By Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan
October is the month we relish the high-point of our national pastime, especially when one of our own New York teams is in the World Series!
Sadly, America has another national pastime, this one not pleasant at all: anti-Catholicism.
It is not hyperbole to call prejudice against the Catholic Church a national pastime. Scholars such as Arthur Schlesinger Sr. referred to it as “the deepest bias in the history of the American people,” while John Higham described it as “the most luxuriant, tenacious tradition of paranoiac agitation in American history.” “The anti-Semitism of the left,” is how Paul Viereck reads it, and Professor Philip Jenkins sub-titles his book on the topic "the last acceptable prejudice."
If you want recent evidence of this unfairness against the Catholic Church, look no further than a few of these following examples of occurrences over the last couple weeks:
By Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan
This is why Milwaukee misses the Archbishop!
But we’re glad to have him!
no doubt it’s as strong as ever. last night i went out to a bar and someone dressed as a priest for halloween was there and several times he took his large wooden cross and made the sign of the cross at me and others. i told him that it was a bit offensive and then his friend went off on me that it wasn’t and she should know because she was raised Catholic. i told her i was as well and she asked if i went to Mass and when i said yes, she seemed as if she didn’t believe me. then asked if i went to confession and i told her yes. her look of astonishment was pretty amusing.
i told her this was by majority a protestant country and that Catholics and Jews couldn’t own property for awhile and we weren’t allowed to vote till almost 1800. so she told me that if didn’t like that this was a protestant country then i could leave. then she brought up the the sex scandals.
we both were guilty of drinking too much and i have had a lot to deal with in my personal life, so needless to say this exchange was not very gentle. i have a bit of a temper when i know what the other person is doing or saying is mean spirited.
so then another one of her friend’s piped in with an incredibly offensive “joke” about jewish people in the ovens. i totally lost it and let him have it.
then my “no-religion-do-whatever-feels-good” friend told me that i shouldn’t get upset over things like that and “take it personal” and i stared at her wondering when it became ok for people to shrug off jokes about the holocaust. when did our society get that cold? seems like almost everyone i know in my town is unconcerned and selfish.
good for the archbishop to shed some light on the never-ending examples.
That was an excellent article by the Archbishop. There is clearly a double standard at work (and I have been as vocal as anyone about the abomination of the clergy sexual abuse scandal) that is unconscionable.
there is another thread that goes into this topic as well found here
Look, I think we need to be seriously careful with phrases like “as strong as ever”. We certainly aren’t experiencing anti-Catholicism to the degree that the Catholics of the 1920’s and before did. Not that anti-Catholicism no longer exists, but we don’t have to worry about mobs setting churches on fire, or governors winning on platforms that explicitly declare Catholics not to be Americans.
true. i see your point. it’s just living in a Bible belt area, i have really felt the hatred. i am grateful the everyday people it seems to come from don’t wield any real power. although whenever the Catholic Church comes up in the media it sure does seem to me 9 times out of 10 they either take a quote out of context or only give part of the story to make us look bad.
Yeah, I think it is so bad that some Catholics actually give up the practice of Catholicism just so they can fit in with the larger American society, and so they can get a job and keep it, etc.
That is allright, Ben finishes patting the concrete Trow on the brick… "There is no Salvation outside the Church.’ ben smooths some more, that should do it, Ben wipes the excess off the trow goes to the door opens it and pulling closed Bolts it from the inside, there…
you can’t make fun of Jews because you’ll be a Nazi
you can’t make fun of Muslims because you shouldn’t agitate the extremists
you can’t make fun of gays, lesbians, disabled, overweight people because its not PC
you can’t make fun or blacks, latinos, asians, east indians, arabs because you’ll be a bigot
but you can make fun of Catholics because it means you’re open minded, liberal and modern as opposed to Catholics who are outdated and close minded and believing in a fairy-tale book
what’s next? we’re going to be fed to the lions for entertainment?
Give it time.
And yes, I’m serious.
Fr. Seraphim Beshoner’s Catholic Under the Hood podcast has done a couple episodes lately about the Catholic experience in the US.
The latest is about a KKK-sponsored attempt in the 20s to ban parochial schools in Washington and Oregon.
A couple weeks ago he did a show about the “orphan trains” bringing Catholic children to be adopted by Catholics in the Midwest and West.
Supreme Court Justice and KKK member Hugo Black penned the opinion “a wall of separation between church and State and that the wall must be kept high and impregnable” in Everson v. Board of Education (1947). One must remember it would have been more accurate for Black to have written “the wall between the Catholic Church and the State” given his overt anti-Catholic opinions and the involvement of the Catholic Church in this lawsuit. He never forsaw that other religons would be caught up in his private war against all things Catholic.
The curious have remarked that one institution alone for now nineteen hundred years has been attacked not by one opposing principal but from every conceivable point. It has been denounced on all sides and for reasons successively incompatible; it has suffered the contempt, the hatred and the ephemeral triumph of enemies as diverse as the diversity of things could produce. The institution is called the Catholic Church.
…There is no parallel between the Catholic Church and any other institution. There is no parallel between the Catholic Church and any other man made grouping of opinions or of moods. She is wholly distinct. As with her founder, so with Her: all that is not of Her is against Her; for She claims, and Her adherents maintain the claim, that Hers is the one and the only authoritative voice upon earth.
- Hillaire Belloc, Survivals and New Arrivals
There is a difference. The American academy used to be liberal Protestant, such as Yale at the time William Buckley attended it. I dare say that now it is closer to being agnostic. There is a hostility toward Christianity as a whole, not just the Church. It is characterized less by ignorance of the Church than a mendacity that refuses to recognize the Christian character of Western Civilization. The European Constitution enshrines an odd ahistorical view of the continent’s history. American academies instill this amnesia in their students.
Perhaps you could give us an explanation of that?
Call me when somebody even brings up the old canard that “Catholics can’t be real Americans”. And that’s not even close to setting a convent on fire or rioting in the streets. We don’t realize how good we have it; everybody likes to be a martyr when someone makes the slightest anti-Catholic remark.
So, you assert no concern or discussion is warranted until physical violence takes place? Is that the standard?
Actually, my standard was the return of the old canard that “Catholics can’t be real citizens”, and that was quite obvious from my post. Please don’t try to distort my words.
That would be, to me, the return of worrisome anti-Catholicism. The current level of anti-Catholicism in this country can be described as knuckleheads talking out of their posteriors.