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Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. SPECIAL PROMOTION FOR NEW MONTHLY DONATIONS! Thank you and God bless.

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What Is a “Cafeteria Catholic”?

Question:

I frequently hear the term “cafeteria Catholic.” Exactly what does this mean?

Answer:

A cafeteria Catholic is typically defined as one who picks and chooses what Catholic teaching he wants to believe. Catholics are not free to choose which teachings (on faith and morals) to obey.

Even when the Church has not spoken on a matter of faith or morals definitively (infallibly), the faithful must give “a religious submission of the intellect and will” to its teachings (CIC 752).

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