Today I was waiting for class to start and discovered from another girl in class that I had read all the wrong papers for our seminar. She kindly offered me her notes and helped me to get through the seminar alright. I knew this girl was a Catholic, for she'd said in another previous class "I'm a Catholic, I go to mass and receive the Eucharist, but I don't believe or support all that the Catholic Church stands for... I don't believe all the Church teaches but I believe the Catholic faith".
This is typical Canadian Catholicism (although I found out she was from Germany). I wanted to respond that the Catholic faith teaches obedience to the Church in all matters of faith and morals and so she wasn't 'really' a Catholic if she denied even a single De Fide dogma. Three of us were talking after class - the Catholic girl, a Confessional Lutheran involved in our pro-life club, and I. I was embarrassed by this Catholic girl who referred to the priest's homily as a 'eulogy' and said she didn't attend masses that didn't have bands, and that she hated the organ. The confessional girl and I were a little awkward, as we tended to feel oppositely.
Afterwards I felt annoyed at this girl, and how she represented our Church. But then I got to thinking about St. Robert Bellarmine's axiom: "Charity is that with which no man is lost, and without which no man is saved".
I was thinking about this girl and how Protestant my way of going about things is. I always end up going the 'conservative' route, always worried about doctrinal purity, and having a sort of 'unless you're in, then you're out'. Whereas Catholicism says the opposite, all baptized people are children of God, and whether they are loyal children of the Church is a separate issue. I thought about the charity the girl showed me in truly saving me today by sharing her notes with me - a person who had not treated her well in the past (due to her heterodoxy). She had charity, and was just being honest about her faith, she probably has not read nearly as much theology as I have, and I shouldn't hold her to the same standard. After all, Catholicism makes a HUGE distinction between knowing sin, and sin in ignorance.
In any case, I proved that while I might've known the Catholic faith better, she practiced it better than I (with her charity, and my judgment). Hopefully in the future, I can follow the apostle's exhortation more closely and not only be a hearer of the law, but a doer.
* and the Confessional Lutheran girl beat me by quoting the Athanasian Creed, and me saying that the "incomprehensible" part was simply Protestant dissection of faith and reason. .... until she told me it was the Athanasian Creed... I got pwned there.