It is likely that you have by now heard someone say, “You can’t be a Cafeteria Catholic.” The term “Cafeteria Catholic” denotes those Catholics who do not hold the entire Catholic Faith, but instead “pick and choose” from those doctrines that they like about Catholicism – just as people pick and choose their food in a cafeteria line. The person at the cafeteria: “I’ll take potato soup, yum. And chicken fried stead. Nope, I’ll pass on the veggies. Oh, and green jello. Never mind, make that red jello.”
Likewise, the Cafeteria Catholic: “I’ll take liturgy. Christmas. Easter. “God loves me.” But I’ll pass on the confession, pro-life, and contraception teachings.” That’s it, in a nutshell.
It recently dawned on me that the Protestant Reformation, far from being a return to Scripture and the Church Fathers, was actually a movement intent on “picking and choosing.” Here’s an example from the writings of Martin Luther:
“Many sweat to reconcile St. Paul and St. James, but in vain. ‘Faith justifies’ and ‘faith does not justify’ contradict each other flatly. If any one can harmonize them I will give him my doctor’s hood and let him call me a fool.”
Here stands the great ‘Reformer’ pitting Sacred Scripture against Sacred Scripture. Here is a man who calls the Holy Spirit into contradiction.
Many do not know that Luther himself added the word “alone” to Romans 3:28 in his German translation of the Scriptures, even though it does not appear in the original Greek. He intended to substantiate his doctrine of “faith alone” by adding the word since it doesn’t actually occur in Saint Paul’s writings. Luther also wished to cast the Epistle of Saint James from the canonical Scriptures.
This tells me that the Luther did not veneration for the Word of God. He was not simply a “cafeteria theologian” – he was a cafeteria Scripture reader. He added and subtracted from Scripture so as to conform the Bible to his tastes!
We are not allowed to add to God’s word when it suits our theology, nor can we subtract that which offends us. So much for Martin Luther…the cafeteria Catholic.