Catholic Identity Movement

I have been thinking, and I’m not suggesting that I’m qualified to start such a movement, but I think the Church in America could benefit from a “Catholic Identity Movement”

Now, I know a priority set out by Vatican II is ecumenism, and we have a lot of really smart and genuinely pious clergy in Rome and throughout the world who are devoting a great amount of time and effort in this regard.

So I think Ecumenism already has a great number of Catholics on the job.

However, I think that someone should start a Catholic Identity movement, group, organization, etc. A lay grassroots movement, that can involve the clergy if they want to be involved.

While I am a traditional Catholic, I attend the TLM at St. Stephen’s in Sacramento and the Novus Ordo at select Churches throughout the diocese, I wouldnt want this movement to be strictly Tridentine.

What I think would be a good idea is simply a group of catholics who strive to educate eachother and their dioceses on these type of questions:

What does it mean to be Roman Catholic?

Why and how is Roman Catholicism different than other Christian denominations?

Why does the Roman Catholic Church assert its primacy, and what does its primacy mean for the daily lives of Catholics?

Why is the Mass not a Church Service, what are the differences, why do we have priests?

Why do we consider other churches incomplete, in schism, or outright heretical?

How old is our Church? How is its age relevant today?

These questions are about identity. What makes a catholic a catholic.

Any suggestions on other issues this concept (work in progress) can address? More input on its purpose? How to go about and get it started? Who it should target? How it can be different and seperate from the USCCB sanctioned RCIA program, etc.

I am open to any suggestions. Also, Private Message me if you’d like to get involved. Particularly if your from the Sacramento area. I would love to personally put up the money to start an online website, presence, etc.

Its been a thought in my mind for a few years now, and like I said, I don’t assume I’m qualified for the task. I’d just like to start something, and if people who join me quickly show superior leadership and theological talent, then by all means I’d like to see them pick up more authority and responsibility in this project.

Finally, for anyone who might suggest that this movement is superflous in light of religious education (RCIA, Catholic Answers, other groups like these) I’d like to reiterate that the goal of this particular project isnt explaining the entire deposit of faith. I.E it isnt here to explain Catholicism. But rather, foster catholic identity. Explain what makes us DIFFERENT, not what we have in common.

Don’t jump to conclusions that focusing on our differences is outright bad. Like I said earlier, there already exists a thriving ecumenical movement. This project is targeted towards practicing Catholics who may not understand exactly WHY their Church is the One True Church. I want to zero in on that aspect, zero in on our uniqueness, our heritage, our tradition, our exclusive disposition in the eyes of God as his official Church built upon the Rock of Peter.

Any takers? Let’s talk.

P.S I’ve been thinking about naming this “project”. Among many names, the one that keeps floating to the top of my list is “Apostles Today”.

Or, for a more modern feel: “OneChurch” (no space)

I know naming a non-existant organization is trivial. But it helps my ego. Haha.

I love your idea. I am passionately Catholic.

I don’t think this goes against the ecumenical mandate. I can see potential for it to help evangelize, especially to evangelize lukewarm Catholics.

I don’t know what I can offer, but I am a professional writer. It’s been ages since I’ve written for money because I have gotten to the point in my life where all I really want to write about is God or Catholicism, and others are more qualified. My writing skills might come in useful, however, for a website and/or a book.

I envision not only discussion differences, but explaining the absolute, stunning beauty of the truths of these differences. (I can’t help but think in terms of evangelizing. It’s who I am. :slight_smile: )

I’d love to hear more of your vision.

Let me know if there’s any way I can help.

You are SO right! What I’ve seen a need for is something especially for Catholics between the ages of adolescence and gray hair. At least in my Parish and the very few I’ve visited, there just seems like there’s NOTHING. I don’t at all mean to be disrespectful to anyone based on age, and I love bridging gaps between generations, but it feels very isolating sometimes to have no connection to other passionate Catholics of the same age/stage of life.

Hey, I go to St. Stephens in Sacramento too! (Only once a month for now, but I would go more if I could make it.)

I think a Catholic Identity movement is a great idea! Far too many Catholics have lost a sense of their catholicity.

Part of bringing back catholicity, I think, is bringing back into mainstream Catholicism those things which used to prevail in it and which make us noticeably different: such as abstinence from meat on Fridays, Corpus Christi processions, May Crownings, et cetera.

But part of it is also evangelization. There’s a whole Catholic world view, a Catholic mindset, which has disappeared. I think many see the Catholic faith as ‘stupid’ or ‘superstitious’ because they are viewing it with the eyes of moral relativism and atheistic scientism than with the eyes of some of our greatest philosophers. We need to demonstrate to these people the intellectual superiority of Catholicism and the reason behind the faith.

How to do these things is something which is a complete mystery to me, but I’d like to see it happen.

Which of the reverend fathers at St. Stephen’s do you know? I would recommend McNeeley. He’s a great guy.

I agree completely about those “noticeably different” things. These small “sacramentals”, when combined in their entirety create a unique environment. This environment, this “catholic” setting, is unique from other christian denominations. A catholic heritage that we need to protect and foster. That is the kind of movement I’d like to see gain ground.

When I walk into a catholic church, I want to see these things in common with other christians.

  1. A crucifix
  2. An altar
  3. An assembly of faithful

But I also want to see these:

  1. A statue or side altar to Mary or a patron saint
  2. portraits of the pope and the local bishop
  3. holy water fonts and a baptismal font
  4. stations of the cross
  5. incensce
  6. distinctively catholic design thorought the entire structure
  7. properly vested priests in distinct catholic vestments (a simple curtain with a hole in the middle is no more catholic than the lay clothes the priest is wearing underneath)
  8. altar servers in actual catholic vestments, not simple white robes of unknown origin
  9. latin inscriptions, phrases, prayers, and more!
  10. a centrally placed tabernacle that emphasizes the real presence
  11. stain glass or other decor with a long catholic heritage
  12. local saints and local cultural influence within reason, always emphasizing catholic unity
  13. an understanding that this individual church is a part of a larger diocese, and that diocese a part of a larger church (this is very important)
  14. rosaries and missals, bibles and hymnals of catholic origin, and all sorts of other devotionals
  15. a strong sense of our connection to the Latin Rite, that we are ROMAN as well as Catholic.

I’m not personally acquainted with them, but I can testify that Fr. McNeeley is a great confessor.

I agree completely about those “noticeably different” things. These small “sacramentals”, when combined in their entirety create a unique environment. This environment, this “catholic” setting, is unique from other christian denominations. A catholic heritage that we need to protect and foster. That is the kind of movement I’d like to see gain ground.

When I walk into a catholic church, I want to see these things in common with other christians.

  1. A crucifix
  2. An altar
  3. An assembly of faithful

But I also want to see these:

  1. A statue or side altar to Mary or a patron saint
  2. portraits of the pope and the local bishop
  3. holy water fonts and a baptismal font
  4. stations of the cross
  5. incensce
  6. distinctively catholic design thorought the entire structure
  7. properly vested priests in distinct catholic vestments (a simple curtain with a hole in the middle is no more catholic than the lay clothes the priest is wearing underneath)
  8. altar servers in actual catholic vestments, not simple white robes of unknown origin
  9. latin inscriptions, phrases, prayers, and more!
  10. a centrally placed tabernacle that emphasizes the real presence
  11. stain glass or other decor with a long catholic heritage
  12. local saints and local cultural influence within reason, always emphasizing catholic unity
  13. an understanding that this individual church is a part of a larger diocese, and that diocese a part of a larger church (this is very important)
  14. rosaries and missals, bibles and hymnals of catholic origin, and all sorts of other devotionals
  15. a strong sense of our connection to the Latin Rite, that we are ROMAN as well as Catholic.

Again, you’re absolutely right. It seems that after Vatican II a lot of valuable devotions and small traditions were thrown out. Thankfully, we’re living in a time where the pendulum has swung back a bit.

But I think that the biggest reason why there isn’t a stronger Catholic identity doesn’t ultimately lie with those of us who go to Mass but lies in the fact that 75% of Catholics don’t go to Mass on any given week and that many reject teachings which are essential to Catholic Faith (such as the divinity of Christ and Transubstantiation). Perhaps if the ‘fallen away’ Catholics, the ‘Double Dipper’ Catholics, and the ‘Cafeteria’ Catholics had a better understanding of what they were missing out on, they’d come. For this to occur, catechesis needs to be improved.

Especially “Introibo ad altare Dei. Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.”

(The “refresh your youthful vigor” type. :slight_smile: )

I would join a group like this in a hearbeat…

Ummm–what’s a “double-dipper Catholic?”

It seems like encouraging the pre V2 devotions more publicly would help reestablish our visibility as Catholics, and having more and better adult catechesis (of a “continuing education” type, rather than just pre-initiation) would help adults that may have missed something in their earlier Catholic education. I know that there were several things that, despite eleven years of Catholic school and higher education at Catholic institutions, I missed. You have to go out of your way to dig for information on Church teaching, and there probably aren’t all that many people in the pews who are going to try to look something up.

I like this idea…I’m currently broke and have no money but if you started a site or group I would join.

Is one of your priests named Fr. Michael Stinson?

happy

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The high school my girls go to have a number of Mormons there. They have bought a house across the street from the school, where Mormon parents give their kids an hour of Mormon school before they join the other kids at High School. When the Mormon kids go to school, many wear “Got Mormon?” T-shirts, and every day one Mormon kid starts screaming in the hallways between classes, “I’m a MORMON!!!”

Maybe Catholic kids should wear t-shirts with something pithy written on them…

It was said that one of the main reasons the church in England decided to bring back abstaining from meat of Fridays was to “re-establish a Catholic identity”.

Catholics who only go to Mass on Christmas and Easter.

I am glad that this thread is not about what I thought it’d be. The “Christian Identity” movement is a racist movement that teaches only white people have souls. You will want to avoid being associated with them. :o

Just adding that I like this idea too and would join this movement in a heartbeat!

I mean this in all sincerity and charity. Just throwing it out there for your consideration.

The idea sounds dangerously close to catechesis. Some of the questions which the movement is to address seem to be under the authority of the magesterium of the Church or vague enough that they may or may not be.

I am ill at ease with the fact that the idea must be seperate from official RICA programs of the Church. The fact that it was even brought up I think is telling.

We have to be very careful when we begin teaching anything about the faith apart from the Church’s authority lest we become like so many Protestant Churches seperated from the protection of the Holy Spirit. That is why God gave us a Church in the first place, no?

Again, not trying to be a naysayer and my comments are meant in all charity. But I just don’t see how questions like “Why does the Roman Catholic Church assert its primacy” fit in with “Catholic identity” and not catechesis. Personally, I don’t see a wide enough gap between some (but not all) of the questions addressed by the movement and what belongs to the Church by right.

I will take a deep breath, urge extreme caution, and reserve my judgment.

-Tim-

Yes, that was my first thought and concern as well. I’m glad that the OP is thinking about giving the project a different name. This might help to avoid confusion, and perhaps avoid attracting the wrong people.

@OP: Maybe you could ask the people at Una Voce if you could join them with a sister group called “Sanctus”?

SANCTUS

Sharing with All Nations Catholicism’s Traditional Uniqueness and Sacredness”

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