While I always contend that the Reformation happened for good reasons and they are still valid, I thoroughly enjoy LCB’s diplomatic and well-thought out comments. Therefore, I’m publishing this guest post of his. Dive in!
It’s been a rough few weeks to be Catholic. Really rough. “I wonder what’s going on with the Eastern Orthodox these days” type of rough. For many devout American Catholics (and I don’t mean the Nancy Pelosi type of devout) it’s been brutal. Worse than the “Long Lent” of 2002 (when the Boston Globe set off the scandal here in the States, as the period is often called in Catholic-shorthand). In this Easter season, for the first time in my life, I am thanking God for the Protestants and Evangelicals in general. Not just particular Protestants and Evangelicals (who I have been thankful for in the past), but the entire groups. I know a number of other Catholics who are feeling the same.
Central to the agony of the last few weeks has been a series of unrelenting and baseless attacks upon Pope Ratzinger. The media, unable to connect the man to wrongdoing, has instead adopted a policy of radical slander, ad hominem attacks, innuendo, and even outright lies. Run a false headline on the front page one day, print a small retraction of the entire story the next day on page Z-99, in 6 point font. Run a quote from a plantiff’s lawyer as if it were unbiased, only mention 30 paragraphs later (or not at all) that the man has made millions on sexual abuse lawsuits, and is currently trying to permit the Vatican to be sued in US court. I could go on. And on. And on.
The worst part has not been the Catholic Church’s liberal branch (AKA “The 5th Column”) who have gleefully joined in on the assaults. We’ve been living with them being the main quoted Catholic “balance” in AP and NYTs articles for two generations now. The worst part is that the media has been so brazen in attacking Catholicism that Catholics who are trying to defend against the attacks can’t manage to get any coverage at all. Bishops and Cardinals speak out to correct mistakes, no coverage. Bill Donahue screams something into a microphone (seriously, I like him, but he needs to learn about the “inside voice” rule), no coverage. Catholic intellectuals release detailed counter-points, no coverage or publication.
The pall of silence and non-coverage of authentic Catholic responses to the attacks has is so bad that the Catholic League has resorted to taking out a full page ad in the NYTs in order to present its rebuttal to the NYTs own coverage. Let that sink in for a minute. The only way Catholics can now reply to the NYTs hatchet jobs is by spending $50,000+ for a full page ad.
But there are voices that the MSM will listen to, and will still publish, and is even writing articles about. These voices are the Protestants and Evangelicals who are speaking out in defense of truth, who recognize that this assault is about much more than abuse that occured in Wisconsin in the 1950s. It’s about an attempt to silence a voice that speaks with moral authority. In the midst of this constant media assault the Protestants and Evangelicals are arriving on the field of battle (since, in the end, it remains we Christians vs. the World and its prince) even as our own 5th column is turning on us like never before. And the Protestants and Evangelicals are saying (quite loudly at times) “It is wrong to smear the good name of a good man who has a decades long reputation of trying to fight this problem. Smearing people with lies is wrong, and what you in the press are doing is wrong.”
It hasn’t just been in the media, either, where my fellow brethren in Christ have shown their dedication to Truth above all else. It’s been in a multitude of personal interactions and local sermons where good men and women have spoken out against what they see to be wrong. Where my voice is ignorned (“Oh you’re just a Catholic of course you’ll say that”) the voice of my brethren has been heard and they have given a mighty witness to Christ in the process.
Now UN Judges are calling for war crimes charges to be brought against Pope Ratzinger. Dawkins and Hitchens are funding a legal team to try and have a warrant issued against Pope Ratzinger before his visit to Britain… and they may likely find a sympathetic judge who will do just that. The charges? “Crimes against humanity” and a great many Anglicans are rising up in defense of the Pope (that’s a sentence one doesn’t type every day) on this matter.
So, for the first time in my life, I am saying “Thank God for the Protestants and Evangelicals.” Not just particular individuals, but for the groups entirely. The witness of standing up for what is right is a mighty witness for Christ– especially in this Easter season. It’s been a long road since October 1517. The attacks and persecutions against the whole of Christianity have consistantly brought the brethren closer together in Roman Times, under the Ottomans, during the French Revolution, in the Soviet Union, and in modern China. In times and places of great trial Christians with extreme doctrinal divides have united in defending Truth and presenting the Gospel of Christ and His saving love to the world in ways that have radically changed history.
It is my sincere prayer that, just as Christ’s suffering on His Most Holy Cross brought about mankind’s unity with one another (in the Body of Christ, the Church) and with God the Father in and through the power of the Holy Spirit, that so too may our current suffering bring about greater unity among we separated brethren and bring about the conversion and salvation of many souls throughout the world. Especially those that seek to attack Christ and the Church.