There are so many variations of Catholicism that have ‘C’ words for adjectives.
I’m thinking of Conservative Catholicism which is right wing politically and liturgically, and then there’s Cafeteria Catholicism in which the devotee picks and chooses which parts of the Catholic faith he think he likes and rejects the bits he finds unpalatable. Cultural Catholicism means “I’m Irish so I’m Catholic–and don’t forget: it’s ‘Irish’ first. Catholic second.” Then there is Campfire Catholicism–where the liturgy is folksy with singalong songs and a warm cozy homilly. Don’t forget Coca Cola Catholicism–in which the religion is sweet and fizzy and exciting (but it rots your spiritual teeth) I guess you could add ‘Crazy Catholicism’ which is made up of extreme right wing fundamentalist kooks. ‘Conspiracy Catholicism’ is obsessed with end times, Fatima prophecies, the lack of a proper dedication of Russia to the Blessed Virgin and the three dark days.
You pays your money and you takes your pick. I’m opting for Crunchy Catholicism. Crunchy Catholicism is like my crunchy cereal in the morning. It has, well, ‘crunch.’ It’s conservative, but not crazy (but maybe I am crazy and don’t know it) It revels in the irrelevant and delights in the dubious. Crunchy Catholicism is all for relics of saints and incorrupt bodies and those holy water bottles shaped like the blessed Mother with the crown for a cap. It is happy about saints that are stigmatics, who levitate and bi locate and fall into streams and make wisecracks to the Almighty. It’s for exorcists and eucharistic miracles and friars with long beards and full habits who have given up millions of dollars to serve crackheads in the Bronx. It’s for leper priests and little nuns who wash sores of dying people in the gutters of Calcutta. It’s for first holy communion girls in white dresses and little boys with with coat and tie and their hair combed. It’s for nuns. The ones in habits in convents. It’s for lace and incense and birettas at Mass.
Lest Crunchy Catholicism seem all traddy and reactionary and folk religion or even (God forbid) superstitious!!, it is also for a faith that has intellectual rigor and a zesty willingness to communicate the truth that faith is an adventure. Faith is a trampoline not an easy chair. It’s a risk and an investment in which you give all and receive more than your bargained for in return. Crunchy Catholicism is ready to read Dante and T.S.Eliot and Flannery O’Connor and learn Spanish and Italian and Latin because it’s a good idea. Crunchy Catholicism reads the great philosophers and theologians and has Thomas Aquinas on it’s iPhone reader and Fides et Ratio by the bedside, and Pope Benedict’s latest work along side Evelyn Waugh. Crunchy Catholicism is as rollicking and controversialist as the Chesterbelloc and as tender hearted and compassionate and tough as the Little Flower (who–if she was a little flower–was no shrinking violet)
Crunchy Catholicism dislikes all the other ‘C’ varieties of Catholicism, but it also loves them because it sees that in each of them there is also something crunchy and good. Crunchy Catholicism defies the pigeon holes, escapes the neat categories and refuses to live in a box.
Unless the box says, “Crunchy Catholicism”