa Ricans to abandon “cafeteria Christianity” and defend life". San Jose: Catholic News Agency. 2005-03-29. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=3473.  Archbishop Hugo Barrantes Urena of San Jose, Costa Rica, told Costa Ricans in his Easter message to embrace the faith without conditions or short-cuts and to defend the life of the unborn against efforts to legalize abortion. The archbishop warned that “based on a relativistic understanding of the Christian faith and a conditional adherence to the Church, some Catholics seek to construct a Christianity and, consequently, a Church to their own liking, unilateral and outside the identity and mission that Jesus Christ has fundamentally given us.”".
  4. ^ D'Souza, Dinesh (2007). What's So Great About Christianity. Regnery Publishing. vvi. ISBN 1596985178.  "This is "cafeteria Christianity", and it is worse than literalism. ... The cafeteria Christian simply projects his or her prejudices onto the text.
  5. ^ McGarvey's Commentary on Acts 15: "There was room for no other conclusion than the one which James deduced, that they should impose on the Gentiles, so far as the class of restrictions under consideration were concerned, only those necessary things which were necessary independent of the Mosaic law. Idolatry, with all the pollutions connected with it, was known to be sinful before the law of Moses was given; and so was fornication. The eating of blood, and, by implication, of strangled animals, whose blood was still in them, was forbidden to the whole world in the family of Noah (Gen 9:4). In the restrictions here proposed by James, therefore, there is not the slightest extension of the law of Moses, but a mere enforcement upon the Gentiles of rules of conduct which had ever been binding, and were to be perpetual. They are as binding to-day as they were then. To deny this would be to despise the combined authority of all the apostles, when enjoining upon the Gentile world, of which we form a part, restrictions which they pronounce necessary."
  6. ^ Karl Josef von Hefele's commentary on canon II of Gangra notes: "We further see that, at the time of the Synod of Gangra, the rule of the Apostolic Synod with regard to blood and things strangled was still in force. With the Greeks, indeed, it continued always in force as their Euchologies still show. Balsamon also, the well-known commentator on the canons of the Middle Ages, in his commentary on the sixty-third Apostolic Canon, expressly blames the Latins because they had ceased to observe this command. What the Latin Church, however, thought on this subject about the year 400, is shown by St. Augustine in his work Contra Faustum, where he states that the Apostles had given this command in order to unite the heathens and Jews in the one ark of Noah; but that then, when the barrier between Jewish and heathen converts had fallen, this command concerning things strangled and blood had lost its meaning, and was only observed by few. But still, as late as the eighth century, Pope Gregory the Third (731) forbade the eating of blood or things strangled under threat of a penance of forty days. No one will pretend that the disciplinary enactments of any council, even though it be one of the undisputed Ecumenical Synods, can be of greater and more unchanging force than the decree of that first council, held by the Holy Apostles at Jerusalem, and the fact that its decree has been obsolete for centuries in the West is proof that even Ecumenical canons may be of only temporary utility and may be repealed by disuse, like other laws."
  7. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Gentiles: Gentiles May Not Be Taught the Torah
  8. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Circumcision: In Apocryphal and Rabbinical Literature: "Contact with Grecian life, especially at the games of the arena [which involved nudity], made this distinction obnoxious to the Hellenists, or antinationalists; and the consequence was their attempt to appear like the Greeks by epispasm ("making themselves foreskins"; I Macc. i. 15; Josephus, "Ant." xii. 5, § 1; Assumptio Mosis, viii.; I Cor. vii. 18; , Tosef., Shab. xv. 9; Yeb. 72a, b; Yer. Peah i. 16b; Yeb. viii. 9a). All the more did the law-observing Jews defy the edict of Antiochus Epiphanes prohibiting circumcision (I Macc. i. 48, 60; ii. 46); and the Jewish women showed their loyalty to the Law, even at the risk of their lives, by themselves circumcising their sons."; Hodges, Frederick, M. (2001). "The Ideal Prepuce in Ancient Greece and Rome: Male Genital Aesthetics and Their Relation to Lipodermos, Circumcision, Foreskin Restoration, and the Kynodesme" (PDF). The Bulletin of the History of Medicine 75 (Fall 2001): 375–405. doi:10.1353/bhm.2001.0119. http://www.cirp.org/library/history/hodges2/. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  9. ^ Jewish law or Halakha was formalized later, see Jewish Encyclopedia: Jesus of Nazareth: Attitude Toward the Law: "Jesus, however, does not appear to have taken into account the fact that the Halakah was at this period just becoming crystallized, and that much variation existed as to its definite form; the disputes of the Bet Hillel and Bet Shammai were occurring about the time of his maturity."
  10. ^ Acts 15:19
  11. ^ Karl Josef von Hefele's Commentary on canon II of Gangra notes: "We further see that, at the time of the Synod of Gangra, the rule of the Apostolic Synod with regard to blood and things strangled was still in force. With the Greeks, indeed, it continued always in force as their Euchologies still show. Balsamon also, the well-known commentator on the canons of the Middle Ages, in his commentary on the sixty-third Apostolic Canon, expressly blames the Latins because they had ceased to observe this command. What the Latin Church, however, thought on this subject about the year 400, is shown by St. Augustine in his work Contra Faustum, where he states that the Apostles had given this command in order to unite the heathens and Jews in the one ark of Noah; but that then, when the barrier between Jewish and heathen converts had fallen, this command concerning things strangled and blood had lost its meaning, and was only observed by few. But still, as late as the eighth century, Pope Gregory the Third 731 forbade the eating of blood or things strangled under threat of a penance of forty days. No one will pretend that the disciplinary enactments of any council, even though it be one of the undisputed Ecumenical Synods, can be of greater and more unchanging force than the decree of that first council, held by the Holy Apostles at Jerusalem, and the fact that its decree has been obsolete for centuries in the West is proof that even Ecumenical canons may be of only temporary utility and may be repealed by disuser, like other laws."
  12. ^ Contra Faust, 32.13
  13. ^ For example: Joseph Fitzmyer, The Acts of the Apostles (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries), Yale University Press (December 2, 1998), ISBN 0-300-13982-9, chapter V
  14. ^ Winters, Michael Sean (2009-01-30). "The Crowded Catholic Cafeteria". Slate.com.

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