Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Know-Nothings Within

Matthew at CMR has a recent example of anti-Catholic bashing in student news, from a self-confessed Catholic no less.

You can read the editorial here.

Here was my response:

Dear editors,

I highly recommend that your editorialists read some primary source material before launching off on a tirade like the one written by Andrew Ragni in your October 5, 2007 issue. Not only does he march out every clichĂ© about his religion (burning witches, Office of the Inquisition, damning of non-Catholics—hey, what about Ratzinger the Hitler Youth?), he manages to completely ignore what the CDF document actually said (which you can read here). The document simply affirmed what has been written during and since Vatican II on the subject (which you can find by following the links in the previously mentioned document). These are not ultraconservative claims by the Church. These are actually far more nuanced, theological, and charitable statements than some on the extreme right of the Church at the time were making. In addition, the recent CDF response says nothing—not a word—about the state of the individual souls of non-Catholics. It does, however, quote the following from Lumen Gentium 12:

“It follows that these separated churches and Communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation. In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation, whose value derives from that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church.”

However, I wouldn’t expect a little thing such as historical perspective to get in the way of a good rant, particularly when one can join in and bash everyone’s favorite punching bag, the Catholic Church. It’s much easier to pile on and repeat popular misconception than to employ some actual critical thinking (or maybe even some basic reading comprehension). While such “enlightened” Catholics such as Ragni like to poke fun at those “sheep” who follow the Church’s every word, he joins the herd of secular evangelists and “Christian” dissidents in lambasting what they do not know or understand. Please, demonstrate a little enlightenment yourselves and add a little historical depth and academic rigor to your polemic.

Sincerely,

Bill Burns


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