So by now you have no doubt read the New York Times‘s rationalization for reproducing a “work of art” (although the sneer quotes don’t quite convey the breadth and depth of my disdain) that depicted a Pope Benedict XVI made out of multi-colored condoms, when it wouldn’t print those Charlie Hebdo cover images, which were by any non-crazy person’s construal “news fit to print” given the carnage that ensued as a result of those images.
While some people might genuinely dislike this Milwaukee work, there doesn’t seem to be any comparable level of outrage.
Comparable to literally murdering the “artist.”
Now, if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you know that my being of the Protestant persuasion is the worst kept secret in the history of subterfuge, so you would think I don’t have dog in this fight. However, in these fraught times, we have to be able to identify who our enemies are.
And it’s not Pope (Emeritus) Benedict.
I love how Margaret Sullivan, the Times‘s public editor (gee, I hope that’s not a federal job), quotes a “jibe” by Matt Taibbi, as if any, again, non-crazy person could give a furtive fig newton what Matt Taibi, a writer for that paragon of journalistic integrity Rolling Stone, has to say on any subject under the sun, never mind theology and morals.
Agree or disagree with the Catholic Church on artificial contraception, but at least make an effort to understand why it holds to the position it does, and at least try and imagine an alternate universe in which everyone is not be bullied into holding the exact same opinion as that of groupthink mainstream-media hacks.
And the last time I checked, the Catholic Church is a voluntary association. Don’t believe what it teaches? Leave. Become an Episcopalian. You get a nice dose of liturgy, clerics in fancy gowns and big hats, and a “teaching authority” that dispenses free knee pads every time Baal farts a new human right.
And unlike in atheist kingdoms, Rome will not build a wall to keep you in.
Now that we’ve gotten all our ecumenical blither-blathers out of the way, let’s take a trip back in time when the Catholic Church did react to assaults on its dignity in a way that was somewhat analogous to what happened in Paris last year.
It was a dark and stormy night, early November 1605, when Guy (code name “Guido”) Fawkes and his gang of co-conspirators were caught attempting to blow up via a hefty glop of gunpowder King James I of England, his Privy Council, and the House of Lords during the opening of Parliament.
Fawkes & Co. were aggrieved Catholics who were a tad disappointed at James’s failure to restore Catholics’ status within England and rescind penalties against those who refused to join the state church. Who the bad guys were here all depends on which side of the Reformation divide you’re on.
To Catholics, the Crown had destroyed the centuries’-old faith of English Christians, stolen Church property, left without succor the poor who had relied on the ministrations of the monasteries, and deprived Catholic English subjects basic rights they had enjoyed alongside their now Anglican neighbors.
To Protestants, Catholicism in the realm was a rival authority, and Catholics potentially, if not actually, disloyal subjects. Mary Tudor had executed more than 300 faithful Protestants. Pope Pius V had excommunicated Elizabeth I and “released all her subjects from any allegiance to her.” Throw in a failed full-frontal invasion by Catholic Spain, and several lesser plots by Catholic clergy to assassinate Elizabeth’s successor, James, and you have the Catholic-as-terrorist in the minds of many.
That was then, when Rome could at least make the argument that the nation it was attempting to “subordinate” had been, and remained to a great degree, especially in the north, Catholic, whereas this is now, when Islam has no such claim in, for example, France. In fact, the last time a Charlie confronted a Muslim invasion, it was Martel and it was the eighth century.
It’s a sign of the lunatic times we live in that the Guy Fawkes “identity” has been coopted by Anonymous, that group of radical anarchist/leftist hackers who bring down websites with distributed denial-of-service attacks and expose private data in their war against…well, whatever they decide to war against between pizza runs. The getup is thanks to Alan Moore’s V of Vendetta, in which a vigilante antihero fights for social justice wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, this in a near-future, dystopian, and fascistic England. (Presumably Guy Fawkes because the National Front–type dictatorship in the novel has taken control of the Church of England and persecutes not only non-Christians but also less-than-compliant non-CofEers.)
So the symbol of “reactionary theocratic repression” has been assimilated by the paranoid and loony left.
What if traditional or conservative Catholics decided they just weren’t going to take it anymore, here in the U.S. of A.? What if they took back their mask? (After all, doesn’t God wear a mask as he administers justice in the world?)
What if they decided to … take action whenever Catholic doctrine or dignitaries were mocked?
What if the New York Times were given as much reason to fear Catholics as they do Muslims (even as they denounce such fears as Islamophobia)?
I’m not saying that this should happen or that it would be a good thing. I’m a Protestant for what I believe are good reasons. I don’t view the Reformation as a tragedy of history but a necessity of common sense and better theology. I don’t want one unified ecclesiastical superstructure for the same reason I believe the state should be small, limited, and divided constitutionally so that neither the Executive, the Legislative, nor the Judicial branch has overweening power, power tending to corrupt and all that. (By the way, that’s not an original idea of mine, although I’m flattered that you’d think so. That was actually an American ideal until quite recently.)
So forget the revolution. They’re always noisy and expensive and the worst people end up getting the corner office.
But a pro-Catholic V for … St. Vincent (pick one) would make at least for a fun thought experiment, no? Or would that be a kind of microaggression?
Come on, there has to be a Catholic artist of talent who could mock up an anti-Mooreish work, one in which a kind of latter-day Zorro comes to the aid of the Little Sisters of the Poor or Catholic hospitals forced to perform abortions or Catholic schoolgirls who are told they can’t say their rosary on a public school bus, a daring caped Fawkes who “visits” journalists and writers who believe Catholics do not belong on the Supreme Court or in the Armed Forces and should not teach in public schools.
If for no other reason than it would piss off all the right people.
You know, so long as he leaves the Lutherans alone. Cause it was kinda my idea …