Saturday, August 19, 2006

History Quiz

Every Friday I receive an email newsletter from CT at the Movies. CT stands for Christianity Today and I enjoy their movie reviews as well as appreciate their fair and open treatment of all Christian religions.

However, every once in awhile I am amused by a very obvious, albeit probably unconscious, anti-Catholic slip. I say “amused” because, the slip bespeaks an anti-Catholic understanding of history that is so inbred in most protestant Americans that they haven’t even the foggiest clue that their comments have all the grace and tact of the proverbial bull in the china closet; assuming of course that the Catholic reader actually knows something of history other than what he got from the Discovery Channel or the Da Vinci Code

Sadly, or perhaps, mercifully, most Catholics, since they’ve been spared the task of learning any real history for the last two generations, will never know the attack that was just leveled against their Faith, and will go on their merry way whistling “all is well, all is well”.

The “slip” in question is the following statement taken from the CT at the Movies email newsletter of 8/18/06:

World Trade Center illustrates how people can respond when under attack— when
their fellow human beings, under the veil of terrorism disguised as religious ideology, turn into mass murderers.

Variations on this theme have certainly happened before, many times in the course of human history—the Crusades, the Holocaust, and the Rwandan genocide being just a few examples.

The context of course is a review of the recent release of the movie “World Trade Center”. Now, Catholics, here’s your history test. Can you spot the problem, the error, the gross error, the hostile anti-Catholic bigotry, the… Okay, I’ll stop. It’s actually not that bad simply because it was unintended (or at least I think so). But it’s still an error, an error which first bespeaks the aforementioned inbred anti-Catholic understanding of history in this country, but second, an error that has the potential to undermine the faith of unaware, but otherwise sincere Catholics.

The more I looked at “it”, the more “bothered” I became and decided to get the attention of the writers by sending a nice message with “unsubscribe” in the subject line. However, the last paragraph mentioned the name Steven D. Greydanus. Steven is an Catholic movie critic and publishes his excellent reviews on Decent Films and in the National Catholic Register. His name was mentioned because CT was welcoming him as a new contributor.

In the spirit of God sparing Sodom at the insistence of Abraham (which of course He eventually didn’t do), I mercifully chose to spare CT the “unsubscribe” notice on account of their addition of Greydanus. However, I wasn’t about to overlook CT’s grievous transgression but decided to complain via Greydanus as per my following email which will also provide the answer to the above history quiz…which by now you should have answered.

Hi Steven,
I almost unsubscribed to CT at the Movies just now, but then saw your name in the last paragraph of the email...so I decided to stay on and voice my concern to you. Though I normally like everything they write I took strong exception to their throwing the Crusades into the same category as the Holocaust and Rwanda. (typical protestant mistake). There were bad men and bad things associated with the Crusades, but the original cause was noble, or at least thought to be. It was the Pope who called for the crusades. To allow for the conection that CT is trying to make is to equate the Pope with Hitler. Just my opinion. Hopefully you'll be able to help these guys.
Thanks for all you do.
Tim Rohr


I have very up close and personal experience with certain persons’ Catholic Faith shaken and sometimes shattered by this type of anti-Catholic historical revisionism. The three favorite topics in this genre are the Avignon Papacy, the Crusades, and of course the Inquisition.

By the way, I do not blame those whose faith was “shaken” or “shattered”. I will not just write them off with a casual “Well their faith was weak”. Where would a Catholic learn of these things, and even more important, learn the truth about these events in order to combat the constant harangue of both the secular media and anti-Catholic propagandists?

Alas, we shall leave that discussion for another day. Meanwhile, may I recommend “Triumph – The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church” by Harry Crocker III. This is an excellent and very readable history, a history we should know.

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