It is convenient to close one's eyes, and pretend it doesn't exist, or to delude one's self to believe it's getting better. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's getting worse. The only thing that's changed are the players. Originally, Protestants eagerly jumped on board the anti-Catholic bandwagon. Today that's not so much the case. A few Protestants still present a significant problem, but for the most part, the majority have taken a more reasonable and tolerant attitude. However, as modern Protestants move away from their historic anti-Catholic positions, it is becoming plain to see that they themselves are now targets of the same kind of bigotry, in a more generalized "Anti-Christian" form, that seems to target specifically those Protestants that agree with the Catholic Church on moral and social issues. Aside from a few radical Fundamentalist sects, the players are much different today. Mainstream liberalism now presents the biggest problem, with a militant anti-Catholicism that is just as virulent as anything we've seen in the past, if not more so.
The institutes of anti-Catholicism are sweeping in American history. So much so, that they penetrate the very establishments of our national and state governments. A sizable number of states, including my own, contain thinly veiled anti-Catholic provisions in their state constitutions. The anti-Catholic culture of Washington DC is plain and clear for anyone to see. Just look at the treatment received by Supreme Court nominees Sam Alito, John Roberts and Clarence Thomas. Any candidate who demonstrated a strong leaning toward Roman Catholic faith and values was automatically suspect.
The following is a primer on anti-Catholicism in the United States of America...
We live in a society which not only proclaims freedom from discrimination for all its citizens, but has gone to the extent of enshrining this principle in law; however, all too often sections of the media make statements about Catholics or the Catholic Church they would not dare make about any other group in society.
Fr Massa's new book, Anti-Catholicism in America, is one of a few published in recent years on this topic. Investigating aspects of anti-Catholic ideology in America in chronological order, Fr Massa argues that, despite the separation of Church and State and the freedom of religious expression that underpin the American constitution, anti-Catholicism remains part of the American cultural mind-set.
The American ethos was grounded by 17th century immigrants who settled America at a time not only when "no popery" sentiment was at its height in England, but by groups of non-conformist Christians who were more anti-Catholic than others in English society.
The early American republic imaged Catholicism as the antithesis of its values, believing it repressed the rights of individuals to think and speak for themselves, citing the Inquisition as evidence to support such a belief. Furthermore, the Church's hierarchical, undemocratic structure was seen as in opposition not only to the American political structure, but also the church government structures of many Protestant denominations, where the community elected pastors and representatives to church governing bodies.
Anti-Catholic sentiment became more apparent in times of difficulties, for example, during depressions when some Protestant Americans blamed Catholic immigrants for taking their jobs.
Much earlier anti-Catholic sentiment had a religious basis: Catholicism was considered to be the "whore of Babylon" and lurid tales of priests and nuns such as Maria Monk were best-sellers.
Fr Massa examines modern day versions of this phenomenon, such as televangelist Jimmy Swaggart who, as the highest rating televangelist (before egregious details of his private life became public knowledge), proclaimed that Catholics were not Christian.
Similarly, tracts by Jack Chick reproduce in comic book form anti-Catholic rhetoric associated with an earlier age. The reader is told, for example, that asking Mary's intercession is really the Babylonian practice of worshipping Semiramis and that the mastermind behind the Holocaust was the Vatican, Adolf Hitler being a loyal son of the Church who carried out this crime against humanity on their behalf! And despite clear evidence that Chick's portrait of Alberto Riviera as an ex-Jesuit priest is patently false, such material is still readily available in print form or on the internet.
However, much modern anti-Catholic rhetoric is secular in nature and has been focused on the concern that Catholic politicians would merely be taking orders from the Church, concerns that peaked before President Kennedy's election. Fr Massa argues that his response drove a deeper wedge between Church and State than those advocated by his Protestant predecessors. The conduct of some Democrat politicians who in recent years have supported pro-abortion stances has put paid to this myth.....
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