It has become the fashionable custom in developed societies, first world nations, to identify as a Christian, in particular in the face of perceived or actual not-so-friendly secular governments. Hard identity Christianity or hard identity Catholicism, they call it. And it is considered both a counter-cultural statement in the public sphere and one of the ‘solid’ markers of a true Christian or Catholic – as though a strong denominational membership identity and its oft-resultant oneupmanship attitude win one an automatic pass to heaven. But this begs the questions, Who or what is a true Christian? Who or what is a true Catholic?
Our Lord, Jesus Christ, has left us a very simple yardstick with which to discern the answer to the above questions. “By their fruits you shall know them,” He said (Mt 7:16), adding that “Not all who call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 7:21).
Who, therefore, is my brother and who is my sister? Who is a true Christian? Who is a true Catholic?