Thursday, September 14, 2006

Conservative and Liberal Catholic Etiquette Tips Provided

Chicago, IL: In the spirit of dialogue, a local parish group has presented some "guidelines for conversation" between the self-identified conservative and liberal factions of the Church. In addition, they have provided "opening statements to dialogue" that should be avoided.

"We were inspired by the late Cardinal Bernardin's Common Ground Initiative to keep the lines of communication and wisdom open, but kept running into roadblocks in actual practice of that. So we created this pamphlet that we hope will get placed in every Church foyer. If we are all different parts of the Body of Christ, we must get past the first volleys and into real conversation," said Maria German, a member of St. Irenaeus parish.

The guidelines to entering conversation, according to the pamphlet, revolve around the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. However, it is the "opening statements to be avoided" that is attracting some attention outside the parish. Examples of the opening statements to be avoided are:

Conservative Openings to Liberals

  • Are you orthodox? I mean, really.
  • What kind of heretic are you, anyway? Classic heretic or new age wingnut?
  • To which degree to you bow before the Blessed Sacrament?
  • I'll bet I can beat you at our Church's Catechism Bowl.
  • You know, I was reading a little Canon Law yesterday....
  • Opus Dei is getting completely persecuted in the media.
  • Let's talk liturgical music!

Liberal Openings to Conservatives

  • Spit out that slave-trade coffee, you child-labor-loving freak.
  • So, just how much do you hate women?
  • I really love the blue advent vestments, don't you?
  • Let me pull out my up-to-date poverty statistics pie charts to aid our opening prayer.
  • I'd like to share the seven Catholic Social Teaching principles with you, since you obviously don't know them.
  • My Jesuit professor said....
  • Let's talk liturgical music!

"People have been enthusiastic," said Ms. German. "Even just recognizing that certain statements are 'hot button' ones has gone a long way. Starting our dialogue with discussing the weather over a donut is a move in the right direction."

The full pamphlets are available through the parish's office.

(Thanks for the idea, hubby!)


Anonymous said...

I am TOTALLY wanting to have a Catechism Bowl at our parish now! Of course, I'm not sure how that would go or who would know answers, but wouldn't that be fun?

-Christine the Soccer Mom

CMinor said...

I especially appreciated the point about liturgical music--can't we all just get along???

Ray from MN said...


I believe you left out a couple of other etiquette tips (with a little bit of local flavor for me) to be avoided:

Things not to say to Liberals:

"Do you wear a black or a white mantilla at Mass?"

"St Agnes is having a Corpus Christi Procession after their Latin Mass. Want to come with me?"

Things not to say to Conservatives:

"I thought the pita bread at church yesterday was stale."

"Would you like to come to St Joanie's Sunday morning to hear Sr Chittester talk?"

Julie D. said...

Too, too funny, especially the liturgical music bit!

Girard said...

True my niece's baptism, my sister's father-in-law (father of the baptized girl) was introduced to me and my wife, who teaches theology at a Catholic college. When he found out about that, he barks at her, "Do you teach orthodox doctrine?" Not ten seconds after being introduced!

How are you supposed to answer that? "No, I'm a heretic"? She tried for humor -- "Um, most of the time, ha ha" -- but he only frowned.

In retrospect, I wish I'd asked him whether he cheats on his taxes (he was an IRS auditor).

Girard said...

Oops, should have said GRANDFATHER of the baptized girl!!! Yikes!

RobK said...

THis is so funny. I hope folks on both sides can laugh at themselves. Maybe then we can actually get on being the Body of Christ.

Of course, we should remind people that all conversations should probably happen in the vernacular as not all people understand Latin (for the right).

And for the left, if everyone at the talk speaks English, we don't need it biligual in Spanish too.

Micha Elyi said...

Speaking of liturgical music, after having attended masses with pop music by Peter, Paul and Mary (e.g. Blowin' in the Wind) and Simon and Garfunkel (Bridge Over Troubled Water), I see no grounds for Church hierarchs to refuse the use of the classic Wagner and Mendelsson processional marches at a nuptial mass.

Rock Harbor Grandpa said...

Is not the distinction between "Conservative" vs. "Liberal" Catholic based on reasoning. One group, the L's, test reality through "their own reasoning", while our "C" brothers and sister, accept the dictates and reasoning of the organized Church. Both claim good sense, but often contract in their conclusions. Mother Church is still reacting to Luther and the absolutist are paranoid with the seeping in of different points of view. Is it my soul or our soul? My loving God or Our loving God! My salvation or Our salvation?

Anabelle said...

Oh this is funny! Having been on both sides of the camp, I've actually said most of those things!

CatholicMinded But Uncultured said...

We need a Catholic Convert guide to both Liberal and Conservative Catholic conversations. I left my protestant church so that I could stop arguing about the style of the Church music. I don't really understand the basis or context for why any of these statements would lead to arguments.