Thursday, May 9, 2013

Meaning of "Anti-Catholic"

Go to any given Catholic apologetics website and you'll find references to or dialogues with people or organizations labelled "anti-Catholic."

The term can mean two things: first, someone who is actively opposed to the teaching of the Church, and second, someone who knowingly or negligently distorts or misrepresents Church teaching or history.  I would include in the latter group people who openly mock the Church in mean spirited humor.

In the first case, an example is Penn Jillette, at least with respect to this video. Jillette is an outspoken atheist who disagrees with the Catholic Church's teachings on many things and is therefore actively opposed to them, but he also defends the Church when appropriate and does not misrepresent her views.  On the other hand, this article by Larry Doyle of the Huffington Post, as well as fundamentalists like Jack Chick and the group Mission to Catholics International, are definitely of the second type.

I prefer to use the term "anti-Catholic" only for the second group of people.  It is fair enough for someone to have different views and to promote their own.  The intellectual and moral problem arises when someone feels it is necessary to be dishonest about someone else's beliefs in order to promote their own.  (This standard applies to Catholics as well, of course.)

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