- liberal Catholic
- conservative Catholic
- moderate Catholic
- progressive Catholic
- neo-conservative Catholic
- modernist Catholic
- traditional Catholic
Every one of these labels come from the political spectrum and have a lot of baggage associated with them, not to mention that the terms are quite nebulous and their meanings have changed radically through the years.
In the United States, these terms take on particular meaning and "liberal", "conservative", among other labels, have good and bad notions associated with them. Yet, none can define what it means to be Catholic.
The Church is too big to be caught up into political language. We lose the mystery and make it a purely human enterprise. While there are many political issues that Catholics can disagree upon, doctrinal teachings of the Church aren't up for grabs. I can disagree with another Catholic on the governmental role in health care, how to fix immigration, how to best fight poverty, etc. But, I can't deny the right of every human being to live. I can't deny the teaching that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist. I can't deny that marriage can only be between one woman and one man. I can't deny the preferential option for the poor.
Furthermore, you can step outside of the Catholic Church going to the left or the right. Two examples:
*Messing up going left = Catholics For Choice - they advocate abortion, contraception, etc.
*Messing up going right = Society of St. Pius X - they reject much of Vatican II's teachings.
If someone asks me if I am conservative or liberal (or any other label you want to use), I answer with something similar to this response -
"I am Catholic. I believe what the Church believes, teaches, and proclaims." Of course, the saints say it even better:
"There are many other things which most properly can keep me in the Catholic Church’s bosom. The unanimity of peoples and nations keeps me here. Her authority, inaugurated in miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by love, and confirmed by her age, keeps me here. The succession of priests, from the very see of the apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his resurrection, gave the charge of feeding his sheep [John 21:15–17], up to the present episcopate, keeps me here. And last, the very name Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone." - St. Augustine
"Do not hold aloof from the Church; for nothing is stronger than the Church. The Church is your hope, your salvation, your refuge. It is higher than the heaven, it is wider than the earth. It never waxes old, but is always in full vigour. Wherefore as significant of its solidity and stability Holy Scripture calls it a mountain: or of its purity a virgin, or of its magnificence a queen; or of its relationship to God a daughter; and to express its productiveness it calls her barren who has borne seven: in fact it employs countless names to represent its nobleness." - St. John Chrysostom