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. :)
See I just thought the Catholic fanon is because his parents are Irish.
when there’s a group of your friends hanging out and youre like trying to join the conversation but dont know how
"And then the evil douchebag attacked the young prince and got him cornered and it was looking hopeless for the young hero"