Re: Self Introduction

Randal Allison (rallison@MAIL.MYRIAD.NET)
Fri, 16 Aug 1996 09:29:41 -0500

>Alright, I'll bite - what is "folk catholicism"?
>- Adrienne
>an ex Catholic who thought she knew _all_things Catholic
I'd define it as the way in which Catholicism is actually practiced
in most of the world, as opposed to the officially sanctioned forms and
rules. For instance, the Umbanda cult of Brazil melds Roman Catholic
traditions with West African animism, European spiritualism, and native
religious practices. Rather than recognizing and relying on the strict
pantheon of Catholic saints, the spirits of whores, old slaves, indians,
workers, housewives, &c, are incorporated, channeled, and called upon to
answer needs. BUT, these people, like many others who practice some form of
syncretised Catholicism, consider themselves good Catholics. Same thing
happens with Haitian Vodoun. You've probably heard the Haitian saying,
"Haiti is 90% Catholic, and 100% Vodoun." Unlike the fundamentalist groups
that have moved into the circum-Caribbean, Central, and South American
regions, there is at least some tacit approval on the part of the Catholic
church for native practises to be allowed. The hope is, as it has been since
Catholicism began to spread, that these practices would eventually be
replaced. Witness the evolution of the Winter Solstice celebrations of the
Celts into Christmas.


Randal Allison, Ph.D.
---Never use a big word when a diminutive alternative will suffice---