Must we believe the Church 100% to be Catholic?

Must we believe the Church 100% to be Catholic?
By Paul Dion, STL

Living the Catholic life is a life of penance, prayer and missionary zeal. It is about giving-up some things and for giving some things too. As Catholics, we hear a lot of teachings about our religion and we pray for all souls including those people who are going to be baptized into the Catholic religion each Easter Vigil.

But recently, a Catholic friend told me how he's been facing his own Catholic friends and family who seem to disagree with certain specific tenets of our faith. So maybe now is a critical time to ask ourselves an important question about our religion and our faith. It is not a "stupid" question, nor is it an idle one. It is a question that I have been asked several times by Catechumens. I even hear it now and then from life-long Catholics who are attending Faith Growth Sessions for Adults.

We hope that all of you who read this would consider the depth and the value of the question. We want to hear your opinion about what the answer is. We are sure that you will have deep seated opinons about this one. Share them, please. We are sure that the sum of all of them will add up to the true answer.

"In order to be Catholic, do you have to believe 100% of what the Church teaches?"

Please pray over it and then chime in with your opinion. We will provide a comprehensive answer as part of the comments. In the meantime, we will join you in the running comment exercise.

Let us know what you think. Post your comment below.


  1. Tony Martinelli6:52 AM

    No. The Church is not perfect. It is run by imperfect human beings. Mistakes can be made. God gave us a mind to think about things and to draw conclussions and then take action.

    Will I follow what the Church wants? After giving my input, yes I will follow what the Church decides.

    In the end I believe in the Catholic Church and will never let mistakes get in the way of my loyalty to the Church.

  2. Anonymous7:35 AM

    Yes! You better believe you MUST believe the church 100% to be Catholic! That is the problem now a days there are too many people who pick and choose what they want to follow(cafateria Catholics)! Remember how Jesus said he wants us to be on Fire,He does not like lukewarm followers. What the Church teaches comes from God himself that is why he left us a Pope, to lead his flock in the right direction. Being Catholic and following all the rules can sometimes be hard. But remember what Jesus said If you think the world hates you remember it hated me first. If you are going against the grain most of the time it means you are doing right. I believe that is the beauty of our faith we are all one, His church that he started. Remember that Jesus more than anything Loves obediance,so we must be obediant,pick up our cross and follow him. God Bless

  3. Anonymous7:41 AM


  4. Anonymous1:42 PM

    The CHURCH (Mystery of Faith and the Bride of Jesus Christ)is one thing. The church (human organization) is not perfect. Tony will believe 100% of what the CHURCH teaches because SHE is infallible.

  5. We, as Catholics, are obliged to believe 100% of all the official teachings of the Church, on faith and morals...

    If the pope said it was going to rain tomorrow, so what? His charism is not forecasting weather. If he says the stock market will plumet tomorrow, so what? His charism is not fortune telling... If the pope sins, so what? He is infallible, not impeccable.

    We submit... in matters pertaining to the Church's authority:

    "Wherefore we teach and declare that, by divine ordinance, the Roman Church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other Church, and that this jurisdictional power of the Roman Pontiff is both episcopal and immediate. Both clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, both singly and collectively, are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this not only in matters concerning faith and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the Church throughout the world." (Pastor Aeternus, Vatican I: Ch.3, par.2)


  6. As Catholics we are concerned with truth. We must believe in truth 100%, but in 1 Timothy 3:15 St. Paul tells us that the Church of the living God is the pilar and foundation of truth.

    Yes you MUST believe in the Catholic Church's teachings to be Catholic.

    A drop of poison in a glass of water doesn't make it 1% poison and 99% water. We can't take 99% of the Church's teachings and not take 1% of it.

  7. The safe answer to the question is "yes". Because the Church is an essential part of our faith, as Bride of Christ, we who are Catholic accept 100% of what she teaches as being what He taught and continues to teach through her. This attitude was presented to us by Vatican Council I in these words:

    "Wherefore we teach and declare that, by divine ordinance, the Roman Church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other Church, and that this jurisdictional power of the Roman Pontiff is both episcopal and immediate. Both clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, both singly and collectively, are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this not only in matters concerning faith and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the Church throughout the world." (Pastor Aeternus, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Vatican I: Ch.3, par.2)

    Chapter 3 closes with, “So, then, if anyone says that the Roman Pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the Churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema.” (Pastor Aeternus, July 18, 1870 from the Acts of the Council, Session four, above the signature of the Pontifical Secretary}

    Now let’s listen to the words on the same topic from Vatican Council II:

    “Fully incorporated into the Church are those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the Church together with her entire organization, and who--by the bonds constituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government, and communion--are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops.” (Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Vatican II, Cap 2, 14)

    These are two dogmatic views of the same truth from two different points of view. Let’s look at them through the prism of real life examples.

    Vatican I

    “I’m your father, this is my house. I make the rules. Live it my way or the devil take you.”

    Vatican II

    “We are all family. Your mother and I made a covenant to help one another to be better human beings. You and we are all in this together. What’s ours is yours and we believe that what is yours should also be ours. We can help you to be a better person too. We urge you to join us in this spirit of mutual help.
    Come with us, this is really the only place to be.”

    Faith in God and His Church is a gift. It is an unconditional gift where knowledge of Him, Love of Him and our fellow creatures plus the hope that we can all live here on earth in peace and join Him in Heaven because we accepted the gift and responded to its demands. Faith in God and His Bride, the Church, is a pure, unconditional gift. We either take it all and put it under our pillow every night and live it every day or we cannot claim to be 100% Catholic.

    Because Faith in God is such a dynamic gift, most of us believe more than 100% of what the Church teaches “officially”. That is because much of what we believe is not included in the official dogma of the Church. A lot of what we believe is not even in the official requirements of the Church’s discipline. Some of what we believe may even be outside of Church teaching, but not necessarily anti-church. You need examples? Here we go:

    If you believe that you must first confess your sins before receiving communion, at all times, that is more than what the Church teaches. The Church teaches that those who wish to receive Holy Communion must be free from MORTAL sin. Confession is the ordinary step necessary to cleanse the soul of mortal sin. Going to confession more often as an effort to seek the help of a regular confessor as we strive for higher levels of Christian perfection, is more than the Church teaches.

    If you believe that divorced people are banned from taking Holy Communion, you are stricter than the Church. The Church teaches that divorced people who have remarried are banned from receiving Holy Communion. To deprive divorced people who remain single from participating in the fullness of the eucharistic banquet is outside the Church's teaching, and should not be promulgated by anyone.

    If you believe that homosexuality is a sin, that is not what the church teaches. Homosexuality is no more a sin than heterosexuality. What is a sin is sexual activity outside of marriage.

    I could go on and create a long list. You get the point, I am sure. There are a lot of areas in our magnificent Catholic Religion that remain unknown or not understood by many holy Catholics. If you want more examples or you have questions about this, write your question down and send it to in the comments section provided here below.


    To be a Catholic requires that the members agree to be dedicated members of the family. The members have to believe that they are required to contribute to the welfare of the family, as defined by the Head of the Family and His ordained "household". To live under the same roof of the family requires that every member of the family accept the totality of beliefs of the familial community. Not more, not less.

    Those who do not abide by at least the minimum of the family rules will not be allowed to access the benefits of the family community.

    The truth is in the answer to the question: Do you agree to define the conduct of your Catholic life in absolute relation to the authority of the pope and his bishops, in relation to your conscience as guided by the gift of Faith as illumined by the general teaching office of the church (magisterium)?
    That's a complex question. It requires some thought and meditation.

  8. Anonymous11:37 AM

    A Catholic must believe in the teachings of the church to be a catholic. That doesn't mean that one doesn't struggle with some teaching as one makes their faith journey.

    A loyal catholic can disagree with the administration of the church (i.e. the handling of the clergy sex abuse crisis, the way the church spend its resources, etc.)

  9. No. An accpetance of the Church dogma is the only prerequisite to be a Catholic. You can choose not to believe to apparitions or even praying the rosary - and it wont anathemize you from the Church.

    1. Anonymous9:20 AM

      Thank you for your reply. After reading everyone elses before you I felt I had to leave and no longer believe or be a part of any of it. I feel at least now I can continue to pray the rosary if anything.

  10. Daughter of God1:32 PM

    For those of you who struggle with believing all the teachings of the Church, may I suggest that you educate yourself on the true teachings of the Church. The Church, the Bride of Christ is guided by the Holy Spirit, and it is that guidance that is the Truth. Read the true documents, pray, learn, and open your heart. All will be revealed to you through the power of God. Don't rely on what one person says. Don't follow opinions. Read the Catechism, Read the Vatican II Documents, Read the Encyclicals of the Popes, past and present. As you read these profound documents in prayerful consideration you will understand all on a level that is unexplainable. May the Peace of our Lord be with you all.

  11. Anonymous6:11 PM

    Reading these responses clearly redefines why so many Catholics leave the Church. It would be ludicrous to realistically expect all Catholics to believe all doctrine. While I wouldn't say it's a Pick N Choose I will suggest one has to live one's Life as they feel they can best serve the Church.
    Either there are some simply remarkable people making these statements or some truly behind the scenes hypocrites.
    I have always enjoyed the Church but some doctrine simply doesn't apply to 20th century logic.

  12. Anonymous9:49 PM

    Maybe you haven't read the Gospel lately. Jesus' doctrine didn't apply to 1st century logic either. Tghe logic God and the logic of the Church can only be found in the unlogic of Faith...Total abandon of self into the bosom of God Himself. That's what I love about the Church.