I found this quote over at the blog Ex Libris Theologicus that I believe helps me to explain my situation. It is from an interview with some guy called Walker Percy. Reading this reminds me of the quote from the letter of St Peter which says that we are redeemed "not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot" (1 Peter 1:18-19)
So in other words, my faith is because of Christ, and for Christ. It is a gift given to me. I may live immorally, but that does not mean I have lost my faith - I just do not live it as I should. By baptism I belong to Christ and no one else. I am still Catholic by the grace of God.
Walker Percy on his Faith (From Magnificat Magazine)
Q: What kind of Catholic are you?
Q: Are you a dogmatic Catholic or an open-minded Catholic?
A: I don’t know what that means . . . . Do you mean do I believe the dogma that the Catholic Church proposes for belief?
Q: How is such a belief possible in this day and age?
A: What else is there?
Q: What do you mean, what else is there? There is humanism, atheism, agnosticism, Marxism, behaviorism, materialism, Buddhism, Muhammadanism, Sufism, astrology, occultism, theosophy.
A: That’s what I mean.
Q: I don’t understand. Would you exclude, for example, scientific humanism as a rational and honorable alternative?
A: It’s not good enough.
Q: Why not?
A: This life is too much trouble, far too strange, to arrive at the end of it and then to be asked what you make of it and have to answer “Scientific humanism.” That won’t do. A poor show. Life is a mystery, love is a delight. Therefore I take it as axiomatic that one should settle for nothing less than the infinite mystery and the infinite delight, i.e., God. In fact I demand it. I refuse to settle for anything less. I don’t see why anyone should settle for less than Jacob, who actually grabbed aholt of God and would not let go until God identified himself and blessed him.
Q: Grabbed aholt?
A: A Louisiana expression.
Q: But isn’t the Catholic Church in a mess these days, badly split, its liturgy barbarized, vocations declining?
A: Sure. That’s a sign of its divine origins, that it survives these periodic disasters.
Q: You don’t act or talk like a Christian. Aren’t they supposed to love one another and do good works?
Q: You don’t seem to have much use for your fellowman or do many good works.
A: That’s true. I haven’t done a good work in years.
Q: In fact, if I may be frank, you strike me as being rather negative in your attitude, cold-blooded, aloof, derisive, self-indulgent, more fond of the beautiful things of this world than of God.
A: That’s true.
Q: You even seem to take certain satisfaction in the disasters of the twentieth-century and to savor the imminence of world catastrophe rather than world peace, which all religions seek.
A: That’s true.
Q: You don’t seem to have much use for your fellow Christians, to say nothing of Ku Kluxers, ACLU’ers, northerners, southerners, fem-libbers, anti-fem-libbers, homosexuals, anti-homosexuals, Republicans, Democrats, hippies, anti-hippies, senior citizens.
A: That’s true – though taken as individuals they turn out to be more or less like oneself, i.e., sinners, and we get along fine.
Q: Even Ku Kluxers?
Q: How do you account for your belief?
A: I can only account for it as a gift from God.
Q: Why would God make you such a gift when there are others who seem more deserving, that is, serve their fellowman?
A: I don’t know. God does strange things. . . .
Q: But shouldn’t one’s faith bear some relation to the truth, facts?
A: Yes. That’s what attracted me, Christianity’s rather insolent claim to be true, with the implication that other religions are more or less false.
Q: You believe that?
A: Of course.