Catholic Liberal or Liberal Catholic

From Mark Gordon at Vox Nova:

There is a distinction to be made, I think, between “Catholic liberals” and “liberal Catholics.” I interpret the former in a distinctly political sense and the latter in a decidedly theological sense. A Catholic liberal is one whose political views tend to the left side of the American political spectrum. A liberal Catholic is one whose views of Church teaching fall outside the orbit of what might be called “orthodoxy.” A Catholic liberal might be one who, for instance, favors single-payer universal healthcare, while a liberal Catholic might be one who favors the ordination of women. The extent to which many Catholic liberals are also liberal Catholics is, in my mind, a further manifestation of the blurring of our language, both political and theological, brought about by Roe v. Wade. In the heyday of the Catholic Church in America, most leading lights in the Church were both politically liberal and theologically “conservative,” in the general sense of simple orthodoxy.

I think the same distinctions between “Catholic conservative” and “conservative Catholic,” with the former denoting an adherence to the conservative political agenda and the latter referring to an orthodox adherence to Church teaching. I suppose that these days that would make me both a “conservative Catholic” and a “Catholic liberal,” which is why I simply prefer the term, “Catholic.”

3 Responses to Catholic Liberal or Liberal Catholic

  1. Daniel Zamora says:

    My favorite is the pro-choice, anti-death penalty person. Or conversely, the pro-life, pro-death penalty person. Kind of like being pro Occupy Wall Street whilst also being a proponent of laissez-faire capitalism. Laugh out loud illogical.

    I’m liberal on economic issues (social justice), conservative on social issues (life). Jesus tells us to take care of the poor; Jesus tells us to value human life. Honestly, is there really any other way to look at it . . . as a Catholic? In the end, I like the term “Catholic.”

    Love the blog!


  2. Anonymous says:

    Sure there are other ways to look at it, Daniel. If one HONESTLY believes that interventionist economic policies are the driving force between jobs going over seas and the high unemployment rate, then one would be a laissez-faire capitalist for the sake of the middle class. Economics and faith is a tricky issue.

    • Daniel says:

      Of course, I couldn’t agree more. I was speaking a little tongue-in-cheek when I said “is there really any other way to look at it.” In my humble opinion, the life issue is not tricky when it comes to faith, but indeed, economics is.

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