Culturally Catholic: The Worst Kind?

If this becomes negative in nature I’m sorry; its just that this issue troubles me personally.

Would anyone else agree that the idea of being Culturally Catholic, where you stay in the religion because you were born in it and identify yourself as Catholic despite

  1. never going to Sunday Mass
  2. disagree vocally with the Church on matters
  3. perhaps not even being spiritual or put any of your faith in the hierachy established

I’m sure there are other signs but these are the first that come up. I personally fit this mold as well as pretty much my entire family. No one in my family would even dream of joining up with a Protestant denomination even if they were more agreeing in their ideology.

Speaking as technically a cultural catholic I see the pros being

Pros: If you do find your faith in God again your immediately drawn to the Roman Catholic Church and not tempted by other protestant groups

Cons: It leaves a huge demographic of Catholics who feel they can claim to be part of the Church while still holding views that are viewed as sin by the Church.

I’d like others opinions on this matter.

I think the worst kind of Catholic is a bigoted Catholic who is self-righteous and judgemental.

I’m seriously thinking about deleting my account because there are too many people like that using these forums.

It saddens me to see people judging others in God’s name

That’s my opinion.

God bless,


It is a valid question.

The thing is that we can only be apart of the mystical body of Christ if we are in a state of grace. This means attending the sacraments, striving for holiness, etc.

Otherwise, we are no longer apart of the mystical body of Christ, which is the Catholic Church.

So you really cannot be apart of the Church if you are not united to the mystical body.

One could always say they are Catholic, and have strong Catholic inclinations and leanings, etc. You could be a “fallen-away” Catholic. Or someone hoping to return to full communion with the Church.

But if you are not practicing there is a rift.

Ok, correct me if I am wrong anyone :slight_smile:

But that is how I understand it.

Yet there have been times when I have not practiced my faith and still felt Catholic. I was not apart of the Church proper, but still identified myself as Catholic. So I can understand the idea where you identify as Catholic but do not practice it.

Sometimes ideas are easier than practices.

Clare, you and I agree in part, disagree in part. I also think the worst kind of Catholic is a bigot/self-righteous and judgmental, but I love this site. I would never think of deleting my account.

When I was in highschool, there was this girl who self-identified as Catholic. One day we got in an argument about theology, that morphed into me learning that she had never (ever) been inside of a Catholic church (I don’t think she was baptized) and only said she was Catholic, because her parents used to be. :shrug: I said that she really shouldn’t call herself if she wasn’t practicing, as she had never, been, Catholic was not a race.

Oddly enough a evangelical friend of mine (whom we had also been discussing with) backed me up. Saying religion was something one chooses.

Now obviously once baptized Catholic one is Catholic. But to self-identify or to misrepresent to others that one is a practicing Catholic and then bear a false witness to the faith, is very damaging and I think should be avoided. (Like claiming one is a Catholic and then declaring that abortion/contraception/pope is evil/etc.).

As only being cultural Catholic I think one should be careful because of Christ’s words about being lukewarm.

Just my take.

Hehehe, of course there will be self-righteous people everywhere. I love these forums too much to delete mine :wink:

I am personally new to this forum and new to Catholicism, though baptized Catholic I was never a practicing Catholic, though I did associate myself as Catholic when someone would ask my religion.

I agree that religion is not passed down like your ethnicity but it is chosen. Like someone who was baptized Catholic but has fallen away from the Church and had gone to a different denomination. They are choosing how they are going to practice their faith.

I would suggest to educated yourself about the Catholic Church and its teachings and why we believe and practice the way we do.Learn about what it means to be Catholic, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. As I have learned and still learning, the more I read, the more I fell in love with God and the Church. I have gone to other denomination and chose to be Catholic.

I am Catholic when I could be anything else because since God told Peter,our first pope, " And I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it,"( Matthew 16:18).

Not in my family. It is passed down like ethnicity. Just about everybody is Catholic, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, Catholic, Catholic, Catholic, Catholic. :smiley:

We do have a few (3-4) non-Catholic spouses, but most everyone is a Catholic in my family.

That’s great that everyone in your family is Catholic. Everyone in my family also is baptized Catholic, BUT not everyone is a PRACTICING Catholic. Most of the people in my family does not know what the Eucharist is, or the Tabernacle.

To me to be Catholic that differs from any other Christian denomination is to believe in the Holy Trinity, believing in purgatory, communion of saints, confession, and one of the most important is to believe in the Eucharist, among other things. That the bread and wine IS the body of blood of Jesus Christ. Believing and Practicing these is what differs a Catholic to a Protestant.

Yes you can teach your kids about what Catholocism is but what it is to live like a Catholic is their choice. Action speaks louder than words.

God Bless,

i totally agree. the main thing that erks me about cultural catholics is that since they openly decry the Church and openly support pro-choice, gay marriage, bioethics etc it ruins the image of the church and distorts the image of its teachings.
i’ve had alot of people come up to me and say ‘so why are you against abortion’ and i explain a big part of it is from catholicism, to which they reply ‘nearly all catholics i know support abortion and homosexuals and they thing the Pope is outdated’ or ‘so and so is catholic and living with her boyfriend. she is a devout catholic since she went to a catholic high school’ then i said ‘but i never see her at Mass?’ to which they say ‘no, she doesnt go church or anything but she is catholic’

Most members of my family are indeed authentic Catholics who live their faith. It is part of our identity. It is as natural to us as breathing and I doubt most of us would ever dream that we could choose to be something else. That is just Bizarro World thinking. :slight_smile:

May God specially bless you this Easter
with a full return to a close relationship
with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
in the Catholic Church
through the Mass and the Sacraments.


May God specially bless you this Easter
with a full return to a close relationship
with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
in the Catholic Church
through the Mass and the Sacraments.

Thank you for that; thus far I’m just glad #2 doesn’t apply to me. The ability of the Church to stand firm on their morals in the face of the secular world has always been one of the high points that I can turn to even when my faith and grace is in the dark. I mean quite honestly I can only think of Islam as the other religion that has not become the dog of the secular world in order to maintain their ever liberalizing laymen.

Let me turn this around and say that many of the best Catholics are cultural Catholics.

A cultural Catholic in my view is one who was raised up in a Catholic family, attended Catholic churches from childhood, and was formed from Childhood in Christian prayer, virtue and service as a Catholic. It’s in their bones. In fact, they may have grown up in a Catholic neighborhood with Catholic families up and down the block, all of whom understood the Faith and encouraged its practice. As they grew older and more aware, they learned to love and chose for themselves to practice the faith of their childhood.

Such “cultural Catholics” are the foundation of the faith. In pluralistic, post-Christian America, they are the minority, perhaps. I myself am a convert, so I know the value of coming to the Faith as an adult, eager to learn and do what Catholics know and do. But those who grew to love and practice the Faith from childhood have something special.

I tend to think cultural Catholics will fall away first as persecutions against the Church increase. I also think in any case that faith needs to be tested, whether or not one stays in the Church, and that we must do our own asking, seeking, and knocking in order for faith to be made genuine or “our own”…

The worst? I don’t know.

But the ones that bug me the most are the ones who leave the Church over a personal moral issue, usually divorce, and then rip into the Mother of God and to a lesser degree Peter.

They get my goat every time.

I find culturally Catholic is a very paradoxical term. While a culture is perculiar to a region only, Catholic means universal.

If this is how you feel, you probably would have rejected Jesus Christ if you were you alive in his time.

2 and 3 describe my freshman year Chemistry professor. Yet I was at least glad that he wasn’t a pure atheist. I’ve seen him at 1 mass in the last two years, so maybe he normally goes during a different time, but given his outspoken opposition to the Catholic Church (despite being Catholic), I am skeptical.

Even the most irritating alcoholic family member is still family. I hesitate to label anyone in my family as the worst, lest I become a force of division or exclusion.

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