The term "AmChurch"

I have seen this term a couple of times. “AmChurch”
Meant as the uniquely American style of liturgy, I guess?
Anyone have any clarifications on it?

Could you provide one quote or example of where you’ve seen this?

It’s been a while since I heard the term. I have heard expressions like German Catholic Church and the like and I suppose it refers to the bishops’ conference within that country. I wouldn’t put negative connotations (such as schismatic) on those terms, not like the Polish National Catholic Church, for example.

It is a contraction of American Church - AmChurch.

It is made up term. There is no such thing as the American Catholic Church. “American” is neither an attribute nor a title of any part of the Catholic Church. There is only the Catholic Church in America.

AmChurch is most often used in a derogatory way or by website editors and authors who are either trying to imitate the New York Post or too lazy to write “Catholic Church in America.”


Note: There is an schismatic, progressive “American Catholic Church.” It’s a breakaway from the schismatic “Old Catholic Church.”

The particular context that I’ve seen it in, it’s a derogatory term describing a sort of modernist-style liturgy with really enthusiastically bad music - kind of, “This is a terrible song; perhaps playing it louder and faster, with electric guitars, would improve it.”

There’s nothing particularly American about that phenomenon, though, and apparently there is an epidemic of it in the Philippines these days.

No, it’s a term used in a way… well I will describe what I think of when I hear it:

Wealthy suburban parish
When a priest tries to spend some money on a statue somebody berates him for “not helping the poor” then jumps into her Porsche SUV after Mass and goes to the mall
Suburban Spaceship church that was, nevertheless (or maybe because of that?), really expensive to build (of course)
Notre Dame a la the 2009 Incident
Insipid music or, worse, theologically questionable music
“Progressive” parish
Georgetown University
Being Church
Fear of realism in art
Burlap and felt
Crayon Catholicism
Commonweal magazine
Reminiscence about the 1960s and 70s nonstop
Cafeteria Catholicism
Fear of color (aesthetics)
National Catholic Reporter
Polyester/synthetic fabrics
15 minutes of confession once per week

It’s a derogatory term and I don’t think it should be used in polite conversation, but it’s in my mental dictionary because I find it useful to categorize thoughts and stuff.

I didn’t know that. Thank you for pointing it out.


Little side note, I knew Larry Harms (I grew up in Frederick and he was my first employer when I was a janitor at age 15). I don’t remember too much about him except that he was fantastically nice and just about the gayest person I’d ever met. The whole thing about him being an “Archbishop” was totally unknown to me until just last year. It’s the strangest thing.