Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ammunition for the modern anti-Catholic

Except for a few fundamentalist evangelical denominations or Jack Chick-like ministries, most Protestants no longer rail against Catholicism under the old 'whore of Babylon' directive. As a general rule, Protestant and conservative Evangelical scholars began to notice that, as our society moved from non-Christian to post-Christian to anti-Christian, a general dislike of the Faith in general was taking root. So every charge of corruption, cruelty, witch burnings, crusades, torture, greed, oppression, or any of the one sided arguments from Fox's Book of Martyrs, just came flying right back at the Christian population in general.

As a result, you began to see books, texts, periodicals, studies, and others that took a new look at Catholic history. A willingness emerged to meet Catholicism where it was, especially on such topics as marriage, abortion, and other conservative social values. Plus, where Catholicism stood on the basic orthodox Christian beliefs, a new set of allies could be seen among Protestant ranks. Preferring to focus on the positives of Catholic history, the new arguments tried to diminish the Hollywood negativity toward the Christian faith in general by reducing the stereotypically dismal portrayal of historic Catholicism in particular.

But where can a Protestant, realizing that to the non-Christian world Catholic equals Christian, go to continue justifying a refusal to unite with the Catholic Church? Easy. The Catholic Church sometimes appears to want to give ammunition to the non-believer. Take Notre Dame. Among informed Protestants, Notre Dame is a hotbed of reasons for good, Christ loving and dedicated Christians to avoid Catholicism. In this story, we have a reminder that Notre Dame, a Catholic university (the most famous in America), is prosecuting pro-life protesters who protested the university's decision to honor President Obama. It is the University that appears to be a driving force behind the ongoing prosecution of the protesters. That's right. You really don't need a fishing rod when the fish are willing to jump in the boat. And Protestant Christians don't need to sweat about how to dissuade their fellow Protestants from becoming Catholic when there are such wonderful reasons as this.

As I can attest when I speak to non-Catholic Christians, one of the main reasons they use to avoid returning to the Catholic Church is, well, the Catholic Church - or at least various Catholic ministries thereof. No, there is no such thing as a perfect anything. But Catholics should understand that there is a limit, and stop using sin and imperfection to cover up real and serious problems in the ranks. This example alone suggests that Catholics who are serious about spreading the good news of Catholicism should turn their backs on the Fighting Irish, at least until the school decides to clean up its act. I know that sounds harsh, but enough is enough.

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