Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Extreme Anti-Catholicism

In researching how conspiracy theorists build entire plots of cosmic significance around events of minor importance (as I noted here and here), I located several anti-Catholic sites. I can’t say this was accidental, as I was specifically looking for something a Seventh-Day Adventist had shared with me 30 years ago, about Napoleon and a pope’s chair in 1798 and the letters of various papal titles adding up to 666. That stuff is still out there; someone still believes it, anyway.

I am familiar with a strong Baptist strain of anti-Catholicism, as my boys were exposed to it occasionally at Baptist schools, but the attitude there was more “well, their doctrine is so wrong that they’re not really Christian,” than obsessive proofs about how the Roman Church is the Antichrist. I knew that the latter attitude was probably still out there, but I haven’t run across it in person for many years now. Our congregation rents space from an SDA concregation, so I see their fliers and the covers of their pamphlets pretty regularly and don’t think that the Pope=Antichrist doctrine is as important as it once was. I don’t read it in any detail, however, and I know that this pernicious belief is strong in the Ellen G. White books so important to the founding of the denomination.

I don’t get any sense of how common this is, though. Any recent observations out there? Do you run across this extreme anti-Catholicism anymore, or has most of it watered down into the Baptist/fundamentalist version, as above? And actually, I don’t know as I run into even that all that often anymore.

11 comments:

terri said...

Every once in a while I'll get some bizarre flyer in the mail ranting about Catholic Church and it's being The Woman Riding The Beast. IT never has a clearly attributable group listed on it.

Jehovah's Witnesses are very anti-catholic in the same end-times vein

Scott(y) said...

speaking as a current Seventh-Day Adventist, for better or worse, the feeling and/or belief is alive and strong in the church.

CNS said...

My fiancee's parents can best be described as "Fundamentalist"--Baptists were apparently too "religion lite" for them.

A few years back her mom said my priest (I am Catholic) was "not a Christian"--even though she'd never met him. (Interestingly, their church was shouting distance from mine)

I've known for a long time that their dislike of me is due more to my Catholicism. Although we've lived together for several years, her brother got his wife pregnant about wo months before marriage and his sister lived with her boyfriend before marriage. Both those unions got blessed by Mom and Dad...

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Ouch. Steer them to CS Lewis to mellow them. Of course, that sort often rejects Lewis because his use of magic strikes them as Satanic. He also drank ale and smoked - gasp. I'm not sure who I'd recommend then.

Lewis just leads naturally to Tolkien and Chesterton.

russkellyphd said...

Unfortnately the Seventh-day Adventists will always be extremly anti-Roman Catholicisim and also anti-Protestants who worship onSunday. Their "inspired" prophetess" wrote it in theri most distributed book, the Great Controversy, and it cannot be denied or withdrawn. Their teaching that the Pope's tiara had words on it which equal 666 in Latin has also been proven to be manufactured. Their eschatology demands that the Pope be the Antichrist. It is goofy theology.

Jerub-Baal said...

From my observation, pretty much all of the (trendy and recognized) art that bashes Christianity is anti-Catholic at its base. Smearing elephant dung on an image of the Virgin Mary, ugly and menacing images of priests and cardinals, et cetra. Aparently these artists want to show their courage in standing up against the ongoing evils of the Inquisition....

Oh, wait.....

Timothy said...

As an unofficial, amateur Catholic apologist, anti-Catholicism is alive and well.

This evening I answered a blog entry arguing the Catholic Church is a cult and a second arguing that the Catholic Church did not give the world the Bible ,but not offering any other explanation of the Bible's origins.

On any given night I can easily find several blog entries attacking the Catholic faith. Last night it was a Christian minister in the Phillipines who was attacking the "doctrine of Limbo". As Limbo is not and never was Catholic doctrine, that turned out to be much ado about nothing. A complete strawman. Anti-Catholics love their strawmen.

My vote for poster children of anti-Catholicsm would be James White and Ken Silva.

As Peter said; "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." 1 Peter 3:15-16

God bless one and all...

CNS said...

"Ouch. Steer them to CS Lewis to mellow them. Of course, that sort often rejects Lewis because his use of magic strikes them as Satanic."

Dang, you pretty much pegged my fiancee's parents there--she and her siblings were not allowed to watch, for instance, "The Smurfs"--because Gargamel used magic. (and he was the villain!)

Jerub-Baal said...

In many ways, this stuff is typical of our "enlightened" age. People can't (or don't want to) have differences without plummeting immediately to the human default position of virulent tribalism.

There are many real areas deserving of civil discussion between any of the differing branches of Christianity (that would be why they are different). Lewis and Tolkien jovially did this for most of their teaching careers. Lewis' avowed goal was to convert Tolkien from Catholicism, to which Tolkien humorously deferred. This added to their friendship, not undermined it.

The level of intellectual maturity and emotional honesty and effort needed for that kind of friendship seems to be beyond the abilities or interests of many who claim to be Godly.

I would posit that this lack only reveals the shallowness of their convictions and paucity of their understanding.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Yes, jerub-baal, I think that is much of it. People think they are defending their faith, but they are really defending their culture. This confusion in their minds allows them justify clinging to the dry husks as if they were grain. They perceive any challenge to their culture as a challenge to their faith.

Wyman said...

One of the main reasons you don't run into those feelings anymore, AVI, is that now that your boys have left Baptist schools behind, you don't run into that many Baptists anymore.