“Are you kidding me?” I’ll respond. “Just like Baskin-Robbins, Catholics come in many flavors.”
So to prove my point, here is my humorous attempt at identifying some of the flavors of Catholics in America today. I’ve started a list with ten. See if you agree with my assessment. You might be able to add even more. Let’s go:
1. The C&E Catholic– This is the Catholic who goes to church only twice a year, Christmas and Easter. They figure if you cover Jesus’s birth and resurrection, all the other stuff in the middle is just filler. And, everyone knows that these are the holidays when you get nice gifts, or at least, some chocolate bunnies.
2. The Match ‘em, Hatch ‘em, and Dispatch ‘em Catholic- The only time you see these Catholics in church, are ahead of a bride, behind a casket, or at a baptism. All three usually involve a reception, party or at the very least a mercy meal!
3. The Dine and Dash Catholic- These Catholics are at mass every Sunday, but not for the entire mass. They usually strategically place themselves so that they can receive communion, then dash for the door before the final prayer and closing hymn. They usually will moan some lane excuse about the parking problem, but in reality, they just want to beat the crowd to get a seat at Denny’s before the rest of the congregation gets out of the parking lot. And, many of them are firmly convinced that the Methodist minister down the road ends his service five minutes before the Catholic mass, so that his congregation can get first dibs on the seats at Waffle House. By dashing, they can beat both their own congregation and those darn Methodists and avoid the 30 minute wait for Sunday breakfast.
4. The Nice at Mass, but Run You over Catholic- Not as blatant as the Dine and Dash Crowd, they stay for the concluding hymn, but don’t dare get in their way in the parking lot. They might be Christians, but they know that the seating is limited at the Perkins Pancake House and have a good idea that the Dine and Dash crowd is already seated and ordering their omelets.
5. Sign Language Catholics– They aren’t really signing the mass for the deaf, but you might get that impression. They have a gesture for every response. You know the Catholics that do the big arm swing for the “and with your spirit.” And, speaking of arms, they really lift “them up to the Lord.” And their “orante posture” during the Lord’s Prayer is a sight to behold.
6. The Sing Poorly but Loudly Catholic- They are the ones who appear to be auditioning for American Idol, and really think they are the next Whitney Houston or Michael Bolton. But, usually they are the only person in church who doesn’t hear their out of key, pitchy, and disruptive wailing!
7. The excessive Sign of Peace Catholic- Do you really need to shake hands with the entire congregation. When you leave your section, cross the isle and continue the handshake until after the communion hymn has ended, I thing that might be a little too friendly.
8. The Free Coffee and Doughnut Fellowship Catholics– These Catholics know the week and times of every free coffee and doughnuts, after mass, event. They never miss. You don’t see them at the Sunday masses without the free coffee and doughnuts, and occasionally they will come late for mass or even skip it, but show up for the doughnuts any way. They are hated by the Dine and Dash crowd, because they always park their cars blocking in at least a dozen cars until all the doughnuts are gone!
9. The I Wish the Mass was in Latin Catholic- These Catholics do not like anything about the church since Vatican II. They think that if the mass were only in Latin, all of the world’s problems would end. And, some of them are young enough, they never attended a Tridentine Mass, but they wish they had.
10.The More Catholic than the Pope Catholics– These Catholics know the G.I.R.M. by heart. And, they know the difference between the 2003, 2007 and the 2010 versions of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. They are more than willing to point out to the parish priest or anyone else who will listen, the litany of liturgical abuses at the parish.
I am certain there are many other groups. And, I invite you to have fun and e-mail me your additions. I’ll update our list to include yours!
And you thought all Catholics were alike! Now you know better.
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