Can a Catholic be a Fundamentalist?

The popular usage of the term “fundamentalist” is an extreme, which can be applied to any religion and even politics.
The *narrow, original * use of the term fundamentalist, dealt with a literal interpretation of the Bible, using “Scripture alone”.
Question for discussion:
Can a Catholic be a fundamentalist in terms of literal interpretation of the Bible, despite the fact that the Church does not recognize Scripture alone?
And, can a Catholic fit into this category (fundamentalist) if he uses what I will refer to as “Tradition Alone”, (for lack of a better term)?
Do radical traditionalist Catholics fit into that category? Why?

Be nice…

I am pleased with the way the Church has beautifully stated in just a few words in Dei Verbum, that
It is clear, therefore, that sacred tradition, Sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of the Church, in accord with God’s most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and that all together and each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit contribute effectively to the salvation of souls. (Ch. II, 10.
To summarize your question, then, yes … any extreme that narrows just one point of these three essentials can fall into the description of fundamentalism.

Hit the nail on the first post, thanks Sirach.:thumbsup:
Sacred tradition, Sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of the Church, go together AS ONE, not separately. The folly that creates division is to divide any of these three essentials.
In my interactions with radical Trads, I found they used the same error Protestant fundamentalists used. Instead of “Scripture alone”, it was “Tradtition alone”.

Absolutely, I’d say there are a number of folks on this forum who fit the bill, and who may be likely to gladly admit to such…fundamentalism is not limited to Protestant Christianity by any stretch.

I say yes one can be Catholic and Fundamentalist.
The reason that I say this is because Scripture points to Church as Authority and so a strict reading of Scripture means that one should be united with Christ in an authoritative Church…and that one should be submissive (Listen) to that Church which has the authority from Christ to bind and loose teachings. (Mt 18:17-18)…

Of course recognizing this allows one to bring in Tradition and history and other things that only help and protect the individual from error (or at least serious error).



The core doctrine of Fundamentalism is sola scriptura, meaning scripture alone, i.e that the whole of revelation is contained within the written Bible, and none outside it, and emphasizes the literal truth of the Bible, word for word, which truth will supposedly be revealed plainly to any who read it.

Catholicism teaches that the written word (Sacred Scripture) and the spoken word (Sacred Tradition) are equally valid sources of revelation and one cannot disregard one or the other. The Catholic Church also emphasizes a more faithful interpretation of the Bible, that some parts are to be interpreted literally, while that others are more symbolic, and that the role of the Church is to serve as a teaching authority to guide the faithful as to the truth contained in scripture, as several passages in the Bible can be interpreted differently by many individuals.

Search posts by SOME (note I did not say ALL) threads with posts by those labeling themselves as Traditional Catholics. Then ask yourself the question you posed.

Well, there are two definitions of fundamentalist: one is a follower of a group of Protestants who adhere to their particular interpretation of the Bible, often capitalized, and the other being this:

  1. A usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism.

The problem with this latter definition is that it is very much open to interpretation, so a dissenting Catholic could call an assenting Catholic a fundamentalist, or an assenting Catholic could call any tradionalist Catholic a fundamentalist, etc.

IOW, it seems to be one of those words that others who are more X than oneself are perceived to be rather than a definte position which can be held by certain people, so it’s really hard to say. Mostly it seems to be applied to people who strongly adhere to postions which annoy the speaker, from Moslem terrorists to Catholics who remind one that using birth control is wrong.

The modern usage of the term is broad and confusing. The original usage of the term is more narrow and focused.

Actually, Fundamentalism (upper case) in its original was a reaction against modernism and involved adherence to five “fundamentals.” From Wikipedia:

The first formulation of American fundamentalist beliefs can be traced to the Niagara Bible Conference and, in 1910, to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, which distilled these into what became known as the “five fundamentals”:[7]

  • Biblical inspiration and the inerrancy of scripture as a result of this
  • Virgin birth of Jesus
  • Belief that Christ’s death was the atonement for sin
  • Bodily resurrection of Jesus
  • Historical reality of the miracles of Jesus

By the late 1910s, theological conservatives rallying around the Five Fundamentals came to be known as “fundamentalists”. In practice, the first point regarding the Bible was the focus of most of the controversy.

Note that there is nothing there about sola scripture or sola fidei. Actually, I don’t see anything there that a Catholic could object to.

Of course, the perceived meaning of “fundamentalism” (lower case) has broadened considerably over the years and has come to be applied to many other religious movements.

I always associated that term with far-right Pentecostal types. Or was it Baptists? Anyway, there’s Catholic and then everyone else.

The very basis of fundamentalim is sola Scripture. You are correct, it is not spelled out in the “five fundamentals”, but is nonetheless implied with the phrase “inerrancy of scripture”. Without Sacred tradition and the teaching authority of the Church, who decides what ‘inerrancy’ is?

BTW, that would change over time to “infallibility of Scripture”.

Fundamentalism is a petrified tree, enduring through time but unliving.

Literal interpretation of the whole Bible makes the Bible do more than it’s supposed to do, teach us about God. Creationism, for example, tends to pull Genesis away from God and represent it as a science textbook. Then it must use dishonesty in order to combat real science, hoping to capture the uneducated who don’t know any better. Literal interpretation, how much longer will people fight for it?

I suppose a Catholic can be that way, though such would be highly depressing.

I for one don’t want to be part of a petrified tree, but of a living tree, a Living Church.

The first thought to come to mind was Opus Dei and SSPX.

I might be called a fundamentalist, even though I’m a practicing Catholic. I believe in Genesis as it is written, both stories, that the heavens and the earth were created in six days and that man was created from the dust of the Earth and that woman was made from man’s rib.

I therefore don’t believe in Evolution or even Theistic Evolution.

I also believe the Flood happened, world-wide, just as written.

I’m told that these things are to be understood symbolically, which I understand to mean that they didn’t really happen, even though people ride the fence and say that “symbolic” doesn’t deny the reality of the event. But I believe they happened just as written, and I don’t believe I’m condemned or a heretic or going to Hell because I do believe in them.

I read many Catholic posts on this Forum who put down “Creationists”. God bless them.

No one thinks you’re going to Hell for this belief, but you will perhaps drive others away from God and the Church who are not willing to reject scientific advancement and knowledge. This was a big stumbling block for me coming from a fundamentalist baptist upbringing and nearly destroyed my faith.

That the Earth is 10,000 years old is definitively disproven, to the same extent as is disproven the belief that the world is flat or that it is orbited by the sun.

Of Protestant fundamentalists, there are Muslim fundamentalists and other religious ones too.

I don’t believe that BELIEVING in Creationism is a sin, but to support it by trying to disprove science is a sin in my mind, as attempting such requires dishonesty. Science declares the facts, such as how there is no evidence to support a global flood. What do Creationist do? Say the exact opposite and try to prove it by using fake science and call it “Fact”, which is called “Lying” in my book.

Believe if you want, but never attempt to demonstrate it as factual.

This is where Creationism is in trouble, because it originally claimed
the Earth is 6,000 years old, but in the face of scientific facts, it has
to widen its margins, from 6,000 to 10,000 years old, because it can-
not prove the former; however it will never prove the latter either.
It’s so shameful, it really is.

:Are you saying that the Catholic Church does not believe that God created the world, that Adam and Eve did not reside in the garden of Eden, that Noah did not build the ark under the direction of God, that the flood did not occur ? Thus saying we believe in parts of Genesis but not all ? Wow, I must take a much closer look at this church I belong to.

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