… Let’s chat about the use of the term “evangelical”, which here in the Southern US can be perceived as an insult. “Evangelical” is typically associated with charismatic Catholics and their habit of bringing protestant worship practices with them during conversion. To be called an “evangelical” is to be called a “charismatic” and that is something very much frowned upon by “traditional” orthodox, little “o”, loving Catholics. Not to be confused with the term “neo-con” Catholic, which I never understood anyway. “Neo-con” is a vague political term usually used by conservatives toward other “conservatives” that don’t hold their same opinions and ideologies. Goodness, so many parentheses and labels!
The whole idea of an “evangelical” Catholic, or the use of the term, can turn many people off. However, author John L Allen Jr, looks to define the term another way. Does he succeed? Personally, I think he confuses semantics with ecclesiastical meanings. He writes;
Defining Evangelical Catholicism
“Evangelical Catholicism” is a term being used to capture the Catholic version of a 21st century politics of identity, reflecting the long-term historical transition in the West from Christianity as a culture-shaping majority to Christianity as a subculture, albeit a large and influential one. I define Evangelical Catholicism in terms of three pillars:
A strong defense of traditional Catholic identity, meaning attachment to classic markers of Catholic thought (doctrinal orthodoxy) and Catholic practice (liturgical tradition, devotional life, and authority).
Robust public proclamation of Catholic teaching, with the accent on Catholicism’s mission ad extra, transforming the culture in light of the Gospel, rather than ad intra, on internal church reform.
Faith seen as a matter of personal choice rather than cultural inheritance, which among other things implies that in a highly secular culture, Catholic identity can never be taken for granted. It always has to be proven, defended, and made manifest.
I believe words mean something. You can’t just change their meaning to suit your points. “Evangelical” has a very clearly defined meaning. It is a term associated with Protestantism, not Catholicism. If I went to mass one Sunday and starting calling people “evangelical” there would be a brawl.
Aside from the attempted re-defining of a very protty term, the article is excellent and well worth the read. Other points are made; he discusses the lose of our Catholic identity, once referred to as “cultural Catholicism”. More parentheses, I know.
What do you think? “Evangelical” Catholics? Yay or Nay?