If you’re puzzled by the stupidity of this question, so are we. Yet this was the subject of a panel discussion at the Museum of the City of New York on July 22; all the participants were Catholic.

The good news is that all the panelists agreed anti-Catholicism still exists. The bad news is that the question was entertained as a rebuttable presumption in the first place. In any event, what really settled this issue was not the presentation of the panelists: it was the bald-face bigotry of those who responded to a New York Timesstory on the event. The following is a selection taken verbatim from the Times’ blog posting.

· “I don’t think its so much that people are anti-Catholic (the partitioners) but many people rightfully object to the church and their missions. Those missions include: 1.) subverting the U.S. through encouraging, aiding and abetting illegal immigration in contravention to our laws 2.)sewing insurrection in countries in Central America which is detrimental to American interests and in contravention to the historical role of the Catholic church in encouraging unrestrained population growth and actually subjecting the indigenous people to slavery (in Guatemala for instance) 3.) subjecting their own parishoners to sexual abuse 4.) encouraging a bigoted viewpoint towards people who are of alternative sexual orientations 5.) being anti-woman 6.) and encouraging unrestrained population growth leading to the perpetuation of poverty and hopelessness. How dare the Pope come over to our country and preach about America’s supposed failure to help the helpless in his comments about the U.S. immigration policy.”

· “I’m inclined to agree that a bad catholic is better than a good one. A good catholic believes the irrational supernatural nonsense that he’s been taught to believe, usually through rigorous childhood indoctrination. The good catholic is the skeptical catholic who questions what has been driven into his head, and sees the absurdity of it all.”

· “Why is it okay to be anti-communist, but not okay to be anti anything else?”

· “Again, the vestiges of anti-Catholic sentiment at this point are largely grounded in reality. Catholicism is ridiculous and rigidly incompatible with modern social values. Shunning contraception in the face or rampant over-population and HIV in the developing world, stoking the most regressive strains of anti-gay and anti-woman sentiment, protecting pedophile priests the world over for centuries… this is the modern legacy of the Catholic church.”

· “I would say that anti-Catholicism is alive and well. Gays who are excluded from the RCC are anti-Catholic, and so are married women who are not prepared to have their 5th child and yet are told by the RCC that they cannot use birth control. Countries whose citizens are dying in droves from AIDS and yet are told by the RCC that they cannot distribute condoms are anti-Catholic. Divorced people who fled abusive marriages who are now excluded from communion in the RCC are anti-Catholic. I mean, how can any thinking, feeling person NOT be anti-Catholic? It was Jesus himself, if he were here today, would be anti-Roman Catholic.”

· “I’d rather deal with ‘bad’ catholics any day, those who respect my beliefs, rather than ‘good’ ones who look down upon me for not sharing in all their beliefs, ignoring my right to use the brain that God has given me. To those who say that the RC church doesn’t teach that anymore, read Dominus Iesus. It’s a rather current (2000) reaffirmation of their superiority and self-assuredness.”

· “I’m not against Catholics…as long as they don’t go to Mass. In fact, I’m going to marry one, though he knows that our kids will never set foot inside a Catholic Church. All this recent hullaballoo over the Pope just confirms to me that there’s something weird and creepy about a religion that elevates a man to god-like status when one of the central commandments (“Thou shalt have no other god before Me”) says explicitly not to do that.”

· “Anti-Catholicism, like all anti-religious beliefs, will be around as long as religions are anti-life, anti-reason, fear-generating, anti-humanity and anti-science AND act on their delusional beliefs in the most detrimental of ways to human life.”

· “As long as women around the world are denied reproductive freedom, and adolescents are denied access to contraception knowledge and education – I hope anti-Catholicism will grow in strength. We have only the Catholic church to blame for these blights on our world. We cannot discuss population control in order to preserve our limited global resources – for fear of offending Catholic superstition and despotic devotion to church laws that harm us all.”

· “I think it’s time to be anti-religion.”

· “If anti-Catholicism is dead, what will the ever-apoplectic William Donohue do!?!?!?!?!? If we’re lucky, he’ll finally explode into a million pieces, when alone in a windowless room.”

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