FRANK RICH’S SELECTIVE INDIGNATION

Catalyst September Issue 2010

In a recent column in the New York Times, writer Frank Rich called Mel Gibson a “bigoted blowhard,” branding his movie “The Passion of the Christ” anti-Semitic; he also attacked several Christian leaders who befriended Gibson, including Bill Donohue.

If Rich were as sensitive to anti-Catholicism as he is anti-Semitism, there would be no problem. But the fact is that he has an ugly record of attacking those who object to anti-Catholicism, but not the bigotry itself. The following examples suffice: the 1995 movie “Priest”; the 1998 play “Corpus Christi”; the 1999 Brooklyn Museum of Art exhibition, “Sensation”; the 1999 movie “Dogma”; the vitriolic reaction to Catholicism that accompanied “The Passion of the Christ”; his own newspaper’s hypocritical and selective crusade against priestly wrongdoing, etc. In every instance, his ire was directed at the protesters, not the object of their protest.

Rich is particularly angry with anyone who dares to mention the role played by secular Jews in fomenting anti-Catholicism. It is painfully obvious that most of the anti-Catholicism that exists today comes from two major sources: ex-Catholics (and those with one foot out the door) and secular Jews. This doesn’t mean that all of those who fall into these two groups are bigots, but it is to say that the worst offenders tend to belong to one of those two segments of the population.

Indeed, the “raised Catholic” types and secular Jews have long replaced the Protestant community as the primary source of anti-Catholicism in the United States.

We asked our members to contact Arthur S. Brisbane, the new public editor of theTimes at public@nytimes.com


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Written by Bill