That Label Maker the Catholic Church…

… I don’t care much for labels. And I’m not just saying that because of the newest label given to me by some as Pope-Hating-Conservative Catholic. Yes, they can serve a purpose; identifying, understanding, and even unify sub-groups of things. However, in order to put ideas or persons into neat labeled groups means you must first divide them up. This dividing up into categories is contrary to the very word Catholic, which means “universal”.

Terry has a nice thought provoking post, as are most of his musing, on the matter of Catholic identity. Do we define ourselves by what we do, or in most cases, don’t do? I think it’s a shame that we’ve create all these subcategories within our faith to reflect back to ourselves our own ideologies. It’s a self centered way of defining what we believe.

Liberal Catholic, Conservative Catholic, Neo-Con Catholic, Trad Catholic, Rad-Trad Catholic, Liturgical Purist Catholic, Right Wing Catholic, Left Wing Catholic, CINO Catholic, Evangelical Catholic, Hypocritical Catholic, Narrow-Minded Catholic, Faithful Catholic, Dissident Catholic, Bat Shit Crazy Catholic…

You get the idea. How about we all just start with being fully Catholic and leave all the other labels to the Church Belligerent. I like what Simcha Fisher has to say on the subject of labels; “These labels are useful descriptors, up to a point, but none of these can describe a person in his entirety, and none should limit what we can expect out of ourselves.”

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • Maurisa Mayerle


  • Kathy B.

    Great post! Remember when it was so much more simple to do that? The benefits of
    the internet and social media have been huge. I have learned things
    about the Church that I might never have learned without them – and have
    been able to participate in ways that are truly amazing when you sit
    back and think about it at that level. But in other ways (more and more
    ways all the time unfortunately, it seems), we have pretty much rebuilt the Tower of
    Babel. If I remember correctly, there were some problems with that the first time around too….

  • David_Naas

    I looked at the categories on the linked post. Alas, nothing for Dances-With -Porcupines Catholic

    • TheodoreSeeber

      You’ve danced with porcupines too?

      That’s got to be the strangest animal I’ve ever dealt with. Downright mean in physical armament, but shy and more peaceful than a sloth.

      “Dancing with porcupines” is about what I’d call the time that I was working as a software engineer, and the wife of somebody on our team called about a porcupine outside of her office. We went out with brooms and a cat carrier I had been using as a trunk on my motorcycle, captured it, and release it out of town. I was finding quills in that cat carrier for weeks! But I could see why they were once prized as pens.

      • Fr. Denis Lemieux

        Porcupines are gentle and shy because they don’t have to be anything else – who messes with them? Skunks are the same, actually…

  • LisaTwaronite

    (Sigh.) The problem is, unless I label myself, it’s almost false advertising to describe myself as simply “Catholic.” I don’t want devout folks to think I’m a kindred spirit in every way — so it’s better to establish right away that I’m an outlier.

  • Barbara Fryman

    Perhaps we can ID ourselves by which part of the Body of Christ we are. Sadly, I think most will claim to be the brain while they more closely resemble the appendix….

    • alwr

      Wow…that is really harsh.

      • Barbara Fryman

        Sorry. I totally meant that tongue in cheek. I should have added a winkie face.

      • Katrina Fernandez

        I don’t think it was harsh at all. We need more hearts of the Church though. Definitely more heart.

  • niknac

    I never try to put a label on people but I got tired of being told I wasn’t a real Catholic and should go elsewhere, so I did.

    Where I go now we have woman priests, priests who can tell their sexuality like it is, people that don’t label others, joining in the community is the only credentials you need. All are welcome.

    I’m happy. The people that told me to leave got their way. Win-win.

    • Digital Hairshirt

      And you know what? At where you went, you still aren’t a real Catholic. I don’t say that to mean you shouldn’t be happy, but the fact is you left because either you or the Catholic Church was wrong. And you decided it had to be the Catholic Church because you are right.

  • Katherine

    If you are baptized and affirm you are Catholic, then you are Catholic. Period.

    • cathblax

      So if you pick and choose what you want to believe, not caring if the Catholic Church teaches it or denounces it, as long as you call yourself a Catholic then you are one? Sorry, I disagree.

      • Digital Hairshirt

        Nah, still a Catholic by Baptism. However, new label: Heretical Catholic. For whom we pray.

      • Katherine

        Well, a good Catholic doesn’t go aroudn speculating about the standing of other Catholics within in the Church. But he’s still a Catholic.

  • Quittin’ time at Tara!

    The differences in the people underneath these labels are very real, and often, very helpful, when navigating relationships/social connections these days. Unfortunate, but true. That’s just reality. Let’s not think of them as labels, but little, economical, self- declared creeds that do mean a world of difference. They are enormously helpful.

    Me? A Sad Trad. You know why.

  • Alex

    I think these labels are all symptoms of a general confusion about just what it means to be a Catholic in the post-Vatican II world.

  • Kathy B.

    Who do you think is more pleased when we label each other, God or Satan? Just saying.