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Pray for those who despise Catholics and call us bigots

‘Bigot’ is the latest of a long line of insults thrown at Catholics

By on Wednesday, 6 February 2013

'We think of Henry VIII and the destruction of the monasteries, but that was not the end of the destruction, it marked the beginning'

'We think of Henry VIII and the destruction of the monasteries, but that was not the end of the destruction, it marked the beginning'

Are you a bigot? It seems I am in the eyes of some tweeters who accuse me of ‘disgusting bigotry’. The word bores me, so I automatically block anyone who uses it, and cannot thus find the tweets in question. That does not matter. The person who uses the word ‘bigot’ does not say anything interesting; he or she merely hurls an insult, and as far as I can see the only reason anyone has ever called me a bigot is because I am a Catholic. For them Catholicism equals bigotry; but that is not really a very profound point. It is merely a way of saying that they do not like Catholics, and an attempt to hurt our feelings.

The use of the word ‘bigot’  is quite high up in the ranks of insults, it seems. It has little effect on me, as I first heard it in Italy, where the word bigotto, or more commonly bigotta, is a rather mild description, as far as I can tell. I have the feeling that in English the word was more or less archaic, until recently. But it is a powerful word to many, and it certainly got Gordon Brown into trouble. It is worth remembering the words of Mrs Duffy: “I’m very upset. He’s an educated person. Why has he come out with words like that?”

Mrs Duffy grasped the essential point. To use the word ‘bigot’ of anyone is uneducated. The insult represents a failure in reasoned argument. To call someone names is to show that either you have lost the argument, or you never had much of an argument in the first place.

As for those who simply do not like Catholics, and like to insult us, well, anti-Catholicism is a longstanding feature of the British landscape. James MacMillan has spoken of Scottish sectarianism;  and if you want to know about the hostility that Northern Irish Catholics face, well, just ask them. English anti-Catholicism is not on the same level, but it is there. As an English Catholic I have experienced it myself. At their most hurtful, anti-Catholics insinuate that I am somehow not a true Englishman, but in league with foreigners and terrorists. I remember, at the time of the Enniskillen bombing in 1987, being asked whether I was happy at the result. I have been told too that I am a supporter of General Franco simply because I am a Catholic, and best of all, that we Catholics encourage prostitution by supporting the use of the rhythm method (try and work out the logic of that – I did, but it took time).

This sectarian conversational violence is given official encouragement by the continuing discrimination in law against Catholics in this country, as well as the never too far below the surface anti-Irish and anti-Italian racism of the English middle classes, which feeds into their social snobbery as well.

Luckily I am a true Englishman in one respect, in that I never believe in replying to insults. I have Irish blood, and lots of half-Italian relations, but I also have English blood that goes back hundreds of years; and to all those who despises Catholics, and the Pope, and the Irish and Italians, my reply is…. Well, I will pray for your souls!

But there are more serious points here too. Catholics are here in this country by right, not by tolerance of the majority. We are not here because anyone has given us permission to be here. This is our country. That’s why we need to abolish the sectarian Act of Settlement; and if that cannot be done, abolish the monarchy itself. The Act implies that this is a Protestant country. It is not.

Secondly, people need to be careful about stirring up religious and sectarian hatreds. Hence, let us do away with the word ‘bigot’. It was disappointing to see the word feature in an article by Polly Toynbee recently and in the headline to the article. “The gay marriage debate has uncovered a nest of bigots,” screams the headline.  Those who voted against gay marriage were not bigots; they were people Polly Toynbee does not agree with, as is her perfect right. But to use this insulting word in this way is generates only heat, never light.

  • Jonathan West

     no-mark Polly Toyboy anyway

    Such hypocrisy!

  • Jonathan West

     ignorant tossers

    What hypocrisy!

  • Jonathan

    I’m afraid that’s par for the course, oldboots.  Nonetheless, an observation that might make some of us stop and think.

    I doubt that basic courtesy shall descend upon us though.

  • http://jessicahof.wordpress.com/ JessicaHof

    Anti-Catholicism has a long and disgraceful history in this country; to judge by recent comments, it is a history which continues.  The world hates most those who witness to His Truth. If we ask who the world hates most at the moment, we may see where His truth is best expressed.

  • Jonathan

    “Anti-Catholicism has a long and disgraceful history in this country”  Too true.

    I think that the lingering suspicion of loyalties to foreign princes doesn’t help.  Somehow, though, nobody worries about others taking their inspiration from other non-Brits (Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi etc…).  I doubt even having an English Pope would fix it!

  • fizzypilgrim

    You are absolutely right about Polly Toybe’s use of the word “bigot” to describe somebody who does not agree with “me”- I am surprised, though, at your use of the word “racist” which you esteem we might avoid by approving of every foreigner who comes to this country for whatever reason.and takes up space we do not have. I do not wish to see Islamisation carried any further because, like you I am a Catholic and Muslims will not be so polite as to stop at calling us bigots – they will behead us at least. I possess two Pakistani refugee friends here in Italy, both Catholics. The mother of one of them and the sister and her two children of the other were all burnt alive in their churches.

  • Peter

    There is nothing in science which can refute Catholic doctrine.  The Catholic Church with its teachings is the one bastion on earth which gives lie to the claims of atheism.

    Many are angry and frustrated that they cannot scale its ramparts or breach its defences, and consequently the Catholic religion is greatly despised among secularist and atheist circles.

    One thing must be said however.  It must be doing something right if it is faced with so much vitriolic opposition.

  • Christopher

    As a non-Catholic I would be delighted to write something similar. However, brief thoughts on the nature of bigotry are inadequate if thought provoking.

    I think it is fair to observe that those who prefer to live in a secular and atheist society and consider themselves liberal are most likely to regard any person of faith as a less developed form of humanity. What proportion of English society might this be? I don’t have any reliable numbers but it seems clamerous group.

    Our media and opportunities for expression, even in our democratic institutions, only support the delivery of snatches of glib information. An example of this is the discourse on the Francis Report – the entire nation appear to believe that there is no compassion in the culture of the NHS. Consequently, for those struggling to represent their opinion in one or two sentences there is a tendency to generalise or label to gain the most “likes.”

    When a vociferous, athiest and secular society is compounded by mechanisms for broadcasting instantaneous, generalised information the outcome is an apparent coarsening in response which is contrary to all notions I have of a fair, equal and just society.
     
    So, as a liberal Christian of socialist tendencies, whose faith would perhaps be considered as not Christian at all by some or even many of those I pray beside, I have to say that some practice founded in belief is prejudicial to some individuals and groups within our Churches and the broader society. To respond with insults or barbed comments to people is to detract from the serious discussion and justification of our ethics.

  • Jonathan

    Nicely put.

  • mollysdad

    Abolition of the Act of Settlement is a red herring. No one has ever been deprived of the Crown because of it, and it won’t become an issue until someone close enough to the Throne is affected by it.

  • JabbaPapa

    How do you know whether any in the Royal dynasties in question has been prevented from conversion to Catholicism because of it ?

  • Kevin

    “This is our country”

    By God, Harry and St. George, so it is.

  • timothy canezaro

    Pray Marriage & Family survive the attacks!

  • Guest

    Are you in a position to comment as an Anglican with an overtly Anglican blog aided by an Anglican vicar and a non-Conformist layman?

  • Guest

    Well said Alban

  • Sir. E.

    Oppressors of homosexuals and diverse gender expression?  Harder to fit
    that into a sound bite, which seems to be the intention of this straw
    man article. Bigot will keep being used until it no longer effectively describes a portion of the activities of the Catholic church. 

  • http://jessicahof.wordpress.com/ JessicaHof

    As someone who has pretended to be a priest and a woman, Are you phil?

  • JabbaPapa

    Bigot will also keep being used until it no longer effectively describes a portion of the activities of militant or evangelical atheists, and the more dedicated anti-Catholics of all origins.

  • JabbaPapa

    Hallo phil136 !!!

    (or is it phil146 ? I’m starting to lose count, you’ve had so many dozens of sockpuppets to complement your wonderful multiple personality disorder)

  • Guest

    Who’s this Phil who’s rattled your cage? Tone down your comments ladies.

  • Mr Grumpy

    “the never too far below the surface anti-Irish and anti-Italian racism of the English middle classes”

    As a middle-class Englishman who manages to go for months at a time without thinking a racist thought about Irish or Italian people, may I enquire whether this is not the kind of lazy over-generalisation which the term “bigotry” correctly describes?

  • tinhatter

     ?? RC’s support prostitution ?? I think you are talking to Mrs Hand and her five fingers !!

  • Jonathan West

    I would have thought that if their conversion could have been prevented by such a trivial thing as a mere earthly crown, then the possible conversion would hardly have been sincere the in the first place and you wouldn’t have wanted them.

  • Jonathan West

    I think that there is a distinction to be made between inspiration and authority.

    I also think that accusations of anti-catholicism are flung around far too readily in order to deflect just criticism from the failings of the hierarchy of the church, for instance in the matter of the child sex abuse scandal.

    Similar accusations of anti-semitism are also freely flung around, but in this case to deflect attention from the crimes of the Israeli government.

    In both cases, the main problem is that individuals confuse an entirely reasonable group identification with an unreasonably uncritical respect for the hierarchy, and so they mistakenly perceive a criticism of the hierarchy as an attack on the group. Of course, if the hierarchy does not want to change its behaviour, it will encourage such confusion at every possible opportunity.

  • JabbaPapa

    Generous-hearted charitable Christians like yourself will always be welcome among Catholics !!!

    Thanks to the Grace of God, it is at least now possible for the faithful Anglicans to continue in the traditions of the universal Church within their specific Anglican Tradition, and to join in Full Holy Communion with the hundreds of millions of Catholic faithful worldwide.

    Join your local Ordinariate structure !!!

  • James

    What is the alternative, then?  Return evil with evil?  Clearly the most basic parts of Christianity have passed you by judging by the rubbish you have posted on this forum for a while, “JabbaPapa”…  Think before you open your mouth.

  • Parasum

     “‘Bigot’ is the latest of a long line of insults thrown at Catholics”

    1. So ? Maybe it’s deserved.

    2. If Catholics don’t like being insulted, they shouldn’t insult others.

    3. Don’t be so thin-skinned – everyone has to take the treatment they get; why should Catholics be coddled ?

    4. Catholics need to stop whining – whining is for two-year olds. They need to grow up.

    5. Considering the disgusting behavour of Catholics to others, one or two insults is nothing – Catholics are getting off very likely.

    6. If the word “bigot” touches a raw nerve, maybe that means it is not entirely unjustified

    7. If people don’t want to be mistaken for bigots, they shouldn’t give others any reason to think they are bigots.

    8. Stop being so self-centred – think of the feelings of others for a change.

    9. Quit the hypocrisy; if Catholics can get away with saying foul things about others, it’s  a bit rich to complain when some of those on the receiving end lose patience and return the compliment.

    10. Are Catholics really so innocent, inoffensive & flawlessly good that they don’t deserve far worse than words ? Or is self-knowledge a sin these days ?

    11. In case anyone starts up that daft rubbish about how Catholics in this country are being “persecuted”, being a jerk is not one of the things persecuted Christians are told to be or do: they are told to rejoice, and be glad. Since “persecuted” Catholics in this country do nothing but moan & belly-ache, they don’t sound very like the sort of people persecuted Christians are supposed to be. Anti-social they may be; but persecuted, absolutely not. If they were Christian, they would not act in a way indistinguishable from anyone else. They differ from others only in belonging to a different tribe – but not in their behaviour. This is atheism with a few Christian trimmings; it is not Christianity.

    12. Being insulted is no evidence that that insult is not well-deserved. It may well be mistaken not because people are not bigoted, but because they are far more bigoted than their insulter realises. 

  • Parasum

    “I wish a non-Catholic would write something similar.”

    ## They do exist – it’s just rather difficult to find them.

    “How about paying more attention to the person you disagree with?  Or
    ask about their reasoning?  Or work out together where the common ground
    is, and where you turn separate ways in your reasoning?”

    ## Excellent advice, all of it – but how many Catholics do as suggested ? On this forum, a minority. “Compromise” – of all kinds – has become a dirty word. Understanding & insight & sympathy are unknown quantities. Trying to understand why others think as they do is regarded as a sign of weakness, even disloyalty.

  • liquafruta

    I am a baptised and confirmed Catholic and a regular communicant. I frequently hear and read things coming from Catholic sources which are patently bigoted. Also the amount of hypocrisy internationally from the hierarchies who tried to cover up the rape of children is horrifying. It is time for us all to be humble and to stop gloating about the perceived sins of others when we have enough corporate sins of our own to be dealing with.

  • Parasum

    “If The Queen gives Royal Assent to the Same Sex Marriage Bill she breaks her Coronation oaths to uphold The Gospel.” 

    ## No more so than George IV broke his by giving his assent to the Catholic Emancipation Bill in 1829. The episode is covered in detail in Owen Chadwick’s superlative history of “The Victorian Church”, in volume 1. Like the Queen in 1953, he swore to “uphold the Protestant reformed religion by law established”. One could argue George III violated his oath in 1778 by assenting to the first Catholic Relief Act. Jews are not Protestants, or even Christians, and neither are atheists: so why did Queen Victoria allow  Jews into a Christian Parliament in (IIRC) 1858, or atheists in the mid-80s ? Is that “uphold[ing] the Gospel” or “the Protestant reformed religion by law established” ? Hardly. A Christian Queen would obviously not allow non-Christian & non-Protestant immigration into this Protestant nation. A Protestant monarch would not allow a non-Protestant into the Royal family – why is the Qeen married to a non-Protestant ?

    So it is a little late to make an issue out of this – the coronation oath has been comprehensively vandalised, broken & smashed to smithereens already. Quite apart from the not so Christian legislation of 1857 that made divorce easier, or the 1926 Act that removed most of the remaining disabilities upon Catholics, or the (extremely controversial) Act in 1845 or so that provided Government subsidies for Maynooth College, or the Act disestablishing the Church of Ireland, or the numerous Acts in the present reign decriminalising abortion, making contraception legally available, making it available to minors – non of which are compatible with Christianity or with the Queen’s duty to protect & defend her subjects. As for her own  offsprings’ shortcomings – don’t tell me divorce is Christian, let alone divorce & remarriage in the lifetime of one of the spouses. How was giving the Royal Assent to the Abortion Act “upholding the Gospel” ? Enquiring minds like to know. She’s already compromised herself – to make a fuss about this possible assent, while cheerfully ignoring all those others that have actually happened, is not in any sense a moral judgement.

  • Parasum

    Unfortunately, some people notice only the insults that come from others – never those that come from them. If this were not a matter of experience, it would be incredible. What a  commentary on human nature :(

  • liquafruta

    I, like many ordinary Catholics, do not understand what the value of the Ordinariate is. It is unpopular amongst Catholics both lay and ordained and even the English Hierarchy didn’t want it foisted on them. If people wanted to become Catholics they can convert to Catholicism .End of story. I am always being told that we cannot pick and choose what we believe and either you are a Catholic or you aren’t so why do they need a special church in London? All it has done, as far as I can see, is to split up a few worshipping congregations and two houses of religious sisters and in one case leaving the infirm ones to look after themselves. The numbers joining are in the hundreds and will eventually dry up. I presume the real idea behind it was to fence in the married clergy as special cases so that other priests would not demand the end of clerical celibacy.

  • Parasum

    “that no-mark Polly Toyboy” 

    ## That is not an insult ?

    “Those who are too thick to notice the bigot in them”

    ## At least there’s nothing wrong with your mirror.

  • Parasum

    “RC’s support prostitution”

    ## By giving it legal status, as in many medieval towns, and more recently in Latin America, yes. This is not the same as positive support – but neither is it an attempt to arrange society in a way that allows prostitutes to live in a decent manner. Legalising it as a so-called “necessary evil” has had Catholic support ever since St. Augustine; and his view that it should be tolerated was adopted by St. Thomas. It’s difficult to imagine  St. Paul – or Jesus Himself – agreeing.  

  • Parasum

    “390,000 soi-disant Jedi in the 2011 census”

    ## That many ? LOL

  • Parasum

     What do the percentages amount to as figures ? 

  • JabbaPapa

    “‘Bigot’ is the latest of a long line of insults thrown at Atheists”

    1. So ? Maybe it’s deserved.

    2. If Atheists don’t like being insulted, they shouldn’t insult others.

    3. Don’t be so thin-skinned – everyone has to take the treatment they get; why should Atheists be coddled ?

    4. Atheists need to stop whining – whining is for two-year olds. They need to grow up.

    5. Considering the disgusting behavour of Atheists to others, one or
    two insults is nothing – Atheists are getting off very [lightly].

    6. If the word “bigot” touches a raw nerve, maybe that means it is not entirely unjustified

    7. If people don’t want to be mistaken for bigots, they shouldn’t give others any reason to think they are bigots.

    8. Stop being so self-centred – think of the feelings of others for a change.

    9. Quit the hypocrisy; if Atheists can get away with saying foul
    things about others, it’s  a bit rich to complain when some of those on
    the receiving end lose patience and return the compliment.

    10. Are Atheists really so innocent, inoffensive & flawlessly
    good that they don’t deserve far worse than words ? Or is self-knowledge
    a tactical error these days ?

    11. In case anyone starts up that daft rubbish about how Atheists in
    this country are being “persecuted”, being a jerk is not one of the
    things persecuted Atheists are told to be or do: they are told to analyse, and be dispassionate. Since “persecuted” Atheists in this country do
    nothing but moan & belly-ache, they don’t sound very like the sort
    of people persecuted Atheists are supposed to be. Anti-social they may
    be; but persecuted, absolutely not. If they were Atheists, they would
    not act in a way indistinguishable from anyone else. They differ from
    others only in belonging to a different tribe – but not in their
    behaviour. This is egotism with a few Atheistic trimmings; it is not Atheism.

    12. Being insulted is no evidence that that insult is not
    well-deserved. It may well be mistaken not because people are not
    bigoted, but because they are far more bigoted than their insulter
    realises. 
     

  • JabbaPapa

    Thank God for caring about each individual soul with His infinite love — your pessimism is not of the Kingdom.

  • JabbaPapa

    The Church can, of course, only proclaim any purely civil laws unilaterally within the confines of Vatican City.

    You are inventing things.

  • chiaramonti

    The trouble with Catholics, as someone once said, is that too many of them take their religion seriously. There have always been the backsliders or the ambitious (usually politicians) who are able to translate ‘tolerance’ into acquiescing with sinful activity. So we should actually be quite proud that the secularists and their fellow travellers are so abusive of us. They recognise the ‘rock’ upon which the Catholic Church is built and don’t waste their valuable time on the shifting sands upon which the separated bretheren stand. Of course, their time is so valuable because they believe when it’s up, they drift into nothingness! I agree it is hard to take when they accuse us of being in thrall to a foreign prince (HH the Pope) but this merely demonstrates how little history they know. The fact that this country (Mary’s dowry) was Catholic for centuries passes them by – and they never look too closely how the Protestant religion came to be established. Still, we can always say, with Thomas More when immoral laws are welcomed by the leaders of the established church, ‘ for every bishop of yours, we have above (ie in heaven) one thousand and for every parliament of yours  all the Councils of the Church these thousand years.’ As Blesssed John Paul II said, “Do not be afraid.”

  • James

    What is the point of commenting on here when sensible posts are just randomly deleted?

  • Acleron

    All except for the points that escape you. You actively despise other groups. Occasionally you try to disguise it but your true feelings soon become apparent again. Bigot is not archaic in that it fell out use and it usefully describes quite a few catholics. Atheism is a state, not a religion or sect and I’m sure that there are bigots among us. Your attitude to all who disagree with you can be described as bigoted in that your first attempt at rebuttal of any with whom you disagree is insult and ridicule, never reason.

  • Acleron

    Virgin birth in primates, raising from the dead, are just two of many parts of your doctrine that can be shown to be so unlikely that they can be discarded as fairy stories.

    Like many believers, any opposition to your will becomes vitriolic abuse. You have little foundation for parts of your belief that others disagree with such as abortion, contraception, assisted suicide, divorce and homosexuality that I suppose playing the victim is your only recourse.

  • majorcalamity

    I never call anyone a bigot because they are Catholic. I only ever use the term if the attitude being displayed deserves it. That some do is undoubtedly true. That some who hold such views are also Catholic is also undoubtedly true. That doesn’t make me anti-Catholic. It makes me anti-bigotry. We all ought to be anti-bigotry. Not all the opponents of gay marriage are Catholic. Not all Catholics oppose gay marriage. Some opponents of gay marriage have revealed a bigoted basis for their opposition. It’s all true, and it isn’t anti-Catholic. Further evidence, I am afraid, of a persecution complex.

    Bigot:-
     a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; 

    Sorry, but whilst it might be a strong word it is also an accurate one
     

  • kinkysox

    Our Lord told us to ‘laugh!’ when people abuse us and speak all kinds of calumny against us.

    That’s what I do.

    So, we’re ‘bigots’. Yaaawwwwnnn!

    Then, what does that make the name-callers?

  • JabbaPapa

    I naturally treat reason with the respect that it deserves — but I cannot bring myself to “reason” with the bigoted and entirely unreasonable views and opinions that far too many atheists in these forums try to impose as being “worthwhile” topics of conversation ; when so very often, they are nothing of the sort.