OK. Ok. Reading CMR recently, one can get pretty easily get a “we’re all heading to Hell in a handbasket” feeling pretty easily. But today I’m going to lighten your load a wee bit and suggest that we might just have our hands on the controls of this handbasket and we should all be getting ready for a big fat neck snapping 180. See, I’m optimistic like that. And I’m not alone.
CNS reports on a Zogby poll that indicates that progressive Catholics are pretty darn pessimistic about the Church’s future while those Catholics describing themselves as Orthodox are pretty optimistic. Yup. I’m thinking that’s good news:
Those Catholics who identified themselves as progressive were more likely to be pessimistic; even so, on this issue they were a minority within their group. Four percent were very pessimistic about the church’s future and 36 percent were somewhat pessimistic.
By contrast, those who identified themselves as “orthodox” Catholics were much more optimistic. Only 6 percent of that group said they were somewhat pessimistic, and just 1 percent very pessimistic.
That’s 40 percent of progressive Catholics who are at least somewhat pessimistic about the Church’s future compared to just seven percent of Orthodox. Hey, that’s gotta be worth more than a little schadenfreude, right?
I’m thinking the two facts are connected. I remember speaking to a liberal Jesuit I know a few years ago and he despaired how the young Jesuits and seminarians were all so “ultra conservative.” He despaired over the future of the Church. I wonder if the next generation of optimistic orthodox Catholics are actually the cause of the pessimism of the progressive Catholics in this poll? Well…us and Pope Benedict, of course.
The bit of bad news is that those calling themselves progressive was 20 percent of respondents. Only eleven percent self-identified as orthodox. Then you had these classifications which I’ve got to tell you I couldn’t figure out: Evangelical Catholic, Fundamentalist Catholic, and born-again Catholic.
April 16, 2009 at 3:37 am
hey! ive been called a fundamentalist catholic before by my ultra liberal mother in law! now i see where i fit in in the scheme of things! thank god, i have a label at last!
April 16, 2009 at 3:48 am
I’ve been accused of being a fanatical uber-religious Catholic zealot – I know! Can you believe it?!? – but I don’t see that category in the poll results. So I’ll just latch on to the ‘Orthodox’ group.
April 16, 2009 at 4:14 am
I got your last three labels all figured out: Protestant, Protestant, and Protestant.
April 16, 2009 at 6:21 am
This correlation between orthodoxy and “optimism” is not a big surprise: I think it comes in part from the comfort we derive from dogma (as opposed to fashion and feeling) – GKC wrote about this often.
We have a guarantee that the Holy Spirit runs the Church, against which the gates of hell will not prevail, and that all things work together for good to those who love God. For the strong believer, this is better than any amount of optimism: it is hope.
April 16, 2009 at 7:11 am
I’m not so sure how optimistic I am about this survey. Also in the survey:
“Asked about weekly Mass attendance, 58.3 percent of the Catholics polled said it was important, with only 30.1 percent calling it very important.”
– Roughly 70 percent don’t understand it is a Mortal Sin to miss Mass.
“More than 87 percent of all respondents said the sacraments were important to their Catholic faith, with 64.4 percent calling them very important.”
– This should be 100 percent. The Sacraments are one of the biggest things that makes Catholics different from Protestants. Sacraments are the CENTER of a Catholic’s life. This is downright embarrassing.
There’s some other disturbing findings, but I found this one kinda humorous:
“With the survey taken at the beginning of Lent, respondents were asked what they were giving up for the liturgical season.
The largest percentage, 26.5 percent, said they weren’t giving up something but were focusing on adding good things. That answer was followed by what people said they were giving up: “eating meat on Fridays” (17.4 percent); “nothing” (16.6 percent); “candy/cookies/junk food” (12.1 percent); “not sure” (8.9 percent); and such bad habits as arguing and cursing (8 percent).”
– 17.4 percent think doing what they are obligated to do under Church law is now a voluntary thing? Honestly, if someone answered this question by saying “eating meat on Fridays” they actually fit into the “nothing” category.
April 16, 2009 at 10:02 am
I don’t know what a fundamentalist Catholic is either, but my wife is definitely a born-again Catholic. I think this latter category refers to converts that were, say, born into a Southern Baptist tradition and then came home later in life.
April 16, 2009 at 1:47 pm
Anyone who has spent much time in the company of progressives knows that narcissistic loathing and despair of all things human is a feature, not a bug.
April 16, 2009 at 3:21 pm
David Currie, a very orthodox convert, wrote a book called “Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic”, and I imagine he coined the term. He is definitely no longer a Protestant.
Great read, btw.
April 16, 2009 at 7:56 pm
Pessimism is the produce of progressivism.
Try saying that five times fast.
April 17, 2009 at 4:02 pm
My parents, my wife and my inlaws call me a fundamentalist catholic and tell me i should stop being orthodox. Its a lonely road but then the bible said that it would be this way.
April 17, 2009 at 4:03 pm
I have a note to say about Sunday Mass.
It is a mortal sin to miss mass, it is not a mortal sin to not receive communion on Sunday at mass if you are in mortal sin.
May 6, 2009 at 11:48 pm
you are a dick