The Left’s Intolerant Attacks On Pope Benedict

The Left’s Intolerant Attacks On Pope Benedict

Posted:June 8, 2005

By John Mallon

Psychologists call it “projection.” It is when someone is guilty of the very accusations and charges they freely sling at others. And it continues to be one of the Left’s greatest problems as is illustrated so well by a Oklahoma minister’s bigoted attacks on the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict XVI .

Recently a friend of mine was asked to write one side of a “Point/Counterpoint” piece on the new Pope, Benedict XVI, for the local alternative weekly, The Oklahoma Gazette. My friend, Patrick B. McGuigan, is a seasoned writer and a Washington veteran of the judicial wars of the 1980s, especially the Bork battle. 

During the 1990s Pat was editorial page editor of The Daily Oklahoman. His piece about Benedict XVI was noble, soaring and edifying prose, a very high class job. Knowing Pat, this did not surprise me. His piece was non-ideological and uplifting, something anyone of any creed who respects religion could appreciate. In contrast, what I was not prepared for—even a seasoned old religious controversialist like me—was the stunning vitriol of his counterpart offering a differing viewpoint.

The writer was Robin Meyers, a senior minister of a local Congregational UCC Church and a professor of rhetoric. The article drove home to me that even here in the Heartland there are those on the Left who see anti-Catholicism as a virtue and something to draw cheap applause from their ideological comrades.

In his piece entitled “White Smoke, Black Smoke,” Meyers wrote, “The choice of Joseph Ratzinger seems as strange to many of us as an order to rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic. “In the 20th century, the two greatest sins of the Catholic Church have been anti-Semitism and the failure to challenge Nazi Germany’s murderous ways. Why then would the cardinals chose a German pope who was once, though quite innocently, a member of the Hitler Youth?

“When the sexual abuse scandal exploded over the last decade, and it became clear that not only was the problem endemic, but was aided by criminal behavior on the part of an unaccountable bureaucracy, many Catholics believed that it might finally pave the way for priests to marry. Perhaps, all things considered, celibacy is not a good tradition. Just a tradition. …

“As for women, who continue to be second-class citizens the world over, the ‘cafeteria is officially closed,’ as Maureen Dowd put it. ‘Cardinal Ratzinger, nicknamed ‘God’s Rottweiler’ and ‘the Enforcer,’ helped deny Communion rights to John Kerry and other Catholic politicians in the 2004 election.”

These are just highlights. Those interested can read the entire piece, along with McGuigan’s lovely piece which left Meyers in the dust, hopelessly outclassed,here.

Unable to contain myself, I fired back a letter to the editor, which follows, in part: —“The students in Robin Meyers’s rhetoric class should ask for a refund, based on his breathtakingly bigoted rant against the Catholic Church and our beliefs in Point/Counterpoint (Gazette 5/18/05).

“Blowing a chance at saying something useful or interesting from a non-Catholic perspective on Benedict XVI, the minister instead chose to string together a virtual catalogue of tired clichés, dispelled myths and outdated claptrap against the Catholic Church; ranging from the Church’s alleged ‘silence’ on the Holocaust, (Pius XII personally saved hundreds of thousands of Jewish lives), to a cheap crack about Catholicism seeing women as ‘second class citizens.’ (Has Meyers ever read John Paul II’s beautiful Theology of the Body?)”

I continued that “this sort of rubbish is worthy of the tracts of the Klan in a dark segment of Oklahoma’s past. It is certainly unworthy of a minister of another church,” and suggested that perhaps his congregation should also ask for a refund.

Thus far my letter has not been published, which is just as well, as another citizen, a Jim Ottman of Oklahoma City, who, unlike me, has followed Meyers’s career, had this to say: “The voice that once preached tolerance for all, now hypocritically preaches a different message when it comes to Catholics and the Catholic Church. His most recent sophistic rant concerning what he perceives to be the flaws within Catholics, the Catholic Church and its newly elected pope clearly demonstrates an unequivocal bias and his message is now one of religious bigotry. . . . Oklahomans will have to find a new voice of tolerance and objectivity. It can no longer be found in Robin Meyers.” (Oklahoma Gazette 5/25/05)

Good for Mr. Ottman.

My point in recounting this is that after 20 years of writing and responding to this sort of thing, is that it still astonishes me that the Left can be so blind as not to see themselves in the accusations and charges they sling at those they disagree with and perceive as enemies. Psychologists call this “projection.”

Is the Left so convinced of their own self-righteousness that they conceive themselves as incapable of their obvious bigotry and hatred? Are they so unaware that the very slogans they repeat when inveighing against the “Religious Right” so perfectly describe themselves in their own peculiar fundamentalism?

It appears they are, and it is a dangerous recipe.

They have become what they hate.

Mallon writes from Oklahoma and is Contributing Editor for Inside the Vatican magazine.