Saturday, June 9, 2012

Maureen Dowd Attacks the Catholic Church Again, Accusing Vatican of a "Thuggish Crusade"

Maureen Dowd
Photo credit: NY Times
In the June 5th issue of the New York Times, Maureen Dowd attacked the Catholic Church once again, accusing the Vatican of conducting a "thuggish crusade to push U.S. nuns--and all Catholic women--back into moldy subservience."  Dowd disapproves of the Vatican's decision to censor a book by Sister Margaret Farley that deviates from Catholic doctrine on human sexuality.

Three observations:

First, to paraphrase Samuel Johnson, anti-Catholicism is the last refuge of the postmodern elite. The New York Times and its columnists would not dare criticize the Muslim faith, Mormonism, Hinduism, or even the Methodists as shrilly as they snarl at Catholics week after week. But, in these times, it is perfectly safe to sneer at Catholics.

Second, it is disingenuous--to say the least--for Dowd to criticize the Vatican for doing what it ought to be doing--making sure Catholic theologians write and teach in harmony with Catholic doctrine. No one would accuse the New York Times of thuggishness if it censored a reporter for plagiarism. Everyone would understand that the Times was simply maintaining the integrity of its organization.  Why then is the Vatican accused of "thuggish behavior" when it censors--with remarkable restraint--the unorthodox writings of a Catholic theologian?

Third, Dowd's latest tirade is another reminder of the price our Church has paid for the pedophilia scandal, which Dowd repeatedly throws in our face as evidence of the Church's hypocrisy. Perhaps this season of anti-Catholic vitriol is a penance for our Church leaders' shameful cover-up of child abuse by pedophile priests. So I suppose Catholics should bear this cross of scorn with humility; we have much to atone for in the way we handled the sexual abuse scandals.

References

Dowd, M. (2012, June 5). Is pleasure a sin? New York Times. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/opinion/dowd-is-pleasure-a-sin.html

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