When is a Catholic not a Catholic?

SIR – As an Anglican who has the periodic privilege and pleasure of all too brief visits to the Benedictine community at Buckfast Abbey, one thing I find interesting is to read the Roman Catholic periodicals, including the Catholic Herald and the Tablet.

You recently carried an article, “Anglicanism in steep decline” (Home news, September 8) and the Tablet carried an article, “Dramatic increase in Catholic acceptance of abortion” at about the same time.

The Tablet article states that in 2016, 61 per cent of so-called Catholics supported a woman’s right to have an unborn child aborted if the woman decided on her own that she did not wish to have the child. The article stated that in the same survey 76 per cent of supposed Catholics said that pre-marital sex was not at all wrong; while the survey reportedly stated that 62 per cent of alleged Catholics said that same-sex relationships were not wrong at all.

I have been looking at The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults into the Roman Catholic Church, which requires that I make a declaration of faith to the effect that I accept the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church before I can take Holy Communion from a Roman Catholic priest, as I would like to do when staying at Buckfast Abbey or if Holy Communion is not available at my own church for whatever reason.

Please, by what definition can those who support abortion, pre-marital sex and same-sex relationships be considered to be members of the Roman Catholic Church?

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