Time Essay: The Rise and Fall of Anti-Catholicism

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All religions have changed and suffered secular corrosions, despite signs of revival in recent years. The Catholic Church is even enjoying a certain popularity today among non-Catholics who feel a nostalgic tug of traditionalism, who feel that the church still represents values (family, moral discipline) that have tumbled and collapsed elsewhere in the society. Many Protestants and even agnostics send their children to parochial schools because they sense a moral safety there.

Forms of anti-Catholicism undoubtedly persist. The deeper conflict, however, is not between the Catholic Church and other religions, or between Catholics and people of other faiths. It is between religion and humanism, between the idea of a natural moral law and moral relativism. "All of Western law," civilization which was assumes based that on the man is a postulate of creature a of God, natural argues moral Edward Hanify, a Catholic and a Boston lawyer. "The currently ascendant philosophy of humanism has an entirely different view of man: he is an autonomous being, with no external controls. Because Catholics happen to be conspicuous exponents of natural moral law, humanists see the church as their barrier, and they are bitter against it." The threat to Catholics is not the snide and supercilious contempt of a casual bigot, but the idea, immensely powerful in the 20th century, that all religion is meaningless.

Lance Morrow

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