Protest artists lack knowledge of the Catholic Church

The art was offensive and bigoted. It missed the point, considering Bush is an Evangelical Christian.

I am writing this in response to the Nov. 3 article titled “No subject too sacred – or too political” by Don Burrows. I must admit it offended me greatly. Let me start off by saying that I didn’t see the exhibit featured in the article. I am going on what the writer said and the interviews with the artists. I also need to clarify I do not agree with the content of the exhibit, but I wholeheartedly defend the artist’s freedom of speech, no matter how bigoted and ignorant the views may be.

I need to set some things straight. First and foremost, all of the religious images used as examples by the writer are Catholic in origin. What is Catholic in the article? The unconsecrated hosts, the desecrated crucifix attached to an ammo case and the Nicene Creed. I also want to point out the fact that President George W. Bush is not Catholic. He is an Evangelical Christian, not in communion with the Catholic Church. Also, the Catholic Church continues to speak out against the war in Iraq.

Did you know that Pope John Paul II even met with Bush to try to avoid it, and after that he sent his secretary of state to further push Bush on the issue? This opposition to all forms of war is so engrained in our teachings it is mentioned at every Mass that Catholics attend. So once and for all, the Catholic Church will always be against the war in Iraq and all wars. I also need to add at this time that the Catholic Church will not be forced into a state of “corporatizing” by anyone, let alone a warmonger. The truth cannot change, and the Church is the same now as it was when Jesus founded it in A.D. 34. So why attack this ancient religion? I argue lack of understanding. Everyone knows that if you defame a Jew or Jewish symbols you are anti-Semitic; if you verbally attack Muslims or call all Muslims terrorists, it is intolerance, but what is it called when you attack the Catholic Church? Is it not the same bigotry and intolerance? Why is it “posh” and “in vogue” to attack the Church and be anti-Catholic? I believe it is misdirected bigotry and anger. Make no mistake, I know misdirected bigotry. I saw it after 9/11 (and yes, I was there for 9/11 and afterward, born and raised).

Uneducated bigots attacked Sheiks and innocent Muslims in retaliation. The same thing is going on here. Bush is not Catholic, and Catholics had nothing to do with the decision to go war, but the artists attack the Catholic Church for the country’s actions, and your paper facilitates its vile spread. Perhaps you may argue that the Church hasn’t done enough to quell the tensions, hell, there are 1 billion of us in the world, you know. But to attack a single religion and print questions like, “It just felt like Ö you might lose your life … it was what God wanted” is just insulting and ignorant. It suggests to people that the Church has had a hand in the war. Again, I say, it hasn’t.

The piece called “Forgotten Feminine” also misinterprets the Nicene Creed. The God of Abraham is not male or female. And the term “Father” and “Son” is from what Jesus himself said. How can we be Christian if we don’t respect what Christ says? He referred to God as Abba, and He referred to himself as the Son. This is historical fact, not some grand scheme by his Church to wipe the role of women from the history of the Church. Have you ever heard of the greatest apostle: Mary, His mother? Femininity is exalted in the Church; without it, Christ would not “be.” Once again, there is another attack on the Catholic Church using the euphemism “organized religion.” As far as this continued used of the phrase “organized religion,” we all know that it means the Catholic Church. How could it not? The artists interviewed said organized religion and politics were the theme of the exhibit, and they spit out anti-Catholic images. What religion isn’t organized? Religion by its very name implies an ordered way to worship God.

This isn’t all bad. I take comfort in the early Church’s example showing that they knew that it was dangerous to profess their faith. They knew that they would be murdered for it, so they went underground. Today is no different, but at least today we can call a bigot a bigot and fight back. Let’s all please call a duck a duck and get some info on the 1 billion Catholics in the world. Try Education is power, even to ignorant bigots. Please call a duck a duck.

Louis M. Derise is a resident of Rochester. Please send comments to [email protected]