Creyeditor wrote: ↑20 Feb 2021 11:36
In Germany, AFAIK, Catholics are known for being fun, happy and very keen on amusement.
Yes, I think that's probably the stereotype everywhere. Catholicism is traditionally associated with - by puritan standards - 'hot-blooded', 'passionate' lifestyles with lots of music and dancing and fighting; that stereotype may be less explicit in English culture - there's no easy term for it - but it's part of how we see catholic cultures in general (Irish, Spanish, Italian, etc). This is probably less due to any feature of Catholic dogma per se, and more due to the contrast with Protestant dourness (that is, I suspect it's less that Catholics are unusually fun, and more that Protestant culture is by historical standards unusually un-fun).
The two things are probably on some level flip sides of the same coin. Catholicism tends to emphasise the scrutability of the moral universe - you know what you did wrong! - but also the possibility of, and need for, atonement, both through interior repentance (guilt) and exterior good works. In vernacular catholicism, this has often even taken on a rather transactional dimension - it's bad that you got drunk and sang a bawdy song, but if you say six hail marys and help out at the fete, God will be fine with it. Protestantism, on the other hand, tends to emphasise the helplessness of the individual in the face of god's inscrutable wrath. You can't necessarily know whether you've done wrong (though of course obeying the commandments is a good start), and if you have then there's certainly nothing you could do or say or feel that would merit forgiveness. Instead, you need to have and demonstrate your single-minded faith in God - have faith that he'll keep you from doing evil, and have faith that he'll forgive you if you do do evil. In vernacular protestantis, this has often even taken on a rather 'see no evil' dimension: as what matters is being truly faithful, and the truly faithful don't sin much to begin with because it's faith that keeps you free from sin, feeling guilty about something is effectively proof that you don't have enough faith and are going to hell. This takes on its most extreme form in some versions of calvinism, in which confessing to even a single sin can mark you out as condemned to hell (as the truly Elect don't sin - at least, not once they've been Saved).
This tends to encourage a lot of worrying about what you're going
to do, but discourages too much worrying about what you've already done,
since there's nothing you can do about it now anyway. Whereas Catholicism tends to encourage worrying about what you've done (because otherwise you can't be forgiven), but de-emphasises worrying about what you're going to do (because hey, don't worry, you can be forgiven for it). [In crude, modern terms: Catholicism traditionally takes more of a 'better to ask forgiveness than permission' approach, whereas Protestants were very keen on making sure you have permission, because who knows if you'll be forgiven or not]
So the emphasis on confession and forgiveness - not in a single, life-cleansing, new-slate, "born again" sense, but in a detailed, weekly, sin-by-sin sense, encourages both a more libertine approach to minor sins, and also the guilt that catalogues them.
[perhaps it would be more accurate to say: 'Catholic guilt' wasn't really meant to describe an excess of guilt, but a different kind of guilt. There's more emphasis on sin-by-sin guilt and the need for contrition and good works to atone, and less emphasis on the sort of global, existential guilt (the inherent iniquity of mankind) that many Protestant groups stress.]
Of course, the underlying theology of both faiths is more similar than its general interpretation even by priests - it's more a difference of emphasis than of fundamental belief.
And that all said, I doubt there's much difference today, with the de-emphasis of the confessional in modern Catholicism, and the decline of the power of the Church in general.