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What is ‘AmChurch’?


The late author Malachi Martin coined ‘AmChurch’ as a contraction of ‘American Catholic Church’, because dissenters in the US dating back to the ’70s often identified themselves as ‘American Catholics’, opposing themselves to the Catholic magisterium, denoting those who follow the latter as ‘Roman Catholics’. (And conservative Roman Catholics in America have adopted the RC moniker gladly in this context.) AmChurch doesn’t mean ‘all Roman Catholics in America’.

A sampling of issues AmChurch dissents from orthodoxy on:

It is for artificial contraception and in extreme cases even is ‘pro-choice’ on abortion. There exists a splinter group called ‘Catholics for a Free Choice’, funded in part by Hugh Hefner of Playboy (that great promoter of chastity and respect for women), who are good for a media sound bite to stab the Church.

It is pro-women’s ordination. But because it doesn’t believe in the Sacrifice or Real Presence in the Eucharist like the Church does, it sees this issue instead as a front in Marxist-style power/class struggle between the sexes. Ecclesiastical liberals are the biggest clerical power-trippers who ever lived, and the feminists want to get themselves some. The orthodox, on the other hand, are not clericalist, but sacerdotalist.

Regarding the ‘gay lifestyle’ it throws the Bible and natural law/common sense out the window.

It rehashes 19th-century Protestant and early 20th-century Modernist skepticism about the dogmas of the faith (Jesus wasn’t really God, He didn’t rise from the dead, He didn’t found a Church, etc.).

It also copies Protestantism’s tired ‘social gospel’, deliberately confusing liberality/charity with liberalism/socialism and proclaiming the No. 1 mission of the Church is to ‘promote justice and peace’ (never mind all that spiritual mumbo-jumbo). The now passé flirtation with Communism called ‘liberation theology’ was part of this. Saying ‘¡Viva la revolución en (El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala... there was a succession of trendy countries)! made its proponents seem (com)passionate and charitable, and didn’t hit suburban North Americans where they live like ‘You can’t kill the unborn natural results of having sex’ does.

It either disdains Marian devotion (early-’70s priests ripped rosaries apart from the pulpit) or it perverts it into New Age goddess worship or Jungian-type symbolism. (The ‘type’ of the virgin mother goddess.)

Liturgically it usually is militantly anti-high church. It hates Godward traditional communal worship and turns services into this-worldly pep rallies for ‘community’. Hence the fanatical insistence that Mass MUST be ‘facing the people’. It favors liturgical innovation that goes against both 1) all the traditional rites, East and West, of the Church catholic and apostolic and 2) the rubrics and regulations issued by Rome regarding the Roman Rite. The unnecessary proliferation of lay Eucharistic ministers is a common example. Others include laity standing round the altar like concelebrants, lay ‘ministers’ holding up the Host or chalice with the priest at the elevations at Mass (such as at ‘This is the Lamb of God’) and laity walking up to the altar and communing themselves. (I personally have seen at least two of these.) More extreme, rarer examples would include (popular in the early ’70s) substituting secular writings for the biblical readings and using items other than bread and wine at the service.

It often is iconoclastic too, disdaining statues and other art in church.


Since 9th September 2002
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