Sunday, 25 March 2012

What is a Secular Catholic?

How many of us would fall into the category of 'Secular Catholic'?

Kunoichi on Get Religion comments “I think it’s fascinating to consider that there are “secular” Catholics. It feels like an oxymoron,” It’s actually not an oxymoron when you know the word is actually religious in origin. The word meant “in the world.” When an aspiring priest, nun, monk, etc. took their vows, they had a choice to live a “religious” life, isolated from the world, or a “secular” life within it. The term extended to include others who worked within the church but did not take vows.

It is only in relatively recent times that the word has come to be used as “not-religious.” So technically, virtually all Catholic priests are “secular” becuase they live and serve “in the world.”

There are further comments

Charlie: "I think it’s fascinating to consider that there are “secular” Catholics. It feels like an oxymoron, but we have long accepted that there are a great many secular Jews who self-identify culturally with Judaism but embrace atheism or Buddhism or… as their primary faith framework.

It would be interesting to find out just what the faith practices of a typical secular Catholic look like. Do they attend mass? Do they have their children baptized? Do they pray? Do they look for support from their church in times of need? It seems like a topic that might interest the folks at the Pew Forum, especially given the stats on the exodus from the church."

Katherine:  "Probably one of the worst things from this ad [in the NY Times] was the number of blogging Catholics who agreed with them. Many of these bloggers are young. As a young Catholic who is a liberal Catholic, It’s incredibly insulting that within the Church we’re viewed as not needed. We’re negotiable. So many “traditional” Catholics would rather us be gone. So why stay where I”m not wanted?

But why do I stay? I’ve asked myself this a lot lately. I stay because of the Real Presence in the Eucharist. I stay because I see hope, at least hope in the Social Justice encyclicals. The Church I know and love extols faith, charity/justice, and love. Unfortunately, the broader church has an isolationist view, one that has room ONLY for Catholics who are JUST LIKE THEM.

But I stay. A friend told me I could change the Church from the inside. I pray I love my Church enough to be like St. Mary MacKillop—she loved it so much she was excommunicated by it."

The Secular Catholic blog asks, "Is it to be "a fully orthodox Catholic and a lover of the Tridentine Mass"  who believes that "(t)he Church, as we may know, is the mater et magistra. Much like our very own mothers, the Holy Mother Church warns us about things that would likely lead to error and stuff like that—through its official documents, ex cathedra or no. We must also take into consideration that even non ex cathedra statements are based on the infallible Magisterium; that which we—as orthodox Catholics—have to follow."   

The view of a Theologian:  “Secular Catholics are people who were baptized as Catholics, but they find it impossible to make Catholicism the center of (their) lives, by which I mean Catholicism as defined by the official teachings of the church,"  Associate Professor Tom Beaudoin of Fordham University,New York says.  For these believers, there are “things that they learned about faith from Catholicism. Then there are things they learned from their jobs, from school experiences, from their music and from their favorite movies."

"They are hybrid believers and their faith comes from all over the place."  Quoted in The Salisbury Post

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