By Michael Coren
It was as predictable as an Orangeman putting on his sash or a latte coffee-drinker buying but not actually reading the latest risible volume from one of the new, inflated atheists. A former Roman Catholic bishop in Nova Scotia was charged with the possession of child pornography and within a day there were letters, blogs and articles explaining why the Church is doomed, why married and women priests have to be recruited and how this is entirely typical of those bloody awful Catholics who should really know their place.
Remember, Canada may have changed face but its establishment has never changed heart. As the premier of Northern Ireland said in the 1930s, “There are a great number of Protestants who employ Roman Catholics. I can speak freely on the subject as I have not a Catholic about my own place. Roman Catholics are endeavouring to get in everywhere. I appeal to Loyalists, therefore, wherever possible, to employ good Protestant lads and lassies.”
Quite so. Today secularism is the ideology of fashion but Catholicbashing, the last acceptable prejudice in polite society, is the toxin the runs through the contemporary bloodstream of Western liberal society.
What Bishop Raymond Lahey is accused of doing is unspeakably awful, but an abuser no more represents the Church than a criminal politician represents democracy. But no, we are told, it’s inherent to Catholicism because the Roman Catholics won’t change with the times. Chronology, however, has nothing to do with it and the last thing the Church should do is change with the times. Fashions, just like bishops or politicians, can be bad. The Church listens to the Papacy and Magisterium, given to Christians by Christ Jesus while He lived and was present here among us.
Christ didn’t leave a bible but a guide and a guard: the pope, the Church, all shaping the faith long before the New Testament was written and available. So it’s not a question of choosing what to believe but choosing to believe. Protestants broke the direct tradition leading from God on Earth and many of their 22,000 denominations understand how a man who is a committed husband and father can also be constantly available to his flock. It’s surely inevitable that he will fail in one or all of those roles. Jesus was terribly politically incorrect when He only made men priests, and in affirming this, all of the direct descendants of St. Peter have similarly offended. But soul-saving religion is not about pleasing a human rights commission. No woman can ever rightfully say, “This is my body, this is my blood,” no matter how loud she protests and no matter how many materialists pretend to care about what they mistakenly claim to be equality.
It’s always stunning to see how some Protestants accuse Catholics of sexism but simultaneously disregard Mary, the Mother of Christ and the most important woman in the history of the world. As for general anti-Catholics, they simply hate the Church for being a mirror that reflects their own failings and hypocrisy.
On a clinically practical level, celibacy has nothing to do with sexual exploitation. The abuse rates inside the Catholic Church are almost precisely the same as those in other Christian denominations, non-Christian religions, education, public service and virtually all institutions. It’s just that when a Catholic priest falls, the sound is oh-so-pleasing to a still vehemently anti-Catholic media and culture.
In spite of very occasional scandals and failings the Church is thriving and it’s this that most angers the chorus of critics. Hardly surprising. It’s been the case for 2,000 years.
Michael Coren is writing a book titled Why The Catholics Are Right (McClelland & Stewart). Reach Michael, or order his books, at www.michaelcoren.com
©National Post, Oct. 14, 2009. Reprinted with permission of the author.
League letter published, Oct. 16, 2009