"I'm Catholic." Many do not fully understand the meaning behind that. They assume it is a label that has a shallow understanding. Given the current nature of this world it is not a surprise. Considering that many in the public life has tried to water down the faith. Or minimized it's importance. For me, at least, it is more than just a label. It is a total acceptance and embracing the way of life that Christ calls us to follow. To become a true disciple of our Savior. Telling everyone that I'm Catholic is understanding and accepting that their are rules and responsibilities that we must always follow. Picking up our Cross and following Christ is not an easy road to travel. We are witnesses and in so many ways evangelists for the faith as we live our daily lives. To say that we are Catholic should imply that we truly embrace the faith and all that it means.
This is why I get so irked with many "Catholics" who are in public office. These are people who openly claim to follow the faith. In the private life, to some level, I'm sure they believe in the faith and it's teachings. However the actions they take and at times elements of life they support often put their commitment to the faith into question. More so when they publicly support things that go directly against the teachings of the church and the Bible itself. They seem to enjoy public life while watering down the faith in the process.
The Gospel of Matthew highlights this issue in 24th verse of the 6th chapter: "No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
To openly say that we are Catholic is to fully embrace Christ. This means that we accept the teachings are true. Even when we struggle in following them. However those foundations are not something we can just pick and chose. We can't decide what to follow and what to ignore. It really is an "all or nothing" deal. This is more so when you are in the public eye. It comes down to what is more important. Following Christ or following your respective party. More so when that party has ideals that run directly against the church. When you put the political party above Christ. It comes across as you are instead embracing mammon. Also sends the wrong message to those who may be considering joining the church. That we are not strong enough in our faith. That we embrace the sins of the world instead of embracing Christ. It is one thing to have a private issue with the faith or some element of it. Something else all together to publicly reject it for the sake of being part of a political party. By doing so you replace Christ for another master.
As someone who openly says they are Catholic. I am, in my own way, a representative of the faith. So is everyone who publicly says as much. It is more than a label or identity. It is path of life that is way more important to me than the world itself. It would nice to see more of us who claim to be Catholic take that same road. To truly and publicly embrace the faith.