TPC: Revisited: Canada's Anti-Catholic Hate Wave Is Heating Up
Justin Trudeau, the Liberal Party, and the Canadian media have, by their deafening silence and intimations, given the all-clear on anti-Catholic bigotry and terrorism.
Anti-Catholicism is as old as the Christian faith. The first pope—the rock on which the Church was built—was, after all, crucified by Roman authorities, in part due to what Pope Clement I termed “unjust envy.” In every age, the Church has met with some form of persecution or another. The causes for this persecution are myriad: political, economic, social, theological, and so forth. (Sometimes the persecution is even self-imposed or -inflicted. After all, unlike the Neo-Rousseauians, Catholics recognize that humans, themselves included, aren't born perfect and certainly are disinclined by sin to always act justly.)
Extra to or perhaps superimposed on these historic battles and persecutions is also an ongoing spiritual war. Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, the encyclopedic Catholic arch-liberal fluent in over twelve languages—who William Buckley Jr. figured for the most interesting man in the world—wrote in The Timeless Christian that:
Christ broke the power of Satan so that since Christ’s sacrificial death we live in an eschatological period when evil is fighting only a rear-guard action, even though this can effect quite considerable destruction of the good. Indeed, a mortally wounded monster is deadly dangerous. The isolated triumphs of the Evil One are so terrifying, that they put our confidence in God sorely to the test, leading many to a ‘weariness of good people’ that evoked an eloquent reproof from Pius XII.
What triumphs achieved directly or indirectly in anger over the salvific death of God at Golgotha and the resultant redemption of man has he, the “adversary,” the “calumniator”? We don’t have to go as far back as the Coliseum or even to the defensive populist battles in the Near East against those who were to told “Fight all men until they say ‘There is no god but Allah” and to “Slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them [captive], and besiege them.” In fact, much more recently—over the past two-hundred-and-fifty years—the Church has found a special enemy in the forces of leftism, which are coincidentally the enemy of freedom, morality, and the human being: in Hitler’s national socialists, for instance. Recall: the vehemently anti-Catholic Taborite roots of Czech nazism, later ported to Germany; their murder of countless priests, nuns, and lay Catholics not just in Germany and Austria, but especially in Poland; and Hitler’s aim to next exterminate Catholicism as a ‘Jewish religion’—Kuehnelt-Leddihn draws the curious eye to Rudolf Hammer’s 1939 Christentum, doch Judentum. The Church found another special and adaptive foe in the Russian Soviets (later discussed); in the Viet Cong (their massacre of Catholics and other Christians in Vietnam was among the only viable justifications for some American police action in southeast Asia, at least up until the French-socialist-inspired Red Khmers came on the scene and murdered one-third of their Cambodian countrymen); in the Stalin-backed communists and republicans who during the Spanish Civil War, raped, murdered, and tortured innumerable Catholics—particularly the clergy—ransacked churches, and exhumed bodies for ridicule; in the continental radicals, particularly the revolutionary French who celebrated the dawn of their age of reason by committing to orgies of blood, murdering Catholics with impunity, and pillaging Church properties (the same revolutionaries whose ideological scions were justly buried in their Paris Commune in 1871 after they had gone on another anti-clerical murder spree); and in the Communist Party occupying China today, which savages the underground Catholics along with evangelical Christians, the Falun Gong, and the Uyghurs now being enslaved and liquidated in Xinjiang.
No, one need not go back to Nero in the first century to find persecution of the Church. In the 20th Century, the murder of priests and nuns seemed a favorite past time (i.e. of leftists): in “Mexico City, Moabit, Dachau, Plotzensee, Auschwitz, Struthof, Carcel Modelo, Andrassy-ut 66, Sremska Mitrovica, Vorkuta, Karaganda, Magadan, Lubyanka, Ocnele Mare—these are the modern Stations of the Cross of our clergy” (The Timeless Christian).
How could ‘good people’ not feel weary? Especially after all these injuries, when there is also baseless insult tacked on? Through the defamation of the Church amid its peoples’ suffering? Well, the Son of God had some sobering words:
If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
Pain, isolation, persecution: these go with the territory. Members of this Church, in the world but not of the world, should not expect to be treated any differently than the God here murdered. However, notwithstanding their weariness, Catholics know—or ought to know—that the faith cannot be extinguished. As G.K. Chesterton noted in The Everlasting Man, “Christendom has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.” Even an outside observer—the British historian and evangelical Thomas Babington Macaulay—comprehended this inextinguishability: the Holy Roman Catholic Church “saw the commencement of all the governments and of all the ecclesiastical establishments that now exist in the world” and will doubtless be “destined to see the end of them all.”
For the deceiver, the calumniator, this must read as a challenge. It should therefore be of no surprise that those seeing that the Church cannot be destroyed, aim to libel it (recent slurs against the whole of the Church rather than against a handful of probable deviants are nicely countered both in Conrad Black's Rise to Greatness and in part one of his Canadian Manifesto); seeing that it is constituted by people, try to corrupt them; and seeing that Christianity is for all time, seek that it lives forever in a distorted, transmogrified form (there is an argument to be made elsewhere about the impact of liberation theology).
Consider the anti-Spanish and anti-Catholic Black Legend (La leyenda negra) spun by the protestant English, having broken with orthodoxy and the Holy See for a series of headless women and a divorce, and feeling the need to dehumanize their foe during the Eighty Years' War. (This deceitful legend was revived and recirculated by the American leftist press during the Spanish Civil War, and shared much in common with the Orange fables peddled in Canada, later discussed). Consider also the anti-Catholic propaganda pushed by the Soviets. In both cases, the lies drove geopolitical advantage, but also were heavy with envy and resentment (curiously the basis of atheistic socialism, at least according to Ludwig von Mises).
Where the Soviets were concerned—those merciless totalitarian materialists for whom, like Mussolini’s fascists, nothing could stand against or outside the state—the Church was not just a fount for the kind of dissent that buttressed the Solidarity Movement in Poland or the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia (recommended reading: Rod Dreher’s Live Not By Lies), but the only real opponent it couldn’t crush or strike a deal with. Since Moscow couldn’t defeat the Church with a higher appeal, because it had none—after all, it’s utopia was earthbound for a fully dispensable collective that supposedly had no individual interests—and because it couldn’t crush the spirit of the faithful in Russia or in occupied Eastern Europe, it had to appeal to lies. Notwithstanding the tremendous amount of evidence of the Church’s role in leading and supporting the anti-Nazi resistance before and during the War (see for instance: Mark Reibling’s Church of Spies) or its rescue of between 700,000 and 900,000 Jews from extermination (an amazing feat detailed in the late Jewish theologian and Israeli historian Pinchas E. Lapide’s Rom und die Juden and elsewhere) or its correlated conference of false baptismal certificates to fleeing Jews by Church officials, useful idiots in the West and their masters in the east nevertheless spread lies, insinuating ties that didn’t exist, actions that never took place, and prejudices that were preposterous even in the abstract concerning the catholic (i.e. universal) Church. Operation Seat 12 was, for instance, a Soviet plot after the death of Pope Pius XII to frame the robust wartime pope as a Nazi sympathizer. In fact, Pius had been a defiant enemy of the national socialists, unlike the prime ministerial likes of the father of the English provider state Lloyd George or Canada’s own MacKenzie King, both Hitlerian sycophants, long after G.K. Chesterton raised the alarm regarding the evil of and threat posed by the Nazis.
Now, in Canada, under the ministry of the self-excommunicated, pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia son of what C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape might regard as a better-tasting soul, anti-Catholic terrorists burn and vandalize churches and libel the faithful departed. Again, we should not be surprised. In a country whose government is ever-growing and centralizing power over life and death—enjoying far more power of this kind than the sun king Louis XIV could have ever hoped for—the Church remains a defiant albeit a sometimes too-hushed obstacle to the kind of dehumanizing “progress” by which Thursday is better than Wednesday simply for being a day ahead.
Much of the antipathy we see today (and amplified by The Toronto Star and the CBC) for the Church of Rome may still be a result of the role that the Church plays in tempering modern illogic with the eternal truths enshrined in our orthodoxy, and by gently reminding our leaders that our [natural] rights come from God and pre-exist the governments that secure them in exchange for our consent to be governed (regimes that have misconstrued their role and figure themselves the origins of these rights). That said, the hatred that Jagmeet Singh and Justin Trudeau and other Canadian bigots like Harsha Walia foment against Catholics, is something more than a knee-jerk reaction to recycled lies and half-truths—something much deeper rooted in this nation.
Kevin Anderson wrote in his 2013 McMaster thesis Anti-Catholicism and English Canadian Nationalism, 1905-1965 about the nature of anti-Catholicism in Canada; that it “engages with a coterie of stereotypes, tropes, and themes with a particular historical significance that present Catholicism as a false faith while questioning its position in modern society and reducing the Catholic Church to a power-hungry caricature.” It has strong ties not only to leftism, but both to Canadian nationalism and aspects of Canadian Protestantism, yet is—as noted at the top—something more than a theological or political phenomenon.
Anti-Catholicism in Canada was deeply tied to English protestant revulsion for Irish, Italian, and Polish immigrants over the centuries; a revulsion that pre-dates confederation and has ties to disputes and prejudices across the Atlantic. Never mind the feverish bigotry of George Brown, the famed editor of The Globe, or our so-called “Greatest Canadian” Tommy Douglas, founder of Singh’s NDP, who was a virulently anti-Catholic racist and eugenicist—who thought that not-protestant, non-whites as well as Irish Catholics were mental deficients deserving of sterilization, hinting at such statist ambitions, which he ultimately didn’t have the gall for, in his MA Thesis “The Problems of the Subnormal Family”.
This variety of hatred is not unique to a few individuals, but entire organizations and now political parties: the Orange Lodge, northern proponents of the Ku Klux Klan (which Anderson notes helped elect the openly anti-Catholic J.T.M. Anderson government of Saskatchewan), the Masonic Lodge, and others. Taking the baton today are those primarily castigating the faithful and their Church for seeking to protect: the unborn child; the sacrament of marriage; the family; individual autonomy; and the freedom to speak the truth as well as to recite Scripture. (An opportunity to focus this historic and almost preternatural hate cannot go to waste, which is precisely why so many were so eager recently to discount facts and reason upon the re-re-discovery of the cemeteries outside former residential schools in order to assign blame squarely on the Church.)
The form this anti-Catholic hatred takes is legion, which, based on the Leddihn quote at the top, makes sense. In some cases, it may result from a repressed sense of theological inferiority, inspired in heretical sects now losing wind and disciples. It may come from a sense of misunderstanding, compounded by leftist propaganda. Whatever it is, it is not new. What is new is the environment in which this anti-Catholic hate wave is now heating up.
What the agents of the deceiver may have discounted—despite the fall of lapsed Catholics to the wayside, all demonstrating their historical ignorance and fidelity to mammon—is that their terror attacks on the Church “understood” by Gerald Butts, and Justin Trudeau and his regime, may ultimately awaken, amid the present climate of tribal and identity politics fostered by the left, a sense of group identity amongst the biggest and most ethnically diverse religious group in Canada, for which there will inevitably be socio-political ramifications. (From 1971 forward, Catholics have outnumbered protestants—up until then, the biggest sect—and now number in excess of 12.8 million souls, including a great many Indigenous Canadians now picking up the pieces.)
Though our bishops have remained relatively silent about this latest spate of assaults on the Church—recognizing the lesson taught by Pope Pius XII that it is better to have a bad record in the public eye and make swift and effective aid in secret, than to act in such a way that the state would exact an immediate and greater price from those you hope to help—the fact is that this Church of ours the gates of hell will not prevail against.
Yes, the Gospel, meaning good news, is a testament of and to Love, commanding adherents both to love God with all their heart and to love their neighbors as themselves. (Chesterton correctly pointed out that: “The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.”) Yes, Christians have been cautioned by Christ that suffering is inescapable if one chooses the path of truth. Nevertheless, those terrorists now attacking the Church—as the Red Khmers, Soviets, Vietcong, Paris communists, Spanish republicans, English crown, KKK, Masonic Lodge, national socialists, Chinese Communists, and others captive to the calumniator had—better understand that the Church and the faithful will not suffer indefinitely and in vain; that there inevitably comes a time to sell one’s cloak and buy a sword (metaphorically, CSIS); a time to take Michaelian action and react righteously against that mortally wounded monster, still lashing out.