In my early days as a Catholic, I used to think that most people were dutiful and authentic Catholics. But I can see now the errors of my earlier ways. It’s not that all good church-going Catholics are hypocrites. It is that some of us don’t live up to how we should live as Catholics.
Is there a way out of such inauthentic ways of living if we are Catholics? Yes, there certainly is a path to living well and living up to the commandments and ways of Jesus. However, perhaps we can learn how to be more authentic by recognizing what it means to be a hypocritical Catholic.
A hypocritical Catholic has the following characteristics:
• The person doesn’t practise what she learns in church and reads in the Bible. Instead, the person decides what she will and will not follow. Yet such a person always lets on that she is so much better to others.
• The person doesn’t follow the commandments, and she does so intentionally. There are two possible ways that we don’t follow the commandments. First, we don’t follow our commandments when we know what we shouldn’t do and yet do that very action. The second way is by not following the commandments because we are busy and there is too much noise in our lives. In the latter case, we unconsciously disobey the commandments because we are too busy.
• The person doesn’t love like God loved. Such a person lives as if no one else exists. The person never helps a person in need or volunteers. The person simply lives for him/herself.
• The person goes to confession to confess her sins but doesn’t do an honest self-assessment first before confession. Consequently, the person doesn’t disclose all her sins to the priest. This kind of confession is only half-hearted and hypocritical.
• The person expects to be treated highly by all, even though she doesn’t deserve it. God never took places of honour at banquets. He always simply sat with the ordinary people and conversed with them.
Now that we know what an hypocritical Catholic is, perhaps we can ensure that we don’t become like that. Perhaps we can act in a way that is praiseworthy to God, love people, and be kind and compassionate to those least fortunate. And maybe then the Catholic world will be much more wholesome as a result.
However, a person must really want to become an authentic Catholic, one who is not hypocritical but believes and acts accordingly. It does take effort and time, but it is worth it. And who knows, we may even be helping someone else who is hypocritical become more authentic as well.