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I will have a little of thatů"

Two of Four

The term "Cafeteria Catholic" is generally applied to those who object to certain aspects of Catholic moral and ethical teaching. A stellar example of a cafeteria Catholic was King Henry VIII, who disagreed with the Church on divorce. He subsequently left the Church and started his own religion, keeping the trappings of Catholicism while making himself the head of his new creation. Thus began Britain's long-term oppression of faithful Catholics. In recent times, the debates on such things as abortion, contraception, premarital sex, capital punishment, war, homosexuality, euthanasia, transubstantiation and even the authority to forgive sin have created tensions and even divisions within the Church that threaten its stability today.

Like Henry VIII, many of the faithful who have disagreed with the teachings of the Church have simply packed their bags and joined churches with moral and ethical standards more closely aligned with their current world view. But others, who believe that they are still good "Catholics" despite their open objection to some Catholic teachings while adhering to others, remain in the Church. In other words, like choosing a meal from a host of choices in a cafeteria line, these believers feel they can choose which aspects of their faith to follow and which to dismiss as "old fashioned, or out of step," and still remain "good" Catholics.

In our society, there is a growing belief that all things are relative and that truth is what we believe it ought to be. This is dangerous because it fails to acknowledge the sovereignty of GOD in all things and the real "Truth and the Light." But to find this truth, one has to peer into the Will of GOD, which can only be known through the Holy Bible and in the teachings of HIS Holy Church. While GOD does not expect us to ignore the intellectual gifts he has given us to discern right from wrong, he also expects us to use that same gift to understand the wisdom of HIS word and discredit those teachings which do not come from HIM. What is true and light is given to us in the Bible, through the teachings of Christ and the stewards of his beloved Church.

In a homily delivered on April 18, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI clarified the relation of dissent to faith:

"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."

In a similar vein, Pope John Paul II stated in his talk to the Bishops in Los Angeles in 1987:

"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."

The Catholic Church has spent 2000 years seeking perfection as Christ intended when HE commissioned her. In those years, believers have worked to better understand GOD and what HE wants for his people. Through GODs word in the Holy Text, and from the teachings of his Priests, mankind has been given a moral code that implores believers to love GOD, love one another, respect GOD's creation, forgive sins and seek an everlasting life in communion with HIM. But, there have been many challenges to these basic teachings, ones that have left the Church in turmoil at times. False prophets, heretics and usurpers of GOD's authority have often led believers astray. But, as each challenge arises, the moral standards that have always guided the Church, have led and will always right the ship and lead us back to GOD.

Over the last Decade or so, a challenge has come to the Catholic Church in the form of a new Marian cult. Mrs. Gianna Talone Sullivan has claimed that she has been in direct contact with the Blessed Virgin Mary, who, she claims, has presented her with messages from GOD. Although the Church had allowed Mrs. Sullivan to explore these "visits," while it investigated her claims, it finally concluded, whatever these experiences were, they were not from heaven. One would think that anyone who considered himself or herself a serious Catholic would have immediately cut off all ties with the cult.

In what could only be a predictable response, Gianna began telling her followers, that Mary was unhappy with the Church, and that she and her followers should not trust it to do the right thing. This classic reaction is typical of cult behavior to be sure, but it is also the behavior of a cafeteria Catholic. When the Church supported her, Gianna was all loving and cordial. When challenged by the Church, Gianna began to claim the Church was corrupt, unfaithful and inviting grave danger and even destruction upon itself. Hmm.

In response to recent articles on Emmitsburg.net, Gianna's followers began sending uncivil emails to its editor and posting articles on their own blogs. Most claimed that Gianna's visions were real and that anyone who challenged them would be damned as unfaithful. But, who is unfaithful here? For 2000 years, the Catholic Church has been the custodian of the WORD of GOD and the teachings of Christ; it has canonized thousands of Saints; and it has judged a number of apparitions to be authentically supernatural. It has also denounced heretics and other blasphemers who claimed, falsely, that GOD was indeed talking to them and providing them an alternate version of HIS instruction.

Gianna's recent claims move along a familiar course. While her initial messages were ones of love and fellowship, her recent ones were of destruction, famine and disease. Not coincidentally, the message grew more profoundly negative as the pressure on her to prove the authenticity of her visions grew more intense. Even the messages that she claims to be from Mary have not been very biblical. They have not exactly been bulging with authentic Catholic teaching either. Sure, OLOE holds some of the teachings of the Church to be true, and supports some Biblical passages in her messages. But, these are too few and far between to be reasonable. Would Mary really foretell our doom? Would she usurp the authority of God Almighty to announce Christ's Second Coming - something Christ tells us in the Scriptures is not ours to know??? The answer is a resounding, "NO!"

The Our Lady of Emmitsburg followers are nothing more than a cafeteria Catholics who holds to those teachings that support her agenda. Any teaching or Church authority that opposes her "message" is dismissed out of hand or subjected to a vile email campaign. The cult members condemn the critic to HELL for not believing in Gianna, and they equate disbelief in Gianna with an abandonment of Jesus Christ. Her followers are in danger of falling victim to false teachings by a false prophet.

Gianna's reported encounters do not jive with Christian beliefs or teachings. It is time for all to sever ties to this cult and return to the one true Church and the one true Savior, Jesus Christ.

"No one can go off and start up his own church and call it Roman Catholic."

Have your own stories or thoughts about the Our Lady of Emmitsburg Cult?
If so, send them to us as cultwatch@emmitsburg.net

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