Catholics fuss too much about anti-Catholicism. Yes, there’s been lots of
hostility to next week’s papal visit. (Peter Tatchell’s documentary
, which will be broadcast on
Monday, looks particularly nasty.) The secularists have got their knives out, and Catholics are understandably alarmed and angry.
But should they really mind? Isn’t Christianity supposed to be all about suffering and persecution? Rather than moaning about prejudice, Catholics should welcome it. Having pompous men like
Geoffrey Robertson bother to deliver their ‘devastating legal indictments
’ against the Vatican is a
compliment, of sorts. It suggests that Catholicism still has some bite in the modern world. As Peter Hitchens admits in this week’s magazine, many Anglicans are jealous of how Catholics get
all the God-hating abuse. It is a sign of Rome’s vitality.
Some Catholic writers agree. On the Catholic Herald website, William Oddie quotes Luke 6: 22 to prove the same point
“Blessed are you, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s
sake.” You might add (verse 26): “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets.”
‘That’s the deal,’ concludes Oddie. ‘Get used to it.’ Quite right, and worth bearing in mind next week as Catholics and anti-Catholics vie with each other over who can
be more offended.
PS: No surprise that Tony Blair appears to have landed a starring role in the papal visit. But, for some believers, it raises the question: who is more
offensive, somebody who openly abhors the Pope and everything he stands for, or somebody who professes the faith and at the same time says that the Church needs to grow out of its ‘entrenched attitudes’?