"Anti-Catholicism," said writer Peter Viereck, "is the anti-Semitism of the intellectual." It is "the deepest-held bias in the history of the American people," said Arthur Schlesinger Sr.
If there was any doubt that hatred of and hostility toward the Catholic Church persists, it was removed by the mob that has arisen howling "Resign!" at Pope Benedict XVI.
To American Catholics, the story of pedophile priests engaged in criminal abuse of children, of pervert priests seducing boys, is unfortunately all too familiar. That some bishops covered up for pedophiles and seducers and enabled corrupt clergy to continue to prey on boys was equally disgraceful.
But to American Catholics, this is an old story. The priests have been defrocked, some sent to prison, like John Geoghan, who was strangled in his cell. Bishops have been removed. "Zero tolerance" has been policy for a decade.
Pope Benedict came to America to apologize for what these men did. And no one has been more aggressive in rooting out what he calls the "filth" in the church. And as the recent scandals have hit Ireland and Germany, why the attack on the pope here in America?
Answer: The New York Times is conducting a vendetta against this traditionalist pope in news stories, editorials and columns.
"Vatican Declined to Defrock U.S. Priest Who Abused Boys," blared the headline over a Laurie Goodstein story that began thus:
"Top Vatican officials -- including the future Pope Benedict XVI -- did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys ...
"In 1996, Cardinal Ratzinger failed to respond to two letters about the case from Rembert G. Weakland, Milwaukee's archbishop at that time."
That diabolical priest, Lawrence C. Murphy, was assigned to St. John's School for the Deaf in 1950, before Joseph Ratzinger was even ordained.
Reports of his abuse of the deaf children surfaced in the 1950s. But, under three archbishops, nothing was done. Police and prosecutors were alerted by parents of the boys. Nothing was done.
Weakland, who became archbishop in 1977, did not write to Rome until 1996.
And as John Allen of National Catholic Reporter noted last week, Cardinal Ratzinger "did not have any direct responsibility for managing the overall Vatican response to the crisis until 2001. ... Prior to 2001, Ratzinger had nothing personally to do with the vast majority of sex abuse cases, even the small percentage which wound up in Rome."