A recent article by David R. Carlin on InsideCatholic and the dialogue in the com-boxs below seem to demonstrate some of the limitations of our labels. Todd, an experienced voice in these debates (read the posts through the 40's) heads up the "liberal-Catholic" defense against Carlin's allegation that liberal-Catholics have:
Todd in particular, and others raise some substantive points, but much of the com-box chatter revolves around the labels and what they mean. It is clear that Carlin is using liberal as a shorthand for a particular group of activists within (or on the fringe, or on the cutting edge) the Church. The near equivocation between liberal-Catholicism and secularism makes matters worse.
- de-emphasized Catholicism's supernaturalistic elements (for secularism is resolutely naturalistic);
- amended Catholicism's super-strict sexual morality (for secularism is sexually permissive);
- stressed the social-justice aspects of Catholic morality (for secularism is a great believer in a form of social justice);
- embraced, albeit while misunderstanding, Catholicism's teaching about the ultimate authority of conscience (for secularism strongly believes in something it calls "conscience"); and
- rejected the notion that the leaders of the Church (i.e., popes and bishops) are entitled to teach with authority (for secularism is strongly anti-authoritarian).When you make these amendments to Catholicism, you get Catholic liberalism, a religion strikingly different from historical Catholicism; a religion, moreover, that is moving on a slippery slope toward outright atheism.
Actually, using secular terms like liberal and conservative to define Catholic viewpoints is part of the confusion. I'd say it is just as difficult for 'conservative' Catholics to filter secular thinking out as it is for 'liberal' Catholics.
What am I? I am a Catholic and I have really grown to dislike labels. Every label covers up as much information as it provides and carries all sorts of assumptions. My faith as a Catholic is a journey, and I have been down some roads through all of these territories.
I think it would be more helpful to identify with Saints, devotions, prayers, and books fill our Catholic lives. Even the absence of most or all of these communicates volumes about what kind of Catholic one might be.
I'll go: I am a Slave of Mary (St. Louis Marie de Montfort) St. Jude, St. Francis, Charles de Foucauld, St. Michael, St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa, St. Therese. Devotions: Our Lady of Sorrows, the Rosary, Liturgy of the Hours, daily Mass. Books: The Imitation of Christ, The Cloud of Unknowing. Authors and Noted: Jacques Martain, Dorothy Day, Peter Marin, James Schall, Scott Hahn, Ralph Martin, Sr. Ann Shields.There's a lot more, but that provides a general flavor. I am just plain Catholic and I'll take ALL of it. God, through the sacrafice of your Son Jesus Christ, change our hearts that we may be ONE.