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Church Deacon Spells Out Catholic 'Hafta' Values

It was a sermon to remember by a church deacon last Sunday.

He spelled it out, making his point perfectly clear.

There are a lot of Catholics in the country or rather people who call themselves Catholics, “hafta Catholics,” doing only what they have to do, he said, those who follow only the church teachings they agree with sidestepping the need to go to Mass every Sunday and more importantly the ban on abortion, the seriousness of communion and the importance of reconciliation, long referred to as confession.

What really struck me was learning that only 31 percent of the Roman Catholic body in the U.S. believe the communion wafer is truly the body of Christ, referring to the Last Super reference of Jesus telling his Apostles to “Do this in memory of Me.” He said that all too often they refer to the sacred host as being only a symbol in its transubstantiation by a priest changing the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.

It was the first time I had ever heard a Catholic man of the cloth take this subject on and explain the seriousness of the church teachings and how they were being ignored totally by so many of its followers -- Catholics by name only -- “hafta Catholics.”

I entered the church at the age of five when my parents enrolled their only child into a Catholic church school in Los Angeles telling the nuns they were afraid he might grow up o be in an L.A. gang. They said he was going to a Presbyterian Sunday school and weren't too sure he should be learning anything about the Catholic religion either through the next nine years -- nine years that I saw good in the nuns, priest and the warmth of the religion and the holiness felt in the church sanctuary and the closeness of the deity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

I think I had taken the church teaching more seriously than those who came from Catholic families watching as their siblings learn from the Baltimore Catechism where they had to memorize its questions and answers as they were taken along to Mass every Sunday.

When that deacon finished his presentation he had my total appreciation for the truth and following the truth in his chosen religion and in mine.

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