Anti-Catholic Sentiment?

Q. I watch “The Journey Home” quite often on EWTN. I’m fascinated with the conversion stories. But the question I haven’t had answered is why do Protestant or non-Catholic religions dislike or rebuke our Catholic faith so much?

Chris, Sheridan, Wyo.

A. Here’s a reply from Father Reginald Martin:

In March 2000, Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest, wrote an enlightening article for America magazine (available online) discussing anti-Catholic sentiment in the United States. He remarks it is part of our country’s history and “a legacy of the English Reformation.”

Why has such prejudice not disappeared as we progress into the 21st century? Perhaps because the Church has taken (often unpopular) stands on moral issues. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, “To the Church belongs the right always and everywhere to announce moral principles … and to make judgments on any human affairs … required by the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls” (No. 2032). To proclaim, unapologetically, the wrong of abortion and other social-justice ills cannot be calculated to win friends among individuals who have grown up believing they can decide such issues for themselves and, hence, are suspicious of the Church’s insistence on its teaching authority.

Moreover, ours is a pragmatic, scientific age. By contrast, our faith preaches the necessity of embracing a number of realities that cannot be seen — for example, God’s sacramental presence, grace, the destructive power of sin. To those inclined to challenge the faith, our defense of these fundamental beliefs may appear no more than superstition.