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Should You Own the “Conservative” Catholic Label?

Should You Own the “Conservative” Catholic Label? November 29, 2021

In my introduction bio, I refer to myself as a Latin Rite “conservative” Catholic. I claim the label of “conservative” because that is what those who faithfully hold Catholic views are labeled by many in our current culture. I am “conservative” because I am Catholic. Here, I would like to unpack this “label” and how it is applied to Catholics like me.

Let me know if you want further elaboration on any of the below points.

Latin Rite Catholic

I am a Latin Rite Catholic. This means I accept the authority of the Roman Catholic Church and I worship within the Latin Rite Novus Order Mass. When I state I accept the authority of the Catholic Church, I mean it. No “cafeteria” Catholicism here. I do not pick and choose what “Catholic” teachings to accept and reject. The Church gives no third option to faithful Catholics. I accept Church authority, therefore labeled “conservative.”

Deposit of Faith

I seek to preserve and conserve the Deposit of Faith handed down by one generation of Christians to the next. This Deposit of  Faith is more than theological, it is also cultural. As I embrace the works of St. Augustine, St. Anselm, and St. Aquinas, I also revel in the artistic works of Michael Angelo, Leonardo DaVinci, and the musical genius of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In the deposit of literature, the classics of Dante’s Devine Comedy and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales provide endless inspiration. To cherish and promote great Western masters means to cherish and promote “conservatism.”

“Furthermore, the definition of ‘human’ depends not on development and location. I hold these views of Natural Law and so again labeled ‘conservative.'”

Natural Law

I embrace the rich, ethical tradition found in Natural Law. I believe that God has baked intrinsic values of right and wrong into reality itself. Such values are not created by societies or judges, but by God alone. Therefore, majority rule cannot amended these values. For example, no one can rewrite Natural Law to make women into men and men into women. Furthermore, the definition of “human” depends not on development and location. Natural Law also carries the labeled “conservative.”

Reconciliation 

I believe in the reality of personal sin. The individual sinner must take personal responsibility for the wrongs done and make amends to others and God. God provides the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the needed grace to reflect Christ’s love for the world. To make amends to God and others is likewise considered by many as “conservative.”

Responsibility

I believe in the final Judgement before God. I reject collectivism in all its forms. Each is responsible for his/her own actions. Societal sins and systematic sins lack actual existence in reality. Individuals sin. Groups of sinful people come together and do sinful things together, but only individuals are responsible for their own sin and judged accordingly. I reject collectivism and espouse individual responsibility, so therefore labeled “conservative.”

Charity

I believe in charity informed by wisdom. Each individual should reflect mercy and compassion. Pure religion, according to St. James,  is “to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27). We therefore must help those in need, while at the same time not enable bad behavior and irresponsibility; thus avoiding the stain of the world. This balance requires wisdom, continual prayer, and discernment. To seek accountability and transparency in charity similarly carries the label “conservative.”

Law, Order, and Taxes

I believe in the rule of law. God established governments to maintain just order (Romans 13). It is therefore our duty to obey laws and to support the government towards the common good. When the government enacts unjust laws against the common good, I must take a just and lawful stand. I must act within the law to work towards justices, especially for the most vulnerable. I must pay taxes, but when taxes go towards evil (such as abortion), I must also speak out and lawfully work to change this at all levels of government. As a US citizen, I have freedom of speech and can lawfully object and still operate within the proper order God has established. To take such a stance I am, once again, labeled a “conservative.”

I seek at all times to be a faithful Catholic. This is the only label truly claim. Whether or not other perceive me differently matters very little to me. I stand before God alone and trust in His mercy. Others may label me “conservative.” If the this label is due Catholic faithfulness, I accept it, too.

Thank you for reading.

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About Dennis Knapp
I am a "conservative" Latin Rite Roman Catholic. This blog will be devoted to my reflections on any and all theological, historical, political, and cultural issue that draw my attention. You can read more about the author here.

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