From time to time religion as a topic does come up on the web with me. I have no problem freely describing myself as an "ex-Catholic", but it doesn't sit too well with some people. But that is what I am, I am an ex-catholic as I have not practiced Catholicism in over 13 years.
You of course then deal with people uttering that nonsensical phrase "Once a Catholic, always a Catholic." To which I usually respond with "Once a Catholic? Sure. But never again."
Upon queuing this matter on another forum, it was suggest by a user who happens to be an atheist; that it is difficult to totally abandon Catholic culture. But what is this Catholic culture exactly? Does Catholicism even have a culture at all? I would have thought the Catholic culture would mainly consist of community church activities, which I have no association with whatsoever.
What is this Catholic culture? I can't even define what exactly that would entail.
People like labels.
If you were born in the US, your parents were born in the US, your grand parents were born in the US...but, you look Chinese....someone might ask you if you are from Korea or China for example.
If you say, New York, they say, no, where did your parent's come from then? NY
No, OK, I mean your grand parents,...NY
No, that's not what I mean, where did your ancestors come from originally? Africa.
Really? Wait, no, that's not what I mean...and so forth and so on.
It like that with religion too.
What is your religion? Atheist.
No, I mean what were you before you were an atheist? A child.
No, what were your parents? Catholic.
OHHH, so you're catholic, why didn't you just say so?
and so on.
And, there are ethnic-like aspects to religions as well. Traditions, holidays, types of food associated with the cultures.
Most of us tend to maintain the cultural associations long after we've dropped the basis for them.
For me, as an example, I don't celebrate Saturnalia, or the birth of Christ, etc, but I do enjoy xmas and the way the family gets together on it, the tree decorating, etc. Its not a religious holiday for me, any more than it was Saturnalia for my parents, but it brings back nice memories, and I just like it.
So, I suppose that how ever you are raised, that's the base-line culture.
I know some "Ex-XXX" religious friends who are now atheists, but still are culturally Jewish, or Muslim, or Catholic, etc...but it means different things to each of them.
Some things that are actually universal are attributed to a group, because that's who the examples were at the time.
Mothers for example, most kids have one that I knew at least, at least for a while, and, the Jewish kids say, you know how Jewish moms are, at the table, they just keep stuffing you, etc...and the Italian, German, Russian, Japanese, etc, kids all say that about THEIR ethnicity's moms...'cause its really just "moms", that tend to do that...except maybe in South Sudan, Rwanda, etc....but they would if they could.
I would say that from my upbringing that Catholics share common experiences and to some extent a certain outlook on life as taught by the church.
Nuns, gothic churches, organ music, guilt, confession, rosary beads, the handshake, the parking lot rush, purgatory, midnite mass, the double money basket on a stick, and a certain "i don't really believe a lot of this" all come to mind.
Most accept the corruption and are happy to look the other way.
oh almost forgot the done-like chanting of the mass and the sick/death candles
It's true, people like the labels. I think of it as how ingrained is our human need for "identity" within our social circle, which also tends to include "assumed context" during conversations, and not just wrt religion, but any kind of sharable cultural experience.
It just so happens that religion is at the top of a lot of people's "should be concerned about" list, even we atheists (because of all those ardent theists out there). While in Tennessee, I was treated for the first time to a culturally local brand of context when often asked while meeting a stranger trying to break the ice: "So what charch do ya go tah?".
What is this Catholic culture?
It's a culture where the leaders do everything they can to protect the image and reputation of the church. A protectionist culture. That's probably not exactly what you mean, but I'll get to that too... Every group has a certain culture, consisting of shared memes and/or activities. Sometimes, like for catholics, the culture is so similar to the larger culture of society that it is difficult to distinguish. Take christmas for example: It has a totally different meaning for me than it does for my christian neighbours, yet we both put up a tree, and we both exchange gifts with our families.
If you've been baptized into Catholicism and haven't been excommunicated, I suppose you're still a Catholic in that sense.
I think a lot of lapsed Catholics still deal with echoes of church policy and teachings. Maybe they agree with the pro-choice concept but feel a bit of discomfort over it, for example. Ditto for LGBT. If they are against capital punishment, maybe that belief is more comfortable for because they grew up in a church that opposed it.
I suppose it's possible that a person can fully leave a religion, but still be affected by their upbringing in that culture. I left Baptist more than 40 years ago, but still feel some of the guilt, at times self-loathing, distrust for authority, resentment, and avoidance of the place where I grew up. I don't consider myself Baptist or even ex-Baptist at this point, decades later. At times, anti-Baptist.
People are going to say whatever they want. People who insist you are a cultural catholic can expend their energies on something more important. It seems to me they are just people who want to make a useless point and argue for the sake of argument.
I'm an ex-Christian and there are echoes of what I learned from my Christian parents. They were not the hell and brimstone type of Christians. They were more about the Golden Rule and tolerance and emulating their vision of Jesus as depicted in such stories as the "Let he who is free of sin, let him be the one to cast the first stone" parable.
My main beef with Christianity and all theistic religions is about the existence of God. They may still have good features worth preserving.
Other people were raised in a different kind of Christianity and I recognize that.
"Christianity" seems, to me, based upon what people tend to keep saying about their personal beliefs vs what the book they think they base their beliefs ON, is that most of them are merely culturally members of "their religion", but do not actually believe what they would officially believe if required to conform to what their religion's beliefs ARE.
They all tend to SAY that their beliefs DO at least correlate to their "religion"...because, mostly, they don't actually know WHAT their religion says they are supposed to believe, just snippets of sermons, etc....that they resonated with or rejected. They ignore the rejected parts and keep the resonant parts.
That leads to statements such as "I'm a good catholic, I go to church and confession regularly, tithe, etc, but the priest better chip in to send the extra kids to college, etc, if he wants us to stop using condoms...and the Pope is definitely not god's representative here on earth, and its stupid to pray to saints, and so forth.
So, most people think they belong because NOT belonging would scare the shit out of them.
Most people never even question what "they believe", and their religion is more akin to what team they are on, than a belief system.
Some do question their beliefs, and change religions, typically because something resonates with them better, etc. Some change their religion because a spouse/GF/BF etc, won't marry them unless they "convert", or, demands/requests it "For the children" and so forth.
So, if you love chocolate, and your GF loves vanilla, but won't marry anyone who doesn't ALSO love vanilla, you don't, typically, need to undergo a "conversion". In fact, except for religion, and some sports team fans, NO requirements for a formal agreement to "change what you believe" tend to be mandatory for a relationship.
So, if the girl is a yankees fan and the guy is a mets fan, and the GF says she would only marry him if he roots for the yankees, and he goes to yankees games with her, wears a yankee jersey, etc...he might agree, and, there would be no ceremony or official acknowledgement required, he would simply say, sure, we can go to yankees games , etc.
If it were a religion though, typically there would ALSO need to be a ceremony, and so forth...because its NOT "just changing what you believe", its joining a cult.
The Cult Ture you join is what is your baseline.
I'm not proposing a correction here... it just became more interesting than I expected.
I looked up Ture with my inline dictionary and got:
tureGârbău is a commune in Cluj County, Romania. It is composed of five villages: Corneşti, Gârbău, Nădăşelu, Turea and Viştea.
I do that too.
The "ture" was just to preserve the pronunciation, vs cult ure.
Born, Baptized, Confirmed,raised and schooled under the Catholic Banner, and then Public High School infested with sinful girls...I was saved. :)