In an interview with the Italian newspaper, “Il Messagiero,” Italian journalist Vittorio Messori denounced anti-Catholicism in Europe as a substitution for anti-Semitism, but he expressed his hope that this “anti-Catholic fury” would help believers to rediscover their identity.
Referring to the Italian politician Rocco Buttiglione, who was prevented from becoming a European minister of justice because of his Catholic convictions, Messori pointed out that someone has said that Catholics, together with smokers and hunters, form one of the “three groups not protected by political correctness, and which therefore can be freely slandered.”
“Thank God anti-Semitism has ended. But it has been substituted in Western culture by anti-Catholicism,” he said. “Before, blacks, women, Jews and homosexuals were the object of sarcasm and criticism. Now, luckily, these groups cannot be attacked. But I don’t see why other groups have to be harmed.”
Now, he explained, “Despite the fact the Muslims are beheading people, nobody badmouths Islam.” On the other hand, attacks on Catholics earn public applause, even in “very mistaken” films such as “The Magdalene Sisters.” According to Messori, this “is all proof of what we said before: One can, in fact one should, cause harm to Catholics.
“The Buttiglione affair has taken place, unfortunately, in this atmosphere. An atmosphere in which, as we know, nobody makes a film about a Buddhist guru or a Muslim cleric who abuses children,” he said.
At the same time, Messori considers that believers “must be content with this anti-Catholic fury” and that “the anti-Catholicism of Western culture and of Islam is providential.”
“Christianity, and Catholicism in particular, needs an antagonist in order to rediscover its identity and its own strength,” he explained.
Today, “Catholics run the risk of becoming banal talk show hosts” willing “to dialogue with anyone, even with those who would cut off their own heads. Against this type of weak thinking are powerful truths. And when the powerful truths about gays or any other issue are spoken, they cause a scandal. But this is what Catholics need.”
“When the Church says neutral or banal things, of a pacifist nature, everyone bends the knee. However, when John Paul II exercises the papacy and goes outside the bounds of political correctness, as in the case of Cardinal Ratzinger’s document on the role of women in the Church, then a more or less hidden anti-clericalism explodes,” he concluded.