this puts me in mind of something i read just yesterday, from “adventures in orthodoxy” by dwight longenecker (sophia institute press, 2003), pages 123-124:
*One of the delightful things about converting to the Catholic Church is that it’s shocking. If you want to be nonconformist, upset people’s expectations, and be genuinely subversive, become a Catholic. Mention the name of almost any other religion, and you will probably evoke a yawn. Say “holy Catholic Church,” and you’re bound to get a strong response, and most often that response is negative. Since Jesus Christ said, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you,” it would seem that the Catholic Church is particularly blessed.
One of the most powerful hints that her claims are authentic is that the Catholic Church is barely tolerated and often attacked by nearly everyone who is outside the Church… It’s true that adversity makes strange bedfellows, and there’s no bed more full of opposites than the anti-Catholic bed. All sorts of Protestants, from suave theologians to snake handlers, are suddenly allies in their attacks on Rome. Antipathy toward the Catholic Church unites Communists and Ku Klux Klan members, Anglicans and atheists, Eastern Orthodox and Evangelicals, Methodists and Mormons. When faced with the ancient foe of the Roman Church, feminists embrace freemasons, and freedom fighters befriend fascists.* (emphasis mine - tomarin)
i try to take anti-catholic statements i encounter in this spirit. nevertheless, it is amazing how easy and consequence-free it is to mock and slander our church (witness robin williams) in the media today.
i wouldn’t dream of making equivalent statements about the other world religions and their leaders, simply out of respect for the feelings of the believers who look up to them with love and admiration. why can’t catholics be treated with the same respect? i suppose one reason is that for many secularists (and even nominal catholics) in our anti-authoriarian culture, the Church appears hierarchical, authoritative and domineering, and so taking a jab at it is like sticking it to the proverbial “man”.