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Catholicism And Fundamentalism


BeachOfEden
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Adding to the discussion about the Pope I thought I'd expnad this topic to include catholicsm as a whole, and the fact that the regular catholic church does not seems to be keen on the idea becomig n more Progressive, extending equality for women, changing the birth controll rule, priests allowed to marry..and also such issues as their dislike of becomign contemporary in their worship, dislike of contemporary music and their love of dark and morbid decor and atmosphear of their churches..and loving to focus on suffering....also what do you think of the whole Catholic idea of praying to saints instead of God? Any thoughts?

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Well I don't have any thoughts on anything else, except the praying for saints. It is my understanding that this kind of a way to pray to the various aspects of God. (In a way, though they would deny it, somewhat similar to Hinduism. I think Hindu scholars tend to think of God as one but the various gods represent aspects of the divine). I'm inclined to think that in a tradition where people have an intermedary, this is a way of making God more "up close and personal". It might nto be something I believe but that's how I would understand it. Perhaps James will chime in here, if he is still around.

 

--des

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Hi there Beach --

 

Just curious -- have you been to any Catholic churches or Catholic-sponsored events lately?

 

The reason I ask is because you seem to have a stereotyped vision of the Catholic church that we often see in fiction and popular culture -- dark, morbid, repressive, anti-modern, etc. And so many people still think we actually pray to saints instead of to God. That is not true. We may invite saints to intercede on our behalf, to pray with us as we pray to God. We do not substitute God for saints in our prayers. Another common misconception: People think that we still have confession in a dark, ominous-looking wooden booth where there is a screen between the person and the priest. This is generally not the case these days. You sit and talk face-to-face with the priest in a room or in a curtained-off area of the church.

 

I attend a Catholic church that is fairly progressive and very social-justice oriented. It is also an historically African-American church with blacks, whites, Latinos and Asians. We have a gospel choir that sings contemporary music and a youth choir that sings once a month, sometimes treating us to hip-hop hymns. We have a gay and lesbian group, and we host the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice. There are generally no "dark and morbid" decorations in our church.

 

Of course, there are Catholic churches where you can get the morbidity and ancient-ness if you'd like, but they are not all like that. People can go to rock masses, folk masses, gospel masses, mariachi masses, masses with contemporary contemplative music, etc.

 

There are a wide variety of Catholics, ranging from archconservative to radically progressive, but most (in the U.S. at least) are in the moderate-to-liberal range. Catholics in the third world probably have a different idea of what church should be than do American and European Catholics. And the hierarchy often clashes with layfolks over what church should be. But check out these stats: 75 percent of lay Catholics want married priests; 65 percent are ready for women priests. (These percentages are slightly higher in Europe). As for the birth control rule -- well, the hierarchy may say one thing, but believe me, more than 90 percent of U.S. and European Catholics use artificial contraception. I think I already wrote this in another thread, but the institutional church came so close to condoning contraception in the 60s. Pope John XXIII got a commission together to study and make recommendations on the issue. Their decision: 9 for contraception, 3 against, and 3 abstentions. But Pope Paul VI, in his 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, rejected the commission's recommendations. Many Catholics had thought birth control was on its way in and started using it anyway. And today, of course, most still do.

 

Okay. I've gone on and on here. But just wanting to dispel some myths about Catholicism. If you've read this far, thanks for putting up with this catholic girl who is a tad bit on the defensive!

 

;)

curlytop

Edited by curlytop
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Curlytop,

 

Thank you for piping in the way you do about progressive Catholicism and Catholicism in general. I've always been attracted to Catholicism because of its rich mystical heritage.

 

I've thought about attending a service (mass?) on a Sunday, but don't know if the Catholic churches here are conservative, moderate or liberal. Utahn's tend to do everything conservatively. :P

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Well Aletheia, there's always Episcopal. Isn't that "liberal Catholic"?

Anyway, here there is the "Liberal Catholic church". Take a look here:

http://www.liberalcatholic.org/

Wonder if you find such a thing in Utah. I saw one of these in NM though. Perhaps not quite as conservative. BTW, what ever happened with you? :-)

 

Curlytop:

I think that the statement that Catholics worship Saints is based on statements like "thru the intercession of ___". Or they will hang on to St. Christopher's metals, etc. There is also a strong Mary aspect that Protestants don't have. I still think it is praying to God, but it is in a way that Protestants never think. Protestantism is strongly anti-incessory, so these things look quite different in our eyes.

 

I wouldn't be too defensive. I think most of us are pretty familar with the gaps between the upper eshelon powers that be and American and European Catholics. I'm also more than familar with the Catholic stance on social justice issues.

 

 

--des

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Wonder if you find such a thing in Utah.

According to the websight I'd have to go out of state to attend. LOL! It is for that reason that I've considered the Episcopal church. I like ritual and liturgy much more than I like sermons and Bible stories. :D

BTW, what ever happened with you? :-)

Whatever happened with me? About what? :huh::)

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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I noticed my state doesn't have a liberal Catholic church either, but there actually is at least one as I pass it by all the time. OTOH, I think Episcopal might be better for you as you have more to choose from. Still it might be worth a look in the phone book. (BTW, it looks kind of interesting though.)

 

I wondered how you got from living in Utah to being a progressive. :-)

Perhaps same way I got from being a CS to being a progressive. But you are really surrounded aren't you.

 

 

--des

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You know I can't figure it....I live in a beautiful beachy town that is like 1 hour from Santa Monica..but the Catholic churches here and most all the Protestant churches are fundamental. There IS, I hear a Liberal catholic church is Ojai (about 20 mintues from here).

 

I think the Progressive Catholics, Liberal Episcopalains and Liberal Lutherns ought to get together and make their own Progressive contemporary churches.:)

 

And then the Progressive UMC and Presbyterians ought to make progressive churches.:)

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wondered how you got from living in Utah to being a progressive. :-)

Perhaps same way I got from being a CS to being a progressive. But you are really surrounded aren't you.

 

Doh! Sorry. Your question was obvious. I'm just brain dead today. <_<

 

I was basically raised agnostic or nominal Christian. I never attended church really. I went to the LDS church every once in a while with one of my sisters. So in that way I was raised pretty "progressive", meaning un-indoctrinated.

 

I indoctrinated myself when I was 20 as a JW. LOL! Then I un-indoctrinated myself about 10 years later with the help of the internet. Gotta love those ex-JW websights.

 

Utah is getting better. The Olympics of 2002 brought in the non-Mormons and the mountains and skiing persuaded many of them to stay. Whoo hoo!

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Aletheia, I'd second the suggestion that you look into the Episcopal church. There are liberal and progressive Episcopal parishes, so you might have to do a bit of searching to find one that suits you. Still, I'd characterize the EP as Catholicism without the dogma... you get to think, contextualize and interpret instead of having to accept one approved interpretation of doctrine.

 

Liturgically speaking, it is very close to the way Roman Catholics do church. I was quite surprised and pleased to find that I appreciate the Episcopal liturgy in a very big way.

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Actually, driving to my parents house on Saturday, I was talking to my husband about you (Lolly) and how I needed to ask you how hard it was to learn the "Episcopalian routine". :D I have stage fright! :rolleyes:

 

How long did it take you to learn the "sit, stand, kneel, repeat after me" stuff? Is it easy? User friendly? How are things set up to teach the process to visitors?

 

Also, for baptism, is there any sort of catechism or classes to pass? Do I have to stand and repeat the creeds by heart in front of the whole group? :P

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Actually, driving to my parents house on Saturday, I was talking to my husband about you (Lolly) and how I needed to ask you how hard it was to learn the "Episcopalian routine".  :D  I have stage fright!  :rolleyes:

 

How long did it take you to learn the "sit, stand, kneel, repeat after me" stuff? Is it easy? User friendly? How are things set up to teach the process to visitors?

 

Also, for baptism, is there any sort of catechism or classes to pass? Do I have to stand and repeat the creeds by heart in front of the whole group?  :P

 

At the church I attend, each Sunday we're given a service booklet which maps out the liturgy in detail, and everyone uses it. The only problem I had initially was that no one really explained to me that it was all in there, and no one explained that the things in bold type are the things said in unison by the congregation (though it didn't take long to figure that out). And of course, when everything is new, it always seems a little awkward at first, but it didn't take long at all to get the feel of things.

 

On the few occasions when there has been no service booklet (special services at odd times) there has always been instruction to turn to a particular rite in the Book of Common Prayer (which is provided with the hymnals at each pew). So I've never really felt lost in the service.

 

The rite of baptism is also in the Book of Common Prayer, and before my baptism the rector went over it with me, walking me through the process. I did attend a class called "basics of the faith" and was very glad to have done so. In the class, I was able to offer some of my thoughts and reaffirm that my interpretive bent would be welcome in this particular church, and I also learned a whole lot about the institutional church and its way of doing things.

 

Of course, that's just my own experience and I have no idea whether it's the same in the churches in your area. What you might want to do, Aletheia, if you do decide to go, is to call ahead and make an appointment to talk to someone there about what to expect. That might help to cushion the shock a bit on the first visit.

 

On a totally different subject, I also want to say that I actually came back to this thread because I was concerned about how what I had said might come across to Catholics here, and I didn't want to offend anyone. My experience with Catholicism is limited and I'm sure there are various flavors of Catholicism, just as there are flavors within the Episcopal Church. I apologize if my comments came across unkindly.

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Aletheia --

 

Just wanted to second (or rather third) the suggestions on an Episcopal church, which is where I may end up myself if I ever end up doing something to get myself ex-communicated . . . B)

 

I remember when I started going to church again and was worried about if I would get all the sitting, standing, kneeling, etc., just right. So I just went and sat in the back and followed along with what other people did. When I found a place that felt "friendly," I kept visiting. Eventually some announcement gets made about those who may be interested in learning more about the church. Or the rector or minister or priest introduces him/herself to you. And it goes from there . . .

 

des posted a link to the Liberal Catholic Church International. I used to be a member of that church -- (To clarify: there are numerous Catholic churches that are not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. Many of them broke with the RCC over papal infallibility, treatment of women, anti-Semitism during WWII, etc. Some of them are liberal, while others are actually more conservative than the RCC. In addition, within the RCC, there are conservative, moderate, and liberal parishes, and one can be as different from the other as day is different from night. At any rate, I currently go to a progressive RCC parish.)

 

I joined the Liberal Catholic Church after being estranged from my faith for most of my adult life and experiencing a deep spiritual hunger. The town that I moved to in southern California turned out to have a storefront LCC just a few blocks from my house! Very small congregation, but was a real God-send at that time in my life. Most of the congregants had been raised Catholic but had experienced rejection at some point -- perhaps because of being divorced and re-married, gay parents wanting to baptize their kids, etc. It was a beautiful space for those of us kind of stumbing and stuttering our way back into faith. Several of us women congregants started a women's spirituality group that has been meeting since 1998.

 

But this particular storefront LCC eventually folded. Here's the tale of woe: In the late 90s, the LCC was adhering to the "Old Catholic" style of liturgy -- lots of archaic, quasi-medieval language in spite of the relatively open, liberal theology. (Apparently that's changing now, I guess). The pastor of our church sought permission from the local bishop to update the language of the liturgy. He refused. So our pastor decided to ex-cardinate from the LCC and to re-incardinate into the Catholic Apostolic Church in North America (CACINA), another breakaway Catholic church. This was wrenching for many of the congregants. We lost the relationship with the LCC bishop, and being that we were now only one of 2 or 3 CACINA parishes in the western U.S., we felt a bit like lone wolves. We had only that one pastor to serve us, so if he was sick or out of town, we couldn't have a full Sunday service. People dropped away, and eventually we weren't able to pay the lease on the storefront, so we had to close.

 

Something that I found to be a little disquieting about the breakaway Catholic churches, wonderful though they can be for wandering souls--is that many of them seem to have more clergy than congregants! And in-fighting among the clergy at that. And the lack of a large, and more stable institution to fall back on means that they have a precarious existence.

 

At any rate, after the CACINA church folded I looked around at different Episcopal and RC parishes and eventually came across an RC church whose pastor was actually more progressive than the Liberal Catholic Church was . . . go figure! (And yes: probably a rare find). One really has to go out there and taste and see . . .

 

Interestingly, those other women who used to belong to that storefront church still hang out but have flown in all directions: one returned to the Lutheran Church, another now goes to a Unitarian Universalist Church after trying out Religious Science for a while, a couple others went back to RC churches (and I occasionally visit a local UCC from time to time when I'm in the mood for an out-and-out political sermon). We still treasure that acceptance and that period of growth that the LCC provided for us.

 

Perhaps my (rather long-winded) point is: It's a good idea to look at specific parishes to find that special place--seeking by denomination is a start but because there can be so much variety within denominations, you have to "try out" different places.

 

Peace y'all,

curlytop

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