Saturday, April 23, 2005

Deep Seated Christian Anti-Catholicism Remains

A couple of weeks ago, as we Catholics basked in the glow of fawning media coverage, I worried about the emergence of latent anti-Catholicism. Steve Bogner has seen some websites with such nasty reactions.

I don't think many Catholics are aware of just how deep seated anti-Catholicism is. By anti-Catholicism, I mean the train of thought that sees Catholicism as evil and "the great whore of Babylon."

Many of these Pentecostals and Evangelicals put up with Catholicism for political and financial considerations. On the political front, the Catholic Right has jumped into bed with the Christian Right much to the detriment of Catholicism. The fundamentalist fervor is now rubbing off on the Catholic Right and shows no sign of abating. Financially, Pentecostals have seen that ignoring Catholics is ignoring a potent revenue stream. There was a time a Catholic would just about get spit on for showing up at a Christian bookstore, now our idols and graven images of Mary proudly displayed for sale. (Although, I do have to say that our local Family Christian Bookstore has been very good to me. They refer Catholics my way and we've worked together quite well.) But I always chuckle when Catholics come to our store and note that they don't feel too welcome at the Christian store.

I think the events of the past month have stirred the latent anti-Catholicism out there, add to this, Our Lady of the Underpass, and you get something anti-Catholic brewing. It doesn't help that Pope Benedict is not a warm image. I remember in my virulently anti-Catholic days, I could not bring myself to call JPII the anti-Christ or call him evil. I knew little about him, but he projected warmth. Pope Benedect does not project that warmth and charisma which might play well into the anti-Catholic brew out there.

I do think the financial and politcal considerations will settle things down and the political alliance will continue, after all, it was Ratzinger who tipped the scales in Bush's favor.


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