So you just completed a rousing discussion with your Catholic friend. You feel pretty satisfied that what you have proved Catholicism to be rubbish. God will accept you for who you are, and all this stuff about Catholicism, with confessing priests, praying Saints, a woman who is Queen of the universe and pedophiles is “fucking bullshit”, as you so vehemently said in one of your finer moments. Your friend sat back and took your all out assaults on his Faith. Sure he tried to refute some of your indictments, but he ultimately bowed beneath your strongly worded points. You won! Perhaps, though, you should really be wondering: Do I hate the Catholic Church? Am I an anti-Catholic?
Looking back, I am pretty embarrassed at myself for that unbridled display of emotion toward my good friend. After all, it’s not as though I was raised to hate the Catholic Church…right? I mean, that is part of my creed, I accept all people for what they are, and God does too. Catholics are just so…wrong. At least, that is what I used to think. And now that I am Catholic, I have found it difficult to fight myself from believing “Anti-Catholicism: the last acceptable prejudice.” The anti-Catholic sentiment is so strong in some circles that it’s almost useless to attempt to inform people in those circles about the truth. I used to be one of these people, are you? Here is a short list on how you would know if you are anti-Catholic.
I frequently argue that the Church is not good because priests are pedophiles. While some priests are pedophiles, the number is staggeringly small compared to the rest of the male population. Compared with male ministers from other denominations, the rate of sexual abuse among Catholic clergymen is the same. Finally, public school teachers sexually abuse minors at a far greater rate than Catholic clergymen. (All this can be found via the John Jay Report, or maybe just wikipedia it? Yes, it’s that simple) The fact that this happens doesn’t make public schools a terrible institution, so too do bad priests not make the Catholic Church a terrible institution.
To put it frankly, if I frequently use the sexual abuse of children by priests as an atrocity, I am right. If I cite those numbers in an effort to prove celibacy is wrong, I am ignorant. If I claim that because of the sex abuse numbers the Catholic Church is wrong, evil, a sham, then I am anti-Catholic.
Famously anti-Catholic quotes I have heard on this subject in the last week:
“I think it’s stupid you confess your sins to a priest who may or may have not touched a little boy’s penis.”
Out of nowhere: “Yeah it’s a pretty nice car. If a priest drove it, it would be a little boy magnet.”
“They told me after my divorce I couldn’t receive the Sacraments, but the real reason I left was because I just think it’s disgusting what they did to the little boys.”
See: NYT columnist Maureen Dowd.
I am completely ignorant of the reasons why the Catholic Church believes the things they believe, yet I find that their worshiping of Saints, Mary and icons, along with many other of their “weird” practices (celibacy) to be repugnant and wrong.
No Catholic “worships” icons, Saints or Mary (well…hyperdulia, but let’s shelve that for now). Icons, statues, paintings and other depictions are merely beautiful pieces of art that remind us of Christ’s life, the life of the Saints, or the life of Mary. They aid in the person’s contemplation of the Divine.
Catholics pray to Saints in order to ask them to pray for us. It’s the same as asking your sister to pray for you during a difficult time, except the Saints are in Heaven and hence can pray more effectively than somebody who is on Earth.
But all this understanding isn’t really the point. The point is that why or how is it acceptable in modern society to hate something you know you don’t understand? If we did this with Muslims, homosexuals and Chinese people we would rightly be labelled bigots and hate mongers, but when it’s against Catholics it’s ok! This is anti-Catholicism.
Groups famous for this line of anti-Catholic thought:
EVERY SINGLE “Non-denominational” aka Baptist person I have talked to about religion, LCMS and WELS Lutherans – especially their ministers, Muslims and of course most other nominal protestants.
First line of the sermon at a Lutheran wedding I stood up in, “Many hundred years ago some people thought it’d be a good idea to get rid of this whole marriage thing, with cloistered nuns and monks and celibacy.”
“You’re Catholic! So you’re a saint worshiper!”
“Oh you’re studying Catholic theology? I think the Catholic Church is a cult, but I’ll be nice to you.” (Thanks for being so nice! And we are a cult, but not the type of cult you’re thinking of.)y,
“The office of the Pope is the office of the anti-Christ.” Whoa boy, Lutherans!
I think the Catholic Church caused all the evil wars of the world, and the inquisition was one of the worst periods of time in the history of civilization.
Sigh. Yes I thought this, and then I read a book. And as it turns out, the inquisition really wasn’t that bloody given the length of time it went on in Spain. On average, approximately 10-12 people per year were executed by the inquisitors. All will agree that the inquisition was bad, but 10-12 people per year isn’t exactly a grim reaper’s pace. To put it into perspective, the USA has had 1264 executions since 1976. Sure the people executed in the US can be presumed guilty of brutal crimes, but during the Spanish inquisition civilian prisoners oftentimes claimed they were heretics to be transferred into the Church prison because of better conditions there. So it can be presumed those “penanced” or executed in the prisons of the inquisition weren’t just your run of the mill heretics.
And as for that thought that the crusades were really bad basically the fault of the Catholic Church. Um…not quite. I don’t want to get into the entire history of how soldiers were directed, but basically the Pope was appealed to by the Byzantine Emperor as he was facing the fact that he would be overrun by Eastern armies. The Western military leaders were unmotivated to help the emperor, for any land or treasure seized by them during battle would have to be returned to him, so why risk their lives and the lives of their troops for no reason? Yes, it was the right thing to do, but the greedy counts and princes remained unmotivated, that is until the Pope took up the cause and ordered those greedy warlords to come to the emperor’s aid. They did, and it was called the Crusade. The Westerners were Christians, the Easterners were Muslims, but that was only one aspect of a skirmish that had many causes.
Secular wars and their estimated death toll:
WWII 72 million (The Jews being killed were ethnic Jews, not necessarily religious Jews. It was based on eugenics, not religion. Hitler wasn’t Catholic. Stalin wasn’t either.)
WWI 15 million
American Civil War 646,000
Russian Revolution: 9 million
And the beat goes on…
Sure there were religious wars, like the religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries, but even though religion played a more influential role in those wars, much of the motivation behind these wars still was land, money and power.
I am for outlawing Catholicism.
Thank God I never thought this, and this isn’t a popular position at all, but I’m sure somebody, somewhere has uttered this phrase. And why not? The Catholic Church is pro-life (read: completely against abortion) and pro-traditional marriage (read: against gay marriage). Those two ideas are completely counter-cultural. To think that the biological complementarity between a man and a woman which produces life should be of essence to a marriage can be, well, just plainly anti-American, Canadian, Mexican, or anti-whatever country you’re in. The same goes for a woman’s “right to choice”, even what that choice results in the death of an otherwise healthy, innocent nascent human being. Is the cry for outlawing Catholicism that far off? In many countries the answer is thankfully ‘yes’, but then in many countries it is ‘no’. The precepts of Catholicism are being disregarded on many national stages, and the effect is a growing disdain for all things Catholic. We once were a Church of martyrs, and a Church of martyrs we yet may become again.
I was part of the problem. My ignorance was kindling for the ignorant fire which awaited inside many other uninformed people just like me. I studied for years before converting, asked the questions, found the answers, disagree with a lot of it, but kept on searching. I finally concluded what many Catholics have concluded regarding the fundamentals (i.e. dogmas) of the Faith. “I think they’re right. I think it’s true. I believe. I assent. I have faith.”
Are you part of the problem? Are you doing your homework into faith? Or are you simply vilifying Catholics over what you think you know about them, their history, and the history of the world? Are you using straw man arguments? Ad Hominem attacks? Is your logic sound? Your intention just and charitable? Or are you simply closed off to any explanation regarding Catholicism and instead making fun of it for your own peace of mind?
“Ask and it will given, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened for you.”
Don’t be Joy Behar.