As I walked home, I tried my best to come up with the reasons why this woman treated me in such an irrational manner. I remembered her my eyeing me with contempt even before I opened my mouth. Suddenly I thought, "This is because I am wearing black, isn't it, because of my roman collar and that I am a Catholic priest!" If I look at these words on the screen it sounds very much like a sensitive reaction certain people have to racism.
In our world that supposedly opposes bigotry and valiantly claims to denounce all forms of prejudice, there is one form of hatred still allowed and encouraged by the leftist news media, the socialite elite groups, and the populace as a whole: Anti-Catholicism. Philip Jenkins discusses this in his book, The New Anti-Catholicism, the Last Acceptable Prejudice.
This has been a common theme in the catholic blogosphere lately. Yes it is true, people would never talk bad about Jews, Muslims, ethnic groups, but everybody loves to take a swing at Roman Catholics. What then should our reaction be?
I would like to radically claim that we ought not let reaction be our course at all. In fact, because anti-catholicism is itself a reaction, a kind of tell-tale sign that some grace is being resisted, that the message of the Gospel is being opposed, I would suggest a more proactive approach.
Why did this woman have disgust on her face? Who hurt her? Who didn't love her? Who didn't show her the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith? Such bigotry should draw out pity not scorn on my part, intercession not irritation, blessing not curse. A proactive approach means that God's mercy helps us to offer the witness of Christ crucified, who intimately loved his enemies from the heart and earnestly begged the Father for their conversion. Where such instances could be cause for anger, they instead be a moment of grace and the revelation of the glory of the face of Christ.
Here is an occasion where God asked me to give a blessing for a curse: