Is there a concern among "Protestants" of sounding "Too Catholic"?


#1

On another thread discussion concerning Honoring Mary, it was mentioned that some protestants might not honor her out of fear of “sounding too Catholic”.

Now I have heard this expression before and certainly know that, at least in the past, this was certainly true. For instance Protestants stopped making the sign of the cross largely because it is seen as a “Catholic” thing…back in the day…

Anyway - I wanted to open up the conversation and the question to more than simply an issue of Mary…(though certainly she can loom large in these kinds of things)…and ask the general question whether Protestants - speaking among themselves and between denominational faith traditions - find themselves having to be careful not to sound “Too Catholic”…

Or do you find this idea to be largely a thing of the past.

I suspect that this si going to vary widely among the different groups - so that is fine too…

Personal experiences to illustrate would be most welcome as well.

Peace
James


#2

I’m not too sure about the issue of ‘sounding too Catholic’, but it has been my experience in several protestant congregations that if you even come across as marginally supportive of the Catholic church, look out! What is really strange is the fact that I grew up in an Assemblies of God home (dad is a retired pastor), and I’m more comfortable with the way things are done (and spoken) in the Catholic church than I ever was in any protestant congregation. But then again, maybe it’s just me…


#3

It has been my experience that protestants are concerned about sounding “too Catholic” to about the same degree that Catholics are concerned about sounding “too protestant.”


#4

Unless one was part of drafting up a church’s statement of beleif, it would be rather hard to say. But if one was church shopping they could reject a church because it’s statement may seem too catholic.


#5

My time spent among fundamentalist Baptists years ago was full of this kind of “phobia”. Reciting the Creed was “Catholic”. Kneeling in prayer was “Catholic”. Reciting the Lord’s Prayer was “Catholic”. I made the mistake once of reading a prayer and you would have thought the world had ended.
:cool:


#6

As an Anglican in the Church of England I’ve encountered people who’ve seen the externals of worship as being too ‘Romish’ or Catholic.

In the early 1980’s I was an altar server at my parish church. A neighbouring church was incorporated with ours to make a united benefice and the Rector asked me to serve in the other church also. This did not go down well with the other parishioners as they thought it too Catholic.

At the same time, my parish church furnished a new Lady Chapel (side altar dedicated to the BVM). The Rector, who had come from an advanced Anglo-Catholic background wanted to furnish the altar with the ‘big six’ candles and a Tabernacle. This was seen as too Catholic and the altar ended up with two candles (which would have been the usual Pre-Reformation English use) and the Blessed Sacrament was reserved in an Aumbry or wall safe beside the altar.

There was a notorious case in my Diocese in the early 1930’s when a church was desecrated. The Vicar, who was an advanced Anglo-Catholic, furnished the church with many beautiful works of art; paintings, statues, altars. The majority of his parishioners were supportive but on the grievance of one or two people a Protestant agency was brought in and they desecrated the church using crowbars, axes and hammers. The Vicar begged them not to profane the Blessed Sacrament and asked that he be allowed to remove it. They conceded and the Vicar transferred the Blessed Sacrament to the safety of the vicarage, his many supportive parishioners lining the way on their knees and holding candles. The church was full for the Mass of Reparation the following Sunday but the persecution continued. One of the aggrieved parishioners took the Vicar to Court on the grounds of assault, claiming that he’d thrown water over her during a service. The magistrates dismissed the case because all that had happened was that a few drops of water had fallen on her during the rite of Asperges at a Sunday Mass!

Such concerns over ‘Catholic’ externals in the CofE seem to have been very common in the latter part of 19th and early part of the 20th Century. Just recently I read of a Bishop perceived as an Anglo-Catholic getting pelted with stones on his way to a Confirmation service!

Thankfully things have moved on.


#7

I think so, James. My concern, however, is Lutherans trying to sound too protestant. I guess it depends on perspective.

Jon


#8

In my experience, I am hearing more and more Protestants saying things like “I think there are some Catholics who are Christian.” So while something like making the sign of the cross would raise a few eyebrows in my Nazarene church, I don’t think it would be condemned for being “too catholic” I haven’t yet tried to pray the rosary in my sanctuary yet, so there might very well be too catholic actions.


#9

When you say “several protestant denominations” do you find this applies to mainline protestant also?

Or specific denominations such as AOG etc? Or is it your opinion it may or may not happen in any paradigm from mainline to evangelical, pentecostal etc?

I know AOG for example promotes a specific teaching on this.


#10

That would be the “too Catholic break point” :smiley: Hey if you attend a Catholic Church and claim Mary was a sinner and conceived in sin, I believe the same situation would occur in reverse. :wink:


#11

I’m not mainline, so I don’t ever look, sound, or act particularly Catholic. I don’t think I’d even be able to fake it very well. So I guess I might be the kind of person that mainline Protestants would worry about. I try not to cause any problems, and I can’t recall that I have, but maybe Lutherans or Anglicans (for example) feel like they have to do some pussyfooting that I don’t know about.


#12

I finally felt free when I understood that I was deeply rooted to the Catholic church through my Lutheran faith. It was similar to discovering your lost ancestors through a genealogical search - and wanting to learn more and more. To belabor that analogy a bit more, I grieve that a 500 year old divorce separates us in worship today.


#13

I agree completely.

I have been on the receiving end of “too Catholic” comments as I sought to increase the frequency with which Holy Communion is celebrated in the congregation I serve. It is sad that a number of Lutherans (the only group that I can claim familiarity with) still are living in the sixteenth century and fighting battles that should have ended long ago.


#14

No....I don't beleive so.


#15

“Protestantism” isn’t a single entity, of course. It is a blanket term for a whole gamut of church traditions and styles, so you are going to get a range of answers.

In my own church, people don’t talk about things being “too Catholic”. Anti-Catholic feelings are contrary to our way of doing things, so you won’t hear people saying those sorts of things. People do express concern about things which are “too religious”, where “religious” means the performance of empty actions in the hope we might fool God with our pretty manners, instead of worshipping Him with our hearts. (note here I have attended a few Masses, and know from experience that Catholics are truly devoted to God, and aren’t in general guilty of this type of “religiosity”).

Personally I find Catholic traditions beautiful and deeply spiritual. :slight_smile:


#16

And curiously, Pastor, in the sixteenth century it was Lutherans on the side of regular weekly communion, as testified to in our confessions.
Those Lutherans who wish to sound “not Catholic” often end up sounding “not Lutheran”.

Jon


#17

Yes I am aware of the limitation of using the term “protestant”, however in this case it just seemed the most appropriate because a “whole range of answers” is just fine with me…:thumbsup:

In my own church, people don’t talk about things being “too Catholic”. Anti-Catholic feelings are contrary to our way of doing things, so you won’t hear people saying those sorts of things. People do express concern about things which are “too religious”, where “religious” means the performance of empty actions in the hope we might fool God with our pretty manners, instead of worshiping Him with our hearts. (note here I have attended a few Masses, and know from experience that Catholics are truly devoted to God, and aren’t in general guilty of this type of “religiosity”).

Personally I find Catholic traditions beautiful and deeply spiritual. :slight_smile:

I think that the bolded part above could make for an interesting conversation.
It would be interesting to know how one determines what constitutes, “empty actions” and how one differentiates between, “the performance of empty actions” and the the performance of the same actions with a heart and mind that makes them far from empty…

That said, I m glad that you find the mass etc to be beautiful and spiritual.

Peace
James


#18

Jon,

Of course, you are right on the issue of weekly communion. The regrettable thing is that some Lutherans seek to distance themselves from Catholicism even if they end up shooting themselves in their collective foot.


#19

Pastor,
I hope you are doing well. It is always good to see your name pop up. You represent Lutheran clergy so well here.

Jon


#20

Its funny, I think i was stalking you on that thread subject.

Too catholic is maybe not the phrase that I would use. I would think what they are possibly saying is that the way you are approaching topic is not appealing to the listener because the perspective you are presenting it isn’t able to be grasped or easily understood.

Lets say you are a metal box and you are trying to slide the box through a square hole in the wall. Cool, it works because the reception and the object agree with each other.

You are now trying to take that metal box and push it through a triangle hole. You gotta be malleable and hammer yourself so that you can be received by the triangle hole. Do you know you are a box, yes, but sometimes you gotta think like a triangle to get the objective done. Then hammer yourself back into a box


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