Who are the "progressives", "regressives", "liberals" and "conservatives"?

I already know who liberals and conservatives are, but I wanted to know them in greater detail. I have absolutely no idea who regressives and progressives are and which side is “wrong.” I have no ill intentions, just a hope for a better explanaition.

I have no idea. There are those who receive with faith the revelation of God as handed down by the Church and those who don’t. Those who don’t are either ignorant or enemies of the Church, and either way they need to be evangelized. All the qualifiers and labels just confuse the issue. You either hold the orthodox faith or you do not. When people start qualifying their Catholicity, red flags should go up.

Wow that was fast!:smiley: I do not agree with all the labels either, but still, people use them, so I need to know what they mean.

They mean, “I am Catholic but…” rather than I receive the Catholic truth with complete surrender of will and intellect, that is, with supernatural faith–without which it is impossible to please God.

I have always said that there is no such thing as a liberal or conservative Catholic–merely those who follow the rules and those who don’t.

There are those who don’t follow the rules by erring on what we might call the “liberal” or “progressive” side–that is, those who think that certain modern beliefs are right and that the Pope will eventually conform to their point of view, and those who err on what we call the “conservative” or “regressive” side, by not recognizing the Second Vatican Council, or the Validity of the Holy Father’s papacy.

Both groups are wrong, in that they don’t acknowledge certain truths because they prefer to cling to certain personal beliefs instead of submitting wilfully to the revelations of the Holy Spirit through the Pontiff. You can pretty much tell where a person stands by their stance on Vatican II. Those who submit to it and take it at face value are obediant, good Roman Catholics. those who go above and beyond it and do things “in the spirit of Vatican II” belong to the former erring group. Those who deny its legitimacy err on the side of the latter.

But be careful: Catholics who follow the rules are sometimes branded as regressive by people in error on the “progressive” side. Anyone who follows the rules of the Canon, prays, and reads scripture, and adheres to sacred tradition and the magisterium is not in error on the “regressive” side, but rather a completely normal Roman Catholic.

So are liberals always heretical?

So, if I said that I wanted to recieve on the tongue, would I be a “regressive”?

No, nor are progressives. Thomas Aquainas would have been considered a progressive.

As Genesis noted, one is either orthodox or not. One is in communion with the Church or not. Beyond that, one is just Catholic.

The word progressive, taken from the word progress, generally means liberal and desiring change. They will call anything progressive that they are for and regressive anything they are against.

God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Those who live in obedience to God’s word and in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church are normal Catholics. Those who try to set up “camps” within the Church are trying to apply a secular political aspect to those who are one body in Jesus Christ.

God is no respecter of persons but sees all of us as His children.

God bless,

There are legitimate and real differences and attitudes among Roman Catholics in regards to the Faith and how it is expressed and it is possible for someone holding a particular view to be orthodox.

Liberals or Progressives will try and push for change such as they did when they pushed for the entire Mass in the vernacular or Communion in the hand.

Conservatives will defend any of the changes that liberals push through if they are approved by the Vatican and they won’t criticize any changes (say to the liturgy) as long as they are approved by the Vatican. They will criticize abuses to the liturgy, however, and will want the rules to be followed.

Traditionalists (and perhaps Regressive would apply here as well; I’m not sure) will criticize prudential decisions made by the Vatican such as allowing Communion in the hand or the authorized changes to the liturgy done after Vatican II even though they accept the authority of the Vatican and the Pope to make the changes and accept the New Mass as valid.

If you want to read an interesting article on the differing viewpoints of Radicals, Liberals, Conservatives, and Traditionalists by Peter Kreeft in First Things magazine go here:


God bless.

I Believe both groups can be broken down further into those who are oblivious due to poor catechesis and those who were properly catechized but openly defiant. In my diocese the progressives outnumber the conservatives by about 1000 to 1.

Or it is a way to say “You are not a real Catholic. You are liberal/conservative/regressive/progressive and not orthodox.”

I agree with the spirit of your first claim. The terms, from the op, are odd as being more political in tone and tenor and nothing, as such, to be proud of.

We cannot, I think, remind ourselves what Catholic means: universal, and the universality of our Church is what drew Augustine utterly to Her.

Surely we must be co-workers in unity, seeing to it that whatever divides us in our thoughts or deeds is accidental to our faith.

Which is why your second claim saddens me: open defiance with sound understanding imply the believer needs another church., unless we are speaking of the accidentals just mentioned, in which case defiance seems inappropriate and extreme.

The Arians were heretics “in communion” with the Church—until such time that a council had to be convened to declare and suppress the heresy.

Umm, ok…:confused: I’m not sure where you’re going with that.

Unless my understanding of heresy is faulty, which is always possible as I don’t pretend to have all knowledge, once something is formally declared a heresy one is no longer in communion. If that is the case they weren’t heretics until someone decided it was a heresy, at which time they were no longer in communion if they did not recant. I don’t think it’s possible to be a heretic and simultaneously in communion.

Let’s also keep in mind that the Arians were honest and dedicated people, trying to come to an understanding of Christ’s nature, who missed the mark, as many did in the early Church. They were not “evil” people and many did recant once the issue was decided. Christology in the early Church was far from the defined understanding we have now and it was easy to go astray in attempting to come to an understanding.


No, but some would say you are.

Quote= ncjohn
No, nor are progressives. Thomas Aquainas would have been considered a progressive.

As Genesis noted, one is either orthodox or not. One is in communion with the Church or not. Beyond that, one is just Catholic.

My response was intended to point out that it is not so cut and dried to say “one is in communion with the Church or not”. On the surface communion may seem to exist—yet in reality a person can be following some form of heresy.

Now as to the “honest, dedicated, etc. Arians” —this does not change the fact that they are heretics.

I would agree with you that it is not always apparent whether someone is or isn’t in communion, but it doesn’t change the objective fact of whether they are or not.

Now as to the “honest, dedicated, etc. Arians” —this does not change the fact that they are heretics.

They were once the heresy was declared, if they did not recant. They were not up until that point since there was no defined teaching on the subject for them to reject.

I think we’re saying the same thing, and don’t disagree with what you’re saying. At least I don’t think I am. :wink:

If the teaching is held from the time of of Christ and the birth of the Church–it did not need to be “defined” for it to be true. The council defended the teaching—not pull it out of thin air. It became known that Arius and those who followed him were indeed heretics–which led to the call for the council.

The teaching was not held from the time of Christ. Most of that Christological definition didn’t occur until substantially after the early Church period and the definitions of what the Church definitively taught weren’t put into place until the fourth and fifth centuries, starting with the Council of Nicea and after. Creating those definitions was why the councils were called and there was substantial debate involved in those definitions. They weren’t pulled out of thin air but they certainly weren’t concretely defined before that either.

Even after the definitions were created it took a long time for the teaching to be spread through to all the people. Even at the time of the barbarian invasions they were still teaching people the correct definitions.

This is really all off topic though so I’ll stop there. I think we are in agreement on the topic of the OP. :slight_smile:

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