One of the many unfortunate aspects of “cafeteria Catholicism” in our country today is that the Church’s social teaching has become virtually synonymous with liberal, quasi- or outright-heterodox forms of our faith. This should not be. The social doctrine of the Church is part and parcel of the deposit of faith, and those of us who embrace the truth of Catholicism must stop ourselves from assigning guilt by association with regard to social doctrine merely because its loudest proponents are very picky in the cafeteria line.
The ongoing controversy surrounding CCHD is a perennial example of this… as I’ve noted in comboxes here at TAC and elsewhere, addressing poverty at a systemic & structural level is both necessary and thoroughly Catholic, as the Holy Father indicates in Caritas in Veritate. But such a view is all too often looked at sideways, given that the people who promote such an approach often reject the Church’s teaching on numerous “controversial” issues in the culture wars. I say that instead of thereby ignoring the social doctrine of the Church, we take back what is authentic Catholic doctrine and return it to its rightful place: in the heart of the Church, the Bride and Body of Christ, rather than leaving it to wander with the lost on the fringes.
With others, I support a true reform of CCHD… its concrete actions need to be addressed and corrected, but its vision is too important to be tossed aside.