I rarely wade into discussions of anti-Catholic bias, not because it doesn’t exist but because I prefer to focus on the things I have in common with other Christians (many of whom while reading this will snicker derisively at my inclusion of myself and other Catholics as “Christians”), particularly in the dark shadow of a second Obama term with its rampant assault on religious and individual liberty. In perilous times such as these, it’s imperative that we all stand in solidarity against statism. One way to do that is to remain focused on the fact that while we may have certain dogmatic differences, we’re basically aligned in terms of traditional values and belief in Jesus Christ as Messiah.
But in the past week, even before news broke yesterday of Pope Benedict’s resignation, I’ve encountered more anti-Catholic bigotry than I’d like to admit — from my friends on the Right side of the aisle. Yes, the Left absolutely has the market cornered on depravity which is why I expected nothing less than what Twitchy so thoroughly exposed yesterday, from death threats to “Pope Trutherism”. However, because the Left has consistently demonstrated a remarkable, insatiable ability to pummel the depths of depravity, their actions — while certainly offensive, cruel and subhuman – are hardly shocking anymore. Sad, but true. At least for me.
Enter some conservative friends and talkers whom I won’t mention by name but with whom I am at best, incredibly disappointed. Recently, I tuned into a Christian broadcast on Blog Talk Radio, the topic of which was defending Christianity and Western Civilization from the threat of radical Islam and Sharia Law. The program featured ministers and a guest who was still attending Divinity School. All went well until late in the show when the guests and hosts started an all-out assault on Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and the Catholic Church. Which was precisely when I logged out with the intention of never tuning in again.
Which brings me to one of the biggest lies and misconceptions many (not all) Christians propagate against the Catholic Church and Catholics in general: that we “worship” Mary and elevate her to the same status of God. Patently false. There’s a monumental difference between honoring Mary for her pivotal role in bringing the Savior into the world by demonstrating complete obedience to God, and worshipping her. Reflected upon in the context of the times within which she lived, Mary’s willingness to say “yes” to God is even more remarkable: she could’ve easily been stoned to death for the crime of being unwed and pregnant.
I’ve never quite understood the animosity toward the Blessed Mother that I’ve witnessed among various denominations of Christianity but most especially among evangelicals. Doesn’t Mary merit at least a little respect?
Another rampant misconception? Catholics worship statues. Now, I’m not exactly sure why any clear-thinking person of any faith would believe something so ridiculous, or fail to recognize that a statue is a mere symbol of something else, not the actual thing. But there you have it. And while I’m on the topic, let me clarify further: with respect to saints and statues, Catholics pray for their intercession to God on their behalf; we don’t pray to them as if they are God. And we fully recognize that a statue of say, Saint Francis is just that — a statue. A rendering of the guy who once lived on earth, whose soul is now in heaven.
Two of my favorite anti-Catholic memes that have been making the rounds lately are that many Catholics (albeit unwittingly) worship the Devil (to be fair, Mormons, Wiccans, Pagans and others are included among this list), and that the Pope is a “False Prophet” and a “Puppet of the New World Order”. The first claim states that the Catholic Church has been practicing Satanic worship for centuries and has esoterically embedded Satanic symbolism in their rituals — symbolism that eludes most of the faithful, who apparently are viewed as willing dupes of an evil conspiracy that seeks to control the world.
Hmmm, sounds more like Global Jihad to me, but what would I know? I am one of those yucky Catholics, after all.
Let me also point out that I have been a vociferous critic of the Catholic Church and its “social justice” BS, which I had plenty of exposure to in my 18 years of Catholic schooling, from Montessori through University. During the Reagan years, nuns and priests I encountered in school tended to wring their hands over having to make a choice in the 1984 election between a “War Monger” and a “Pro-Abortion” Democrat. Having been raised in a staunchly conservative home, my parents were often the purveyors of truth when it came to political realities, and it’s safe to say that most nuns and priests didn’t demonstrate nearly the same knowledge and understanding of American Exceptionalism, the US Constitution and politics in general that my parents did. My mother would often chastise the nuns for voting for the “Big D” politician who supported abortion over the pro-life Republican due to their misguided notion that Democrats somehow helped “the poor” and Republicans were “rich, evil meanies”.
More recently, I blogged about the Catholic Church’s pedophilia scandal and the disgusting and amoral lack of leadership of those in power who could have put an end to it decades ago but instead aided and abetted evil until they could no longer stem the tide of truth. Even more devastating to me was the fact that seven of these priests were from my high school.
Which brings me to the Pope’s resignation. Stacy at The Other McCain was the first to draw my attention toward the rampant anti-Catholic sentiment following the stunning news, and a comment I made in the thread was highlighted later by Bob Belevedere in his excellent follow-up post:
The vast majority of disgusting commentary has come from the Left, but some has come from those pitiable souls on the Right who still believe The Church, the Papists, to be the greatest evil in the world. Daria DiGiovanni comments [her webpage; her Twitter page]:
Well this has certainly brought out the Catholic bigotry not only among the left but among some of my conservative non-Catholic friends. Disappointing and disheartening to say the least. We may disagree on some matters of faith but I believe we have more in common than in opposition. If only some of them could afford me the same respect I demonstrate toward their denomination of Christianity. But I guess I’m just a descendent in the long line of “Hitler Youth to the Vatican” as someone on Ted Cruz’s Facebook thread noted. I expect utter depravity from the left, but when people on the right exhibit similar attitudes, it’s beyond upsetting.
Indeed, it is. The fact of the matter is: if you are truly concerned about preserving The West and all it stands for then, despite the fact that you might be a Protestant or Jewish, you know that The Catholic Church is one of the pillars Western Civilization stands on.
V. Do you reject Satan?
R. I do.
V. And all his works?
R. I do.
V. And all his empty promises?
R. I do.
V. Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth?
R. I do.
V. Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?
R. I do.
Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?
R. I do.
V. God, the all-powerful Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and forgiven all our sins. May he also keep us faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ for ever and ever.