America is often called “the melting pot”, where people of all nations come and merge into the dominant culture. The dominant religious substrata of the nation was protestant, and the Catholics arrived relatively late, not counting the French and the Spanish who did not have a major influence on the spirituality of the mainly north-European immigration. Is the current state of the Catholic church in America a reflection of the protestant influence, in music, architecture, ritual, etc.?
After living many years in US my experience is that the ‘melting pot’ is not really ‘melting’. Different communities live close to each other but they often maintain their own identities. The same in theCatholic Church in USA. Usually Catholic Churches tend to reflect the ethnic and cultural background of the area in which they are, and of the founders of the community. For example a Catholic Church in a latino neighborhood will have usually a Our Lady of Guadalupe picture, rich decorations, and a ‘warm’ Mass. A Church in a mostly anglo and protestant area will be relatively simple in the decorations (maybe just a couple if statues and sometimes no candles), pretty formal in the liturgy, offers coffee and donuts afte Sunday Mass etc. Eastern Catholic Churches will usually have a decore that reminds eastern culture and often people attending share a similar ancestry (eastern European, Middle Eastern, Indian from Kerala etc).
well in our little town all the traditional Christian religions have music, architecture, etc that are very similar. Gothic buildings with stained glass windows, traditional choirs, etc. The only difference is that the Catholic Church has statues.
Pentecostals, evangelicals are late comers and have more modern buildings with little or no stained glass, large areas for choirs or bands and have more focus on music.
so I would say the answer to your question is ‘No’.
There’s definitely been cross-pollination if religious ideas between Catholics and Protestants in the US.
I’ve seen Protestants make the sign of the cross and Catholics who believe in the rapture and “claim the victory”.
The melting pot idea is no longer taught - now, in the U.S. the idea of a “fruit salad” is popular. We are all different fruit tossed into one bowl to make a whole salad. We each contain our uniqueness.
I have a feeling that is Americanism. Pope Leo XIII wrote about this topic.
I’ll catch flames for bringing this up, but unique to American Catholics is the tendency to fear “New Age” and “satanic” influences hiding under random dust bunnies. Dungeons and Dragons and Halloween are both licit, for example, but we see frequent objection to them on CAF. It takes me back to my short-lived stint as an Evangelical.
Indeed it’s more like a bowl of salad
The French had a major impact on the spirituality of immigration to the North America
One of the prerequisites for migrating from France to what is now Nova Scotia, was a strong Catholic faith. They were known as Acadians, who were also known as Cajons of the deep south, after the Acadian diaspora.
Same was true for Quebec, there was a strong spiritual influence there. Visit and see the Churches they built.
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