The following is taken from Volume 5 of Radio Replies by Frs. Leslie Rumble and Charles Carty.

513. Last year [1971] a visiting non-Catholic American professor of philosophy, Mortimer J. Adler, said government must be based on the natural law, not on positive laws only. What did he mean by that? [N.b.: Adler was received into the Church in 1999.]

By positive laws only he meant legislation made by men merely because they happen to have political power to make laws, as if there were no higher laws than those they choose to make. Granted such an idea, men in power could impose any laws they pleased upon others. Might would be right. On the other hand, by natural law Dr. Adler meant the Will of the Creator who has not only endowed man with intellectual as well as physical gifts, but obliges him in conscience to live in accordance with his true nature and with natural moral principles. This means that there are certain rights and duties not originated by men themselves, which men cannot abolish, and which all men are obliged to observe. Might is not right. It must be subordinated to right and used only to maintain and defend it.

514. Does this natural moral law apply to non-Christians?

It applies to all human beings. Dr. Adler himself is a Jew, not a Christian. Even the Roman philosopher Cicero, who died 43 B.C., and knew nothing of the Christian religion, wrote in his book “De Republica,” 3:22, “True law is right reason in agreement with nature. It is of universal application, unchanging, everlasting. We cannot be freed from it by Senate or people. This law is not one thing at Rome and another at Athens, but is eternal and immutable, valid for all nations and for all times. God is the Author of it, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge. Whoever is disobedient to it is abandoning his true self and denying his own nature.” Observation shows us that every creature in the universe has been given its own nature by the Creator, in accordance with which it is intended to act. Irrational animals obey the laws of their nature by instincts which the Creator has implanted in them. Whether or not, in God’s providence, this came about by means of an evolutionary process is of no importance here. As contrasted with lower animals, human beings are endowed with reason and free will. Men are moral beings who, even if they are not Christians, are obliged to conform their lives voluntarily to the natural law of God as manifested by their own intelligence and dictated by their conscience. When they do anything which is wrong of its very nature, it is because they either have warped ideas or are acting against their natural conscience through sheer bad will.

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Multiple Liturgies

In the Catholic Church, there are multiple rites, such as Byzantine, Maronite, and Western (Latin).  The essence of the Mass is the same, but the style is different.

Within the largest, the Western Rite, there are further divisions, the Ordinary Form (OF), Extraordinary Form (EF), and Anglican Use, which is set up primarily for converts from the Anglican (Episcopal) Communion.

The OF is the post – 1970 rubric that is allowed to be celebrated in the vernacular. It is the most common. The EF follows the rubrics of 1962 laid out by Pope St. John XXIII.

The EF Mass is commonly referred to as the “Traditional Latin Mass” or the “Tridentine Mass.” The OF is commonly referred to as the Novus Ordo, after its Latin title. 

Why does this matter?  You are here because you identify as Catholic.  Yet, perhaps you don’t agree with the Church’s moral teachings on homosexuality, fornication, abortion, or birth control.  Maybe you think the idea of a virgin birth or an afterlife is preposterous.  Maybe you don’t even believe in God.

Your identity as a Catholic comes from your experience as a Catholic: the Masses, the prayers, the processions, the Rosaries.  These still mean something.

After the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, there was a purposeful experiment to reshape Catholic worship and identity.  Some embraced the changes, some rebelled against them, and some simply fell away.

The internet is full of debate on what was good, bad, and ugly.  I am not here to engage in debate.  Though I prefer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, the Ordinary Form is a valid form of Catholic worship, despite the sometimes bizarre innovations some have engaged in.

The key, though, is that the liturgy provides us a sense of identity and unity with one another.  It holds people to the faith when they might otherwise fall away.  Atheist philosopher George Satayana considered himself Catholic because of the beauty of the liturgy.  Andy Warhol, despite being gay and living a lifestyle he knew was at odds with much of Catholic moral teaching, frequently attended daily Mass.

My hope is that you will come on your own to believe that the Catholic Church is all that she claims to be.  But if you cannot accept it all right now, you can make the steps you feel comfortable making.