cap 2 just solidifies this post
I was telling my friend about how much these tags put me in mind of Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox from In the Woods, and suddenly I realized that they both have a third friend named Sam and that Natasha appears under mysterious circumstances involving undercover work gone wrong, and that Steve lost his old-school childhood and his two best friends (the guy who was almost his brother and the girl he could have ended up with) and now he’s trapped in the modern age and his fatal flaw is nostalgia and living in the past, and they’re all soldiers, and this is ridiculous catch me I’m falling.
Meriam Ibrahim, the woman who was sentenced to death in Sudan for refusing to renounce her Christian faith, arrived Thursday in Italy and met with Pope Francis in the Casa Santa Marta. During the meeting, she was accompanied by her family: Husband Daniel Wani, Martin (a year and a half), and Maya, born in prison two months ago. (News.va)
You gave to me all I know
I will stay here, I will not go….
Remember the Sudanese pregnant mother who was sentenced to death for converting to Christianity? She had to have her baby in jail and thanks to social media support, international outcry and prayers, she was finally released.
She was invited to Rome by the Vatican & Italian government. She had a private meeting with Pope Francis, who also gave her and her family a blessing.
The more I see about it, the more genuinely confused I am as to why Steve Rogers has to be Catholic. Is this a “fanon” thing that people are just really adamant about? Does anything in canon actually support it?
It is technically fanon, but there’s a lot of cultural and societal evidence written into the character that backs up the fanon that, at the very least, Steve was raised Catholic. Is he a practicing Catholic? Probably not - I agree with you totally that Steve probably does a lot of questioning about what’s really up with religion. But given the way he grew up in NYC, and his familial background, the ‘P’ that’s listed on his dogtags in the first movie comes off as incredibly unlikely or an oversight by the props department.
I’d start laying out the societal evidence here, however I know that theladyscribe has a pretty kick-ass essay in process talking about this very thing, and she’s doing a far better job of explaining it than I ever could. :)
I guess I just don’t see the evidence that says he is for sure Catholic. I saw the essay, and it mentions that Steve is an implied Christian in canon (MCU and comics), but that a denomination isn’t specified. The implication I got from the essay is that if Steve had been Protestant, he would have had various advantages in life, which people don’t see in canon. I get that there was a Catholic/Protestant privilege divide in America, to some extent, but I just have a hard time with the idea that all Protestants in early twentieth-century America had tremendous advantages over Catholics, therefore Steve is Catholic, which seems to be the gist of the argument. For example, they didn’t live in Brooklyn, but my early twentieth-century ancestors were dirt-poor/working-class Protestants, some of whom were Irish who immigrated to the US in the 19th century, along with a BUNCH of other Irish people. I’m just not sure how Protestantism is excluded, especially since apparently the dog tags used in the film indicate that he’s Protestant. I get that a lot of Marvel’s historical accuracy is crap, but should everything they give us be thrown out?
This isn’t to say I hate the headcanon that Steve is Catholic. I’ve written it, and I think it’s interesting. Some folks just seem very sure about it, and I just wonder where that comes from.
To be completely frank, and not to accuse anyone of anything (which I’m not interested in) but sometimes I wonder if making Steve Catholic is a way for non-Catholic fandom folks (myself included) to make him seem more exotic and “other”-y, which is basically an extension of those early 20th-century prejudices about Catholicism and Catholics, and the privilege surrounding Protestant/Catholic relations during that period?
I repeat: I am not accusing anyone of doing this, I’m just musing out loud and trying to examine privilege and stuff.
You’re absolutely right - there’s no solid evidence whatsoever in MCU (I’m not touching the comics at the moment as I haven’t read anywhere near enough to discuss them) that Steve is confidently, definitively Catholic. The two pieces of evidence that we have in movie canon are the dogtags and Steve’s one-liner in Avengers. Everything else is speculation, and in the case of fic, authors putting their own perspectives on the characters for many wide and varied reasons. Like you said, no accusations here, but just wondering.
I also suspect you’re right (and I use the word suspect here simply because I’m not sure of history and I don’t want to offer up misleading information) that there were plenty of Protestants around the country in the 19th and 20th centuries who were not recipients of that privilege and those advantages that maybe the wealthier Protestants had during that time period. Who’s to say that Steve wasn’t from one of those families living in Brooklyn at the time? New York City and Brooklyn’s the giant melting pot of the world, with everybody under the sun coming there for so many reasons (all right, most of those reasons were probably geographical back in the late 19th, early 20th century, and that many of the ships stopped at Ellis Island first. So Steve coming from Protestant stock is a possibility, and probably should be explored as more of an option than we normally do. Should everything Marvel gives us be thrown out? Probably not. Maybe their props department thoroughly scoured the comics looking for that one minute piece of evidence, and created Steve’s dogtags accordingly.
I will admit myself that, as an author, I do ignore the dogtags as evidence often when I write. But I feel like I have my reasons for that, which sort of leads me to a counterpoint to the idea of people writing Steve as Catholic to be ‘exotic’ and ‘other-y’ - maybe they’re doing it because it’s the religion that they’re most familiar with? I know that I am incredibly guilty of that because of my family’s own experiences - we were pretty poor immigrants to Brooklyn and New York City in the very early part of the 20th century. Not Irish, but definitely Catholic, and I see some of their characteristics in general in the character of Steve, which is why I end up writing him as Catholic. And from my perspective there’s nothing whatsoever exotic about Catholicism - I’ve dozed off in plenty of Masses and suffered through a multitude of CCD classes that I am painfully familiar with the religion. Which definitely removes some of the magic with it, and part of the reason why I very happily left the church. (Yes, I realize this perspective may be sacrilegious to some, so let me just state right now - no offense is meant to anyone out there who practices it, these are just my personal experiences with said religion). So I know when I write about religion I draw from that subjective evidence to create a background for Steve and use it to lend another level of detail to the characterizations.
But is it a set in stone, rock solid canon idea? Hell no. :)
This is me jumping into something I know very little about (~Marvel~), but… You’re right that there were a ton of poor Protestant immigrants from Ireland, pre-famine—commonly referred to in America as the Scots-Irish, owing to their being descended from the Scots who James VI sent to Ulster to screw the Irish some more, because that’s what British monarchs do—but they immigrated further south than New York. The Ohio valley, the Carolinas, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee… (Have you ever wondered why Appalachian folk music sounds like it could be played on The Thistle And Shamrock? Have you ever confused bluegrass fiddling for a ceilidh dance? Well, now you know.) Without being glib, their experience in America was very different than immigrants-coming-to-NYC-and-dying-of-pneumonia. There had been eleven US Presidents of Scots-Irish descent before Steve was even born. This just does not line up. Irish, 1920, NYC? We’re talking Tammany Hall.
Now, yes, Not All Protestants were super well off. But at the time Steve was growing up, being of Protestant descent in America was in fact a significant privilege even if you were eating cardboard and blacking boots to get by. Why?
Eugenics was a big deal pre-WW2, and it was a continuation of the disgusting nativism of the 1800s with Science Sparkles added. The KKK seems crazypants in retrospect, but it’s important to remember that totally mainstream politicians were into the idea of limiting immigration of The Inferior Races. And while yeah, there was a scientific tone to it all, don’t get it twisted: cultural factors decided the race boundaries, and they decided that Catholic and Jewish immigrants weren’t ~white~ enough to count for that sign. So when Steve was learning to walk, the second Ku Klux Klan was blossoming, and by blossoming I mean running around burning crosses in front of a Michigan Catholic church and getting Catholics fired from Texas schools and supporting Prohibition. We’re gonna come back to the non-white thing later, hold up.
So you may be asking yourself, uh, if it was that bad that recently, how come Catholicism is totes normcore now? Well, lots of reasons, but one in particular is, I think, one of the most best (still fanon) arguments for Steve Rogers being Catholic, and I don’t have enough gritty details to tell it convincingly, but…
When people go off to fight in war, they learn a lot about each other. This is the part where I’m fighting really hard not to quote—oh God, help, I can’t stop it, it’s coming out—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition
See, in World War II, Catholics weren’t segregated off like the Tuskegee Airmen. They fought alongside Protestants. And it has been argued—in proper academicky settings, not just gif-laden tumblrs—that one of the big forces for normalizing Catholicism was the interaction between American soldiers in WW2. “We’re not so different after all” and so forth. It’s one in the morning so I’m not going to try to explain why this is so poetic to me re:Steve Rogers, but…
Back to the non-white thing. See, the whole thing about Steve Rogers is that the Nazis were trying to make a Perfect Society out of a Perfect Race of Perfect Humans. But when Americans try for a Perfect Human, it’s all about who that guy was on the inside. The misshapen, asthmatic inside. So even though Steve Rogers looks giant, blond, blue-eyed, golden—that’s the irony of his character. He looks like what the eugenicists wanted, but his background doesn’t match up with what they thought was important for people. And being Catholic totally makes sense for that. When Marvel made him Irish, they knew what that meant in the historical context—it meant he was born to Non-White Ethnic Immigrant parents in a time when that mattered a lot, but he could still pass as the ubermensch great white hope whatever that the eugenicists had been hoping for. And then he could punch those eugenicists in the face, because Captain America is the exact opposite of all of that. Did Steve himself believe in apostolic succession? Don’t know, don’t care: his cultural identity as a Catholic just makes a hell of a lot more sense.
I would like to contribute another important reason that prejudice against Catholics was common in America—they were seen as people who served a foreign power (i.e. the Pope), and therefore potential traitors. (This concern was a part of the atmosphere as recently as JFK’s presidency: when he was elected, rumors flew that he would have a hotline to the Vatican installed in the Oval Office.)
Belief in the papacy was held to be incompatible with citizenship. A Catholic could not be a true American. So for this red-white-and-blue-draped symbol of patriotism, this man literally known as “Captain America”, to be one of those people himself would be a highly significant detail.
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And here we are on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
Current emotion: Psmith and Mike awkwardly bidding farewell to each other on Twitter.
Miniature Tigers - Last Night’s Fake Blood
Something to usher in the post-Macbeth haze.
Could you help me with the How to Train your Dragon 2 t-shirt designs I did for the WeLoveFine contest? Sorry you have to log in to vote, but… it’d be really awesome if you could help out by voting or reblogging this:)
PS:Voting starts on August 12th