Fundamentalism: They said that it was moving through the Catholic Church and


I’ve been have a discussion with someone about fundamentalism. They said that fundamentalism was moving through the Catholic Church and they thought that was a sad thing. Can this be true? And what does this person mean? I know that a Catholic can’t be a fundamentalist in the same sense as and Evangelical Protestants? Does this mean that the Holy See has desired a return to fundamental principles? I don’t see anything wrong with that. Does anyone know the best way I should respond to this person?


Strict fundamentalism lacks charity. It is not virtuous. There is a
trend growing among the traditionalist movement. I personally think it is a reactionary response to the looseness that has prevailed. I have felt it acutely, having come from a liberal area. It over emphasizes the judgement of God, and under emphasizes His mercy. Some people tend to gravitate toward extremes.


I’m willing to be that what this person is bemoaning is the fact that many Catholics are moving back toward true Catholicism; namely, that we accept the Church’s teachings without picking and choosing and ignoring or disobeying those things that we don’t like.

Additionally, there is a new wave of strong Catholic Apologetics aimed not only at non-Catholics but at lax and lapsed Catholics, as well. Bright lights are being aimed into the dark corners and toes are being stepped on.

The Cafeteria is closed, the chairs are being put up on the tables and the floors are being mopped up.

This is an uncomfortable time to be a dissident.


The only time I’ve heard the term “fundamentalist” used to label Catholics it was by dissenting Catholics who embrace women’s ordination, homosexual marriage, contraception, etc.

They use the term “fundamentalist” towards those who are orthodox and give obedience the authority of the Pope and Bishops in faith and morals.

They claim it is only a “fundamentalist” worldview that would embrace such "outdated’ teachings, as opposed to progressive, modern, elightened Catholics who reject the Church’s teachings.

Here is an excellent article on the topic.


I think you are going to have to ask this person to explain what he/she means when using this term Fundamentalism.

We could all spend a lot of time speculating, but it’s obvious from even just a few posts here that it could be any number of things and your response is going to be different for each meaning.

I think you’re going to need more clarification before you can engage this person properly. :shrug:


I think your right. I’m trying to clarify that now.


Agree with this brief summary. I also find many who struggle with balancing the demands of an ancient faith against modern challenges have, at times, been made to feel like foreigners in their own home. However…these imperfect messengers are not the totality nor even a solid representation of the Church.


Certain Fundamentalist groups seem to be against/disagree many of the Catholic Church’s decisions regarding certain doctrines, dogma, and such.


  • Fundamentalists are against Infant Baptism and say that the child must be at the age of reason before the sacrament can take place. Unfortunately this is a dangerous decision,if you look at the problem from the spiritual perspective,as many babies die every year (thus no certainty if they’ll even live to have their baptism)

  • The Catholic Church must be the “false Church” due to sins done by certain Popes and priests according to some Fundamentalists. It may seem a strong argument but it is weak in reality because no stupidity or evil done by any Catholic will ever change what Christ has intended for us to do. (It’s not as if that evil will go back in time and “erase” what Christ had to say!!!:rolleyes: )

  • Fundamentalists are usually against evolution and all forms of it unlike the Catholic Church which does not have a ““stand”” on it,


I was able to get some clarification. This person believes that all religions these days do have some elements of fundamentalism. That maybe true, but what he was referring to is the Traditionalist, he called them fundamentalist, and he said they were pulling to church back to Vatican I and negating Vatican II.


Fundamentalism exists in different forms in different religions, including Christianity. Fundamentalism, in the sense of what the word means in its features in Protestant Christianity, does not exist in Catholic Christianity, but if one could define fundamentalism as being extremely conservative Catholicism, then one could say it exists in Catholicism. However fundamentalism can be misused to simply ‘label’ people or groups one may not like; conservative Catholics often seem to label certain Catholics ‘liberals’ and blame them for the problems and challenges facing the church, and demand they be disciplined or to leave the church, while less conservative Catholics often have the same mirror image of ‘fundamentalists’ who may be more conservative Catholics who don’t want the church to change its positions on some matters (i.e. women’s ordination, contraception, divorce) as some less conservative Catholics may demand, or who may want the process of change to slow down or even be reversed in some cases.

Personally I think it is a mistake to call conservative Catholics ‘fundamentalists’, though clearly some extremely conservative wings of the Catholic Church, or those Catholics who split themselves off from Rome (i.e. the SSPX, Secadventists) because they disagreed with Vatican II, are probably the closest thing to ‘fundamentalism’ in the Church. I would consider a ultra-conservative Catholic to be one who rejects Vatican I and II as invalid and heretical to the closest thing to a ‘fundamentalist’ in the Catholic church. Pope Benedict or John Paul, while they affirmed many traditional Church teachings and also censured some less conservative theologians like Boff, Kung and Curran, are not ultra-conservative because both affirm the Vatican II reforms and in fact have also excommunicated and censured Catholic movements or theologians who tried to reverse or reject it (i.e. the SSPX movement and the followers of the Feenyite movement).

All Christian churches are engaged in a dialectic of reform and affirmation of tradition and doctrine in the face of a rapidly changing world and society, and it would be unfair to condemn the CC for this any more than it would be do to the same to Protestants and the Orthodox. All denominations have a middle ground, a very conservative wing, and a more open wing who want to embrace modernity and post-modernity and a greater level, as well as a few on the either extreme who feel either far too much has been done, or far too little.

Unfortunately these labels get tossed around and cause factions and strife, both within Catholic Christianity and in Christianity as a whole. And in my view, they cause unwarranted argument, strife, anger, hatred and often fractious disintegration which helps tear apart the fabric of Christ’s body, adding to the tragic consequences of the Reformation and Orthodox splits have had on the Christian faith as a whole in the past 2000 years.

Christians of all denominations, and also those inside the CC, need to work together to heal these divisions and differences rather than digging trenches and fighting each other, and come to a better consensus on the key issues of our time facing the church in all areas. Jesus himself said a ‘House divided against itself cannot stand’ and unless all Christians work together to try and heal their differences and disagreements, but rather simply continue to condemn and anathemise each other, whether ‘fundamentalist’, ‘liberal’, ‘conservative’, ‘Catholic’, ‘Protestant’ or whatever, it will only continue to wound Christ’s body on Earth and make the lives of Christians miserable and make the faith overall a scandal in the eyes of other religions and also of non-believers.


Hello Ceil-1; interesting synopisis. How can one determine the “correct” emphasize between the judgement of God and His mercy? Curious, as when I read the Bible, and I am a Fundamentalist, I read and retain allot more about the Wrath of God and who will be receipients of it than I do in His Mercy.

I guess I sumise it with the “God will not be mocked” scripture.

Interested to get your point of view.


Fundamentalism: a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles.

Therefore Catholic fundamentalism is the adherence and loyalty to the Church and its beliefs; every Catholic should be a fundamentalist!


I think your friend is talking about an unbending attitude, not about theology.

Think of TA, “I am ok, you are not ok” that is the fundamentalist attitude.


There was a nun who wrote an article to the local Catholic paper a couple years ago, and she was emphasizing the “spectrum” of beliefs in the Church.

At first blush, I can’t agree with her, that there is any such thing allowed. Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He said and the OT says we are to obey the commands of God. I was reading in Deuteronomy the other day about God saying that we are not to go to the right or to the left, but to obey. To know the way to eternal life IS to have God’s mercy.

Psalm 119, the longest psalm, is a song of joy and thanksgiving – for what? – for all of God’s commandments, and laws, and statutes, and regulations, and orders, etc.

Psalm 1 is a beatitude for the ‘man’ who dwells on the law of God all day long and all night long.

As the Pope points out in one of his recent books, the Jews were constantly failing in the covenant, because they were looking for salvation in literal compliance. Strict, literal fundamentalism fails on the same point, of being too narrow and “not getting it” about God’s law, to love Him with our whole mind, and heart and soul.

Oh yes God is merciful – for picking us up when we fail to obey, but not in backing down on what we’re supposed to obey. If the Bible says that, please show me where.


I agree with Randy that it is a label, meant to be denigrating, given by dissenters to those who accept Church teaching on issues such as the ordination of women, divorce & re-marriage, homosexual unions, contraception & abortion etc…

The reason it is being perceived to be “…moving through the Church…” is because the dissenters are not winning the support they had expected and hoped for.

A possible reason is because obedient Catholics tend to have larger families and make sure they receive correct Instruction in the Faith.

Another reason is the growing number of converts from Protestantism, like Professor Scott Hahn, Tim Staples, James Aikin and others, who practically are teaching cradle Catholics about the Catholic Faith.

The new wave of Catholics are on fire, and it shows. All the dissidents are, is angry.


Let’s not confuse legalism with fundamentalism.


All I can say is “Amen!”


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