My father was a very conservative, traditional pre-Vatican II Catholic. Before and after Vatican II which type of Christmas card did he prefer to send to friends and family?
I asked my father why he preferred secular Christmas cards and he said quite bluntly that he did not know the religious practice of his secular friends and did not want to proselytize them if they didn't observe Christmas as we do. And in addition, he said there was nothing wrong with the secular depiction of Christmas (at that time) if we didn't forget what Christmas was all about in our home but we didn't have to hit others over the head with our religious devotions.
The point I am making is that most pre-Vatican II Catholics saw their faith as personal and private and that its devotional aspects were only expressed in a religious setting such as a church, primarily at Mass and church devotions and on church grounds.
In the secular world, you were a good person, but did not discuss your faith. It was private. You didn't bash your faith either and if necessary you certainly defended your faith.
And quite frankly, most rank and file Catholics prior to Vatican II believed that if you were a good person, even though not religious, God would embrace you and bring you to heaven. This is popular piety or belief that the more rigid Catholics would not agree as it isn't completely orthodox and most Protestants would condemn outright!
But we were not like those Protestants who seem to wear their religion on their sleeve and any chance they got they spoke of Jesus and got religious conversations going in secular settings. Catholics who grew up in predominantly Catholic parts of the country are often shocked by Protestants in the south who are so aggressive and vocal about their faith and start religions conversations in secular settings.
I have to wonder with all the negative comments about Pope Francis (some I have posted, but most I have not and I have revised my comment warning and will be stricter in enforcing it, so please note) in that he didn't belabor abortion as pointedly as the death penalty and that he never used the word Christ or Jesus but rather God because he was invited by a secular government to speak and did so in this secular setting in a fashion that was not overtly Catholic or proselytizing. My pre-Vatican II father would have approved!
I can remember the first time I saw Catholics acting like Protestants in terms of wearing their religion on their sleeve. It was Augusta in the late 1960's and involved those who converted to the Catholic charismatic movement which led many of them to move completely to Pentecostal Protestantism. In other words there was an ill-informed ecumenism that caused many Catholics to sell-out to Protestant forms of public and private piety.
They were the ones acting like Protestants, saying "Praise the Lord" all the time, which is a term I have come to despise because of them using it so often around others and at every turn, and they also liked to wear big crosses around their necks to make sure everyone knew they were Christian!
I was taught by my father that when we wear religious articles, like a cross or scapular around our neck that in a secular setting, we hide it under our clothes. I was chastised as a small child by my father when I wore a Rosary around my neck and wanted to go with my parents shopping with it on!
And traditionally when bishops and cardinals are wearing their black suit (not their cassock) they place their pictorial cross into the pocket of their suit coat so that all one sees is the gold chain going sideways across their chest!
Please note how the late Cardinal George is wearing the pectoral cross with a secular suit: