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The Busted Halo Question Box
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This is the place where you can ask all of those burning questions that you wouldn't dare ask in person. We will post questions here (using your byline only with permission); we guarantee an answer to everyone.

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Caitlin Kennell Kim
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
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Our readers asked:

How do you distinguish the fine line between if someone rejects the Catholic faith vs. someone just not being aware of the fullness of the Catholic faith?

Richard G. Malloy, SJ Answers:

The first thing I wonder on reading your question is why you feel the need to make such a distinction? Jesus commands, “Stop Judging that you may not be judged” (Mt 7:1). St. Ignatius counsels that the first question one should ask if one feels the need to correct another is if one is, in truth and love, the one to make the correction. Maybe the correction will be better received and appropriated if the appropriate person suggests the correction.

On another level, the answer to your question is rather obvious: ask the person. Only a person in the sanctity of their own conscience can decide if he or she is rejecting the Catholic faith. Only the person can tell you if they are rejecting the faith. And, even if they do so for a time, they are always welcomed home if they want to return.

After more than 30 years as a Jesuit, I can tell you our faith is very full and rich. Everyday I learn more and more about Catholicism. I would bet that what looks like a rejection of the faith to one person is very often unawareness on the part of the person perceived to be rejecting the faith. Even more, our faith tradition has many styles, literally differing rites. There are many ways to be Catholic (e.g., Franciscan, Ignatian, etc.). Just because someone’s way of being a Catholic differs from your own does not mean that person is rejecting the faith.

The Author : Richard G. Malloy, SJ
Richard G. Malloy, S.J., Ph.D., is Vice President for University Ministries, the University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, and author of A Faith That Frees (Orbis Books).
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  • Steve

    Reminds me of a good Fulton Sheen quote:

    “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”

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