Conservative and Liberal Catholic Etiquette Tips Provided

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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.

This post lifted from The Ironic Catholic


  1. Friar Rick, you didn’t put a hat tip in, where’d you get this from? It looks like someone with a very good sense of humour.

  2. Michael… This is the second swipe you’ve taken at Opus Dei. I have know two beautiful families in this organization and last year I attended their national meeting at Roy Thompson Hall. From my friends and those members I met there, I ‘ve developed a great fondness and admiration for the joy and deep spirituality of their charism. Do you know any Opus Dei members? Have you read John Allen’s well received new book on Opus Dei? I’m just wondering where your anger and negativity stems from.

  3. This is a good joke Fr. Rick and a good sign of a Church being human… Is n’t it great? It helps us to understand each other including the “Opus Dei” and be more inclusive. See what lesson we can get even from the “funniest joke?”

  4. Can you truly be a Catholic and label yourself a liberal? Maybe if you’re not pro-choice and pro-gay unions, and instead are all for God in our social lives…

    but heck, then you’d be a conservative!

  5. Hello!!!! Can you be conservative and be a Catholic? I guess if you’re not pro-death penalty and pro-discrimination.

    I guess the point is that labeling people is not that helpful. I know lots of “liberals” who are rigid, rubrical and conservative when it suits them (including me) and others who are conservative when it comes to church matter but quite laissez-faire when it comes to their own responsibility and “private” lives. I guess, Mary Jo Leddy is correct, the terms liberal/conservative are about the past. We are being called in this society to be Evangelical… in the true sense.

  6. Everyone knows this is a joke, right? There are caricatures and exaggerations galore! My favorite is “My Jesuit professor said..” mainly because like a few of those lines, they correspond to reality in some areas of the world.

    “I guess, Mary Jo Leddy is correct, the terms liberal/conservative are about the past.”
    Are they though? Forgetting the fact that these terms fail at precision sometimes, in what way are they no longer applicable to today’s Church?

    “We are being called in this society to be Evangelical… in the true sense.”
    Can you explain this phrase a little? I don’t think I’m the only one who’s waiting for “Evangelical in the true sense” to be interpreted by its author.

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