Watchtower, the official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses, published an article falsely accusing Pope Pius XII and the Catholic Church of “silence” during the Holocaust. The article sought to contrast this “silence” with the suffering of Jehovah’s Witnesses who were persecuted for denouncing Nazi brutality. The article pointedly ignored the millions of Catholics who suffered imprisonment and death at Nazi hands, the glowing tributes paid to Pope Pius XII by Jewish leaders of the time, and his condemnation by the Nazi SS, who accurately accused the Pope of “one long attack against everything we stand for.”
Fillmore, NY – Most Holy Family Monastery, a dissident organization that challenges the papal authority of Pope John Paul II, published a pamphlet entitled “101 Heresies of Anti-Pope John Paul II.” A chief concern, running throughout the list of the Holy Father’s alleged heresies involves his outreach to other faiths and efforts at ecumenism. The pamphlet’s message is that by virtue of Pope John Paul II’s heresies, his papacy is no longer valid.
Day of Confession, a novel by Allan Folsom, conjures up various tired anti-Catholic stereotypes and propaganda, including scheming cardinals and corrupt Vatican bankers. “As a sampling of shocks and horrors,” offered Kirkus Reviews, “try these: a Vatican cardinal who’s a megalomaniac and another who’s a murderer; a nun whose concupiscent fantasizing foreshadows the rescinding of her vows; a Vatican-inspired conspiracy aimed at bringing China to its knees as a first step toward restoring the Holy Roman Empire. Or how about the top Vatican cop hiring the world’s most deadly terrorist?”
Fillmore, NY – The first issue of A Voice Crying in the Wilderness, published by the dissident Most Holy Family Monastery, carried a 17 page cover story by Brother Michael Dimond charging that Rome has become “The Seat of the Anti-Christ.”
Knoxville, TN – “What Is The Pope Doing In America?” pastor Dr. Bob Bevington of Knoxville Baptist Tabernacle asked cryptically in a paid advertisement in the Knoxville News-Sentinel. The Pope “represents enormous wealth and power,” Pastor Bevington warned. “This publicity bolsters his church’s interests,” and “he is here to promote Roman Catholicism.” Bevington then went on to deride Catholic teachings on Limbo and Purgatory, the primacy of the Pope, veneration of Mary and the saints, confession, and priestly celibacy. Two weeks later, in another ad responding to letters critical of this one, Bevington invoked his freedom of speech. He did not explain, however, why his ministry of evangelization required him to attack the Catholic Church rather than espouse the merits of his own denomination.
Riverdale, NY – A letter-writer to the Riverdale Press, attacking the editor’s January 28 pro-life editorial, charged that the editor’s “views are pro-Catholic, pro-Nazi and pro-KKK.” Continuing his hate speech linking Catholicism to Nazism, the writer, Daniel Jean Lipsman, added that the editor’s “political philosophy mirrors that of Karol Wojtyla and his journalistic integrity is on a par with that of Joseph Goebbels.”
Houma, LA – “666 The Mark of the Beast 666” was the title of a letter being distributed by the Better Living Seventh-day Adventist Church, claiming that “the beast mentioned in Revelation 13 is the Roman Catholic Church!” The proof? Well, if you add up “the Roman numerical value” of “the official title for the pope” (“‘Vicarius Filii Dei,’ which is Latin for ‘Vicar of the Son of God’”), you get the number 666. Case closed. The letter also cites the sacrament of Penance, the Sunday Sabbath, and “allegiance to Rome instead of God,” as among the sins that prove the demonic nature of the Catholic Church.
Washington, DC – In “one of the worst cases of vandalism in the Washington area,” according to the director of cemeteries for the Washington Archdiocese, some 400 headstones were flipped over, smashed and broken at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Given the damage, police estimated that as many as 15 individuals may have been involved in the desecration of the cemetery, which included a statue of the Virgin Mary being turned on its head. On March 5, two former students of nearby Gallaudet University, a school for the deaf, were arrested in connection with the incident. Police said they had arrest warrants for six additional current or former Gallaudet students. By May, four men had been charged, and three others were still being sought.
Darien, CT – Literature from the notoriously anti-Catholic Alamo Christian Ministries was left on the car windshields of people attending a Baptism at St. John’s Catholic Church. Among the eight pages of anti-Catholic nonsense was Tony Alamo’s charge that Catholics are “pagan idol worshippers” because we hold Mary “to be the mother of God.”
South Ozone Park, NY – A suspicious fire destroyed the altar, damaged the roof and charred statues at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. The blaze was labeled suspicious because of its intensity, and arson investigators were called in.
Washington, DC – Media mogul Ted Turner ridiculed the Ten Commandments, Pope John Paul II, and the Polish people during his population control speech to the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association. Turner called the Ten Commandments “a little out of date,” postulating that “If you’re going to have only 10 rules, I don’t know if prohibiting adultery should be one of them.” Asked how he would deal with Pope John Paul II, an opponent of abortion and contraception, Turner lifted his leg and asked, “Ever seen a Polish mine detector?” He added that the Pope should “get with it. Welcome to the 20th century.” A day later, after a protest from the league, Turner’s office sent an apology to league headquarters.
Pop music star and actress Cher was asked whether she ever dated men her own age. Her reply was, “I would never have gone out in my whole life if I waited for guys my own age to ask me out. I would have been a nun – what a waste.”
New York, NY – Teen singer Britney Spears made an MTV appearance in New York. Newsweek magazine described the scene: “Teenage girls mimicked the naughty Catholic-school uniform she wears in the video for ‘…Baby One More Time’: unbuttoned white shirt, sexy bra and a gray miniskirt hiked so high it makes Ally McBeal look like a nun.”
Los Angeles, CA – Former talk show host Phil Donahue spoke to a gay and lesbian bash in Los Angeles and “railed against the Catholic Church’s ‘promotion of homophobia.’”
Milwaukee, WI – Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig received a fax from the league questioning whether Major League Baseball has a double standard in dealing with bigotry. The league noted that Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott had been suspended and fined for racist and anti-Semitic remarks, but that no such punishment had been meted out to Ted Turner, part owner of the Atlanta Braves, for his anti-Catholic comments. In a May 3 telephone call to league president William Donohue, Selig explained the difference: Schott was principal owner of the Reds, while Turner’s connection to the Braves is indirect: he owns 11 per cent of Time Warner, which owns the Braves. Nevertheless, Selig assured the league that the Turner matter was under investigation by Major League Baseball.
Franklin Square, NY – Copies of “Earth’s Final Warning,” a tract accusing the Catholic Church of bowing to paganism, “deadly compromise” with the forces of evil, and a conspiracy bent on world domination, was distributed door to door in this Long Island community.
Muskegon, MI – At first glance, the words on the sign outside Bible Baptist Church—”THE COLOR OF THE GOD I WORSHIP IS NOT GREEN”—appeared to be a commentary on the rampant materialism of our age. An alert Catholic passerby, however, noting the week during which the sign was posted, called the church to inquire. The pastor’s daughter confirmed his suspicion: The message was not meant to criticize materialism, but rather to denigrate the Catholic celebration of St. Patrick’s feast day.
San Diego, CA – Various publications from a group calling itself Mission to Catholics International accused the Catholic Church of “bigotry and priestcraft,” “pagan corruption,” and the slaughter of fifty million people since the birth of “Popery” in the year 606 A.D.
Westchester, IL – The league received a pamphlet from Good News Publishers, “A world-wide, nonprofit Christian literature ministry.” As with other such publications, its focus was not on promoting the positive aspects of this group’s own beliefs, but rather on denigrating the faith of Catholics. The pamphlet was entitled “Can a Roman Catholic be sure of Heaven?” The answer, of course, was no.
Palm Beach Gardens, FL – Thieves broke in to the Palm Beach diocesan Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola, ripped the tabernacle from its moorings and left it smashed in a drainage ditch, scattering Communion Hosts in the grass. The vandals also made off with the ciborium that they stole from inside the tabernacle. There was no evidence that the break-in was an act of Satanism or a hate crime, according to Msgr. Thomas Klinzing, rector of the Cathedral. Still, he added, “The desecration of the tabernacle and Hosts into a drainage ditch is a blasphemy and it tears at my heart.”
Green Bay, WI – “Smashed windows, broken doors and damaged computers were discovered by a janitor at 4 a.m. Monday, April 19, at St. Jude [Catholic] School,” reported Green Bay’s diocesan newspaper, The Compass. An answering machine and student medication stored in the school office were reported missing after the incident, which forced closure of the school for one day.
April – May
Brooklyn, NY – When Italian immigrants Vincent and Letizia Coppola renovated their home in the Manhattan Beach section of Brooklyn, they had a big round sculpture of Madonna and Child engraved on the second floor balcony that extends in front of their house. Immediately, they became the targets of threatening letters. “You have some nerve putting such an offensive symbol in your home,” read one letter. “This is not Bensonhurst or Bay Ridge [largely Catholic neighborhoods in Brooklyn], where all of your mob friends live.” Another letter, instructing the Coppolas to sell their home “to a fine, honorable Russian Jew and move back to Bensonhurst,” warned that “action will be taken” if the images of Jesus and Mary were not removed.
Mooresville, IN – Rev. Tony York of Victory Baptist Church launched a billboard campaign against Pope John Paul II and evangelist Billy Graham.
“The Pope enslaves. But Jesus saves,” proclaimed one such billboard. “Beware of false prophets in Indy Around June 3-6” said another one, in reference to Rev. Graham’s upcoming crusade.
His complaint with Rev. Graham was also rooted in Rev. York’s anti-Catholicism. “Billy Graham teaches that the pope is a great man,” Rev. York told the Indianapolis Star. “But the pope is anti-Bible in a lot of areas.”
Brick, NJ – The Brick Branch of the Ocean County Library was used by a group calling itself Good News for Catholics, Inc., to present a 54 minute anti-Catholic film, “Catholicism: A Crisis of Faith.” The film featured wide-ranging attacks and misrepresentations of the beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church. It was followed by a 20-25 minute verbal attack on Catholic doctrine, leaving little time for questions, rebuttals and discussion before the library closed. Anti-Catholic books, leaflets and pamphlets were also distributed.
New York, NY – New York Post columnist Susan Brady Konig, a Catholic, detailed the unabashed anti-Catholicism that she and her husband, who is Jewish, regularly encounter in everyday conversation.
When her husband, “chatting with other dads,” mentions that he and his wife are sending their children to Catholic school, “he gets the oddest reaction: ‘Why? You’re not Catholic!’ ‘No, I’m Jewish, but my wife is Catholic.’ ‘How can you allow her to send your kids to Catholic school?’ ‘Allow? I encourage it. They’re Catholic, my wife’s Catholic, so we’re sending them to Catholic school.’
“This is followed,” Ms. Konig wrote, “by much sputtering and then: ‘How could you do that to your own kids?’”
She thought her husband might have been exaggerating, she wrote, until she was present for such an exchange: “We were chatting with another parent and the big topic came up. ‘We’ll send them to Catholic school,’ my husband said. ‘You guys are Catholic?’ (This line delivered with eyes popping in surprise.) ‘Well, my wife is. I’m Jewish.’ ‘And you’re going to allow her to send the kids to Catholic school?’ (Pop-eyed surprise has now progressed to disdainful sneer.)
“I’m standing right there,” Ms. Konig continued. “The guy knows I’m Catholic—he asked, we told him. But, without missing a beat, he felt absolutely no compunction about insulting my religious beliefs.”
By contrast, she asked in her column, “If my husband were Catholic and I was Jewish and he told people we were sending our kids to yeshiva, would they do anything less correct than nod and smile? Of course not, because to say, ‘How can you allow her to do that?’ would be anti-Semitic. But anti-Catholic? People don’t think twice.”
Washington, DC – A middle-aged man posted himself daily in front of the Vatican Embassy, holding a sign that read “Catholic Clergy Molest Boys World Wide.” He had a large bell attached to the top of the sign, presumably to ring to draw increased attention to his message.
Phoenix, AZ – The Arizona Republic, in a feature on the Phoenix Mercury of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), highlighted two fans who dress in nuns’ habits and ridicule Catholic nuns as part of their cheering act.
“Nuns are liberated now, and we’re trying to Halloween). Speaking of his Catholic upbringing, Sec says that “I perceive that in every way we (his family) were very religious and huddled together in fear.”
Stockton, CA – A fire gutted the Church of the Presentation. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime by police after a swastika was painted on an outside wall. A mass had just been completed an hour before the fire was discovered.
The blaze also closed the 300-student elementary school
November 28 – December 22
From November 28 to December 22, ten major American newspapers carried anti-Catholic ads. All of the ads were sponsored by the Eternal Gospel Church of Seventh-Day Adventists (a splinter group from the Seventh-Day Adventists). The ads identified the Catholic Church as the “WHORE” and the “BEAST,” and charged the Holy Father with breaking down the barriers between church and state.
The “Earth’s Final Warning” full-page ads were run on November 28 in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; on December 1 in the Miami Herald ; on December 1 in El Nuevo Herald (Miami); on December 2 in the Dallas Morning News; on December 5 in some copies of the Greenville News (South Carolina); on December 10 in the Indianapolis Star; on December 13 in Diario Las Americas (Miami); on December 14 in the Los Angeles Times; on December 20 in the Tallahassee Democrat; and on December 22 in The Herald (Everett, Washington).
After being contacted by the Catholic League all the newspaper with the exception of St. Louis Post-Dispatch made quick and sincere apologies to the Catholic League, pledging never again to run these ads. In fact, when the publisher of the Greenville News spotted the ad in print, he ordered the printing press stopped and thus not all copies of the South Carolina daily published the ad.
Brooklyn, NY – The Brooklyn district attorney’s office and the Police Department’s bias unit are investigating four instances of vandalism at Catholic churches over the past three months.
Statues of Our Lady of Fatima and three young seers that stood in front of St. Jerome’s in Flatbush were toppled and smashed
New Jersey – Seven statues of the Christ child were stolen from lawn Nativity scenes at churches and homes in Oradell, Dumont and Emerson.
St. Louis, MO – Nearly all the statues in a Nativity scene were stolen from Fontbonne College.
Brooklyn, NY – A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary which had stood outside the front door of Our Lady of Refuge Rectory since the early 1930s was smashed to pieces. A statue of baby Jesus was also destroyed.
Brooklyn, NY – A stained glass window outside Holy Innocents Church was damaged when beer bottles were thrown through it.
Brooklyn, NY – The body of Christ was taken down from the crucifix at Holy Cross Church and burned.
Brooklyn, NY – Statues at Holy Fatimas and the young seers were pulverized in front of St. Jerome’s. They had stood there for four decades.
Day Island, WA – A popular nativity scene in Day Island never saw Christmas. The entire Nativity scene was stolen.
St. Albans, WV – The baby Jesus was stolen from a nativity scene in St. Albans.
Chicago, IL – A yearly Nativity scene in Daley Plaza was vandalized when, despite security, baby Jesus was stolen. The figure was later found in a locker in the Daley Plaza bus station.
Meredith, NH – A Nativity scene was vandalized not once but twice. The baby Jesus was stolen twice in one week.
Galveston, TX – A rash of thefts occurred when statues of the Virgin Mary were stolen from lawns and cemeteries all over Galveston.
The Catholic League often receives hate e-mail. Many times the authors remain anonymous but the messages certainly reveal the hatred that exists for the league and its work. Below is just a samll sample.
An anonymous e-mail to the league railed against “Your ludicrous, pagan, idol-worshipping religion.” “Instead of being so concerned about people making fun of your ridiculous beliefs,” it urged, “why don’t you worry about racist little Catholic school bastards beating up African-American kids, neo-fascists such as Catholic Pat BuKKKhannan, etc?
“Your church is a hotbed of hypocrisy,” the writer continued. “Your pedophile priests molest and scar little boys for life, but yet you rail against homosexuality. Your ‘Holy Father’ is a senile old fool in drag who lives like a king while millions wallow in poverty because of his crazy opposition to birth control.”
While allowing that “your stance against abortion is the only Catholic belief I agree with,” the anonymous writer complained that Catholics even “mess that issue up by waving your rosaries in peoples’ faces.”
“In other words,” the hate letter concluded, “CATHOLICS SUCK!”
The league received an e-mail message from a person who said he represented “Friends of a Catholic-Free Amercica (sic).” The message then went on to disparage Catholic priests (calling them all pedophiles). It ended with “Horray (sic) for Ted Turner. Christianity is based on the Bible written by moronic old men that thought the earth was flat. Close up shop and get a real job. The Virgin Mary wasn’t even a real virgin!”
An e-mail from Berkeley, CA, disagreeing with our call for a boycott of San Francisco in protest of the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” Easter Sunday desecration, declared, “Well, sooner or later the old Pope will die (one can pray that will happen today) and with any luck a Molslem (sic) terrorist will bomb the Vatican. What a pity! All that lovely art work. Bishop Lambada (sic) will probably catch aids (sic) living here anyway. It really wounds us to think a few Catholics might not visit San Francisco. Meanwe’ll (sic) try to keep Jesus dead. Have a nice resurrection party but no Nazi Catholic I’ve ever been to bed with could get it up anyway.
An anonymous piece of e-mail hate mail declared support for Miramax and the hope that the company’s next film would include a obscene situation involving the pope and the Virgin Mary.
The Catholic League received e-mail from a person identifying himself as “Anthony Ranieri” who obviously has a problem with Catholicism. In part, the author wrote, “The catholic ‘faith’ is a disease that needs to be rooted out by any legal artistic means. I fully support any project that ferrets out and exposes your corruption.”
The Catholic League received hate mail from an anonymous source who wrote, “You narrow-minded idiots!! You wouldn’t know god or love or acceptance or forgiveness or passion, if it came up and bit you in the ass. A creator gave us free will to challenge and explore who we are and the world that we live in. You people are nothing but a bunch of Zombies.”
The Catholic League received hate mail from an unidentified person who wrote an obscene message more than 6,000 times. The mailer also identified himself as “William of Orange” with his address as “NO POPE OF ROME.”