When a religious label is applied as a permanent one!

A label of any kind needs to be the truth.  It needs to be deserved and it needs to be descriptive.  Otherwise it is just a word.  The religious label is nothing if the religion is not true.  If Catholicism is as man-made as the local pub then being Catholic is just being called Catholic and nothing more. In reality, there is no Catholic.  In a sense The Elite public house does not exist.  It is useful to call it that but its just a name.

A true label is not about you. It can be but never has to be.  A label is descriptive and about the truth not you.  If it were about you then calling yourself an accountant would make you entitled to be called one.  Unless you have studied and qualified and work as an accountant you cannot be one.  You are what you are no matter if you want to be or not.  Thus those who put labels on you and do not care if they apply are objectifying you.  The label may not be true of you and may mean nothing to you but it means something to others.  Letting yourself be labelled unjustly is letting others manipulate and objectify you.   

Racists equate biological and genetic characteristics with having a tendency towards bad values or values that are hostile to those of your race. It is an us versus them and them versus us mentality. The reason human nature is prone to labelling people religiously is because people want to encourage an us versus them and vice versa mentality. A white racist who hates a baby just because it is black can only be classed as totally insane and even his fellow-racists will assert and believe that. The baby cannot have values opposed to yours. Religious labelling is worse than such racism for it is far more absurd. Yet for a Catholic to label a baby a Catholic is considered sane! And even worse, the Catholic labelling is far more about values than racism is!
The notion that "Once a Catholic, always a Catholic" is found among some Catholics. It expresses a wish to refuse to respect the religious rights of a person who was baptised Catholic but who has abandoned the Church. It is saying, "If they become Mormon or atheist or Muslim, they only think they have become it. They are Catholics and that is that!" Such an attitude is unloving - thought the Church claimed to be about love? It refuses to respect a person's right to decide what they are. If a person identifies as Mormon and has gone through the procedure of becoming Mormon, that identification should be accepted unless the person indicates that he has no real faith.
Some Catholics hold that those who were Catholics and who say they have no religion are still Catholics. Those who simply neglect the faith and the practice of it can still be Catholics for they have not rejected and denounced their faith outright. Ex-Catholics may unite themselves with some other faith community or become atheists. Perhaps they may even repudiate their membership in the Catholic Faith before their priest and members of their parish.
Labelling is an awful practice. It is odious. To label is an attempt to put you in a box, to stereotype you. It is very serious if a religion says you belong to it and should obey its authority just because you went through some initiation ceremony even if you have abjured that religion. The religion is very arrogant. And if it says you are duty bound to obey it on pain of everlasting damnation or other curses it is just bullying.  The religion would need to have very strong proof that its ceremony confers such permanent membership and those obligations. Catholicism doesn't have the proof. If it teaches once a Catholic always a Catholic no matter how hard you try not to be then it should be laughed at. But it would be a very insulting teaching. It would be a form of forced conversion. To consider a person who joins a new religion to be still a member of your own would be like forcing membership on them or wishing you could. It would legitimise a form of forced conversion. You might have other reasons why you would not force them to convert such as fear of the law and the anti-cult brigade. But that does not change the fact that part of you agrees with force. To wish you could force is enjoying your attraction to violence. The violence in this case is a wish to see others forced to become Catholics. The less sensible evidence you have for your religion the more this violence is present.
Labelling people without justification is a symptom of sectarianism. The Catholic would not like the Buddhist to say, "Catholics are really Buddhists but they don't know it." That would be condescending and refusing to see that your religion is a religion in its own right. It would imply, "I cannot tolerate other faiths so I have to tell myself they are not other faiths after all." Sectarianism starts off with a refusal to understand.
The notion of once Catholic always Catholic is really about people wanting to force religious labels on others.
To say to an apostate atheist who was a Catholic, "You are still Catholic", is saying, "I will label you instead of respecting you by letting you label yourself. Though it is up to each person to decide what they are, I will label you. Once a Catholic always a Catholic has no hope of making sense if the Catholic faith is false or manmade.  You cannot be a member of Stepping Stones a Parent's and Toddlers group forever.  If it thinks you can be then it is pretending you are still a member.  I only believe the Church is true and I can't know it. But that won't stop me labelling you.  But I will not stand for any Muslim saying everybody is born Muslim and remains Muslim even if they don't realise it."
The once a Catholic always a Catholic proverb is rooted in bigotry. It implies that being Catholic is some kind of default and being anything else is perverted and wrong. That would be an arrogant thing to assume. A religion founded on that presumption is not a religion of virtue but of false virtue. It would be guilty of unjustly opposing those who consider Catholicism harmful and superstitious.
Catholics claim to form the one authorised Church of Christ. They allege that no other Church has the authority to make you a member of itself. There may be some of that in the once Catholic always Catholic idea. Though bishops outside the Church are thought to be real bishops they have the supernatural powers of a bishop to give sacraments but have no right to govern as bishops.
Religious faith is not all it is cracked up to be. It implies, "I pledge full loyalty to these doctrines and commandments. I could be wrong that they are really from God but if they are not then stuff him." To be labelled as Catholic against your will is trying to make you complicit in the errors and crimes of the Church in that conditional sense. If many Catholics act as believers while knowing the Church is not the true Church, they try to make you complicit in the worst possible sense.
The Catholic who becomes atheist could say, "I am still Catholic for they say you cannot leave so I am a bad Catholic." That actually implies that Church law is binding just because the Church says so and would imply that it is the one true Church! It is odious to class all who break with the Church as bad Catholics even if they join the Hindu and whatever else kind of religious community there is.
Jesus said that we must serve God with all our heart, body and mind. This indicates that our role as servants of God is not part of us. It is all of us. If we fail, we are not living up to what we are. He clearly then authorised the evil practice of pretending that there is not more to a person than their faith or religious affiliation. For him you identify as being of his religion. You should identify yourself as a human being who is not to be identified with your religion or politics or nationality. There is more to you than that!
Bizarrely, Christianity refuses to obey Jesus' doctrine. If it did, it would have to abandon all ecumenical activities. The Church says it prays with Muslims, for example, to celebrate what Christianity and Muslims have in common without glossing over the differences. But if the Church sees Muslims as Muslims rather than as persons this friendship will not be possible for it means they are identical with what is seen as a false religion by the Catholic Church.
May you baptise a child so that the child will be a Catholic for all eternity whether he or she grows up to believe in Catholicism or not? It is a bigoted supposition and can only lead to further bigotry. It implies that being baptised a Catholic is like some kind of default. It implies that being anything else means nothing and is somehow bad. It implies that Catholicism even as a mere label should gain a special place in human thought and estimation. So much so that if a Catholic becomes a Protestant he does not really become one and if a Protestant becomes a Catholic he really becomes a Catholic. It is an implied insult to other religions. It would imply that the Catholic state has no right to list an ex-Catholic as a Protestant or whatever he or she has converted to.
Why would the Catholic Church be special? Is it because it is better at making good holy people than any other religion? But a religion being good has nothing to do with the thought that once you join that religion you cannot ever sever membership. The once Catholic always Catholic line of thinking is pure politics. Maybe with a religious flavour - but still totally political. To say, "You were once a member of the Catholic denomination so you are a Catholic forever", is pure politics because if saying it was motivated by the spiritual one would say, "You were once given to Jesus in baptism - therefore you are obligated to stay united with him forever.  If you renounce  being a Christian remember the door is open to becoming a member again". Catholic is only a label. Just as Lutherans got the label of Lutheran, the Catholic Church can stop calling itself the Catholic Church. It could call itself the Church of Christ. The term Catholic only singles out one aspect of the Church. The Church has four marks it says. It says it is one and holy and Catholic and apostolic. It could be called the Holy Church if it wanted to be.
It has nothing to do with goodness so it should be disregarded. If it had it would follow that if Protestantism is good and you become a Catholic which is even better it follows that for you it is partly true that Once Protestant always Protestant! Where does it all end?
To say once a Catholic always a Catholic is to say that everybody should be a Catholic for if Catholics cannot stop being Catholics no matter what they do then the Catholic Church must be special if it can have that much authority over a person that it still owns them no matter if they leave it or not! It is to automatically insult all other faiths. It is to proclaim the Catholic Church to be the instrument of God while all other institutions are merely human. It is to hand the child over to the control of the priesthood.
To say you are made Catholic by baptism even if you become a convinced Hindu later in life actually waters down the meaning of Catholic so much that the word means nothing. If Mormons said that everybody that is born on earth is born Mormon by default that would make being Mormon meaningless.
Some link once Catholic always Catholic to the belief that no Catholic ever really stops believing in the Catholic Church. It is said that belief/faith is necessary to become a Catholic and is put into the person at baptism in a potential way and it takes effect when the person chooses it for themselves. On the human level, the faith is said to be so reasonable that nobody in their right mind learns the faith and then rejects it. This version of the doctrine at least accepts that faith is necessary to be a real Catholic. It may say that all baptised Catholics believe but it holds that a hypothetical person can lose their membership of the Catholic Church by turning away from faith.


No Copyright