If there is, what traits, characteristics and general demeanor do you think such a person ought to possess and can the views and attitudes presented by people who portray themselves as Catholics when they post on Catholic Answers Forums correctly be described as typical?
They, we, are all sinners. We ought to sin no more.
Other than that, we’re all over the map.
There’s one thing that sometimes insinuates itself into thoughts of typicality. Sometimes, we hear that this or that Catholic, or Catholics in general, don’t seem so great as a result of being Catholic. The real test, of course, which we can’t perform, is how would they be if they weren’t Catholics?
Most Catholics I know have this in common: we know we should be better at it.
In my personal opinion that would be impossible other than the fact that we can be very well painted by the same brush by others who are keen to see us as one typical people. As I had said in the other thread Catholics are real people. They come in all sort of sizes and shapes unless you count us who come in the church, dip our fingers into the holy water, make the sign of the cross and genuflect before being seated on the pews as being typical. Remind me of a story when a Catholic, on entering the darkened cinema hall, made the sign of the cross and genuflected before being seated. Only to realize that he was in the movie theatre!
Yes, we can be similar because of the same belief that we have. I don’t know how we can be typical as posters here. Perhaps you are having something else in mind I am sure (?). I know stereotyping people can be a problem but I don’t think that’s what you have in mind when you start this thread.
These are a few of the “typical” things we’ve repeatedly been accused of here on the forum. This, I think, means that the “typical” non-Catholics on the board have been trained in the same school.
I’m not sure what the difference between traits and Characteristics is. Is a person’s general demeanor a trait or a characteristic? At any rate, Catholics are as varied as any group of people. We share belief. Other than that, why should all Catholics be alike?
As for CAF, ISTM we are not a representative sample: most are from the US; most countries are not represented; posting depends on be able to use a computer, which is also limited; only some strata of Catholicism are represented; the posts are limited to English - which leaves out German-speaking, Romance-language, & Chinese-speaking Catholics among others.
Regarding the posters here - I’d say yes they’re typical - in the sense that you have people that claim to be catholic yet their arrogance, ignorance, stupidity and trumphalism because they belong to the club, which somehow engenders the idea they are better than non-catholics, knows no bounds. It is especially noteworthy that these same posters will never be found on the apologtics forum, liturgy and sacraments forum etc because they know so little about their faith they cannot hold even a decent conversation never mind a debate about matters of faith with someone who actually does, or asks the hard questions. All they can say is ‘‘hey we’re catholics, we’re the best, you’re going to hell, hahahaha, coz we’re catholics and you’re not. Oh yeah, and if you werent stupid you’d be a catholic too’’ !!! I paraphrase, but that in a nutshell is their entire contribution to an enquirer because they simply dont know their faith, they just belong to the club. And somehow they look down on you if you are not a member of the club. And heaven help you if you correct their errors. I dont mean as in disagreeing with their theology, I mean simply correcting things they say that even the catholic church doesnt !!! These posters translate in real life to the catholics in name only that live with their partners, contracept, watch pornography, dont believe in the real presence, abort, rarely go to mass, never fast, dont keep holy days of obligation, they drink swear and gamble to excess and so on, but proudly write ‘‘catholic’’ on their kids school application form, always nod at ‘‘father’’ and so on.
Equally, and opposite to this first group of ‘‘claimants’’ are posters who say they are catholic and who’s posts are erudite, charitable, they correct gently and always with kindness, they are patient with people like me exploring the faith, and you just know that in real life, they walk the walk, not just talk the talk. I have received pm’s from such people encouraging me to continue to explore the faith, answering questions in detail and great clarity, and always with prayers. These people are great. Their catholicism is a living breathing faith that manifests itself in every aspect of their daily lives and interactions with others.
In real live, there is a third group, sitting between these two extremes, the cafateria catholics.
I was once touring France on my motorcycle. My friend and I got lost, and stopped in a bar in a one horse village to ask for directions. We’d been riding for 16 hours in nonstop rain (we had a ferry to catch the next day and had dallied too much the previous days because of the awesome roads and scenery). The campsite we were looking for was still miles away. The barman, who was also a biker, told us to follow him. He got on his bike and he led us to his house, not the campsite. He gave us his keys, told us to make his place ours, eat, shower and use anything we wanted, and leave the keys under a plantpot outside when we were ready to go. He made up the spare beds, showed us were the dryer was so we could get our kit dried out. He drew a map of much better roads to take to the ferry than the ones we were thinking of using, real good biking roads, and left us some money for fuel. He even set the alarm clock for us !!! And then he just went back to work his night shift !!!
No idea what religion he was, but he did this for no other reason than he was a biker, and so were we, That’s all that mattered. We were fellow knights of the road.
If only the catholic faith could make that same connection in it’s adherants to the rest of humanity.