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Can a Catholic be a minister of a non-Catholic sect?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Oct 10, 2012

Can a minister of a non-Catholic denomination still be classified as a Catholic? The Washington Post seems to think so, notes the perceptive critic Terry Mattingly, who regularly exposes the tone-deafness of the secular media regarding religious affairs.

A Post profile of Chip DiPaula Jr., a Maryland political operative who is now working for legal recognition of same-sex marriage, notes that DiPaula is a Catholic. But the same story goes on to report that DiPaula “is an authorized nondenominational Christian minister and has officiated at the weddings of a few family members and friends.” Thus he is recognized by some institution—obviously not the Catholic Church—as a member of the clergy. Yet the Post identifies him as a Catholic, without adding even an asterisk. Is that competent reporting? Mattingly presses the question:

At this point, in other words, in the eyes of Post editors, does the Catholic Church itself have any say in deciding whether a person is or is not a Catholic?

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