Boyish bigotry in the newspaper of Ole Miss

The University of Mississippi on its website bills itself as "A Great Public University".

I don’t know if they receive public funds or not.

The administration seems to tolerate anti-Catholic bigotry in a paper associated with the University.

The Daily Mississippian is a student run paper described to be both "of the University" and also "independent".  Also, the web presense of the same seems to be separate to an extent from the print edition.   Nevertheless, this entity is associated formally with Ole Miss.  I don’t know where it gets its funding.  Is any of it from tax payers?

And so we come to it.  It is an old story: a young know-it-all makes a foolish spectacle of himself with his shallow considerations of the relationship of reason and faith. 

The problem rests less in his lack of understanding of what he is writing about, as it does in his bigotry.

I am sure tens of people pay attention to this puppy, Caviness.  Are we giving him more attention than he is due?  Perhaps.  Still, this is an exemplary piece. 

You could use it in a classroom to underscore all manner of object lessons.


The Catholic Church has their hands full
3 March 2009

By Jason Caviness

The Catholic Church is in a royal hubbub again. You have probably read about Bishop William Richardson, [Yes…. "William Richardson" and not "Richard Williamson".  He is off to a splendid start, this budding young columnist.] the Catholic priest who recently had his excommunication lifted by Joseph Ratzinger, now commonly referred to as Pope Benedict XVI. Richardson made headlines in late January when he went on Swedish television and had this to say – with a straight face – about the Holocaust, “I believe there were no gas chambers … I think that two to three hundred thousand Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps … but none of them by gas chambers.”

Richardson was excommunicated back in 1988 for reasons unrelated to his Holocaust denial by Pope John Paul II, who Richardson criticized for being too progressive and not nearly medieval enough in his condemnations. After John Paul II shuffled off his mortal coil and was replaced with a good old fashioned woman – and homosexual-hating pontiff – Richardson was welcomed back into the holy clubhouse. That is, until footage of him making idiotic statements about the Holocaust aired all over the world. Now all of a sudden the Vatican is feigning outrage and are trying to distance themselves from this public relations snafu.

People all over the world are expressing their surprise with Richardson’s faulty grasp on reality, but why are they shocked? This is not the first time that the church has done something shockingly ridiculous, nor will it be the last. The thing is, doing and saying outrageous things is their stock-in-trade. Without their callous disregard for evidence and reason, there wouldn’t even be a church. After all, what is Christianity without the immaculate conception? Without the resurrection? Without the worship of a trinity that is somehow not polytheism[Also well-schooled in metaphysics, I see.]

[Up to this point, the puppy has merely shown some coarse bigotry.  Now he reveals his lack of understanding of understanding about the relationship of fides and ratio, auctoritas and intellectus.]

Richardson and the Vatican are only a part of the problem. The real villain here is irrationality itself. Without irrationality, religion would never have gained the foothold it currently has on the human condition. Irrationality leads to things [the depth!] like the Holocaust and 9/11 (Richardson also denies that planes struck the towers). Irrational thought makes a virtue of faith, which is belief without evidence to support it.  [sigh… ]

Once you believe virgins can get pregnant, anything goes. [back to the bigotry] Many irrational beliefs are innocuous enough; virgin birth, walking on water, healing the sick with only a touch. But once logic has been devalued to the point of irrelevancy, the mind is open to infection by the worst ideas that man can devise, and there are always evil men eager to pollute the minds of others.

The bishop clearly has no regard for evidence (indeed, what “holy” man does?). [Prepare yourselves for the irony of the following… savor the irony…]  We know the Holocaust occurred because of a convergence of evidence, not just because somebody told us so. Richardson’s mind is apparently so conditioned to accepting things on “authority” that he feels no pressure to provide evidence to support his stupid claims. Richardson and the Vatican will tell you irrevocably false nonsense like Communion wafers and wine are literally the body and blood of Christ, and that’s harmless enough. [back to bigotry] But they will also tell you horribly destructive things. They will tell you AIDS is not as bad as condom use. They will tell you you are a wretched creature who is guilty of a sin committed – inexplicably – prior to your birth, and that you should lead a guilt-ridden life because of it[young fool]

I will acknowledge religion has done some good and that it continues to do so. But this latest fiasco betrays the true tenets of all religion; [as if he knew any of them that well… but let that pass] deceit and hostility towards reason. Try as they may to separate themselves from Richardson and his cohorts in the uber-conservative Society of St. Pius X, [Consider the writer’s ability to get Williamson’s name right, … ] the church will forever have PR issues like this one. By embracing superstition over logic, they have guaranteed as much.


This is a boyish attempt at being clever.  He is writing beyond his depth.

What I have a harder time squaring is how this comes to be printed in a publication of Ole Miss.

Ironically the motto of Old Miss is Pro Scientia et Sapientia.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. dcs says:

    Ironically the motto of Old Miss is Pro Scientia et Sapientia

    Maybe a better motto would be “Scientia inflat, caritas vero aedificat”!

  2. Aelric says:

    The problem rests less in his lack of understanding of what he is writing about, as it does in his bigotry.

    I disagree here: the later arises in the vacuum; chaos; and false pride created by the former.

  3. Patrick says:

    Anti Catholic bigotry is the last form of bigotry tolerated in this society. You really can’t pick on anyone else and get away with it.

    I guess the budding scribe has not heard of the toll taken on the human race by the athiestic humanists in the Communist and Nazi parties in the last century.

    I am surprised that he did not bring up the Spanish Inquisition and the Gunpowder Plot. He missed some good column inches there.

  4. Christa says:


    In the phrase ” the puppy has merely shown some course bigotry” I believe you mean “coarse” bigotry.

    Otherwise, your comments are spot on. [He may have gotten it from a course at Ole Miss.]

  5. Jason R says:

    What is really sad her is that anti-Catholicism is tolerated by society. How many of us endure the anti-Catholic jokes we hear every day by our co-workers recite at the “water cooler.” How often do we see it plainly in the media? Basically, it is publically acceptable to hate Catholics and to say so vocally. The irony here is that this two-faced bigotry comes from liberals who are always crying out that we need to be more “accepting and tolerant of others”… unless of course they are Catholic—they’re the scum of the earth. The more we let this garbage go by without saying anything the worse it gets. I suspect that this bigotry always existed. Now, however, it is much more open.

    I pray for these poor sinners. I also give thanks that people like Fr. Z and the Catholic League are consistently sticking up for us and brining attention to this prejudice—this hatred. Keep up the good work Fr. Z!

  6. Brian Crane says:

    The anti-Catholicism doesn’t surprise me, but its absolutely mind-boggling that any writer, grade school, high school, college, or professional, would get his principle subject’s name so completely jumbled throughout his article….and that it would make it to print.

  7. boredoftheworld says:

    Something tells me Cavon Jasiness needs an editor, and it’s not just the whole William Richardson thing that leads me to that belief.

  8. Mark says:

    What concerns me here is not so much this young man’s poverty of thought and plain anti-Catholic bigotry, but the fact that this is published in association with the University of Mississippi. This reflects badly on the faculty of this University, since such unadulterated drivel goes uncorrected among those of their students who have been given a public voice.

    If the University of Mississippi wants to challenge the Roman Catholic Church, then at least they should try to do this intelligently. Sending children out into the field is not worthy of a response.

  9. Dominic says:

    Will he have the humility to be ashamed of this piece when he realises how incompetently it is written? Poor fellow, humiliating himself so publicly. We should be sorry for him.

  10. Al says:

    I actually think this will be an increasing problem over the next few years; the rise of anti-religious bigotry is not something to be ignored. If you haven’t been watching, this is now the “in” thing to say – religion, all claims to objective truth, “supernatural” claims (meaning, for these people, asserting anything remotely not purely physical exists) and other beliefs are all said to be “clearly absurd” and worthy of ridicule and/or in many cases violence (anyone know someone by the name of PZ Meyers or the string of recent Eucharistic desecrations?). Ridicule, not reason, characterizes the manner of attack in “refuting” religion among this “new atheism” and it’s not a very pleasant portend of what is to come. Many other newspapers have published very similar columns, including university news papers (I wrote a response to a column, very much in the spirit of the one here, at TWO separate, fairly large universities). I think Catholics, especially, need to be very active in responding to these threats by highlighting, in as clear and intelligent a voice as possible, the rationality of faith and its harmony with reason; responding as such to this letter would be a good start. There is no other way.

  11. Al says:

    I’m sorry, my remark should read “…to two columns in the same spirit, published at two separate and established universities.”

  12. GordonBOPS says:

    Sadly, I suspect this individual likely grew up a Catholic (one who wasn’t tought the faith well) who in college had such a poor grasp on his faith this is the result.

  13. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    As for his attack on religion, Lucretius this guy isn’t.

    If you’re going to swipe at religion, at least do it in limpid dactylic hexameters.

  14. Bobby Bambino says:

    “faith,…is belief without evidence to support it. [sigh… ]”

    Why do you sigh at this, Father? This is a DIRECT quote from the Catechism! :)

  15. Stephanie L says:

    His Cavisness has been thoroughly bashed in the comments section of his article. I’m wondering if the commenters arrived from Fr. Z’s website? !!! That article was just toooooooooo embarrassing.

  16. Manuel says:

    Sadly this doesn’t surprise me anymore. Even sadder, he would fit right in at many “Catholic” schools.
    I agree with you Dr., limpid hexameters is how you do didactic pieces. Or at least elegiac stanzas.

  17. Clinton says:

    That’s not the only such article the DM has published recently:

  18. Merriweather says:

    Stay Classy Cavin Jasoness.

  19. Mastruca says:

    This might have been written by any number of my coworkers. Perhaps the writer is sincere in his rage. And perhaps, at least partially, this is the result of having replaced religious instruction with fluff. People just don’t get any religious instruction any more and so many seek to find security in “pure reason”. But anyone making a sincere inquiry will soon discover that reason alone stripped of all religion turns into an illusive concept which cannot provide any answers. And, from what I’ve seen, the next step is superstition and a complete lack of reason.

  20. John Enright says:

    The author’s lack of sensitivity is the equal of Williamson’s holocaust denial. I’m not surprised since anti-Catholic feelings haven’t really abated in the deep South yet.

  21. Fr. BJ says:

    Probably had a public school education. His grammar is terrible — from the title onward.

    It’s not so surprising that school newspapers are beginning to publish more filth like this, given the general drift of the newsmedia of late. Some conservative commentators refer to 2008 as the “Year that Journalism Died”…

    The boy mocks faith, but he doesn’t get reason right either.

  22. dominic1962 says:

    Wow. Even if I were an apostate, I’d be extremely embarrassed to have my name tacked to that sorry excuse for journalism. Its not even merely yellow-it doesn’t even get basic facts straight.

    One would hope that the “rough copy” of this “work” was scribbled on a series of cocktail napkins by this guy while on a 3 day weekend bender. At least that would explain some of the rantish irrationality and blatant errors.

  23. Subvet says:

    God must love stupid people, He’s made so many of them and those like Caviness proudly announce themselves to the world at large.

  24. Velociraptor says:

    Even we Velociraptors have taken Intro to Philosophy. One hopes that, when the time comes to eat all humans, this particular snack’s body is not as poorly fed as his mind.

    In the meantime, Velociraptor recommend: Mortimer Adler’s “10 Philosophical Mistakes.”

  25. Susan Peterson says:

    I grew up with this kind of thinking. My father, in the midst of his Alzheimers, was still trying to provoke me with comments like “All religion is superstition.” My parents could both write much better than this, but what they believed was not much different from what this young man has written. Before his dementia, my father could do a better job arguing his position than this young man, but ultimately this is all there was to it. It is an incredibly impoverished point of view. Thanks be to God for showing me the way out of it.
    Susan Peterson.

  26. cordelia says:

    sounds like this boy needs a good talking to by Ron Rychlak…

  27. Hidden One says:

    “His Cavisness has been thoroughly bashed in the comments section of his article. I’m wondering if the commenters arrived from Fr. Z’s website? That article was just toooooooooo embarrassing.”


    “Fight all error, but do it with good humor, patience, kindness, and love. Harshness will damage your own soul and spoil the best cause.”
    — St. John Cantius

    Heed the Saint. Fellow WDTPRSers, if you head over there and post, please show more charity than most comments so far have shown. 1 Cor 16:14, after all.

  28. Ryan says:

    This occasionally happens in other university newspapers too. There was a printed letter to the editor in my university’s student paper which was correcting a mistake an article written about Ash Wednesday.

    Unfortunately the letter ended with

    ‘I am no Bible-thumping zealot, but I think you should get your facts straight before you print an article, and I have no idea where she got her information.
    I think you should print a correction, or Mel Gibson and the Pope might have to get involved and then you’ll have a God storm on your hands.’

    Needless to say that it seems like this letter had more purposes than to correct a small error in the article (author of article wrote wrote ‘Lent…is a Catholic religious observance of the 40 days Jesus Christ spent fasting before his crucifixion’, which has since been changed to ’40 days Jesus Christ spent fasting in the desert, where he was tested by Satan, according to scripture’).

    Even worse is the comment box online for the letter to editor which quickly deteriorated into a smear contest between religious and nonreligious.

    Students in universities are dying for want of real philosophy. I’ve taken primarily math and science, so my exposure has obviously been limited. But I’m currently in a technical writing/rhetoric class and the deluge of Marxist philosophy contained in articles we read on writing theory is driving me crazy, simply because I can see that the arguments lack substance but I lack the tools to properly critique them.

  29. wjd says:

    I feel a need to step in before anyone else assumes this somehow represents the University of Mississippi in any remotely official way. I’m a law student at Ole Miss – the DM is a student written, student edited (or not) paper. I don’t know for a fact whether it has a direct link to the University or any faculty supervision, but I’d be surprised if it does – this is pretty typical of the low level of thought, research, and writing that regularly gets printed. Whatever you think of Mississipi, this does not reflect the general level of intelligence or the general opinion of people at this University. We actually have a pretty vibrant Catholic community on campus. The number of Catholic students is incredible given the percentage of Catholics in this state (around 2%) – and the RCIA class is regularly filled with student converts. We have a good, orthodox priest who’s brick-by-brick pulling the liturgy and catechesis back from the edge of the 1960’s abyss you typically find in parishes in this state. There’s also an impressive list of Catholic faculty who are involved in the parish as well – particularly from the law school. So – yes, I agree, this guy is an idiot – but he does not represent Ole Miss.

    To those who suggested he may have grown up Catholic – it’s possible, but I doubt it. The odds are just against it here. He probably grew up in an evangelical family or unchurched but surrounded by an evangelical community he resented. Reading this knowing about how much people here actually know about Catholic doctrine, this reads much more as an attack on Christianity generally than Catholicism in particular. For example, although he mentions the “immactulate conception” what he actually criticizes is belief in the virgin birth. Few Mississippians know the difference – not because they’re stupid – just because there’s never been anyone to explain it to them. It would be interesting to see what else this guy’s written, but he sounds like a college kid who sees his first chance to be a cool, intellectual atheist and the “William Richardson (sic)” affair has just given him one more excuse to try on that costume. Just my two cents – but really – don’t assume this guy in any way represents Ole Miss.

  30. Merriweather says:

    He posted a pretty funny update:

    Jason said:
    I can’t believe I screwed up the bishop’s name. I made a regrettable mistake there. However, that does not invalidate the rest of the column and I stand by everything else in it. Instead of ad hominem attacks on me personally I’d like to see someone here refute my content (DOOD CANT RITE GOOD HIS GRAMMAR SUX LOL isn’t what I’m talking about). I don’t see where I painted all Catholics with the same brush as the one I painted Williamson with. My point was not that all religious folks are Holocaust deniers (of course not) but that we should not be surprised when someone makes such an outrageous statement when we embrace religion which is inherently irrational. If someone can tell me why believing in miracles is not irrational I’ll admit I’m wrong.

  31. Thomas says:


    “Stay Classy Cavin Jasoness.”

    Priceless. I barked out laughing when I read that.

  32. Fr. Kowalski says:

    You should all go to the link that Fr. Z has to the website for the paper and read the comments that many have written about the piece. Aside from the few oddballs, many did quite a good job at taking this puppy to task. Kudos to them.

  33. Vincent says:

    This guy sounds like he’s read too many Christopher Hitchens books.

    I’m a regular columnist for a very different undergraduate newspaper, and am thoroughly embarrassed by this. Mr. Caviness’s piece is not journalism — it’s just a screed.

  34. Merriweather says:


    “This guy sounds like he’s read too many Christopher Hitchens books.”

    I wouldn’t give him that much credit.

  35. RBrown says:

    I think it’s best not to take student newspapers too seriously. They are generally poorly written and edited by undereducated students who aren’t smart enough to know that they don’t know–and are more interested in indulging their own opinions than in learning.

    The article is no exception to that.

    In fact, when I was at KU, the main function of the university newspaper was to provide coupons for the fast food restaurants. And the Burger Hut used to have a coupon for 2 for 1 pork tenderloins. On Sunday the fraternity didn’t serve food, so we were on our own. That meant a Dr Pepper and FOUR pork tenderloins.

    Boy, those days are long gone . . .

  36. Latter-day Guy says:

    Wow. He’s a young man of tremendous faith… in his own positions. The thinness of his arguments displays the thinness of his thinking in this piece. Sad, sad, sad. Someone send this kid some Chesterton!

  37. Clinton says:

    Carl Olson at the Ignatius Press blog wrote a wonderful article about a pitiful editorial that was published in the
    student newspaper of California State University:

  38. Ian says:


    You went to KU? Same here, except in my day there, the purpose of the paper was two fold: (1) tearing up and using as confetti in the Field House for the basketball games and (2)the crossword puzzles … those puzzles got me through many an Intro Heres… ahem… I mean Philosophy class …

    Having been a news editor on a college newspaper (at a major Jesuit college) before KU, I can also confirm your belief that such kitsch should be taken with several pounds of salt or, more safely, ignored completely. One example should demonstrate this: One evening, we had a few no-shows on articles for the Op-Ed page, so the editor decided to write a filler piece. For lack of anything substantial, it detailed the various styles of urinals on campus and what was to like about each. The title: “Hey now, Urinal Star”. That was easily the best quality Op-Ed piece the paper had that whole year, so clearly the college newspaper is in the toilet.

  39. Paul Knight says:

    LOL! I don’t think we have too much to worry about from the type of people who writes articles with as many logical flaws as that. It made me laugh more than it made me incensed.

  40. Genna says:

    Full of sound and fury signifying nothing. So much hot air from a young man who might actually have been brought up a Catholic and has not received proper catechesis; he knows just enough, but not enough. It’s not uncommon for Catholics to confuse the Immaculate Conception with the Virgin Birth, for instance.
    He’s very young, and perhaps away from home for the first time and, like many of his confreres, is trying to show he is grown-up and sophisticated by trashing his background and that’s not unusual.
    He’ll look back at this piece one day, probably in about two years’ time, and squirm at its sheer incompetence – factually, writing style, and reasoning.
    He’s a very silly boy. Unlike some cardinals who are also very silly, but dangerous, because they are grown-up.

  41. Poor Fr William Richardson (then ICR, now attached to the Latin Mass Chaplaincy in Dublin) used to get this a lot. On one hilarious occasion someone called Gricigliano and asked for “Richard Williamson” only to be told “Zat one, ‘e is not ‘ere. Try Econe”.

  42. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    We shouldn’t worry too much about anti-religiosity. It seems that it is a peculiarly Western phenomenon and even here confined to the cities. People are naturally religious and as soon as it passes people will follow the next fad.

  43. Glen says:

    Many universities have student union newsletter/papers that are not sanctioned by the university.

    Stereotyping usually isn’t my thing, but I’m willing to bet…
    – probably sociology major (journalism majors fact check, philosophy majors think deeper)
    – the parent he’s currently rebelling against is a lapsed Catholic
    – voted for Obama and is confident the stimulus package will guarantee him a job after grad
    – pro-choice
    – may have had a Latin-American girl break his heart in highschool
    – doesn’t date much

  44. opey124 says:

    I doubt he will get away with this as Ron Rychlak is a professor at Ole Miss, writer (Pope Pius XII/Holocaust) etc.
    These people are not the ones who worry me, it is the ones in the Church who spew this stuff that do a lot of damage.

  45. Thomas says:

    Ah, this is very similar to an editorial in the Lantern here at Ohio State back in the summer of 2007 about Summorum Pontificum and the Good Friday prayer for the Jews. It is striking how off many of their facts can be. It seems (though it is hard to tell) that this writer is under the impression that the Immaculate Conception is Jesus\’ Conception.
    I cannot say how much of an influence these articles have since my friends and I do not much read our university papers, but I know many do. It is worrisome.

  46. therese says:

    He’s just a student.Let he or she who was completely devoid of daft political or religious ideas at the age of 20 cast the first stone……anyone? Well it won’t be me – I was a complete idiot at that age. In the natural course of things, life’s humiliations teach us humility. He accepted criticism in the comments – and has stimulated discussion. I’m sure that one day, with luck, he’ll end up as sensible as wjd.

  47. TomG says:

    “Once you believe virgins can get pregnant, anything goes. [back to the bigotry]”

    Not just anti-Catholic bigotry here; conservative evangelicals just as fervently believe in the Virgin Birth of Our Lord (e.g. Dr. J. Gresham Machen, one of the great conservative theologians of the 20th century, wrote a book powerfully defending the Virgin Birth and – in distinction from some high Calvinist Dutch Reformed theologians – he believed in and defended miracles in general.

  48. Athelstane says:

    I will acknowledge religion has done some good and that it continues to do so.

    In other words: “We’ll tolerate you so long as you stick to social work stuff.”

    All bigotry, alas. Fifty years ago the Daily Mississippian might have run an anti-Catholic piece, but most likely from a Baptist point of view. Now we get the atheist take – and I can’t say it represents progress. Mr. Caviness is likely just as contemptuous of those old hard shell Baptists as well. It’s all equally “irrational.”

    Pray for him. It’s all you can do. Well: And write charitably corrective letters/emails.

  49. Ole Miss Mom says:

    I have to agree with the plea above to refrain from lumping this guy in with a general perception of Ole Miss or of the quality of her academic and/or spiritual life. Although I do not live in Oxford (the town which is home to Ole Miss), I can say that her Catholic parish (notice “parish” is singular – we ARE in Mississippi, ya know) is something of an anomoly in our state: according to my daughter, the “Student Mass” is standing-room only every week and – guess what – is celebrated “Ad Deum” with Gregorian propers and even the ordinaries chanted. No drums, guitars or “lifeteen wannabe” music. When I have visited, the Mass is always celebrated very reverently by the lone priest of the parish (a 40-ish guy from the Delta) and, according to my daughter and her friends, the students really appreciate this.

    Evidently, the author of this hitpiece on the Catholic Church has some real issues with religion in general. You can look at his myspace page for examples of this but, I warn you, it might be pretty offensive to some: I think we should pray for the Catholic students at Ole Miss who have to endure hatred like this as well as for their pastor, Father Joe. And, I hope it goes without saying, we should pray for Mr. Caviness.

  50. Brian Mershon says:

    Headline: “The Catholic Church has their hands full”

    Should be: “The Catholic Church has its hands full”

    Remind me not to hire any journalism grads from Ole Miss, ‘K?

  51. Roxanne says:

    Merriweather thank you for the best laugh I’ve had all morning!!!!

  52. j says:

    Cannot stand another attack on our Slavonian-born leader, Xvi-Benedict Pope

  53. Ed Francis says:

    For anyone interested in sharing concern about the unfortunate article and it’s embarrassing cast on the standards of Ole’ Miss., the public relations email address for the university is:

    It might be worth a moment to contact them.

  54. Veritas says:


    Nothing more than perfect evidence of modern educational theory:

    Have an opinion. It doesn’t matter how well-reasoned or intelligent it is, the goal is merely to have one. Discourse has been reduced to the subjective. Sit through any humanities class at any college and all you will hear is, “I think…” The “value” is that he “spoke out,” not that he had anything intelligent to say.

  55. Ed Francis says:

    Re: Fr. Kowalski’s suggstion:

    A good read overall.

  56. Sarah L says:

    I’d like to say how impressed I am with the previous comments on this silly little atheist screed. Thank you for remaining charitable and, dare I say, rational about the situation. This article does not mean that Ole Miss is anti-Catholic, your tax dollars are funding attacks on religion, and look out widespread Catholic persecution is coming! Instead, it means there is another loony college kid out there and we should pray that he overcomes his ignorance.

    Our pal Jason is really presenting a poorly written imitation of Thomas Paine’s “The Age of Reason”. Paine’s argument against the Bible boils down to the same immature logic – your beliefs are weird and stupid, there is no physical proof for these things, thus religion is harmful superstition. Sorry Jason, your prejudice is not only badly written, it’s unoriginal.

  57. Jenny says:

    Yall are cracking me up speculating that this guy is a lapsed Catholic or that his parents are lapsed Catholics. He is from Mississippi. Let me tell you, the chance that he is a Catholic approaches zero. I am from Tennessee. Outside of the cities, most towns in the South don’t have Catholic Churches. There may be one per county. I hear yall complain about having to drive twenty minutes to get to a parish with a “good” Mass. Most Southerners have to drive at least twenty minutes to get to a parish. Period. I’m using yall deliberately to emphasize it is a different world down here.

  58. Baron Korf says:

    Brian: Shouldn’t it be “her hands full” if we are going to be most correct.

    In general his form of atheism is very base and boring. It is frat boy philosophy, filled with all manner of laughter at deep concepts and scatological humor. Ultimately they end up laughing at their own misinformed portrayal of faith and project it on to the masses at Masses. I could write a much more articulate and nuanced attack on God, faith and the Church, and I assure you it would not be a series of disjointed ad hominem attacks and mockery of metaphysics.

  59. Kevin L says:

    Those institutes of higher learning are a thing of beauty. This lad will do well in the mainstream media.

  60. RBrown says:

    Actually, the Immaculate Conception, which he seems to think refers to the conception of Christ, or any miracle is no more irrational than Particle Physics.

    I think one of life’s best strategies is to try to hide one’s stupidity from others.

  61. supertradmom says:


    Why do you make excuses for a 20 year old college student, who should have taken Composition One in his first semester of Freshman Year, which teaches form and content are necessary for communication? My son who is 20 writes for a Latino community newspaper and he checks his sources, does research, and writes using good grammar and logic. This is a real job and he has been commended for his fair and clear journalism.

    No excuses for our \”yellow journalist\”. Also, I know several students at Ol\’ Miss who write more elegantly and with greater logical analysis than this young man.

  62. TerryC says:

    Better to remain silent and be suspected a fool, than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

  63. Scott W. says:

    The author of that article scores one point: He didn’t mention Hitler Youth when talking about the Holy Father. That brings his score to -50.

  64. TJM says:

    Jenny, y’all. I think the Catholic Church is growing faster in the South now than in the north. And if you look at a Latin Mass website, there are probably as many in the South than in the North. Tom

  65. veritas says:

    What has changed? Undergraduates have always been ignorant. However one must say that they seldom have been as ignorant as this! Perhaps the standard of education is falling.

    Scott W. gives him a point for one omission, perhaps he should have another for not mentioning the Regensberg Address.

  66. Romulus says:

    Brian: Better yet, “The Catholic Church has HER hands full”

  67. Scott W. says:

    Scott W. gives him a point for one omission,

    And he only gets that because he bucks the standard of most journalists that seem to have “former Hitler Youth” permanently ctrl+v’ed on their keyboards. :)

  68. Jennifer says:

    We are supposed to be the ones that show compassion in these situations. Father Z, I am very ashamed at the bashing and apparent speculation on whether he or anyone in his family, whom we know nothing about, is a lapsed Catholic or Christian. It saddens me to be in the company of this sort of rhetoric against someone who needs your thoughts in this moment. Shouldn’t this be your moment for charity Father Z?

  69. Mary Margaret says:

    Jennifer, This IS charity. The poor young man does not realize that he is young and foolish. There is no reason to encourage him in his arrogance. At some point, one must realize that one is NOT.THE.CENTER.OF.THE.UNIVERSE. Further, one must realize, that there are those who sacrifice everything on the altar of God, even if you don’t believe in that God, one should recognize their sacrifice. From the pic on the link, this is not a child. This is a young man who just can’t accept that the world did not begin with him. Sure, pray for him, but allowing him to continue in his foolish arrogance doesn’t do him any good at all.

    I am very impressed with those who replied to his article and showed that they actually had a grasp of the Faith, and also of science, philosophy and logic. I had no idea that there were that many Catholics who not only know their faith, but are willing to defend it. Kudos!

  70. Mary Margaret says:

    Jennifer, This IS charity. The poor young man does not realize that he is young and foolish. There is no reason to encourage him in his arrogance. At some point, one must realize that one is NOT.THE.CENTER.OF.THE.UNIVERSE. Further, one must realize, that there are those who sacrifice everything on the altar of God, even if you don\’t believe in that God, one should recognize their sacrifice. From the pic on the link, this is not a child. This is a young man who just can\’t accept that the world did not begin with him. Sure, pray for him, but allowing him to continue in his foolish arrogance doesn\’t do him any good at all.

    I am very impressed with those who replied to his article and showed that they actually had a grasp of the Faith, and also of science, philosophy and logic. I had no idea that there were that many Catholics who not only know their faith, but are willing to defend it. Kudos!

  71. Margo says:

    Well, now, Mary Margaret, I’m not as convinced that “This IS charity,” as you are. It was meant to be charity, certainly. But perhaps the charitable teaching of truth to Mr. Caviness could have been put more palatably.

    I’m not trying to get your goat; I’m just saying that I think the lad’s problem lies more in his heart than in his head. “Out of the fullness of the heart…”

  72. Margo says:

    (By the way, what I mean by “this,” “it,” and “charitable teaching” are the comments over at the OleMiss article’s post, not the post Fr Z wrote.)

  73. Matthew says:

    Father Z:

    I promise he represents both a small and an embarrassing minority of the Ole Miss community.

  74. Jason Caviness is a typical know-nothing lefty; is apt to say ignorant things at random. Your reply to him was spot on and well done. Ole Miss has a very active Catholic community, the squeals of want-to-be journalist like Caviness are water off the ducks back to us; in fact slightly humourous. Usually we get this type treatment from fundamentalist that want to ban Christmas as being ‘pagan.’

    From St John Parish in Oxford…

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