I was rewatching the whole “my mom doesn’t live in Rome, but she’s still a fucking catholic”, which is one my favorite lines in the whole show. And I got to thinking what do effect do you think Dan’s catholic upbringing had on him?
Very, very little I imagine.
Dan’s clearly not struggling with any sense of guilt, which I have always considered the defining trait of Catholicism (though that may only be how Irish Catholicism manifests itself, I don’t know). I once saw a comic sum it up as “life is shit because you’re BAD” which is a distortion, but certainly reflects a truth about how the Church approaches pleasure.
If I was to hazard a guess, I suspect Dan’s family were Catholics of the… inherited type. As in, they’re Catholics mostly because their parents were and their parents were and so on and on and on. I doubt Dan had much exposure to liberation theology or social justice catholicism, because if he had he wouldn’t be anywhere near as careless about the impact of his actions as he is. There’s a hefty intellectual framework underpinning the way Catholics approach society and ethics and so on (largely, but not only, spearheaded by the Jesuits), but a lot… a lot of Catholics are never really exposed to it.
Probably the biggest…philosophical difference between Catholicism and evangelical Protestantism is the focus Catholics put on what people do. As in, it doesn’t matter how much you believe in god, if you’re a murdering bastard, you’re not going to heaven. It may be that I am culturally catholic in this respect, but I’ve always found the ‘by faith alone’ aspect of Protestantism quite…philosophically repugnant (however, it’s worth remembering the context in which that system grew…it makes a whole lot more sense when you consider how corrupt the Catholic church had become in Luther’s time).
However, I tend to think Dan was exposed to the less intellectual side of the Church. His kind of ‘fuck the consequences, I do what I want’ attitude to things is certainly consistent with a lot of lapsed Catholics (though he takes it to an extreme, to say the least). Which is kind of an inverse of the intense focus Catholics put on behaviour as defining goodness – it can be a good thing (it encourages charitable works, for instance), but it can also be a bad thing (the shame, oh the shame).
I wouldn’t be totally surprised if he had that reactionary tendency in his background – however, I doubt Veep will ever take it on in any serious way (which is probably for the best).