The last acceptable prejudice

A writer in a Canadian newspaper considers the coverage of the unfortunate Nova Scotia bishop and comments in a refreshing way.

From the National Post with my emphases and comments.

The last acceptable prejudice

Michael Coren, National Post  Published: Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It was as predictable as an Orangeman putting on his sash or a latte coffee-drinker buying but not actually reading the latest risible volume from one of the new, inflated atheists. [zzzzzZAP] A former Roman Catholic bishop in Nova Scotia was charged with the possession of child pornography and within a day there were letters, blogs and articles explaining why the Church is doomed, why married and women priests have to be recruited and how this is entirely typical of those bloody awful Catholics who should really know their place.

Remember, Canada may have changed face but its establishment has never changed heart. As the premier of Northern Ireland said in the 1930s, "There are a great number of Protestants who employ Roman Catholics. I can speak freely on the subject as I have not a Catholic about my own place. Roman Catholics are endeavouring to get in everywhere. I appeal to Loyalists, therefore, wherever possible, to employ good Protestant lads and lassies."

Quite so. Today secularism is the ideology of fashion but Catholicbashing, the last acceptable prejudice in polite society, is the toxin the runs through the contemporary bloodstream of Western liberal society.

What Bishop Raymond Lahey is accused of doing is unspeakably awful, but an abuser no more represents the Church than a criminal politician represents democracy. [Do I hear an "Amen!"?]  But no, we are told, it’s inherent to Catholicism because the Roman Catholics won’t change with the times. Chronology, however, has nothing to do with it and the last thing the Church should do is change with the times. Fashions, just like bishops or politicians, can be bad. The Church listens to the Papacy and Magisterium, given to Christians by Christ Jesus while He lived and was present here among us.

Christ didn’t leave a bible but a guide and a guard: the pope, the Church, all shaping the faith long before the New Testament was written and available. So it’s not a question of choosing what to believe but choosing to believe. Protestants broke the direct tradition leading from God on Earth and many of their 22,000 denominations understand how a man who is a committed husband and father can also be constantly available to his flock. It’s surely inevitable that he will fail in one or all of those roles. Jesus was terribly politically incorrect when He only made men priests, and in affirming this, all of the direct descendants of St. Peter have similarly offended. But soul-saving religion is not about pleasing a human rights commission. No woman can ever rightfully say, "This is my body, this is my blood," no matter how loud she protests and no matter how many materialists pretend to care about what they mistakenly claim to be equality.  [Do I hear an "Amen!"?]

It’s always stunning to see how some Protestants accuse Catholics of sexism but simultaneously disregard Mary, the Mother of Christ and the most important woman in the history of the world. As for general anti-Catholics, they simply hate the Church for being a mirror that reflects their own failings and hypocrisy.

On a clinically practical level, celibacy has nothing to do with sexual exploitation. The abuse rates inside the Catholic Church are almost precisely the same as those in other Christian denominations, non-Christian religions, education, public service and virtually all institutions. It’s just that when a Catholic priest falls, the sound is oh-so-pleasing to a still vehemently anti-Catholic media and culture.

In spite of very occasional scandals and failings the Church is thriving and it’s this that most angers the chorus of critics. Hardly surprising. It’s been the case for 2,000 years.

-Michael Coren is writing a book titled Why The Catholics Are Right (McClelland & Stewart).

WDTPRS kudos to Michael Coren!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in The Drill, The Last Acceptable Prejudice and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. EXCHIEF says:

    An excellent analysis and explanation of why the Church is often singled out for criticism. As the only institution in the world which holds and teaches eternal truths it is understandable that in this secular society those who reject those truths would do their best to tear down the one shining example of morality. Sure some Catholics of all “ranks” including Bishops do some things not consistent with Church teaching. But the institution itself is without blemish. Secularists can deny it all they want but what they suffer from the most are guilty consciences. Without the Church as a mirror their consciences would not be aware of guilt and thus they would not feel so bad. Destroy the Church and they will have destroyed the only source of their nagging guilt and they will feel oh so much better.

  2. irishgirl says:

    Bravo to Michael Coren!

    A secular writer who has it right!

    ‘Do I hear an ‘Amen’, asks Fr. Z. And I say , ‘Amen, brother! Amen!’

  3. medievalist says:

    Unfortunately, many will simply ignore Mr Coren because of his own spiritual background. He is a convert and unabashedly proud Catholic, and I don’t doubt he’s since received many emails and comments that will prove the title of his article correct.

  4. lmgilbert says:

    “Woe to you when all men speak well of you,” says Our Lord, “for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets” (Luke 6:26) We don’t have that problem, thanks be to God!

    “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me” (Matthew 5:11). Nor do we quite have this problem, unfortunately.

    My wife and I are reading “Wisdom’s Fool” by Eddie Doherty, a life of St. Louis de Montfort.

    He writes,

    “I do not think there is anything sweeter than the most bitter cross…when it is steeped in the blood of Jesus Crucified and in the milk of his mother… I have never made more conversions than after the most cruel and unjust interdictions.”

    Among many such passages, only this from a letter written to a nun:

    “I am under boundles obligations to you. I feel the effect of your prayers. Never have I been so impoverished, so crucified, so humbled. Men and devils in this city are making pleasant and sweet war against me. Let them culumniate me, jeer at me, tear my good name to pieces, put me in prison. How precious are such gifts! How delicate are such meats! These are the equipment, and the consequences, which Divine Wisdom brings into the house in which it wishes to dwell….”

    Given the milieu in which we live, we should be examining our consciences to find why we are not far more despised, persecuted and reviled than we are. That we get on so comfortably in Babylon should be a cause for concern, should it not? We must be holding back- for fear of being extreme, of being beaten and killed?

    In light of St. Louis de Montfort’s way of thinking, it seems that the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights is the diametric opposite of what we really need. Perhaps we need an organization that would prompt us to do those Catholic things and say those Catholic words that would bring the full wrath of this society down on our heads and would encourage and support us when this happens.

    In light of all this, one can only hope that the “last acceptable prejudice” does not fade into oblivion together with the faith of the Catholic people.

  5. chcrix says:

    It seems to me that there is a key reason for this hostility.

    The old mainstream religions are dying of anemia, so they are no challenge to the established order. Indeed they have become part of it – the world has absorbed them. (You will be assimilated!)

    At the risk of provoking some offence, the new “evangelical” kinds of religion in the west lack the intellectual stature of Rome. They can be safely ignored by the established order because of this. (“That’s for the boobs”, say the elites.)

    The catholic church is the “last man standing” able to credibly maintain an intellectual opposition to the putrifying cultural flow of today.

  6. Jayna says:

    Kudos, indeed. And I must say, I am very glad that there is no option to leave comments on this article on the newspaper’s site. I can’t even imagine the vile things that people would come up with to say to this.

  7. wanda says:

    Zzzzzzapp, zzzzapp and snap – as the kids say! That book is on my ‘must have’ list. God bless you, Mr. Coren.

  8. The proof that Michael Coren, our good friend here in Toronto is correct can be found in the comments section following his article posted on the National Post’s relgion blog, “Holy Post.”

    That being said, what the former bishop of Antigonish (don’t prononce the “t”) is alleged to have done is vile and hurtful. Leahy’s actions help to forment this anti-Catholic prejudice that is no longer even under the surface.

    Thank you Michael for your continued work and public defense of our faith!

    David in T.O.
    (Vox Cantoris)

  9. Norah says:

    In spite of very occasional scandals and failings the Church is thriving

    Would that this were true. There isn’t a day goes by when some new scandal isn’t revealed. It might be ‘Catholic’ schools affirming Homosexuality, consecrated religious no longer being Christian let alone Catholic, priests getting women pregnant, priests committing homosexual acts, priests having girlfriends, bisops writing books which cause scandal, bishops having affairs (Nicube and another which isn’t public knowledge yet) bishops resigning for bogus reasons and causing scandal etc etc etc. Rather than the Church thriving I would say that the Church hasn’t imploded…yet. Oh and don’t cite the numbers of seminarians in third world countries: poverty and social standing plays a huge part here and if the seminaries don’t give sound formation – no some Jesuit Catholicism lite – there is another scandal in the making down the track. If I didn’t believe that the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ I would be out of here.

  10. Mitchell NY says:

    Well said, I remember growing up and continue to live through the “blame it on the Catholic religion” syndrome…Even close friends take a pic axe to my faith sometimes. But it is OK, it makes me stronger and more tied to my Catholic upbringing. The more they pic axe the more I defend, and the consequence of that is I learn more about my religion than the people who spend so much time attacking mine know about their own faiths..Many can not defend anything they believe. They just “know” or “feel”…No histoy, no Dogma, no Magesterium to consult, nothing…

  11. tired student says:

    Whenever someone I meet voices an anti-Catholic opinion, I ask them “Why do you think that way?” People have complex relationships with the Church, whether it’s over a past trauma (sexual abuse being one of the worst), divorce and remarriage, sexuality issues, and many others. I don’t think it’s always appropriate to characterize people who criticize the Church as “prejudiced”. It’s better to listen to them and talk about their issues. People’s responses to Church sexual abuse often betray a hostility centered on an event or opinion not necessarily related to sexual abuse or abuse of power.

  12. MarieSiobhanGallagher says:

    C’mon, now, folks….I think we all know the last acceptable prejudice is against the Yankees. It’s OK, this Bronx girl can handle it….and will be enjoying the next series!!

    Go Bombers!!

Comments are closed.