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Catholicism is America!

America was once a Protestant country. However that may be today, polling results confirm that Catholicism has become an American religion—indeed, as a sociological matter, largely identical to an increasingly secular Americanism. Thus, one recent report finds that 69% of white, non-Hispanic Catholics (compared with 43% of Protestants and 28% of white evangelicals) think of themselves as Americans first and Christians second, 46% (compared with 65% of Protestants and 79% of white evangelicals) find religion “very important” in their lives, and 60% (more than any other major religious group) believe that homosexuality should be socially accepted as a way of life.

So what does it All Mean? Dunno, but here are some possibilities:

  • Catholics mostly live in big secular cities, so they pick up secular urban attitudes.
  • What’s distinctive about America is mostly American Protestantism. It all started at Plymouth Rock. Catholics don’t have that background, so they act more like Europeans.
  • American identity is not an issue for Protestants, so they pay attention to other things. Catholics feel they have something to prove, so they become super-Americanists.
  • Catholics leave grand dogma up to other people, and concentrate on family and business. When the Church has social authority they accept Church dogma. When someone else has social authority they accept someone else’s dogma. And when Father Bob downplays traditional Catholic belief they see no reason to stick with it.
  • Vatican II, as a sociological event, destroyed everything in the Church capable of forming the people and replaced it with nothing.




At the moment it’s Father Bob who bothers me the most. What, as one of Father Bob’s parishioners, can I do about him?

In the grand scheme of things Summorum Pontificum etc. may eventually turn things around but it’s hard to live in the grand scheme of things. I suppose what to do mostly depends on specifics:

  • Is Fr. Bob impossible to talk to? Are his views settled and armor-plated? Is everything in the parish as bad as everything else? Does he stomp on all non-Bobbish developments? What would happen if you volunteered for things or went to him and said “I’m attached to the old form of the Mass, I’d like to see if we’ve got a stable group here that wants it, could I post something on the bulletin board”?
  • A problem with “work within the system” advice is that a lot of us are mediocre Catholics and need all the help we can get. In that case, or if Fr. Bob makes you think too many bad thoughts, is there another parish that’s better? In an extreme case, a Mass in a language you don’t understand so you can’t tell what the guy’s saying?

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

Here in Australia we really do have a Fr. Bob.

He’s in Melbourne (thankfully, as I’m in Sydney), and even did several stints on John Safran’s irreverent TV programmes.

Safran’s web site is here:

On one occasion, when he was asked about the Vatican, he answered: “every organisation needs a bureaucracy.”

His web site is here:

This is one of the most terrifying posts I have read in a long time.