Are US Catholic beliefs influenced by fundamentalism?

So, I have gotten a sense from many CAF posters, that many US Catholics actually have been influenced by fundamentalism and the tendency of fundamentalists to have a very simplistic “black and white” approach to issues of theology and morality.

I know the Church itself makes a distinction between homosexuality as a practice and as an orientation. However, many Catholics seem to think anyone who identifies as “homosexual” or “gay” is complicit in the “gay agenda”, even those who do follow Church teaching. Many believe that it’s possible to “pray the gay away” and that anyone who isn’t actively trying to rid themselves of SSA tendencies, is sinning just as much as the sexually active homosexuals are.

I know the Church does not forbid the use of medications that have contraceptive actions, to be used to treat medical conditions. But many Catholics see OCPs the same way Baptists view “demon rum”, that there are no licit reasons for their use.

I know the Church itself does not forbid women from working for pay, or demand women always remain under the “protection” of a man, nor does it demand married couples actively try to have many children as possible. That’s the kind of attitude I see more often among “quiverfull” fundamentalists, the kind that would bash a woman for “being selfish” if she wishes to limit family size for any reason, even having a medical condition that causes a high risk of death with each pregnancy.

(This happened to Erin Bates Paine, who does have such a condition, and has made statements that she no longer follows Bill Gothard and will likely have only 2 children; some “fans” of the family were quick to accuse of her being “selfish” for that. )

But I have noticed that many US Catholics are quick to assume that any family that has less than 4 children is sinfully using ABC, or, at best, “using NFP with a contraceptive mentality”.

The main point to all of this being, while I do find actual Catholic teaching is actually surprisingly socially “moderate” compared to fundamentalism, I do notice there are many Catholics whose beliefs appear influenced by fundamentalism. Another example, is how many of the very socially conservative Catholics also interpret the Bible in a fundamentalist way, many hold to very rigid gender roles, some even go as far as espousing Young Earth Creationism.

Some have even accused not just Pope Francis, but B16 and JP2 of being “heretics” and ironically, while they claim to be Catholic, isn’t this attitude actually closer to the Protestant one, that rejects the authority of a Church hierarchy to guide the flock?

When discerning whether to join the CC, best not to look at what Catholics believe.

Look at what Catholicism believes.

There’s a big difference.

No. Thing is, too many peoples Catholic beliefs have been influenced by secularism. Fundamentalism isn’t the cause of this problem, secularism is.

I think a fundamentalist way of thinking can be homegrown, arising naturally in any religious group without it being attributable to the influence of its counterpart in another religion.

I think that US Catholics are far more influenced by secularism and materialism than they are by Fundamentalism.

What you have been told about the theology behind the nature of men vs. women, the philosophical implications and problems inherent even in theistic evolution, and what the Ordinary or Extraordinary Magisterium teaches on those subjects might actually be a case-in-point.


+Like any discipline of life found here on earth . . . medicine, physics, engineering, etc., . . . the Christian Faith of the Catholic Church has a distinct set of Christian beliefs and doctrines as its . . . foundation . . . and there is NO allowance whatsoever within the Church for any sort of . . . “arbitrary changes based on personal opinions” . . . any more than there is in medicine, engineering, physics, etc., . . . quite the opposite . . . **absolute truths are absolute truths **. . .and we accept the Faith in faith . . . and obey and walk in the clearly defined Holy Pathways of God defined by Sacred :bible1: Scripture and the Holy Roman Catholic Church as redeemed, born-again children of God . . . below is a quote from . . . Catholic Answer’s Forum apologist **Peggy Frye ** . . .

**. . . :coffeeread: . . . **
Is it true that Catholics are free to choose,
with serious consideration,
which Church teachings to obey? **

**To protect the faith of the Catholic Church against errors: **
**Motu proprio **

Catholics are not free to “choose which teachings to obey.”

The Code of Canon Law no 750 clearly states:

§1. A person **must believe with divine and Catholic faith **all those things contained in the :bible1: Word of God , written or handed on, that is, in the one deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn magisterium of the Church or by its ordinary and universal magisterium which is manifested by the common adherence of the Christian faithful under the leadership of the sacred magisterium; therefore all are bound to avoid any doctrines whatsoever contrary to them.

**§2. **Each and every thing which is proposed definitively by the magisterium of the Church concerning the doctrine of faith and morals, that is, each and every thing which is required to safeguard reverently and to expound faithfully the same deposit of faith, is also to be firm-ly embraced and retained; therefore, one who rejects those propositions which are to be held definitively is opposed to the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

Submission of mind and will to the teachings of the Church even when not speaking ex cathedra must be shown (e.g., truths contained in the Catechism, and that artificial contraception is sinful). [/INDENT]
[INDENT]“The teaching Church does not invent her doctrines; she is a witness, a custodian, an interpreter, a transmitter. As regards the truths of Christian marriage, she can be called conservative, uncompromising. To those who would urge her to make her faith easier, more in keeping with the tastes of the changing mentality of the times, she answers with the apostles, we cannot.” (Acts. 4:20) [/INDENT]
Is it o.k. to be a cafeteria Catholic? Pope John Paul II says,[INDENT]“It is sometimes reported that a large number of Catholics today do not adhere to the teaching of the Catholic Church on a number of questions, notably sexual and conjugal morality, divorce and remarriage. Some are reported as not accepting the clear position on abortion. It has to be noted that there is a tendency on the part of some Catholics to be selective in their adherence to the Church’s moral teaching. … This is a grave error that challenges the teaching of the Bishops in the United States and elsewhere.” (Pope John Paul II in his speech to the Bishops in 1987)[/INDENT]
Can the faithful form their own consciences when it comes to the teachings of the Church? NO.[INDENT]“In the formation of their consciences, the Christian faithful ought carefully to attend to the sacred and CERTAIN doctrine of the Church.(35) For the Church is, by the will of Christ, the teacher of the truth. It is her duty to give utterance to, and authoritatively to teach, that truth which is** Christ Himself**, and also to declare and confirm by her authority those principles of the moral order which have their origins in human nature itself.”[/INDENT]

Dignitatis Humanae[/INDENT]
[RIGHT]. . . all for Jesus+[/RIGHT]


You know, with more than billion adherents you can find anything you look for, good or bad. In coming to the Catholic faith I was coming to a church whose beliefs have been settled for a loooong time.

In the end, if you want to join you will find reasons to join, if you don’t you will find reasons not too. Only you can determine how you feel about the Church, but the teaching itself is what it is, regardless of how imperfectly its followers live it.



To have a clear faith, one according to the Church’s Creed, has often been labeled as fundamentalism. Meanwhile, relativism—that is, allowing oneself to be carried “here and there by whatever wind of doctrine”—appears as the only attitude appropriate for today. A dictatorship of relativism has been established that does not recognize anything as definitive and that allows as the ultimate standard only one’s own ego and desires.

  • Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

I myself am somewhat influenced by Evangelical thought because Evangelicals are wise people.

Some Catholic people are influenced by secularism.

Some Catholic people are so against secularism that they fall off the other side of the road. It’s pretty common. Often you can soften such people by pointing out historical arguments for a broader range of positions (especially if you can go back to the Middle Ages or quote Aquinas), but not always.

Some Catholics are busybodies with nasty tongues, so they’ll be influenced by anything that allows them to say something bad about somebody.

OTOH, there are plenty of Catholics who consistently support the full range of things legitimately allowable to Catholics, without going over into anything secular. And they get blasted from both sides of the road, but they’re still staying on the road!

As a non-American, I have often observed such fundamentalist protestant influence among my American Catholic brethren on CAF. I don’t think this is true of all American CAtholics, but perhaps more among “conservative” American Catholics who have found common cause on pro-life and other issues in the battle against secularism. The widespread adherence to young earth creationism (and citing fundamentalist protestant sources to defend their position) is one prime example. I have never encountered such views among Catholic clergy. Climate change skepticism is another example. The faithful on this forum who oppose the bishops on questions of immigration, the use of torture, etc. (currently manifested as Trump supporters) is another example. I think it’s hard for many conservative American Catholics to recognize that the current Republican leadership does not represent Catholic social doctrine. It’s a given that the Democrats have embraced evil in abortion and gay marriage… But it doesn’t thus follow that the Republicans are the magisterium.

Yes, this is the kind of Catholic I often come across on CAF. Some identify as “Traditional” but not all. I also see some overcompensation going on, such as Catholics who assume the “Birth control pill” is always wrong to use, even for non-contraceptive reasons, and that Catholics are obliged to refuse treatment involving BCPs.

But more than that, many blithely assume that there always MUST exist some kind of alternative treatment that is just as good or superior, many are quick to recommend Napro and seem to find it irrelevant that Napro providers are few and far between, don’t accept all insurances, etc.

This assumption, that no one will ever suffer for doing the right thing, strikes me as more “prosperity gospel” type talk.

OTOH, there are plenty of Catholics who consistently support the full range of things legitimately allowable to Catholics, without going over into anything secular. And they get blasted from both sides of the road, but they’re still staying on the road!

I agree, I especially admire the Catholics who deal with SSA who manage to do this.

I’ve also noticed that many Catholics accept the Protestant belief that all debates about Christian belief must be supported by the Bible, and as literalist an interpretation as possible. Many assume the SOS is just about the relationship between the Shumalite and King Solomon, and if there’s any subtext at all, it’s only about figuring out various period euphemisms for various kinds of sexual activity.

Does considering “atheism vs Christianity” a false dichotomy count as secular influence?

I know atheists, Catholics, non-denominational Christians, Agnostics, and people of many other religious philosophical backgrounds - but we all essentially pursue the same goals of understanding why we’re here and what we’re supposed to do. We just do it from different angles. I believe the Catholic Church has the truest angle we can get, but that isn’t to say that the Church body can’t learn from other beliefs.

Many of my personal beliefs on matters of spirituality are indeed influenced by secular characters - including atheists, and even the Tao Te Ching. The simple fact of “influence” does not indicate a complete overtaking of actual canon beliefs though. It’s foolery not to be influenced to some extent by legitimate beliefs and ideas from other spokes of the same wheel.

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