George Weigel takes on the BBC’s paean to anti-Catholicism and bad history:
Wolf Hall, the BBC adaptation of Hillary Mantel’s novel about early Tudor England, began airing on PBS’s “Masterpiece Theater” Easter Sunday night. It’s brilliant television. It’s also a serious distortion of history. And it proves, yet again, that anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable bigotry in elite circles in the Anglosphere.
The distortions and bias are not surprising, considering the source. Hillary Mantel is a very talented, very bitter ex-Catholic who’s said that the Church today is “not an institution for respectable people” (so much for the English hierarchy’s decades-long wheedling for social acceptance). As she freely concedes, Mantel’s aim in her novel was to take down the Thomas More of A Man for All Seasons—the Thomas More the Catholic Church canonized—and her instrument for doing so is More’s rival in the court of Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell.
Hillary Mantel does not lack for chutzpah, for Cromwell has long been considered a loathsome character and More a man of singular nobility. In the novel Wolf Hall, however, the More of Robert Bolt’s play is transformed into a heresy-hunting, scrupulous prig, while Cromwell is the sensible, pragmatic man of affairs who gets things done, even if a few heads get cracked (or detached) in the process. All of which is rubbish, as historians with no Catholic interests at stake have made clear. Thus the president of the U.K.’s National Secular Society, historian David Starkey, finds “not a scrap of evidence” for Mantel’s retelling of the More-Cromwell tale; Mantel’s plot, he claimed, was “total fiction.” And as Gregory Wolfe pointed out in a fine essay on Wolf Hall in the Washington Post, historian Simon Schama has written that the documentary evidence he examined “shouted to high heaven that Thomas Cromwell was, in fact, a detestably self-serving, bullying monster who perfected state terror in England, cooked the evidence, and extracted confessions by torture.” Continue reading
It’s the unofficial end of Summer and it’s my annual gratuitous post of myself day. The pic below was taken in mid-July, but I waited to fix the feed to The American Catholic in order celebrate the Summer. Needless to say, it’s fixed and the Summer is almost over.
During the Summer I asked my fellow blogger Don for some book recommendations for the French Revolution. Of the few he did mentioned, I picked up Simon Schama’s ‘Citizen’. The reading is in-depth, interesting, and balanced. I’m a bit over halfway finished of the 948 pages and am so far impressed. Considering that we are in the post-Cold War era, I wanted to know a bit more on the French Revolution since their errors have already engulfed Europe and has almost metastasizing here in the United States. The book is good and if there is any criticism of Simon Schama’s work it’s that he views Christianity, in particular the Catholic Church, through a materialistic lens.
My opinion on the subject is that the French Revolution is the confluence of anti-Christian ideas emanating from the so-called era of enlightenment. These very same ideas unleashed the short-term devastation of the rape of nuns, the execution of priests, and the degradation of houses of worship. The long-term affects have furthered the cause of eliminating God from all aspects of life blossoming further in the Communist Revolution in Russia and continued to bear the fruit of death in World Wars I & II. From this compost grew what we now call modern liberalism & democratic socialism.
Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels in defense of the Church so frequently that I have named him Defender of the Faith, has a memorable fisk at his blog Midwest Conservative Journal of Jamie Stiehm’s anti-Catholic rant, that I fisked here. Here is Christopher’s fisk:
In a case involving the Little Sisters of the Poor, US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotamayor recently issued a temporary stay against the implementation of that DemocraticPartyCare provision that forces religious entities that consider it to be a grave sin to pay for their employees’ birth control or to facilitate such payment.
I’m not a lawyer but I imagine that Supreme Court justices issue these sorts of stays all the time against quite a few laws for a variety of procedural reasons. These justices may eventually find that these laws are entirely constitutional while nevertheless insisting that everything be done decently and in good legal order.
But that’s not how Jamie Stiehm saw it in Useless News & World Distort. According to Stiehm, Sonia Sotamayor is not a leftist “wise Latina” but a Vatican Trojan horse:
Et tu, Justice Sonia Sotomayor? Really, we can’t trust you on women’s health and human rights? The lady from the Bronx just dropped the ball on American women and girls as surely as she did the sparkling ball at midnight on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Or maybe she’s just a good Catholic girl.
And we’re off. Get yourselves something good to drink, folks, because this is going to be a wild ride.
The Supreme Court is now best understood as the Extreme Court. One big reason why is that six out of nine Justices are Catholic.
What should Obama do about it? Declare war on the Papal States or something?
Let’s be forthright about that. (The other three are Jewish.) Sotomayor, appointed by President Obama, is a Catholic who put her religion ahead of her jurisprudence. What a surprise, but that is no small thing.
A hundy says Jamie’s an Episcopalian. That issue-a-result-I-don’t-like-and-you’ve-put-your-religion-ahead-of-your-jurisprudence take is a dead giveaway.
In a stay order applying to an appeal by a Colorado nunnery, the Little Sisters of the Poor,
Kind of like saying that St. Peter’s is just another Roman parish church but do go on.
Justice Sotomayor undermined the new Affordable Care Act’s sensible policy on contraception. She blocked the most simple of rules – lenient rules – that required the Little Sisters to affirm their religious beliefs against making contraception available to its members. They objected to filling out a one-page form. What could be easier than nuns claiming they don’t believe in contraception?
Might that have something to do with the fact that most people figured out a long time ago that the United States government has absolutely no business whatsofreakingever issuing ANY rules about religious doctrine to any religious groups at all because of that First Amendment doohickey, you simple-minded bucket of spit?
Sotomayor’s blow brings us to confront an uncomfortable reality. More than WASPS, Methodists, Jews, Quakers or Baptists, Catholics often try to impose their beliefs on you, me, public discourse and institutions. Especially if “you” are female.
This explains why capital punishment in this country is rare to non-existent these days and why this country’s had universal health care for decades now.
This is not true of all Catholics – just look at House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
An EWDKIY (an Episcopalian Who Doesn’t Know It Yet). Then there’s the fact that Sotomayor’s a sex traitor.
But right now, the climate is so cold when it comes to defending our settled legal ground that Sotomayor’s stay is tantamount to selling out the sisterhood. And sisterhood is not as powerful as it used to be, ladies.
At the rate she’s going, Stiehm should break out “greaser” real soon.
Catholics in high places of power have the most trouble, I’ve noticed, practicing the separation of church and state. The pugnacious Catholic Justice, Antonin Scalia, is the most aggressive offender on the Court, but not the only one. Of course, we can’t know for sure what Sotomayor was thinking, but it seems she has joined the ranks of the five Republican Catholic men on the John Roberts Court in showing a clear religious bias when it comes to women’s rights and liberties. We can no longer be silent about this. Thomas Jefferson, the principal champion of the separation between state and church, was thinking particularly of pernicious Rome in his writings. He deeply distrusted the narrowness of Vatican hegemony.
It says up at the top of the link that Jamie’s “a weekly Creators Syndicate columnist.” And it’s facts like that one and paragraphs like the previous one that make me wonder about God sometimes. Why should someone that bonecrushingly stupid have a syndicated column while I have to blow through my father’s inheritance just to pay rent, put food on the table and keep the heat going?
Here’s a historical question for you, Jamie. Do you know what group basically motivated all of Jefferson’s various proposals for religious liberty, against official church establishment, for the seperation of church and state and all the rest of it?
I’ll give you a hint; amazingly, it wasn’t the Roman Catholics. There weren’t that many of them around here back then. It was the Anglicans, the ancestors of that pseudo-spiritual entity that’s currently run by a woman and that’s suing people out of their meeting houses because of what they believe. Starts with an E, I think.
The seemingly innocent Little Sisters likely were likely not acting alone in their trouble-making.
Their big brothers, the meddlesome American Roman Catholic Archbishops are bound to be involved. They seek and wield tremendous power and influence in the political sphere.
Yeah, sure they do. There should be a “Whore of Babylon” along any second now.
Big city mayors know their penchant for control all too well. Their principal target for years on end has been squelching women and girls – even when they should have focused on their own men and boys.
You do realize what you’re implying there, don’t you, Jamie?
In one stroke with ominous implications, there’s no such thing as Catholic justice or mercy for women on the Supreme Court, not even from a woman. The rock of Rome refuses to budge on women’s reproductive rights and the Supreme Court is getting good and ready to strike down Roe v. Wade, which became the law of the land 40 years ago.
Really? I’ll take your word for it. But exactly how a Supreme Court decision can become the “law of the land,” since the Supreme Court doesn’t pass laws but only rules on their constitutionality, completely escapes me.
Today is Bastille Day, typically associated with the start of the French Revolution. In honor of that blessed event, I offer up this classic piece by John Zmirak:
Remember when the L.A. riots spun out of control, and engulfed the whole United States? The key moment was no doubt when police and Army commanders took fright and changed sides, throwing their support to the Committee for Public Safety led by Tom Hayden, along with Noam Chomsky, Barbara Boxer, Michael Moore, and Edward Said. After Hayden’s fall and execution, his successor, Marion Barry, insisted that President Bush and his wife Barbara be tried for treason. Their executions shocked the world but sparked wild celebrations in the capital, as the First Couple’s severed heads danced on poles in daylong parades. A crack whore was duly enshrined in the National Cathedral as the Goddess of Reason.
Last week I wrote here about the firing of Dr. Kenneth Howell who had the audacity, in a class about the Catholicism, to actually state Catholic doctrine about homosexuality. There has been enough of a furor since that the University of Illinois is acting, according to this story in the Chicago Tribune:
A faculty group at the University of Illinois’ flagship campus will review the decision to fire an adjunct religion professor for saying he agreed with Catholic doctrine on homosexuality.
Urbana- Champaign campus Chancellor Robert Easter said Monday he hopes to have a decision on the firing of Kenneth Howell from the Faculty Senate’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure by the time fall classes start. The review is to determine whether Howell’s academic freedom was violated.
“We want to be able to reassure ourselves there was no infringement on academic freedom here,” new university President Michael Hogan told members of the Faculty Senate on Monday. “This is a very, very important, not to mention a touchy and sensitive, issue. Did this cross the line somehow?” Continue reading
I am an alum of the U of I. I obtained my BA in 79 and my JD in 82. My wife is also an alum of the U of I, obtaining her MA in Spanish in 82. Our eldest son will be entering the U of I as a freshman in August. I therefore found the news that Professor Kenneth Howell, an adjunct Professor at the University of Illinois, has been fired for teaching in a course about Catholicism basic Catholic doctrine on homosexuality quite alarming:
Brent Bozell of NewsBusters documented Comedy Central’s attacks on the Catholic in a post this past Saturday that I’m reposting here.
It’s been two months since Comedy Central censored Mohammed out of their cartoon “South Park.” Even the utterance of the name was bleeped. The blog Revolution Muslim quoted the world’s most notorious terrorist as an inspirational figure. “As Osama bin Laden said with regard to the cartoons of Denmark, ‘If there is no check in the freedom of your words, then let your hearts be open to the freedom of our actions.’”
But there has been no ceasefire in Comedy Central’s war on Christianity. The attacks on Catholic Americans just keep coming. On “The Daily Show” on June 17, fake correspondent Samantha Bee interviewed two priests and two nuns who are watchdogging Goldman Sachs for a liberal interfaith group.
Jon Stewart started the Catholic-bashing in his introduction: “Sometimes it’s easy to spot the villain in a story. Sometimes it’s not.”
Police raided and disturbed the tombs and graves of Belgium’s bishops searching for sex abuse cover ups. While the police raided the tombs, they also shut down a bishops conference and held those bishops hostage for several hours. Cutting off phone lines and all other forms of communication during their nationwide harassment of bishops in Belgium.
What makes this situation worse is that they also confiscated all of the Belgium’s bishops commission on these sex abuse cover up where victims gave confidential statements expecting discretion.
This is nothing more than anti-Catholic activities sanctioned at the state level.
From Father Zuhlsdorf:
Prepare to be disgusted and then edified.
This from LifeSite with my emphases and comments:
Catholics Defend French Cathedral de Lyon During Homosexual “Kiss-In”
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
LYONS, June 17, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Approximately 200 young Catholics came to the defense of the Cathedral of Lyons, France, during a “kiss-in” protest held by homosexuals in front of the building last month.
The homosexuals reportedly came on the eve of the “World Day Against Homophobia” in May to kiss each other in front of the cathedral, [vile] presumably in protest against the Catholic Church’s 2,000-year-old condemnation of homosexual sex acts. [I believe the condemnation is in the Old Testament as well. It is also written into our being as images of God.]
One of my favorite historians is Edward Gibbon. I have made my way through his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire several times. I find his style entertaining, his wit dry, and his scholarship, for his time, adequate. Unfortunately Gibbon was also an anti-Catholic bigot, in part a reaction to a brief conversion to the Faith as a teen-ager, which exposed him to considerable paternal displeasure. His bigotry is on full display whenever he treats of the Church, but usually he does not distort the facts. That was not the case in his account of the female philosopher Hypatia, and the fate she met in Egypt in 391 AD. That account, usually in distorted form, is a staple of anti-Catholic and atheist websites. Now Hypatia is the heroine of a Catholic bashing movie Agora. The English trailer of the movie is at the top of this post. David Hart has a superb post at First Things correcting Gibbon and the movie.
The occasion of my misery is the release of Alejandro Amenábar’s film Agora, which purports to be a historical account of the murder of the female philosopher Hypatia by a Christian mob in the early fifth century, of the destruction of the Great Library of Alexandria, and (more generally) of an alleged conflict that raged in the ancient world between Greek science and Christian faith. I have not actually seen the movie, and have no intention of doing so (I would say you couldn’t pay me to watch it, but that’s not, strictly speaking, true). All I know about it is what I have read in an article by Larry Rohter in the New York Times. But that is enough to put my teeth on edge.