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If Only All Catholics Thought As Highly of the Church

 

In response to President Obama’s ignorant exercise in moral equivalency in invoking the Crusades and the Inquisition, ( as T.Shaw noted fewer people were turned over for execution by the Inquisition, actually Inquisitions, in all of history than die in American abortion clinics on any week day), go here to read about it, Jonah Goldberg quotes from his book Tyranny of Cliches which explains why such Catholic bashing is ahistoric and unfair:

 

As a fairly secular Jew I cannot and will not speak to the theological questions, in part because I do not want to. But mostly because I do not have to. The core problem with those who glibly invoke one cliché after another about the evils of organized religion and Catholicism is that they betray the progressive tendency to look back on the last two thousand years and see the Catholic Church — and Christianity generally — as holding back humanity from progress, reason, and enlightenment. They fault the Church for not knowing what could not have been known yet and for being too slow to accept new discoveries that only seem obvious to us with the benefit of hindsight. It’s an odd attack from people who boast of their skepticism and yet condemn the Church for being rationally skeptical about scientific breakthroughs.

In short, they look at the tide of secularism and modernity as proof that the Church was an anchor. I put it to you that it was more of sail. Nearly everything we revere about modernity and progress — education, the rule of law, charity, decency, the notion of the universal rights of man, and reason were advanced by the Church for most of the last two thousand years.

Yes, compared to the ideal imagined by atheists and secularists this sounds like madness.

But isn’t the greater madness to make a real force for good the enemy because the forces of self-anointed perfection claim to have some glorious blueprint for a flawless world sitting on a desk somewhere? It is a Whiggish and childish luxury to compare the past — or even the present — to a utopian standard. Of course there was corruption, cruelty, and hypocrisy within the Church — because the Church is a human institution. Its dark hypocrisies are the backdrop that allow us to see the luminance of the standard they have, on occasion, fallen short of. The Catholic Church was a spiritual beacon lighting the way forward compared to the world lit only by fire outside the Church doors.

You know that you live in loony tunes times when a secular Jew like Goldberg has a better appreciation for the role of the Church in History than some Catholic bloggers:  (Ahem, that is your cue Mark:)

Not feeling the hysteria…

…over Obama’s Prayer Breakfast remarks. It’s just today’s Panic du Jour from the Noise Machine. Here’s what he actually said:

“And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ…

“So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith. In today’s world, when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to counteract such intolerance. But God compels us to try. And in this mission, I believe there are a few principles that can guide us, particularly those of us who profess to believe.

“And, first, we should start with some basic humility. I believe that the starting point of faith is some doubt — not being so full of yourself and so confident that you are right and that God speaks only to us, and doesn’t speak to others, that God only cares about us and doesn’t care about others, that somehow we alone are in possession of the truth.” (source)

This seems, not merely reasonable, but rather pedestrian.

 

 

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

16 Comments

  1. Sadly I clicked the link more to read the comments. Read only about a quarter so can’t say absolutely. The comments that I did read were pretty sad. It seems the readership over there is fairly leftist in its nature. Not only is America bad but so is Christianity. Little difference between the defensive wars of the Christian Crusades and the Muslims who then, and now, advance by force. Mark has created quite the echo chamber.

  2. What about John’s Gospel 15:16 choosing and appointing his own to be fruitful for the Father.
    Are we to throw up our hands and place the (coexist) bumper stickers all over our automobiles? Are we to see the next step in tolerance become a national
    acceptance of bestiality. Then marriage for that pervert so his/her dog horse pig or who knows what has “RIGHTS?”

    OBAMA IS EVIL INCARNATE.

  3. I have been struck by the fact that the winners not only get to write history, they get to name history.
    The “Reformation” — yeah, in the same sense that the secessionists were trying to “reform” the Union.
    Likewise the “Age of Reason” portrayed as dawning full-blown as if everyone just decided one day to throw off the shackles of the Church and live by science one day. No mention of the universities founded by the Church nor of the religious orders dedicated to teaching and scientific discovery.
    And, of course, if you try to mention any of this in a discussion of the Church’s role in history you will be laughed at.

  4. The only thing that will correct those liberal progressive secularist commenters about about whom Philip talked is what corrected the children of Israel and Judah. In the case of the latter, it was chastisement by the Assyrians and Babylonians. In our case it will be chastisement by Muslims. God never changes. He does the same thing in the same way because He does the right thing in the right way. He is entirely capable and willing to use our enemies to bring us to justice, and that will constitute God’s mercy for the innocent whom these same liberal progressive secularists murder with complete abandon.

  5. Tom Collins.
    “…that the winners not only get to write history, they get to name history.”

    I relationship to these so-called winners a short sentence comes to mind from Braveheart; “History was written by those who hung the heroes.”

    The winners will receive a crown of glory that will never tarnish rust or be stolen.

    Unfortunately for the world winners, many will have spent their heaven while on earth. Then they will ponder their existence upon earth. Perplexed at the absurdity they demonstrated while chastising those who believed and lived out the Gospel messages as best they could. Now. All alone in the eternal darkness they unceasingly cry out a hatred towards God. A scream of infinity. A never ending scourge that they themselves created in their enlightened mind and superior thought.

  6. The “Reformation” was badly needed when Pope Leo X was Pope. The Church had distorted and warped the gospel so badly that Martin Luther had to speak up about it. In much the same manner that many are speaking out against the Pope today.

    Luther never left the Church. They threw him out and had a death sentence placed upon his head. He stood his ground and at least was able to restore the gospel, in it’s purity, to much of the Christian world.

    If we are speak of ‘history’…we might as well be as honest and objective as possible. And I’m not one of the kooks that believes that the Catholic Church is not Christian. Only that because of our self-centered nature, the gospel needs to be placed back onto the rails from time to time.

  7. Was reminded of something recently– do you know how The Inquisition (the instruction from the Church, and later the organization, got its name?

    The Pope put out an instruction that, if they were going to punish people for anything on the list, they had to actually prove the person was guilty.
    *Gasp*
    How horrible!

  8. And I can’t help but notice that most talk of the Crusades (or, more flinch worthy, “the medieval crusade”) is sort of like starting a story when the guy who’s been taking a massive beating finally raises a hand.
    As opposed to something like this:
    http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2005/11/the_truth_about_islamic_crusad.html
    long quote:
    630 Two years before Muhammad’s death of a fever, he launches the Tabuk Crusades, in which he led 30,000 jihadists against the Byzantine Christians. He had heard a report that a huge army had amassed to attack Arabia, but the report turned out to be a false rumor. The Byzantine army never materialized. He turned around and went home, but not before extracting ‘agreements’ from northern tribes. They could enjoy the ‘privilege’ of living under Islamic ‘protection’ (read: not be attacked by Islam), if they paid a tax (jizya).

    This tax sets the stage for Muhammad’s and the later Caliphs’ policies. If the attacked city or region did not want to convert to Islam, then they paid a jizya tax. If they converted, then they paid a zakat tax. Either way, money flowed back to the Islamic treasury in Arabia or to the local Muslim governor.

  9. President Obama says that we shouldn’t get on our moral high horse re:
    what Muslims are getting up to these days, since Christians also did some
    bad things a long time ago …

    Which makes me wonder if Democrats will cease demonizing conservatives
    now, since it was Democrats who legislated Jim Crow, progressive Democrat
    Woodrow Wilson who re-segregated the federal workforce, Democrats who
    filled the ranks of the KKK, Democrats who blocked civil rights legislation
    for decades…

  10. So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.

    That’s the trillion dollar question, is isn’t it? Is ISIS in fact a distortion of Islam, or a more pure form of it?

  11. So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.

    That’s the trillion dollar question, isn’t it? Is ISIS in fact a distortion of Islam, or a more pure form of it?

  12. @c matt. Amen that is the trillion dollar question:
    Were the the followers of Christ in doing evil actually following Christ, and are the followers of Mohammad in doing evil actually following Mohammad…?
    Even if the evil committed were the same (and it’s not), there is the question of moral equivalency in the two religions to a relativistic elite. Can a religion at is root be evil? Can judeo-christian thought be a superior culture? Can religion be important in a secularist age?

  13. Was reminded of something recently– do you know how The Inquisition (the instruction from the Church, and later the organization, got its name?

    The Pope put out an instruction that, if they were going to punish people for anything on the list, they had to actually prove the person was guilty.
    *Gasp*
    How horrible!
    –Foxfier (10:44am)

     

    Inquisitors didn’t accept anonymous accusations either. This puts them way ahead of today’s US universities with their “rape!” tribunals.

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