Orthodox Catholics? Who?

This irritates me, and what irritates me has nothing to do with the Court, or politics, or presidents, or whatever. What bothers me is this emerging trend of labeling Catholics into different camps. “Orthodox” Catholics don’t exist. To assume so is to drive a wedge. Some Catholics may be more devout in how they practice the faith, some may prefer OF or EF, some may prefer Gregorian chant, some may prefer Saturday Vigils, etc. but we’re not labeled according to political expediency. Catholics are Catholics.

“A staffer on Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign on Monday suggested that Orthodox Catholics, Jews and Muslims should not be allowed to serve on the Supreme Court because of their “intolerant” beliefs.”


Yeah, it is bothersome. I have found that people also use “devout Catholic” as an insult. Catholics are to blame in large part because there are so many liberal Catholics, cafeteria Catholics, non-practicing “I was raised Catholic,” etc. Really, if Catholics all truly practiced their faith in a substantial way, the problem wouldn’t exist.


Nikitha has vanished from Twitter and Linkedin since this happened. The small amount of info left on the web about her suggests she is quite young and probably didn’t understand how damaging her comment would be to the Biden campaign. I have a feeling she may be looking for a new job soon.

She probably also doesn’t realize that Catholics don’t have “Orthodox”, “Conservative”, and “Reform” traditions like Jewish people do. People who aren’t Catholics and don’t hang around a lot of Catholics tend to lack understanding of Catholics.


Wait until the Democrats here about orthodox Orthodox. It will blow their mind lol.


Ok but since formally speaking anyone who is baptised a Catholic is a Catholic, it is not unreasonable to distinguish between those who subscribe to the entire Catholic position and those who reject part of it. I don’t see that “orthodox “ is an objectionable term in this context.

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Maybe she should have said “non-cafeteria” Catholics instead. :slight_smile:

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Or maybe “Catholics who don’t think like Joe Biden” :smiley:


An “orthodox” Catholic is one who accepts all of the teachings of the Church without dissent or disagreement. It has nothing to do with which type of Mass one attends, or what devotions or expressions of the Faith one embraces.

I more prefer to say “faithful Catholics, who are loyal to the magisterium in all things”.

To be honest, I think it’s pretty hard to find Catholics who are unswervingly “loyal to the magisterium in all things”. Some of the Catholics who consider themselves most “orthodox” are also the ones questioning or rejecting various Church teachings and guidance, especially post-Vatican II. They always have some reasoning for why their way of thinking is somehow more “orthodox” than what their bishop or the Vatican is doing or saying. People think of “orthodox” as being the Fr. Altman type and “unorthodox” as being the Fr. Martin type, but really they’re just flip sides of the same coin - both of them are pushing the boundaries in opposite directions right up to the point they can get away with it and not face discipline from a superior.

I agree that “faithful Catholics” is a better term, and I would define that roughly as believing everything in the Profession of Faith, making a consistent and reasonable effort to avoid grave sin as defined by the Church, and also making a concerted effort to observe the precepts of the Church. A faithful Catholic is still likely to have some doubts or disagree with the Church on something from time to time, even if it’s not anything big or controversial like abortion or gay marriage.

When I say “loyal to the magisterium in all things”, I mean first of all, accepting the teachings of the Church and resolving to make them one’s own, in spite of personal doubts or difficulties. In other words, I don’t “egg on” those doubts or difficulties, I merely face them head-on and say “even though I may not understand why, I will resolve to believe and think that somehow, the Church is right and I am wrong”. Perhaps the one that “jumps out at me” is that I have a very hard time understanding how someone can confect a valid, sacramental marriage if they believe that sacramental marriage, in the abstract at least, can be dissolved. It seems to me, then, that they cannot and do not “do what the Church does” (facere quod facit ecclesia). But the Church says otherwise, and I go with it. Another might be Bernard Nathanson’s objection to “abortion to save the life of the mother” by using the analogy of being drowning at sea while tethered to a madman who is thrashing and threatens to drown both of you, while you could cut the madman free, let him drown, and save yourself. It makes sense, but if the Church teaches otherwise, then I follow Loyola’s "the Church’s ‘white’ versus my ‘black’ ".

Certain teachings of Vatican II are difficult to understand according to the analogia fidei, especially when one accepts the prior traditional teachings (rather than putting them down the “memory hole” because they’re inconvenient or disliked), and quite frankly, a traditional Catholic sometimes has to jump through mental and intellectual hoops to do it. Yet making the effort is the duty of a “faithful” or “orthodox” Catholic.

I do have my concerns that “orthodox” (small letter “o”) can be used as a way of describing just one “way to do the Catholic thing” among many, rather than the only thing a true Catholic can be, as opposed to being a “heterodox” Catholic, which is just another way of saying “cafeteria Catholic” or even “heretic”.

If you want to confuse them more point out the correct name of those Churches is the ‘Orthodox Catholic Church of (insert name of nation as needed)’.


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