Prior to the eighties, it had always been non-Catholics attacking the Catholics, which provided a rallying point for the entire Catholic family to put aside whatever internal squabbles they might have to fend off, in a unified effort, the attacks of Catholic bashers. Now that unity was severed. Movies such as "Agnes of God" and "The Name of the Rose" were produced by these dissidents which did all in its power to "expose" the superstition aspect of the Church, relinquishing Holy Mother Church as the culprit in striving to blame the Church for the malcontents she had produced in the nuns and monks, specifically the main characters played by the national spokeswoman for liberalism in the eighties - Jane Fonda as the psycho nun and Sean Connery as the mad monk. The film industry's portrayal of Catholic clergy and teachings of the Church were cleverly undermined in subtle, subliminal ways in countless television programs - from sitcoms to dramas - where questions of abortion, marital fidelity, the seal of Confession, conduct of religious, and homosexuality were intertwined into the scripts and the negative bent seemed to always be preached by the "hero" of the program. The public began to suspect the Church was wrong because Hollywood said it! Excellent plays like "We're no angels" were rewritten into such obnoxiousness as "Nuns on the Run" to show the Church in a dumb, out-of-date light where the main characters were superior to anyone associated with the Church. Comedy shows openly criticized the Church and we all laughed. NBC's weekend staple "Saturday Night Live" began taking vicious attacks on the Church in depicting the Pope, the cardinals, priests and nuns, as well as "dumb" Catholics feeling so much guilt. To make the sign of the cross became a mockery on television and everybody was doing it.
The sacred became truly obscene in the late eighties and early nineties when film producer and director Martin Scorsese, a fallen-away Catholic released his take on the Passion and Death of Jesus with his blasphemous "The Last Temptation of Christ." Hollywood followed suit in the ensuing years with more sordid tales of established icons in the Church with such filth as "The Pope Must Die," "The Rapture," "Priests" and recently "Primal Fear" starring the avowed Buddhist Richard Gere in which the Chicago archbishop was killed by a former altar boy for child molesting. This was an example of life imitates art for the late Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin was accused of child molestation by a former altar boy in Cincinnati. Though the charges were dismissed because facts were fictionalized by the accuser, fiction became fact in the movie that was set in Chicago. Coincidence?
In the early nineties, many subjects heretofore held sacred within the Church and very infrequently questioned, began going under the microscope with many noble leaders of the Church being scrutinized by the "so-called experts" - the secular media. To reinforce "their view" they enlisted modernist thinkers within the Church which further eroded the trust and confidence people once had for the Roman Catholic Church. Such an example was a "Nightline" feature on the subject of exorcism. ABC recruited modernist theologian Richard McBrien from that once noble University of Notre Dame as a supposed spokesman for the Church. News monitor Ted Koppel quizzed him constantly about Church practices and rather than defending Holy Mother Church, McBrien used it as a forum to spout his new gospel and attack the Church subliminally and directly, lashing out that the sooner the Church got rid of these superstitions including Rosary beads, praying all the time, and begins de-emphasizing the Virgin Mary, the better off the Church will be! Who's Church? McBrien's or Christ's? Yet millions of Catholics saw this program and presumed that, since McBrien was speaking "for" the Church because he was a priest (though you couldn't tell it since he went sans collar in favor of a suit and tie) that he must be right and the Church needed to change because he said so. Folks, we have underestimated the ignorance of the American people and American Catholics - many of whom bought McBrien's tirade hook, line and sinker! The priest ABC selected to depict the more traditional aspect of Holy Mother Church was a New York priest with no television presence and totally intimidated by the more media-savvy McBrien. Oh, if only a Father Ken Roberts or Scott Hahn could have been there to counter McBrien's myths! If so, many Catholics would have been alerted to the holes in McBrien's logic and realized the fraud he is, but that went on unnoticed because the hand-picked "Casper Milquetoast" opponent ABC chose cowered in a corner with nary a rebuttal.
Also in the nineties a new phenomenon hit the scene: Gallup polls. These cleverly and insidiously fabricated questions made it a fait accomplis what the result would be just by the way they made their queries and to whom they were addressed. Soon the news spread throughout the nation and the world that 75% of American Catholics no longer believed in the True Presence. Where did they get these inflated numbers? They asked a sampling of liberal parishioners in five parishes across the nation, four of which were leaning heavily towards modernism. Out of this they deducted that this small cross section of Catholics represented the entire nation. We think not. Let us rephrase that to say: We know for a fact that is not true. Case in point as we wrote in our editorial last week: Had these figures been true, then the radical organization "We Are Church" would have had no problem acquiring their intended one million signatures calling for change in the Church that they would present personally to the Holy Father. With the kind of figures Gallup blared all over the press, one million signatures could have been attained in less than a few months. Keep in mind that this group announced their goal over a year and a half ago at a cleverly-controlled conference with Maureen Fiedler, a purported nun in the modern woman's garb, garnering the attention of media nationwide with a special endorsement by the liberal mouth of the Catholic media: the National Catholic Reporter. Last month Fiedler sheepishly admitted that her organization had only acquired 37,000 signatures. That's 963,000 short of her objective. Where were all those who Gallup claimed no longer believed and wanted drastic changes? To make matters worse for the modernists and credibility of Gallup and the rest of the media hound-dogs, a group of zealous Catholic High School students at Seton High in Virginia decided, on their own, last spring to counter the "We Are Church" campaign with their own loyalty drive under the moniker "We Are Catholic." Aided by such organizations as Human Life International, this small, but determined body of traditional Roman Catholic youth gathered 90,000 which they presented to the Pope last month. Take that Gallup, Fiedler, and McBrien! The Church is alive and thriving, despite the exaggerated reports of her demise!
Yet, Hollywood and their bed-partner - the media - continue to beat a dead horse in bashing Catholics. They have feasted on elevating programs and policies that fly in direct contrast to all Holy Mother Church and God teach. The false prophets have canonized the homosexual, while damning the homophobe; they have praised the rebellious, while rebuking the loyalist; they have excused the abusers, while accusing the abused...tracing it all back to the Church as the culprit for foisting on us modern and enlightened thinkers the archaic, medieval practices of an "out-dated religion." Sin is accepted and brushed off, abstinence and virtue is ridiculed and painted as preposterous. No wonder our country has deteriorated so. Look at our administration; look at our media; look at who they have placed on the PC pedestal: Bill Clinton and Ellen DeGeneres. Give us a break!!! Programs in the late eighties and in the nineties have openly questioned Church teachings and beliefs in every aspect. While such trash as "Ellen" openly flaunts all that is holy, programs like "Picket Fences" made Catholic beliefs a main storyline, almost always depicting the Catholic as either superstitious, un-educated or misinformed...or worse, maladjusted. The media would leap at even a hint of abuse by a priest or nun. When the new program "Nothing Sacred" made its debut this past September on ABC touting life in an inner-city Catholic parish, few Catholics blinked at the tremendous fallacies this program spouted. Written by two dissident Jesuits, it subliminally attacked all that is sacred in the Church by spouting the new creed of the American Church. Only the Catholic League, led by William Donohue saw the dangers and rightly alerted the public to the agenda of the writers and producers of the show, as well as the carrier - ABC, now owned by Disney which has been chronicled in many articles in these pages. The difference in the scenario of the sixties and seventies compared to today is that Hollywood capitalized on the split within the Church and few loyal Catholics have bothered to object. Because of that, the Catholic bashing continues unabated with only a few voices crying in the vast wilderness - such as Donohue and his cohorts. One of those allies of the Catholic League is Jim Trageser who recently wrote an editorial in the North County Times which we will bring you in the next issue - on Christmas Day - when we present: "Catholics: Targets for the PC Police" as part of our continuing clarion call to all Catholics to wake-up and expose the false prophets of today for the sake of Christ and His One, True, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith.
To review all past installments of this on-going series, go to Archives beginning with the inaugural A CALL TO PEACE internet issue in January 1996. volume 7, no. 1.