Pope Francis’ rapturous US welcome belies a historic anti-Catholic past (COMMENTARY)

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A bumper sticker reads "Philly Loves Pope Francis" in downtown Philadelphia on August 28, 2015, weeks before Pope Francis' visit to the United States. Religion News Service photo by Sally Morrow

A bumper sticker reads "Philly Loves Pope Francis" in downtown Philadelphia on August 28, 2015, weeks before Pope Francis' visit to the United States. Religion News Service photo by Sally Morrow

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(RNS) As a historical fixture in American culture, anti-Catholicism not only made the idea of papal visits inopportune; it also made any association with the papacy a serious liability.

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  • Jack

    Two obvious things have changed America from its anti-Catholic past.

    First, the Vatican is no longer a foe of democracy and human rights, but actually is now on the forefront of support for such ideas.

    And second, spiritually sensitive Protestants understand today that both they and Catholics have a common adversary who wants to shut them both down — intolerant radicals who want to drive them both out of public life and relegate them to home and church.

    The new anti-Catholic bigotry is not coming primarily from conservative Protestants but from intolerant anti-religious extremists who despise them both. They also despise non-Christians such as Orthodox or “conservadox” Jews and secular conservatives who likewise aren’t afraid to speak up and push back against the radicals.

  • Neon Genesis

    It seems a bit hypocritical to me for you to condemn bigotry towards Catholics but then turn around in the same paragraph and condone bigotry towards non-believers.

  • Dominic

    I just finished a book on the history of anti-Catholicism in American history….. quite interesting reading. Like Jack says above, the discrimination today is largely against any religion that balks at the moral decay of society in the name of “progress”.
    Religion always triumphs ultimately, for it is based on an unalterable truth.

  • Jack

    OK, Neon, I’ll say it a different way:

    The main new bigots against Catholics are mostly radical secularists who hate their traditional morality with the same level of white-hot hatred as the fundamentalist Protestants of old hated Catholic theology.

  • Jack

    In other words, the screaming mimis and Caligulan wild men will eventually depart, but like 80-year-old rock stars who won’t get off the stage, it may take awhile.

  • Dominic

    That’s pretty accurate, Jack.