Why do Catholics Have a Persecution Complex?


#1

In relation to another thread “Why do people hate us (Catholics) so much?” I would like to ask why Catholics seem to have a bit of a persecution complex. What negative experiences have people actually had? Some Baptist wrote an anti-Catholic website. So???

When I asked a priest what Catholics thought of other denominations attacking Catholicism, his response was, “Well we are so big, that we just tend not to worry what these other smaller churches think of us. We view them with kindness as brothers, but we certainaly don’t feel threatened in any way.” I have always kept that in mind.

Maybe it would encourage my Catholic brothers and sisters to keep in mind the size of our Church, and that there is no real threat to Her.:wink: We can just sit back and relax from a position of strength.


#2

This is the opinion of Harvard Professor and Historian Arthur Schlesinger Sr. (a non-catholic): “The prejudice against the Catholic Church is the deepest in the history of the American people and the only one acceptable today”

Yale professor Peter Viereck (another non-catholic) commented that “Catholic baiting is the anti-Semitism of the liberals.”

It is well known, that in the states, Roman Catholics, being a minority, have always been bigotted.

The KKK was known for targeting Roman Catholics sometimes.

Look at hate groups such as the Westboro Baptist Church. They not only hate homosexuals and blacks, but also Roman Catholics. White Protestants are ok, according to them.

Go to Jack Chick website and you will find tons of slander and lies about Roman Catholics.

So, it is very obvious that there is a persecution towards Roman Catholics here in AMerica, where they are minority.

That priest is WRONG. Catholics might be “big” in the rest of the World but NOT in America.

Many blessings,

E.C.


#3

God will protect His Church. That’s a fact.
There are a lot of anti-Catholic bias out there (and not just one ore two websites). That’s also a fact.
Even before becoming a Catholic I noticed a lot of prejudice against Catholics and ignorance about the teachings of the Church.
What I find most unacceptable is total lack of charity by quite a few (though not all or most) Protestants I’ve met towards Catholics. (It works the other way, too, but at least in my experience not nearly as much.)
I’ve met some people of various ranks within their denominations who condemned me to hell and didn’t want to associate with me after finding out I was a Catholic. As if they were God and knew my heart or even what I really believed. And the main reason so many people have such bias is because of an active anti-Catholicism by some individuals. And our duty as Catholics is to defend our faith and not allow people be deceived by these individuals.
Here, in Latvia, where I live, relationship between Lutherans (the main Protestant denomination) and Catholics is quite good. However, I’ve lived in the US (Midwest) and there is a lot of anti-Catholic ideas.


#4

Therein lies the rub. Persecution of Catholicism is the last acceptable form of discrimination both from the left and from the right. Would you be saying “so” if you were to replace Jew instead of Catholic?

[quote=daviddarlette]When I asked a priest what Catholics thought of other denominations attacking Catholicism, his response was, “Well we are so big, that we just tend not to worry what these other smaller churches think of us. We view them with kindness as brothers, but we certainaly don’t feel threatened in any way.” I have always kept that in mind.
[/quote]

No, we’re not threatened by them, but we still stand up for our rights.

[quote=daviddarlette]Maybe it would encourage my Catholic brothers and sisters to keep in mind the size of our Church, and that there is no real threat to Her.:wink: We can just sit back and relax from a position of strength.
[/quote]

And that’s when the stuff hits the fan, when Catholics don’t defend their own either from highly conservatives in the middle ages (ones that ran amock, not the God-fearing ones) to the liberal apostates of today.


#5

Catholicism is the single largest Christian denomination in the United States. That doesn’t mean that all of our members are the best, or that all of them represent Catholic teaching 100% of the time.


#6

It’s not just a complex it’s very much out there. Yes the more radical element can really only be found in Chick tracts and other websites. The day to day element is very much out there, its grounded mostly in theological ignorance, secular angst, or personal experience. In my own life I have seen it many times, mostly from evangelicals but also from ex-Catholics. At one point I was threatened with violence during a theological debate, after a list of insults. My work environment wasn’t the same after that, I said something’s that were also rude and apologized. I also had thought about becoming a priest early on in college, I made this public to a few people and the jokes came shortly after that. Lets just say you can guess what the jokes were about. They came from good friends too, people I respected. Its not to say that I don’t walk into it, I work mostly ecumenically, so its not like I’m taken aback. I’ve also thrown my share of insults back in defense (lets be honest), which was wrong and unchristian.
Those big things don’t get to me as much of the little comments, “I could never marry you because youre Catholic” “Now that I’m getting a PhD I might be able to handle the Catholic theology classes you take” “Are you going to go touch little boys?” “Why would you ever take theology from there (referring to the Jesuit school I attend)” “Why would you go to college there?” “Look 90% of you (Catholics) are going to hell anyway” “I didn’t know that they knew anything about a relationship with Christ.” “I just don’t want to talk about it, how you people worship Mary” To think I live in a tolerate place like Seattle, I got less grief in rural Texas.
Those are just the ones from the last few months. The awkward silences, the immediate change of attitude toward you, the concept that you want to live a religious life makes you an “idiot”, so now I just don’t talk about it. You become a second class citizen of the Kingdom pretty fast. So no its not really a complex that isn’t grounded anywhere. A complex is usually born somewhere. Going through England and getting pulled aside for an Irish Catholic last name, yeah maybe it was random but who knows, random searches can last 6 hours right? Its not that I’m really that mad either, sometimes it hurts. It’s not that I can’t hold my own, I’m very well versed in the Bible and the Church. But every time the Catholic question comes up I do my best to educate people as best I can, which I can say with much hope makes a difference. I run a small men’s bible study that has three Catholics and two Protestants, I love all of them the same and our love for each other is rooted deeper in Christ then our denominational differences and its something we all have to find.


#7

How would you define “persecution complex”?

I am told that anti-Catholicism is not nearly so bad in Europe as it is in America, and perhaps that is true of Australia as well. So maybe that’s coloring your view of the matter. You don’t have to hear the same lies and slanders over and over (and over and over and over and over…)


#8

Anti-Catholicism is pretty bad in England too. I lived there for most of my life and I was well aware of what was said about Catholics and our family have had Chick tracts forwarded to us aswell. On a sidenote I have a Myspace profile and I added a friend of a friend who’s Baptist. I updated my profile and added my religion and lo and behold the guy disappeared. It’s almost comical.


#9

Someone carved swastikas into the window sill of the Catholic Church I attend.

When I taught at a Catholic school, my classroom was broken into. Swastikas were drawn on the walls. The person or persons who did it also defecated into my desk drawers.

If we act like we’re being persecuted, maybe it’s because we are.


#10

A couple of points:

  1. When other Christians accuse Catholics of not being real Christians or the anti-Christ, this comes dangerously close to the unforgiveable sin of “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.”

I believe the Lord forgives people who do this if they are ignorant of what the Catholic Churc teaches. After all, if what Chick says about the Catholic Church is true, then we ARE non-Christians and anti-Christ.

We need to educate others so that they will not commit that unforgiveable sin and accuse us of being non-Christians or anti-Christ.

  1. One of the arguments against striking down Roe v Wade is “separation of church and state,” which people wrongly say means “no religion in government decisions.”

So because of religious prejudice, babies are killed legally in the U.S. We must fight against this prejudice against religion.


#11

[quote=davidarlette]In relation to another thread “Why do people hate us (Catholics) so much?”
[/quote]

Because we are persecuted. Specifically, anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice. It is perfectly acceptable to sneer at the Church where similar comments lodged against any other religious or cultural group would meet with animated opposition in ‘civilized’ society.

In any given day, folks will come up to me or Catholics whom I know and instruct us as to what the Church teaches. Are those folks Catholic? Sometimes no, sometimes in name only. Is what they are saying correct? Almost never.

The media takes huge liberties by misrepresenting Church teaching, nodding and winking about the Inquisition or the Crusades as if they had done any research on those periods (they haven’t).

Frequently folks come up to me or other Catholics whom I know and start bellowing at the top of their lungs strange and unfounded accusations about the Church.

Frequently folks start in on the Pope as if they had read anything the Pope has written (they haven’t). They just assume that everyone thinks the Pope to be God’s Rottweiler. (I don’t mean to offend HH, only to report.)

A few years ago a neighbourhood board of directors made obtuse remarks against the Church and then promptly banned the display of religious symbols. To that end a board member removed all but one World Youth Day Choir poster off all the neighbourhood bulletin boards and tore the image of El Greco’s crucifixion into shreds. Another person held up the remaining poster at a public meeting and ridiculed it. The banning of religious symbols btw is against our Constitution.

Last Christmas a prominent judge banned the Christmas tree from the court building.

There is a long list actually.

[quote=davidarlette] I would like to ask why Catholics seem to have a bit of a persecution complex.
[/quote]

Oh we don’t have a persecution complex. I think we count ourselves blessed to not treasure ignorance and hate propaganda.

[quote=davidarlette]Some Baptist wrote an anti-Catholic website. So???
[/quote]

So I guess we should just keep silent and not embarrass anyone by shedding light on error? Is that it?

[quote=davidarlette]When I asked a priest what Catholics thought of other denominations attacking Catholicism, his response was, “Well we are so big, that we just tend not to worry what these other smaller churches think of us. We view them with kindness as brothers, but we certainaly don’t feel threatened in any way.”
[/quote]

Does Karl Keating feel this way?

[quote=davidarlette]Maybe it would encourage my Catholic brothers and sisters to keep in mind the size of our Church, and that there is no real threat to Her.
[/quote]

Of course there is no threat to the Church Herself. But to the national churches? Keeping silent and not embarrassing anyone by shedding light on error is a sure way to defend our national churches? Um… I dont think so.

If we were meant to keep silent, then why does our Pope, our bishops, priests, and nuns speak out? Why do we have organizations such as CAF, the Catholic League, the Catholic Civil Rights League?


#12

As someone who lives in the South, I can honestly say that we are not the most approved of religion around these parts.

But more than that, it is a deeply ingrained feeling for many Americans (outside of certain pockets of highly Catholic areas). The United States has mostly been ruled by a culture of white, upper class Protestants. It is easily tracable to the English and Scotch-Irish (who were Protestants from Northern Ireland) settlers.

The early settlement of the Americas came at a time when Britain was extremely restrictive on Catholics and the Irish especially. War was fought against the French and Indians, both of whom were highly distrusted.

The Spanish to the South, also Catholic, were very much distrusted as well (and also seen as a roadblock to “manifest destiny”).

Look at our teaching of history. We make out the Puritans to be these wonderful people who symbolise the freedom to practice their own religion. The truth is, even the Dutch couldn’t stand them! They weren’t tolerant of other religions, they were some of the most intolerant people to be found. The Mayflower Compact was not this shining seed of democracy so much as an assurance for the passengers who were Church of England members that they would not be persecuted and could count on the laws of England to apply in Plymouth. (They were needed for the specialisations in certain trades).

I was amazed that when I converted my friends who were liberals and conservatives both reacted with equal horror. So, I think the idea of persecution can be taken too far, but it certainly exists. Unfortunately it seems that liberals and conservatives can find a common agreement on their socially acceptable loathing for the Church.


#13

Have you ever tried to talk to a Protestant?
The Catholic Church anathematizes all those with contrary views or opinions, that is how Catholics regard it. Just because we are big does not mean much, dogmas can still be perverted, churches still damaged, reputations still maligned.


#14

Indeed the Puritans were very intolerant and were responsible for the deaths of some Catholics. People overlook many times the penal laws imposed on the Catholic Irish by the Protestant Brittish. It is a fact of History that Catholics have been persecuted by Protestants.

But the main one attacking force is - atheist education from schools.
This is the worst persecution yet.


#15

I’d also like to say that part of it is because we are indeed persecuted in many ways in many places. Sneers, jeers, insults, ignorance…but it’s nothing we shouldn’t expect, since the servants are no greater than the Master.

To the assertion that the Church is big and has nothing to worry about from such attacks…of course that is true. The Gates of Hell shall not prevail, and neither shall the WBC. But that doesn’t mean that many Catholics, ignorant of their faith and the falsehoods being spewed at them, won’t be deceived. If Jesus said the Good Shepherd would leave the 99 sheep behind to search for the 1 stray, should we do any less in His stead?


#16

My co-worker, a Baptist lady from Texas,
lived in Guatemala City for 35 years. When I first met her,
I asked her if the Catholic Church was still the largest church in Guatemala.

She replied, “Yes, but the CHRISTIAN Church is doing well there too.” I was stunned by that.

Several other times, she mentioned changes in the Catholic church, but that “it still didn’t become CHRISTIAN.”

I finally told her flatly, “N___, the Catholic Church IS Christian !!”


#17

Also, to add to the previous poster’s excellent points, it is important to me to dispel some of the most egregious myths surrounding Catholicism so that others may find the real Church.

I want others to discover the beauty of the Mass, a love for the Blessed Virgin, and most importantly - a deep sense of love, praise, and worship for God that I found once I cleared away all of the fiction that has been allowed to surround the Church.


#18

Couple of observations on this topic: Living in a part of the country where the “WASP Establishment” used to rule and discriminate against Catholics, I find that we have much more common ground (at least in the sense of good relations) with the “mainline” Protestant denominations such as Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist, than with the evangelical denominations.

As far as having a “persecution complex,” I ran across a website (won’t dignify it by naming it) that blames the Catholic Church for - among other things - the Lincoln assassination, the sinking of the Titanic, the JFK assassination (!), 9/11, World War II, and a lot of other things. Agreeing with other posters: talk about anti-Catholicism being the “last acceptable prejudice!”


#19

“for you will be persecuted in my name…”

Says it all right there.
I don’t take the hatred, lies, and bile thrown at the the CC as victimization… I take it as validation, and I rejoice that I know where Christ’s Church is…

In Christ


#20

Same way I see, good post.


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