Author Topic: Cultural Catholicism  (Read 1171 times)

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Offline celticfan1888

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Cultural Catholicism
« on: November 28, 2011, 05:43:30 PM »
This is a question mainly for the RC on the board.

What do you guys think about cultural Catholics? I know you'd prefer them fully profess the RC faith, but what I'm asking is, How do you feel about RCs who are cultural Catholics (being ignorant of dogmatic beliefs, tradition, etc)? How do you think this problem should be fixed?

I grew up in a RC family, and most of my family who are RC are cultural Catholics, which is why this question came up.

I'm not saying this problem is inclusive to the RCC in any sense, I just notice this is has a much higher trend in RC of late.
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Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Cultural Catholicism
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2011, 05:57:11 PM »
ya plenty of the same thing in EO...49% believing in a personal God :P

the cultural thing is hard, oftentimes people go for cultural familial reasons and dont want to put forth the effort to learnign aobut the faith...not sure what can be done to help this...

Offline J Michael

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Re: Cultural Catholicism
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2011, 06:10:32 PM »
This is a question mainly for the RC on the board.

What do you guys think about cultural Catholics? I know you'd prefer them fully profess the RC faith, but what I'm asking is, How do you feel about RCs who are cultural Catholics (being ignorant of dogmatic beliefs, tradition, etc)? How do you think this problem should be fixed?

I grew up in a RC family, and most of my family who are RC are cultural Catholics, which is why this question came up.

I'm not saying this problem is inclusive to the RCC in any sense, I just notice this is has a much higher trend in RC of late.

I'll take a stab at this, and hopefully will not make a *complete* fool out of myself  ::) ;D.

I think there might be a difference between what you call a "cultural" Catholic and a "lapsed" Catholic, and even an ex-Catholic.  Someone who is ignorant of dogmatic beliefs, tradition, etc. needs to be catechized.  How that happens is another question, to be asked only after establishing whether or not they *want* to be catechized.  If they do, then there are several ways for that to happen.  There are adult formation classes, RCIA classes, software, innumerable books, groups, etc., etc.  The parish priest should be catechizing on an ongoing basis in his homilies.  I'm sure there are other means that I have overlooked in this hasty reply.

If the person doesn't want to be catechized, well....there is prayer, and evangelization.  And more prayer.  Now, just because someone is ignorant, doesn't mean they are not faithful to the Church and in full communion with her.  Doesn't mean they necessarily are, either.  So, I think it's important to be really clear about just who we're talking about, and just as important to realize that sometimes there is nothing *we* can "do".

I'm glad you noted that these are issues not unique to Catholics alone  ;)!
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Offline Cavaradossi

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Re: Cultural Catholicism
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2011, 09:59:16 PM »
This is a question mainly for the RC on the board.

What do you guys think about cultural Catholics? I know you'd prefer them fully profess the RC faith, but what I'm asking is, How do you feel about RCs who are cultural Catholics (being ignorant of dogmatic beliefs, tradition, etc)? How do you think this problem should be fixed?

I grew up in a RC family, and most of my family who are RC are cultural Catholics, which is why this question came up.

I'm not saying this problem is inclusive to the RCC in any sense, I just notice this is has a much higher trend in RC of late.

I'll take a stab at this, and hopefully will not make a *complete* fool out of myself  ::) ;D.

I think there might be a difference between what you call a "cultural" Catholic and a "lapsed" Catholic, and even an ex-Catholic.  Someone who is ignorant of dogmatic beliefs, tradition, etc. needs to be catechized.  How that happens is another question, to be asked only after establishing whether or not they *want* to be catechized.  If they do, then there are several ways for that to happen.  There are adult formation classes, RCIA classes, software, innumerable books, groups, etc., etc.  The parish priest should be catechizing on an ongoing basis in his homilies.  I'm sure there are other means that I have overlooked in this hasty reply.

If the person doesn't want to be catechized, well....there is prayer, and evangelization.  And more prayer.  Now, just because someone is ignorant, doesn't mean they are not faithful to the Church and in full communion with her.  Doesn't mean they necessarily are, either.  So, I think it's important to be really clear about just who we're talking about, and just as important to realize that sometimes there is nothing *we* can "do".

I'm glad you noted that these are issues not unique to Catholics alone  ;)!

I think maybe it's a mix between both. Your average cultural Catholic/Orthodox could either be the type that just doesn't care or the type that genuinely has faith, but has been poorly educated.
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Offline Papist

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Re: Cultural Catholicism
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2011, 10:12:28 PM »
This is a question mainly for the RC on the board.

What do you guys think about cultural Catholics? I know you'd prefer them fully profess the RC faith, but what I'm asking is, How do you feel about RCs who are cultural Catholics (being ignorant of dogmatic beliefs, tradition, etc)? How do you think this problem should be fixed?

I grew up in a RC family, and most of my family who are RC are cultural Catholics, which is why this question came up.

I'm not saying this problem is inclusive to the RCC in any sense, I just notice this is has a much higher trend in RC of late.
Catholics need to evangelize them.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Cultural Catholicism
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2011, 11:00:44 PM »
Didn't Fr. Andrew Greeley make a name for himself for sorta offering a gracious apology for "cultural" Catholics and money by writing Harlequin Romanist novels?

In any case, for some reason his name comes to mind in having studied this phenomenon and "defended" it a bit.

I could be way off.

What I do know is that he has given a ton of money of to great charities.

Another testament to the Catholic charitable spirit that has given much to this country.


Offline Robb

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Re: Cultural Catholicism
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2011, 12:26:16 AM »
What is a "cultural Catholic"?  Someone who refuses to vote for the Republicans because they don't want to undermine the country and put themselves into poverty over the red herring issue of abortion?  It seems to me that a lot of this finger pointing about who is or isn't a good Catholic is largely lead by right wing fanatics who are trying to hijack our religion and use it to promote their own agenda. 

I don't feel that I'm capable of judging how sincere anyone is in practicing their faith and certainly am not prepared to point fingers in order to satisfy the ideological game that some wish to play.
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Offline Robb

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Re: Cultural Catholicism
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2011, 12:28:17 AM »
Didn't Fr. Andrew Greeley make a name for himself for sorta offering a gracious apology for "cultural" Catholics and money by writing Harlequin Romanist novels?

In any case, for some reason his name comes to mind in having studied this phenomenon and "defended" it a bit.

I could be way off.

What I do know is that he has given a ton of money of to great charities.

Another testament to the Catholic charitable spirit that has given much to this country.



I like Fr Greeley.  He's a very intelligent man and a truly devoted priest.  I don't always see eye to eye with him on all issues, but I certainly don't doubt his sincerity or reputation as one of the countries leading clerical researchers.
Men may dislike truth, men may find truth offensive and inconvenient, men may persecute the truth, subvert it, try by law to suppress it. But to maintain that men have the final power over truth is blasphemy, and the last delusion. Truth lives forever, men do not.
-- Gustave Flaubert

Offline dzheremi

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Re: Cultural Catholicism
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2011, 01:19:29 AM »
In my limited experience, some of the best Catholics I've ever known have been cultural Catholics. I think this term, as illustrated by Robb's post, is somewhat white U.S.-centric in a way that equates "cultural Catholic" with "secular-minded, vaguely curch-ey American who is basically an evangelical who loves the Pope but doesn't know why". I don't think that's really fair. My first experience of Catholicism outside of the funerals of family and friends was in a tiny neighborhood in rural Mexico. I doubt that most people who lived there were what you'd call properly catechized, but their faith played a much larger role in their day to day lives than I ever saw among white Catholics in the USA. (I don't mean to make this a racial thing, but that's the divide I saw in my time as a Catholic, especially as a result of attending both Spanish and English masses; the faith is really approached quite differently. If I lived in Mexico I might still be Catholic.)

Offline Robb

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Re: Cultural Catholicism
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2011, 01:50:32 AM »
In my limited experience, some of the best Catholics I've ever known have been cultural Catholics. I think this term, as illustrated by Robb's post, is somewhat white U.S.-centric in a way that equates "cultural Catholic" with "secular-minded, vaguely curch-ey American who is basically an evangelical who loves the Pope but doesn't know why". I don't think that's really fair. My first experience of Catholicism outside of the funerals of family and friends was in a tiny neighborhood in rural Mexico. I doubt that most people who lived there were what you'd call properly catechized, but their faith played a much larger role in their day to day lives than I ever saw among white Catholics in the USA. (I don't mean to make this a racial thing, but that's the divide I saw in my time as a Catholic, especially as a result of attending both Spanish and English masses; the faith is really approached quite differently. If I lived in Mexico I might still be Catholic.)

Amen to that (If there was a way I could "Like" your post, I would).  I grew up in a largely ethnic neighborhood made up of Italians, Hungarians, and Poles and my experience growing up around them and their practice of the RC faith mirrors what you saw in Mexico in many ways. Most of the people (Even those who grew up in the pre Vatican II days) Never had too much of a theological grasp on their religion (Like so many evangelical types tend to). They certainly didn't "Bible thump" others and preach on street corners. Yet the simple and devoted, yet also pragmatic way which they practiced their faith and taught it to me far outshines the cultural blandness and apathy that most present day white, secular Americans practice their religion (If indeed any still do). There was a genuine warmth and piety that these simple people brought to their Catholicism that made a deep and lasting impression in me in my youth and that is something that I have so much tried to recapture in the practice of my own faith today (Unfortunately in my attempt to find this pearl of great price has lead me down some strange avenues of the religious experience in the past, yet I still persist in searching for it to this day like some Conquistador ins search of the fountain of youth or a lost city of gold).

This is why it pains me so much to hear some disparage these "cultural/cafeteria" Catholics and their faith as somewhat lacking or even defective compared to those johnny come lately evangelical converts who join the Church and start up "ministries" and publish voter guides, always preaching to we cradles on how to be "good" Catholics by supporting all the "right wing" causes.  I always feel a slight twinge of both nostalgia and anger to read disparaging remarks of these rapidly disappearing "cultural" Catholics and always feel a  duty to defend them and the culture which produced them).  There world wasn't/isn't perfect, but I found much more peace with them in those bygone days then I have ever found with any existing religious/cultural system on today's American horizon.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2011, 01:55:50 AM by Robb »
Men may dislike truth, men may find truth offensive and inconvenient, men may persecute the truth, subvert it, try by law to suppress it. But to maintain that men have the final power over truth is blasphemy, and the last delusion. Truth lives forever, men do not.
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