Kenneth M. Weinig
Manhattan College was where I wanted to go after graduating from Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx. After all, my father and godfather had both graduated from there in 1931, and we had just moved within commuting distance. I had no idea what I wanted to spend my life doing, but my calculus grades and struggle with physics eliminated these fields.
Manhattan’s new liberal arts curriculum attracted me, too, with its four-year sequential, required courses in history, philosophy, world literature, and fine arts. Theology was required for all four years as well, and I looked forward to deepening my Faith re-kindled at Hayes after the previous six years in public schools in another state. My particular interest was in moral theology, the course required in our junior year.
I believe many Catholics today have been lulled and propagandized into a too-defensive position, causing them, mostly unconsciously, to feel hesitant, if not embarrassed, to proclaim their Faith. Although parts of the following little essays may seem a tad pugnacious, keep in mind that any points readers may find worthwhile must be expressed with tact, prudence, and, above all, charity. Choose your audience well, perhaps your golfing buddies.
I. Are You a “Catholic Christian”?
My first reaction to hearing this often-repeated phrase was negative, but I could not understand why. Now I think I do. Consider these situations: Would you say to your wife, “Please pass me a fork utensil”? Do you say to your neighbor, “I enjoy baseball sport”? Do you ask your grocer if he has “oranges fruit”? Rhetorical questions, to be sure; we don’t normally find it necessary to identify a sub-category with its category—unless the person doesn’t understand the connection. If you uttered any of the above quotations, your listener might think you a little odd, or, at best, speaking in near-redundancies.