"Over-the-top" Catholic?

I agree with Brenda, drifting away, and cheviaier.

FWIW, my neighbor seems to think I’m a “devote” Catholic because I go to Mass weekly. Um… I’m sure you’ve all read my crazy posts and realise how laughable that is. I describe myself as a "jack-Catholic’ :shrug: 99% Catholic,1 % Unsure.


I agree with Em in FL about the meaning of over the top…:slight_smile:

We know a family who are considered “over-the-top” Catholics. Even our parish priest commented to us that he thought they were “fanatics”. Here are some of the so called “over-the-top” activities that they engage in: daily Mass, daily rosary, frequent confession, recite the angelus, homeschooling, open to life, religious icons in each room, use holy water in the home, read the bible, read the lives of the saints, dress modestly, watch only EWTN and carefully selected DVD’s, pro-life activities etc, etc.

Gee, sounds plain old “Catholic” to me. We don’t call them “fanatics”, we call them “our inspiration”. :slight_smile:

**Yes, I do. It’s not like I’m out with campaign signs. 97% of the time, they approach me and start the debates of the merits of this or that. I rarely, if ever, actively start or seek these conversations. I will adamently state my case for some things, because there are things I believe strongly. They are welcome to disagree. **

hmm, normally I would agree. There’s a middle road in diet, in child raising, in excercise, in budgeting…
**BUT there is no moderate road when it comes to faith. Lukewarm. Yuck.:wink: **

I find it sad and fascinating that Catholics are the only religious I have ever encountered who worry about being too faithful - too Catholic. You are not going to walk into any protestant churches and hear people fretting over being too religious. Same goes for muslims, jews, JW, etc… They would look at you like you grew a second head if you suggested there was such a thing.

Which begs the question:
Why are Catholics so bloomin’ scared to be obviously and unapologeticly Catholic?
The only question any of us should have, the only genuine worry, is to ask if we are living Catholic enough.

**That said, great Catholics come in an amazing variety of forms and thoughts and can all still be true to the Church and have genuine faith. :thumbsup: **

** guess I’m just frustrated by this fear of being too Catholic and offending someone. It’s really permeating our parishes and I feel the parish suffers for decades because of it. You know what I heard the other day? I called about our parish middle school group. I asked about activites. I want to be sure there is no blarney in this activity because my boys are going to think, “this is what the Church is/teaches” because it’s a parish activity, kwim? This lady youth director says, “Well we try to be encumental.” I see big blazing red flags. “Explain please, what you mean. It’s a Catholic parish for Catholic kids, why shouldn’t it be obviously Catholic?” “Well, Mrs. P we don’t want to offend, frighten, or over-whelm those who aren’t strong in their faith or non-Catholics that might join our Catholic children at these events. We just want to have fun in an environment that is comfortable.” **

**So what you’re saying is it wouldn’t be comfortable or enjoyable if we were to be obviously Catholic in our parish with our kids? Well I have to say that your theory is certainly working. Given that there isn’t a single Catholic element, there’s no way anyone could be bothered. Unless they were actually hoping for something Catholic.:rolleyes: **

**annoyed silence.:smiley: **

I’m going to let my boys go to a few things and see what I think, but I will never allow someone of such opinions to have much access to my kids. I don’t want my kids thinking they have something to hide when it comes to their faith!

**Now I’m sure lady director thinks I’m an “over-the-top” Catholic now and is secretly hoping we never show up.:stuck_out_tongue: I don’t think she is a bad person or anything like that. However, as a convert, I do very strongly and adamently disagree with her reasoning. Is this excess because it’s not explicit in the cat.? Oh well.:shrug: **

I dont know about being called over-the-top, but I have been called an “old-fashioned” Catholic because I dont eat meat of Friday.

And does you husband saying he might as well put a steaple(sp?) on the top of the house because it looks like a church on the inside count as over-the-top:)


Well for a high jumper or a pole vaulter to be successful he has to go over the top!

It surely is a compliment!

Very true. But there are so many parables in scripture about those who appeared “humble” in faith as being the holy ones… so you can’t judge either way!

I personally can be bothered by Catholics who suggest the importance of “excess” rules that are not explicit in the catechism…

Why would you be bothered by this, if it is not contrary to the faith? We only HAVE to go to confession once a year, outside of mortal sin issues. But most would suggest it is an important rule to go much more often than that. We must be careful not to become complacent with only doing the bare neccessities, imho. That is not to say you should do everything another does. It is simply to say, what is “excess” to you may be foundational to another’s spiritual growth. And just because something isn’t explicit, doesn’t mean it’s not clearly of good value.

There’s nothing wrong with those who take their faith seriously and go beyond the bare necessities! That’s admirable and I understand exactly what you’re saying…
But to suggest to others that your personal practices are required to be “good and holy Catholics” may be counterproductive and may actually turn them away from the faith.
I’ve seen it happen. I’ve had to personally re-evangalize people who have turned away from the faith due to being scared off by those who suggested their personal practices were required… and you don’t have to explicitly state things to suggest them.
As a point of evangalization… sharing your personal practices may scare some away from the faith…
Just my personal experience.

I abhor “fakery”… or a “show of faith” just for the sake of “show”…
Just because something is obvious, doesn’t mean it is fake. Like a mom with 8 kids. I assure I didn’t have them for show purposes, but we are rather obvious.:wink:

There was no personal attack there! Of course obvious signs are not always fake. You have every reason to be proud of your gorgeous family!
But I still stand by my statement of abhoring “fakery”…

I’ve heard that in some Caribbean countries, they’re called “furious” Catholics.

It seems like there’s a difference between a “devout” Catholic and an “over-the-top” Catholic. Being a devout Catholic is a compliment, while being an over-the-top Catholic is not.

Perhaps part of it is personal devotion versus being “in your face” about it. If I go to daily Mass I’m devout. If I act like you’re a lukewarm Catholic because you only go once a week, I’m over the top. If I wear a veil to Mass because I think it shows reverence, I’m devout. If I do it because I want to show how holy I am, I’m over the top.

If I’m constantly criticizing the pope and the various bishops because they aren’t running the church the way I think it should be run, I’m definitely over the top.

I think a quality like humility would be part of being a devout Catholic. That wouldn’t be a word I’d use to describe someone over the top.

I guess that our definitions of over the top are slightly different. By that I mean that if someone is critical of the pope or bishops, I think that makes them more of a cafeteria Catholics than over the top. Over the top more relates to following the teachings of the Catholic church in everything.

Maybe we just have different views of this, but in all of the ways you have described “over the top” I do not see it the same way.

**I agree. How can a person be over the top CATHOLIC when the opinions/actions are not catholic to begin with? Cafe Catholic would fit more than over-the-top in those cases, imo, too.:slight_smile: **

I think we’re thinking of being critical in different ways. I wasn’t talking about “I think priests should be allowed to marry and why doesn’t the pope get with the program” kind of criticism.

I was thinking more of the “why doesn’t the pope demote Bishop X. I don’t think he’s a good bishop. And why doesn’t he announce that any politician who votes in favor of abortion rights is excommunicated. I can clearly see this, why can’t the pope? And why doesn’t he announce that the use of hymns at Mass rather than Gregorian chant is heretical.” I don’t like those Marty Haugen tunes, why can’t he see they’re bad?

I see these people as being “more Catholic than the pope” and I would call them over the top.

When you add the line “more Catholic than the pope” that is where we agree.

Oh, hm.
While I agree with you, I tend to not blame it all on the pope/bishop. The pope and many bishops do indeed speak against those very things and are slowly working to turn the tide back. I tend to blame my fellow Catholics for educating themselves on their own faith.

**I never fit in these things. To many I’m not catholic enough and to many others I’m more catholic than the pope.:shrug: **

I look at it this way–who is going up over the top and who is not in this picture? Which one do you want to be?

I may just be digging myself in deeper. How about – to me – a devout Catholic has a humble heart and an over-the-top Catholic (which still sounds like an insult to me) has a good dose of pride.

This is my interpretation as well…

Yes, this can be a serious problem. And it is, in some places, a very real problem. But in such cases, I suspect that the problem is not so much the Catholicism, but rather a deep-seeded, undealt-with serious issue.

Catholics are vilified for their beliefs and practices. I notice in TV programs from England, that Catholics are not just Catholics, they’re “bleeding Catholics.” ( I’m not English, I hope that’s not profanity, to quote that here.)

In England, if you have a rosary or pray to the Virgin, you’re a bleeding Catholic. In other words, if you’re a Catholic, you’re a bleeding Catholic.

It’s the old “ad hominem” (attacking the person) as a resort to making any sense at all, such as respecting freedom of religious expression.

It’s a hate crime, of sorts.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.