Ojo: The "Cholo Word Of The Day" is simply for fun. This is not an academic exercise, therefore I do not spend much time checking for espelling or grammatical errors. Most of the words are not only used by "cholos," but by many people in S. Texas - and their usage can vary. c/s

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Kung Fu Catholics

I went to watch Kung Fu Hustle with some hipster friends last night. My ride made me run late, so in the rush to get inside the movie theater, I blindly led my friend into the wrong showing of the movie. It turns out the flick was showing on two screens, at 7 and 7:50. It was 8pm when we arrived at the theater so we thought the movie had just started. We walked in to the 7pm showing and consequently missed half of the show. We didn't realize till we walked into the lobby, to wait for our friends, who had so inconsideratly not waited for us. Ooops. Then we walked to the theater where we should have been and there they were - two seats, just waiting for us. Too bad we had already seen the 2nd half of the flick.

After the movie we went to have a couple of drinks at Manuel's, which happens to be in the same center as the theater. The conversation somehow led to religion. Two atheists and two catholics (I being a member of the latter). One of the a-friends started talking about cultural catholicism. Hmmm, I wonder if I'm a cultural catholic. This web site is pretty harsh of cultural catholics, but here's what they define it as:

The majority of Catholics in the world probably fit into the category of cultural Catholics. This group is unlike any other type we have considered above. Their identification as "Catholic" is simply more cultural and social than religious. They might rightly be called "womb to tomb Catholics." They often are born in a Hispanic, Irish, Polish, French, or Italian families -- and are therefore baptized, married, and buried in the Catholic church -- but have little or no concern about spiritual matters. Cultural Catholics do not understand Catholicism, nor do they seriously follow its ethical teaching. But they nevertheless have an emotional commitment to the Catholic church. When they attend Mass, it is out of habit or family obligation, not religious conviction. Being Catholic to them is essentially a cultural identity (they may even be secular or humanistic [or postmodernist] in their thinking). This is not unlike how some Jews are merely ethnically or culturally Jewish, rather than adherents to Judaism. It is also like the person who is Lutheran only because he happens to be born into a German family, or the Anglican who is only Anglican because she was born into a British family. You see, it happens in Protestantism as well. Nominal Catholics, like nominal Protestants, do not understand Christianity, and they do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. With all due respect, President John F. Kennedy would seem to have fit well the mold of a cultural Catholic.


The conversation was good, the different points of view interesting, and the chips and hot sauce satisfying. It made for an enjoyable evening.

6 Comments:

Blogger cindylu said...

Based on that definition, I don't consider myself at all a Cultural Catholic. I know that being Catholic comes from my culture, but I also really do understand a lot of what the Catholic church preaches. It's interesting that website mentioned "hispanic" Catholics since Latin Americans make up about half (or more?) of the world's Catholics. Looks like colonization worked.

11:35 AM

 
Blogger mariposatomica said...

So how was the flick? That's great when you can have friends share different perspectives and share some tasty snacks along the way.

2:35 PM

 
Blogger Cracked Chancla said...

that definition takes a lot of liberties and assumptions that annoy me. to say that all cultural catholics are not spiritual, nor do they have a relationship with jesus christ is a huge and unfair generalization.

9:23 PM

 
Blogger Aleksu said...

Well, I guess I could be considered a Cultural Catholic, after all, being half Basque/half Mexican provides you with plenty of relatives and friends that practice Catholicism.

Let me explain, I'm an Animist that time to time is forced to go to Weddings, Quinceaños, Christenings, and such. Heck, if I'm not mistaken, some güerquillo in Monterry has my name because I'm his Godfather.

Oh yeah, and there was a time when I was an Altar Boy, long time ago though.

11:59 PM

 
Blogger oso said...

Amazing. This is exactly what's been on my mind lately. More than what's been on my mind ... it has been consuming my life.

Since coming to Mexico, Catholicism has become part of my daily life. Part of my hourly life. More that just the "adios, gracias a dios, que vaya con dios" and more than just the slowing down in front of churches and doing the shoulder tapping, thumb kissing salute as you walk by ... more than all that, Catholicism becomes a part of almost every conversation, every belief, every action down here. Or at least that's the rhetoric.

And so I figured that if I'm going to be staying down here for a while, I better at least try to understand it.

But when I ask questions ... especially about the theology of the religion ... people just laugh me off as a crazy gringo and say I don't understand. The church is a way of organizing they tell me. The way of agreeing on a common moral code.

If I ask them if they believe that the Pope is God's chosen representative or if they believe in heaven and hell, they shrug it off like it doesn't matter. What matters is you go to church with your family on Sunday.

Of course you can't generalize all catholics (just like you can't generalize post-modernists ... which he does a very poor job of in my opinion) but from my perspective, he's right on in describing catholicism as a culture rather than a religion for many people.

10:13 AM

 
Blogger oso said...

Amazing. This is exactly what's been on my mind lately. More than what's been on my mind ... it has been consuming my life.

Since coming to Mexico, Catholicism has become part of my daily life. Part of my hourly life. More that just the "adios, gracias a dios, que vaya con dios" and more than just the slowing down in front of churches and doing the shoulder tapping, thumb kissing salute as you walk by ... more than all that, Catholicism becomes a part of almost every conversation, every belief, every action down here. Or at least that's the rhetoric.

And so I figured that if I'm going to be staying down here for a while, I better at least try to understand it.

But when I ask questions ... especially about the theology of the religion ... people just laugh me off as a crazy gringo and say I don't understand. The church is a way of organizing they tell me. The way of agreeing on a common moral code.

If I ask them if they believe that the Pope is God's chosen representative or if they believe in heaven and hell, they shrug it off like it doesn't matter. What matters is you go to church with your family on Sunday.

Of course you can't generalize all catholics (just like you can't generalize post-modernists ... which he does a very poor job of in my opinion) but from my perspective, he's right on in describing catholicism as a culture rather than a religion for many people.

10:13 AM

 

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