Catholic Mind Set?


Do Catholics see the world differently from the way other Christians and non-Christians see it?

Is there such a thing as the Catholic imagination?


The answer is yes and no.

Yes, Catholicism does see the world in a different light than other Christianity and other non-Christians.

Another way to say Catholic Imagination is Sacramental Imagination. The reasons Catholic see the world differently is because of our sacramental system. George Weigel says, "Why do we have “sacraments”? Because the world has been configured by God in a “sacramental’ way, i.e., the things of this “real world” world can disclose the really real world of God’s love and grace. The Catholic “sacramental imagination” sees in the stuff of this world hints and traces of the creator, redeemer, and sanctifier of the world – Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poetry being one obvious example of this. The stereotype is that Catholicism demeans the world. On the contrary: Catholicism says that the stuff of this world is the medium through which Christ is present to his people in baptism, the Eucharist, matrimony, and the other “sacraments” of the Church.”

This way of viewing the world is by analogy. This is where the Catholic does not see the world differently. It does not mean that we imagine things like a hallucination, but rather we see the truer and deeper meaning in material realities.

Here are some helpful links in understanding this. On Imagination in general.

I hope this helps!:smiley:


Thanks. These writings you list seem helpful.


I think we also see suffering differently than many other people… even many other Christians.


To this point, we view the meaning and significance of “Church”, much differently than any religious belief I know of.


Monica, Can you tell me more? How do we see suffering differently? Is it that all our suffering is to be offered up for the souls in Purgatory? Is that what you mean?



I don’t mean to jump in on your inquiry to Monica, “SS”. But I would like to make a comment, regarding your question (hope it’s ok, Monica).

Suffering in the Catholic tradition takes on a great meaning, when we come to realize that it is “redemptive”. That is to say… we believe that Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ… BECAUSE He suffered… as a human… gave OUR suffering a great dignity, meaning and purpose.

When we move along in the spiritual life… and begin to realize that we can share in the redemptive work of Jesus… and realize, also… the great value of our suffering… and that we can save souls… it is an awesome moment, indeed. All we have to do, after that… is put it into practice <offer our suffering to God, for the conversion of sinners… and the salvation of souls>.

I don’t know if this answers your question. And I’m certain that Monica will be able to put it in her own words.

God bless.


My dear friend
That’s a good question. The goal is to see things as God sees them, insofar as a human can. So the answer is yes because only catholics have the full faith, but how we see things will change as we become more like God. I hope you understand.

God bless you:thumbsup::slight_smile:


I woufirmly believe that Catholics see the world differently than other Christians and non-Christians.

Although it may sound oxymoronic, Catholics have to look at everything through the lens of Faith, Reason, Scripture, and Sacred Tradition. We can do this only by having a well-formed conscience, that is, knowing the tenets of the Faith and what is the “spirit of the law” and what is the “letter of the law,” and when/how they are applied.

I believe that other religions have consciences that are formed to different doctrines. In an interview, Tim Staples once made the analogy that the Catholic Church is the “Mother ship” sailing in the ocean. Others have jumped ship to smaller vessels, and are very close to us in beliefs. Others, however, are “out there flapping.” I believe that non-Christians can be morally good, but are still outside of the Truth.

As was posted elsewhere,

Knowing what sin is, the ability to identify it, isn’t always an inherent knowledge. It is a skill which needs to be learned and practiced.

More from This Rock:

Q: I’ve been told the only thing necessary for a Catholic to live a moral life is for him to follow his conscience. Is that right?

A: There’s more to it than that. Conscience involves a judgment about what’s right or wrong, but it doesn’t work by magic. You first have to form your conscience. This means learning about good and evil, and that’s a job for the intellect.

Many people think conscience is the faculty that tells us what’s right and wrong. That’s a mistake. Conscience is better thought of as an alarm. With your intellect, your mind, you learn what’s right and wrong, and then conscience “sounds off” when you’re about to violate the standards your intellect has learned. If you have no standards, you’ll never hear the alarm.

But not neglecting the formation of your conscience isn’t enough. You need to make sure not just that your conscience if formed, but that it’s formed correctly. If it is, the moral judgments you make will be reliable. But if it’s not–if your conscience if formed poorly–then your moral judgments won’t be trustworthy.

For example, if you’ve been taught that stealing isn’t wrong, and if you really believe that, you won’t have any inhibitions against stealing. Your conscience won’t bother you when you steal because it isn’t reliable when it comes to right and wrong. It’s been formed, but not formed correctly.

It’s true we have an obligation to follow our conscience, even a poorly formed or “erroneous” one, but we also have an obligation to form our consciences properly. For Catholics this means following what Jesus teaches in Scripture and Tradition through the Magisterium of the Church.

I am not sure what you are asking…do you mean that we visualize the Mysteries of the Rosary when we meditate? Or, because of the level of formation of our consciences, we are limited in scope as to what we dream about?


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