The À la Carte Catholic Church

On our money we proclaim “In God we Trust”. Yet today in the United States of America we are fighting for our RELIGIOUS FREEDOM while calling ourselves the Land of the FREE

The church has an obligation to proclaim and defend the teachings of Christ – not those of a government. We in this country are fortunate that our predecessors have fought for our religious freedom. To that effect, we then fight against any person or institution that threatens to rob us of such freedom.

The sad truth is that if the Catholic Church had the “Catholic” support, today the USA would have a president who respects our religious freedom. Unfortunately, they don’t. Data shows that President Obama won at least fifty percent of “the Catholic vote”.

The Catholic Church has become an à la Carte Church; (not unlike some others) we pick and choose that which we believe suits our lifestyles and discard the rest, still proclaiming ourselves “Catholic”. This cherry picking is not limited to the laity but rather the church’s hierarchy as well. Here are some examples:

  1. The groups of “social justice” nuns and priests, who rally the supposed “faithful” and form organizations while seeking a corrupt media to promote their mission, easily come to mind. Since when did the church start looking to the government to ensure help for the indigent? Christ clearly instructed us to care for those who needed help. Is it any wonder people like “Catholic” Vice President Joe Biden think it unnecessary to donate much to charity but rather look to the government to do more? Isn’t this consistent with the message being “taught”?
  2. Several well intentioned clergy arbitrarily say pre Vatican II masses with prayers in Latin and/or their back to the congregation because they want to. I have heard some priests explain that it keeps them more focused, others say that it shows they are part of the community, others just believe everything sounds better or perhaps holier in Latin. Didn’t Vatican II introduce the mass and prayers in native tongues, to encourage the faithful to have a “personal relationship” with God and participate wholly in the Eucharist? What about someone who arrives at a mass expecting to participate in their native tongue, but mass parts are being said in Latin – is it alienating to those who do not know those parts? I have traveled extensively and am always grateful that in faraway countries there is at least one mass in English – allowing me to participate in communion with other Catholics. Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter what you think you’re promoting, it inadvertently sends a message that you can pick and choose in the Catholic Church.
  3. Some of our leaders “don’t want to take a political stand”. So don’t be political – you do not need to defend or promote the government but you have a moral obligation to protect and defend God’s laws – or don’t call yourself “Religious” – we lay people can do better! By the time some of our leaders mumbled about what the church stands for, the horse had already left the barn! Was this lip service – or did you really want to send a message? Frantic novenas at the last minute (though I did say them) is grasping at straws. We need to be PROACTIVE not REACTIVE. Really, it’s not that difficult. The fifth Commandment says “Thou shall not kill”. No ifs, ands or buts… Why do we need to dance around the issue? Abortion IS killing. We have no strategy to combat the feel good marketing that lures many “Catholics” into believing the secular message. When we try to combat the cultural message by explaining it and even mixing it with contraception, our message becomes murky and we lose ground. Keep it simple. Taking a life is wrong – it is not about anyone’s choice – no one has the right to kill another. Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King kept their message simple “All men are created equal” and eventually won. Much of the population at that time argued that it was a “choice” to own slaves – especially if one could afford them or it suited their lifestyle. Today, no one can argue that slavery isn’t intrinsically wrong.
  4. Then there is the displaced loyalty of some “leaders” who have no credibility because they waste time attacking the media for “attacking the Catholic Church” – even when certain incidents are AGAINST Christ’s teachings and plain WRONG. We are not called to cover up wrongs inside a church or any other institution.  We are supposed to defend the truth – Christ’s truth – ONLY. Once again picking and choosing what we applaud or condemn sends a distorted message.
  5. Are our clergy and hierarchy too afraid to call a spade a spade because they are afraid of losing the popularity contest or the fat check in the collection? At what cost? It doesn’t matter if the president is white, black, grey or green! If you are wining and dining with those who are overtly against the teachings of Christ, you have an obligation to use the opportunity to INSTRUCT and if they continue to proclaim a counter message, sever the loyalty. Notice I did not say communication – I said “loyalty” – Or you send the message that it’s OK. You may lose the money battle but you will win the LIFE war.

Some lay people – like me, did not believe that our God would really be worried if we said “and also with you” instead of “and with your spirit”. However, eager to participate in our Catholic community, I embraced the change and encouraged my daughter to do the same. We are supposed to be a TEAM. If more than half a class flunked a test, wouldn’t we be looking at the teacher? If more than half of the “Catholics” voted against the teachings of Christ, shouldn’t we evaluate the message being imparted?

I am reminded of the scene in the movie “Remember The Titans”“You want to talk about a waste? You’re the captain right? Captain is supposed to be the leader, right? You got a job? You been doing your job? … Nobody plays – yourself included… I’m supposed to wear myself out for the TEAM? WHAT TEAM? …Attitude Reflects Leadership, Captain!

Leaders of our Catholic Church: Fight without compromising – LEAD BY EXAMPLE! Lives are at stake!

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Marisa Pereira is a mother, fashion designer, currently runs a Design and Image Consulting business in Atlanta, GA, is a freelance writer and volunteers at her church and in the community. She holds a BA in Fashion Design and a BA in French with a minor in Psychology and has worked in the Fashion Industry for over twenty years. Frustrated at her inability to find appropriate church clothes for her 14 year old daughter, she heeded God’s call, and created the stylish but modest, Michaela-Noel clothing collection, now available on-line. Having lived in multiple countries, she is acutely aware of the emphasis cultures place on visual appeal. She analyzes the importance of presenting the best image of ourselves and passionately insists that it starts within. She regularly addresses adult and youth audiences – encouraging and teaching them to make a memorable first impact but more importantly - to create a lasting impression. Her websites are: and

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