American history is replete with instances of massive anti-Catholicism. One fellow suggested that was one of the main factors that brought about our Revolutionary War. The idea that the British parliament passed the Quebec Act that allowed the Catholic Church to remain the official religion of Quebec struck fear in many Americans who thought that was a plan to raise a Catholic army in Canada to invade the colonies.
It continued strong especially in New England. 1834 saw a Protestant mob burn down a Catholic convent in Charlestown. The 1840s saw the war against Catholic Mexico where the treatment by the U.S. Army of the Catholic soldiers, especially the Irish ones, was so demeaning and hostile they deserted the American army and fought on the side of Mexico in a group known as the San Patricios.
The 1850s saw the strong support that was given to the anti-Irish, anti-Catholic, and anti-immigrant Know Nothing Party. It elected a governor in Massachusetts and controlled the House and Senate. It was well on the way to becoming the second strongest party in the country until the slavery issued pushed all others aside.
After that anti-Catholicism was never far from the minds of others. We experienced the several reincarnations of the KKK a group with that mindset. We invaded the Philippines in order to bring Christianity to the poor dark-skinned people of that country who were under the thumb of the Pope. If you want to understand the present day attitude of Filipinos to America study up a little on that war.
The hostile attitude toward Catholics seemed to have diminished significantly during WWII and the aftermath. It even enabled the United States to put into office a Catholic president. The world did not fall in nor did the Pope take over the country as earlier feared. One did get the sense it still existed but in a less overt form. Some suggest it is the only remaining bias in the United States that is acceptable.
The Boston Globe on October 19, 2016, wrote an article that Cardinal O’Malley had gathered a group of clergymen and spoke out against the upcoming petition on the ballot that would legalize marijuana. It set forth his reasons for opposing it as well as gave the other side’s opinion. It had a comment section that I assumed would be used to discuss the issue that was on the ballot and that people would give their reasons for or against legalization. I wanted to read some of them and most were diatribes against O’Malley and the Church. Here’s a few examples:
“It’s not surprising a church with historical roots in pedophilia and alcoholism would engage in scapegoating to shift blame elsewhere and hide their own misdeeds. And kidnapping Jewish children, let’s not forget that. “;
“Got a deal for [Catholics]: shut the f up, mind your own business, and I won’t criticize your backwards, controlling beliefs. Otherwise, you’re fair game.”;
“Go back to the rectory and have some wine.”
“Cardinal Buffoon alert! Just manage the perverts.”
“Oh brother !!!! cult leaders who believe in talking snakes and magic sky daddies don’t get a say in secular business !!keep that craziness behind closed doors for their sheeple. Tax the churches if they want to use their weight in politics”
Others talked about O’Malley being muzzled if he wanted to keep the church’s tax free status; and that he should be concerned with his pedophile priests, and similar topics. I recognize that these folk commenting are doing so in the world of anonymity and probably would not be so bold if they had to identify themselves but it does show their hostility.
I have to believe that others like O’Malley who spoke out on the issue would no be so attacked. Perhaps I am wrong but it is difficult to envision a situation where such vitriol would be directed at another.