“I’m not anti-Catholic. I have Catholic friends.”
Doesn’t that sound a lot like, “I’m not racist! I have black friends!” Or how about when someone says something offensive to Catholics, but then insists they didn’t mean it? Sounds like when somebody drops the n-word, doesn’t it? Now I’ll admit that nobody is getting lynched or harmed for being Catholic (at least in this century), but I don’t think that Protestants (especially low-church Protestants) in this country realize how deeply set their anti-Catholic bias really is. This post is for those in that thread and the “apology” to that one, in which those who took offense to RLP’s post are called “spiritually immature.”
Once upon a time, thirteen colonies were established in the United States. In a lot of these colonies, it was illegal to be Catholic. In 1647, Jesuits were barred from entering Massachusetts under pain of death. It wasn’t until the late 18th century that a priest could come into Massachusetts without worrying about being martyred.
Fast forward to the 19th century. There are waves of immigrants fleeing Europe from famine (my Irish relatives, for instance), revolution (my German and Bohemian relatives), and the chance for a better life (my Italian relatives). A lot of these immigrants are Catholic (my Irish and Italian family.) And guess what? Anti-Catholicism rears its head. From something as benign as “Catholics need not apply” to all-out terror from the KKK.
You know what? You still get anti-Catholicism today. Now, I’m not talking about crap the likes of which Bill Donohue flies off the handle at. I’ve had to listen to my colleagues at my university opine about how stupid Catholics are, how we’re all sexual deviants, and how our clergy are all abusers. The people who would tell a Catholic joke these days are those who would balk at a similar joke about a particular ethnic group. I’ve had to put up with jabs about my faith from my non-Catholic family, from my fiancé’s family, and from just about everywhere else.
So you find a post like RLP’s, in which he portrays the current Pope as some stupid vegetable, complete with faux Latin, it’s coming from a very long line of shit you’ve had to face almost every day of your life. Lord knows I don’t agree with every word the Pope says (contrary to popular belief, we’re allowed to do this, and not everything the Pope says has equal weight.) But I can’t deny that 1.) he’s the Vicar of Christ and the successor to Peter, 2.) the guy is frigging brilliant (has been a professor, speaks six languages or so fluently, has written numerous theological works, and has the chops to be a concert pianist.) and 3.) has actually been outspoken on the exact issue that RLP is accusing him of.
Newsflash: the Pope baptizes people publicly at Easter every damn year. And, if you think this was a conversion at gunpoint, at least read what the person in question had to say about it. The person also had a personal relationship with the Pope. I can’t think of anything more beautiful than to receive the sacraments of initiation from someone who’s been instrumental in your faith development.
You know what? I’m tired of having to school people on anti-Catholic bias. Go ahead, say what you want. You’ll only make yourself look worse.