We Have Lost Our Identity!


#1

I think we Catholics have lost a lot of our distinctive culture.

A chaplain friend of mine asked how people know that we are Catholics? She stated that people know we are Christians by the way we act and behave. She believes that showing mercy, compassion and love to others is displaying one’s Christian faith in public. I don’t disagree with her, but I think that showing someone mercy wouldn’t automatically make them aware that you are Catholic. Most people would just say that you are a “nice” person. Christianity wouldn’t even enter most people’s minds.

The only way people will know you are Catholic is if you show them. If I saw a Corpus Christi procession, I would know that the people involved were all Catholic. If I passed by a house with a statue of the Virgin Mary in the front yard, I would know that the person who lives there is Catholic. If I saw a group of people praying the Rosary in public, I would know they are Catholic. If I saw a man in a habit, I would know he was a priest.

The best way to witness to others is by practicing the time-honored traditions and customs of the Church. In years gone by, it was easy for people to know who was Catholic and who was not. It wasn’t uncommon to see Catholics “crossing” themselves as they passed a Church. Many Catholics carried a Rosary with them throughout the day. Catholics did not eat meat on Friday’s. Priests, Monks and Nuns all wore the habit. Corpus Christi processions were common. May altars and May crownings were also common. Most Catholics decorated their homes with sacred images and crucifixes.

Most Catholics, including myself, rarely show any public demonstations of faith. We have mostly abandoned those things which singled us out as Catholics, and I think this is a real shame.

Please share your memories with us. What things did you do as a child to show your Catholic faith to others? Was your house decorated with images of the Saints and Our Lord, for example? Did you have a statue of the Virgin on display in your yard? Did you abstain from meat on Friday’s? Did you carry a Rosary with you in public? Did your priest always wear the habit in public? Were you educated by religious?

What can we do to reclaim our Catholic identity?

Should our religious start wearing the habit?
Should we display religious art in our home, workplace, institutions etc?
These are just examples. Share your thoughts and memories about the things which separated us from the rest of the non-Catholic public.


#2

It seems that Catholics are now afraid to express their faith in front of others. Why are we afraid? Why have we toned down our Catholicity? It is worse in England than it is in the USA. English Catholics have totally lost their identity. I have never met a Catholic who outwardly expresses their faith, and it saddens me. (Although I can’t really criticize because I am exactly the same.)


#3

I think society is setup now that if you show signs of your faith you are looked upon as a “religious nut”. I hate to see it but in some places religious are considered simple/ backwards people. It does not help that anytime we are represented someone’s agenda makes sure that they have a nut that portrays these things. A good example of this is Bill Maher’s movie where he went around debating people that would portray the picture he wanted to portray.

We need to show our faith in a smart and considerate way. To take back the image we once had. Maybe that means having a statue in the yard, praying rosary at lunch or making the sign of the cross before a meal. Something to start a conversation so we can reprsent ourselves in a good light.


#4

Let me tell you about the new rules on here…

  1. If you support any sort of view that is different than what the mods believe, you will be banned. Discussion is not open for different and new ideas. Even if Catholicism is making a mistake, we support tradition.

  2. Everything the Catholic Church has ever done has been infallible. Therefore, there is no need for you to question anything about Catholicism, the Church is perfect. If the Church told you to kill someone, you should do it, no questions asked.

  3. Any rude and ignorant comments to others stating “You are not a true Catholic if you voted for Obama” will be accepted and is encouraged.

  4. God didn’t give you this conscience to use for yourself. You must substitute other peoples judgment for your own, and never question them, because their judgment is better.

  5. If you child someday asks you if they should use a condom, you should tell them “No, let yourself get HIV instead.”


#5

Well for me. I have paintings and statues of Jesus, Mary, and the Saints all over my house :). I also have a large rosary collection (which is actually really fun because I can pick a new colored rosary every night I pray :slight_smile: ). I wear a scapular under my clothing and as a necklace I wear a crucifix or monstrance or sometimes a saint medal, depending on how I am feeling that day or what I am doing.

I don’t think the culture and tradition is dead w/ everyone… just a LOT of people. :frowning:


#6

Well I am currently in RCIA and have been reading as much as I can. I have read Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae as well as Gaudium Et Spes and my wife and I have done this together. We are also reading the Catholic Catechism together. My wife has been a Catholic her entire life. I was raised a Lutheran. I am also reading old Lutheran documents to see just why they strayed. I have learned many things and have come to truly love the Catholic Church, but I think that it is truly struggling and is being destroyed from the inside. I think it is due to the lack of pastoral guidance concerning contraception. It is easy to get Christians to agree about abortion, but no one talks about contraception anymore. I think Pope Paul VI was right and he really knew what was going to happen. When I was a child in the 60’s Catholics were known for their large families, they were different. They had a little less as far as possessions went, but they had a LOT more fun at family reunions, due to all the brothers and sisters. They also had their own schools with mean Nun’s with discipline and good instruction that was offered by the Church to take care of all these kids…Now I think the families take the pill, or have an IUD and they have small families and enjoy nice cars and big screen T.V.'s, and they teach the culture of death, just as good as any Lutheran or Anglican. In fact it is hard to tell a Catholic from a protestant most of the time these days. I believe that most Catholics don’t even know it is wrong to use condoms, at least they don’t know why it is wrong and they have not been instructed what Paul VI said was going to happen and then com paired it to what has happened. I don’t think most Catholics know just how accurately he predicted all this ill’s that are currently happening in our world and I think that it is because of a failure in the Priesthood. No Priests are telling the flock that what they are doing is wrong. In fact many parishes are teaching NFP as if it was Church sanctioned contraception. What that does is say that the Church believes in contraception and then it is very hard for many people to not understand the difference. Most Parish Priest’s do not tell their flocks that it is only supposed to be used for “SIGNIFICANT” reasons. This is what the past Pope’s have said but nobody is teaching it. It is truly sad, but for myself and my wife we are learning and we are studying what it means to Obey. If I am going to believe that this is the true Church then can I pick and choose what things the Pope says? I DO believe that Pope Paul VI was right, it is amazing just how accurately he predicted what would happen once we swallowed the little pills, used the IUD’s or slipped on the condoms. Even NFP is being taught to Catholics as if it were a contraceptive, which if it is used incorrectly it is. Do the Priests teach this? I think that Humanae Vitae Should be read from the Pulpit, at least parts as it is pretty clear. If the Church caves in on contraception then it will have abandoned the teachings of 2000 years. If those teachings were wrong then what other teachings were wrong? Any way my wife and, I although I am new to the Church and not even confirmed yet, are excited about the truth that is being preached from Rome and from many of the Bishops. I just wish the local Father’s would pass along the truth. I think they need to fight the culture of death at its roots which does not start with abortion, it starts with contraception. I am so new, but I truly believe the crises in the Church is the lack of Children and the acceptance of death by so many.


#7

i agree that we must show our love for Jesus and our beautiful heritage, the Catholic Faith, in public!

i have a rosary hanging from my truck mirror, i wish every Catholic would do that (I also have a bumper sticker for KBVM kbvm.com/ our local Catholic radio station). It helps me with my road rage.

i wear a miraculous medal and a Crucifix, both clearly Catholic (Not a generic Cross).

Even my Cardinals baseball cap has “St.L” on it for St. Louis!!! (Go Cardinals!).

i have 2 statues of Mary and several Crucifixes displayed throughout the house!

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!

Mark


#8

This is not necessarily a sign of Catholicism. There is an Anglican Church in NYC that holds a Corpus Christi procession in Times Square every year. I have a friend who is Methodist who has a statue of the BVM in her yard. I have a Lutheran friend who prays the rosary…and there are many Anglican religious who wear a habit and other denominations whose priests and ministers wear the Roman collar. So, how can you tell if someone is really Catholic? I do agree with you btw that we have lost our Catholic identity, but it is not regained by outward appearances.


#9

We need to show our faith in a smart and considerate way. To take back the image we once had. Maybe that means having a statue in the yard, praying rosary at lunch or making the sign of the cross before a meal. Something to start a conversation so we can reprsent ourselves in a good light.

This is exactly what I think! We need to take back the image we once had. We were once a large and vocal community, and we weren’t ashamed of our beliefs. Before the 1960’s, the Church displayed her faith to outsiders. Whole communities would come together for processions and various festivals in honour of certain saints. Things like that don’t happen often these days. Doing the small things you suggested would help to restore our image a great deal.


#10

This is not necessarily a sign of Catholicism. There is an Anglican Church in NYC that holds a Corpus Christi procession in Times Square every year. I have a friend who is Methodist who has a statue of the BVM in her yard. I have a Lutheran friend who prays the rosary…and there are many Anglican religious who wear a habit and other denominations whose priests and ministers wear the Roman collar. So, how can you tell if someone is really Catholic? I do agree with you btw that we have lost our Catholic identity, but it is not regained by outward appearances.

These are ALL signs of the Catholic faith.

Corpus Christi processions are Catholic devotions. The Anglican catholics have simply borrowed this practice from the Catholic Church. Furthermore, the Anglicans do not have a valid Eucharist (although they might believe they do.)

The Catholic Church is known for it’s veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary. No other protestant ecclesial community has venerated the Virgin to the extent that the Catholic Church has. This is why statues of the Virgin Mary are distinctively Catholic - but not exclusively Catholic.

The Rosary was given to St. Dominic by the Blessed Mother. The Rosary is a Roman Catholic prayer tradition.

Habits and Roman collars are known to be worn by Catholic priests and religious. Other denominations can also use them, but they originate with the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church should follow the example set by the traditional Anglicans. They don’t have the fullness of the faith, yet seem more confident to express the faith they do have. The Catholic Church has the fullness of truth, and we seem to be afraid to show it and express it in public.

I do agree with you btw that we have lost our Catholic identity, but it is not regained by outward appearances.

We have lost our Catholic identity because we effectively did away with all outward appearances of Catholicism. The identity crisis of the Roman rite will evaporate if we begin reclaiming the things we discarded.


#11

I think that Humanae Vitae Should be read from the Pulpit, at least parts as it is pretty clear. If the Church caves in on contraception then it will have abandoned the teachings of 2000 years. If those teachings were wrong then what other teachings were wrong? Any way my wife and, I although I am new to the Church and not even confirmed yet, are excited about the truth that is being preached from Rome and from many of the Bishops. I just wish the local Father’s would pass along the truth. I think they need to fight the culture of death at its roots which does not start with abortion, it starts with contraception. I am so new, but I truly believe the crises in the Church is the lack of Children and the acceptance of death by so many.

NEWCATHOLICJEFF, you are right! Humane Vitae was the first major scandal in the Church. It was the first teaching of the Catholic Church that was rejected by large portions of the clergy and laity. I think this issue is one of the causes for the disintegration of our unique Catholic identity. This issue alone, causes a lot of people to be embarrassed about their Catholic faith. In fact, I myself have openly denied believing in the teachings of HV even though I endorse them fully! I was embrassed to admit that I support the prohibition of artificial contraception.

Pope Paul VI taught the truth concerning contraception. I wish more priests had the courage to teach their flocks about this. Sadly, contraception is almost never discussed in Church. Most Catholics are in silent dissent - and that includes many priests. I have talked to high ranking religious who secretly disagree with the teachings of Humane Vitae - and one of them holds a position of authority!

I think that many Catholics are secretly embarrassed by some Catholic teachings, especially in the UK. This may be one of the reasons why Catholics have stopped publicly expressing their faith. By publicly expressing the faith, these people may be forced to admit that they support Church teaching, much to their embarrassment.

When I was a child in the 60’s Catholics were known for their large families, they were different. They had a little less as far as possessions went, but they had a LOT more fun at family reunions, due to all the brothers and sisters. They also had their own schools with mean Nun’s with discipline and good instruction that was offered by the Church to take care of all these kids…

The Catholic community should still be very large. If Catholics refused to use contraception, the families would increase in size and our churches would be full! We’d also have more priests and other religious because there would be more children.


#12

Does anyone remember being taught to slightly bow your head when your hear the name of Jesus? I was taught this and still do it. I remind those I teach in RCIA to try and give this honor, and it is wonderful to see them pick up on it during Mass.


#13

I agree with everyone so far posting on this thread! I am still waiting for my annullment to be approved so I haven’t even been able to complete my sacraments and officially join the Church; but my identity as a Catholic is growing daily with my formation.

It is dear to my heart that the Church maintain her identity and continue to visibly guide the world in moral and spiritual truth. Seeing so many who call themselves Catholics but appear to embrace values that fly in the face of 2000 years of faith and instruction can be very discouraging to those of us who are in the early phases of our formation. I came from a long-time protestant background, but learned, through studying the truths of the Catholic Church. My husband is attending with me, but hasn’t come to the same place as I have. Having the truths of the Church challenged at every turn isn’t helping.

I wish the local clergy and church members would show the same courage as the Bishops who have stood up for the beliefs of the Church in the recent past.


#14

I agree with everyone so far posting on this thread! I am still waiting for my annullment to be approved so I haven’t even been able to complete my sacraments and officially join the Church; but my identity as a Catholic is growing daily with my formation.

Great! I’m overjoyed to hear that you are becoming a Catholic. I praise God that you have been granted the grace of faith!

You should nourish your growing faith by creating a Catholic culture within your home. Consider hanging a crucifix in your bedroom, and why not place a few other sacred images around your home? Maybe a picture of Our Lord with his Sacred Heart exposed? It would be an excellent way to share your faith with friends and relatives, as well as providing you with a constant reminder to live the faith in your daily life.


#15

Thanks Dempsy…

Dori you are in exactly the same situation that I am in. I am reading and reading and then when I listen in the Parish many of the concerns are really just the surface layers of issues. the real hard fixes need the Parish Priests to truly be the foot soldiers of God and unfortunately many do not want to make waves…Any way what Dempsy says about the Icons is pretty nice. My wife being Catholic does have a lot around the house. All of our Children have been raised in the Church, but unfortunately they have been raised in ignorance even though all of them have attended Catholic schools…the teachers and priests just did not teach what the Pope instructed. Pretty much they are behaving like Protestants, picking and choosing what they want to preach…Any way it is going to be hard now as two of my kids are older and are caught up in the current culture of death, hopefully the youngest can be exposed to the DEEPER truths of the Church, because if he does not have that base, he might as well be a protestant…


#16

I know what you mean, and I grew tire dof it as well, and have been guilty just the same, in fear of pursecution. Though in the last 2-3 months, I am always wearing my Crucifix and Miraculous Medal necklaces which catches so many eyes (they’re silver, both on one black string,) and have brought some to ask questions, such as “do you adore Mary?” :smiley:


#17

I agree. Many people are very quick to say things like “It’s not the externals that matter” but that’s a lie. They DO matter. It matters if your kids see images of Our Lord and Lady around their house every day. It matters if they see their parents make time for the family rosary every night. It matters that they see their aunts and uncles make the sign of the Cross towards any passing Catholic Church. It matters if they see their friends and family processing in honor of The Body of Christ, or in a May Procession, or a Spirit of Chartres Walk. These things matter.

And not only for children. In general we’re no longer a very sociable society. We don’t do things together anymore. These signs and symbols unite us together on a very basic level and help us form a community. Belonging is a core human desire, and not necessarily a bad thing if we’re all enjoying belonging to Christ’s Church together.

Catholics are different. That’s as simple a fact as the indelibile mark put on all our souls at Confirmation. God knows external signs help strengthen our faith - that’s why there are tangible things used in every Sacrament. I do think we need to reclaim our Catholic Culture and heritage, particularly in these notably Catholic, visible signs, and that will help us to regain the nobility and truth of His Church.


#18

Rawb, I fully agree with what you have written. Externals DO matter. I wish my home had a Catholic culture when I was a kid. I think it would have prevented me from leaving the Church when in my teens.

I have recently learned that children were traditionally invested with the Brown Scapular when they made their First Holy Communion. Have you heard of this practice?

I think the Brown Scapular would be an excellently modest way to express the faith in public. I think this small piece of cloth would help to promote a proud Catholic culture within our community.


#19

Our *collective * Catholic identity has defintely been under attack. But this is true of the Christian faith or any institutionalized religion around. This is part and parcel of the dangerous spiritual viruses plaguing humanity called “secularism” and atheistic humanism. It has become politically incorrect to make a verbal or non-verbal pronouncements related to religion and God. Everybody seems to agree that our world is definitely going in the wrong direction but how to fix it remains a challenge for many. Different people will suggest political solutions, cultural or national. For us who believe in God, we know where our answer lies.

My point is our Catholic identity (or reclaiming of it) begins with us. If we are not sure and confident of what we believe in, how can we be convincing to others? We will eventually succumb to fear of intimidation or fear of being ostracized or fear of being separated from the mainstream of friends and families. We live in a particular time of the “wheat being separated from the chaff.” Just puttin up more statues and externals can serve to make an upfront statement that one is Catholic but if we don’t live up to what the Catholic Church teaches, our claim of catholicity will come back to bite us, then we give more scandals to others. I’ve heard stories of people disillusioned by Catholics, with all the externals of Catholicism, because of their total lack of charity and virtues. People have left the Catholic Faith because of the incongruency in the externals and the internal dispositions.

Our rich tradition and treasury of devotions and sacramentals are only good as invitations for people to come and get to know us. But once they’ve come, will they like what they see and experience of our Faith? I am a cradle Catholic and was never away from it. But I have never been so proud of my Faith as when I truly understood it for what it is and what it calls me to be.


#20

I agree we all need to start with ourselves…I have decided I am going back to meatless Fridays and to bless myself when passing a church…small things I know…and who will know or care? God and myself…thats all that is necessary

I am trying to read and listen to as much catholic material as I can…and understand why we do what we do…how it fits in tradition and scripture…I find it very comforting


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