Journalist likens Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric to yesteryear’s anti-Catholicism

The writer of the story below attempts to connect presidential candidate Donald Trump’sMEN recent anti-Muslim rabble rousing with American anti-Catholic sentiment in the early 20th-century.

But let’s take a step back and see if there might be a bit more to the story than Mr. Pierce is letting on.

Sure, there was a lot of anti-Catholic sentiment in this country going all the way back to its Plymouth and Jamestown roots. Some of it was extreme and even violent. But what precipitated the intolerance? Did it just appear out of thin air as Pierce seems to imply or were there very real historical forces that helped shape national opinion?

Protestant settlers to this country were mindful of the Catholic church’s  very heavy-handed ecclesiastical despotism in European religious and political history. Anyone remember the Crusades? The Inquisition? Following the Reformation, Jesuits operated in Protestant nations, sometimes clandestinely, with the determined goal of returning those countries to the fold of Catholicism. Popes continued to insist upon their allegedly God-given right to suppress all “schismatics” and “heretics” in alliance with civil governments where Catholics were in the majority. Popes also condemned democratic forms of government and the constitutional right of freedom of religion. See information on Pope Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors (1864) here. What were American Protestants supposed to think when they read those proclamations?

Intolerance and sometimes violent persecution of non-Catholic minorities was standard practice in Catholic countries and continued right up into the 20th century in such places as Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Mussolini’s Italy, inter-war Poland, Vichy France, and Pavelic’s Croatia. Anti-Protestantism was also widespread throughout Latin America, fueled by falangist clerico-fascism. See my previous blog here. Also, for a recent report of lingering Catholic intolerance in Mexico see here.

No, I don’t condone or support hatred of any group of peoples but to suggest anti-Catholic sentiment in America appeared out of thin air as Pierce would have us believe is irresponsible, drive-by, two-dimensional journalism meant to elicit an unsophisticated, rah-rah response.

Evidently, it’s politically incorrect to bring up a millennia’s worth of deadly Catholic intolerance but it’s okay to bring up the sometimes-less-than-benevolent Protestant reaction.


A century ago, a popular Missouri newspaper demonized a religious minority: Catholics

by Matt Pierce

4 thoughts on “Journalist likens Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric to yesteryear’s anti-Catholicism

  1. You’re an idiot. The Crusades were a defensive war a belated response to 3/4ths of the Christian world being occupied including all of Spain and half of France. The Inquisition was merely a product of secular governments operating under Divine Rule of Kings and challenging the Church challenged Divine Rule; therefore it was treason. In the United States, treason is still puts people to death for treason.

    The Anglican persecution of Catholics based on the same method as the Inquisition.


    1. Thanks for your comment, Josie. But even the most chauvinistic of Catholic apologists would hesitate to completely absolve the church as you have attempted to do.

      Popes John Paul II and Francis have already apologized for church’s role in the Inquisition, the Crusades, and rampant anti-Semitism, among other matters.

      I’m curious why a faithful Catholic would deny what their popes have already apologized for.

      I pray some day you’ll soften your heart to the Lord and His Good News of salvation by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.


      1. Straight up idiot.

        Faithful Catholic? How about a Masters in medieval history.

        Furthermore, any Catholic would laugh at your citing John Paul II’s, certainly because it appears either that you haven’t read it or comprehended it:

        His comments on the Inquisition:

        “But, at the same time, neither may it rely on images of the past steered by public opinion, since these are frequently highly charged with passionate emotion which impedes serene and objective diagnosis.”

        The documents comments on The Crusades:

        “Can today’s conscience be assigned ‘guilt’ for isolated historical phenomena like the Crusades or the Inquisition? Isn’t it a bit too easy to judge people of the past by the conscience of today .”

        Doesn’t say much.

        He doesn’t state the Crusades or the Inquisition were wrong so much as he admits there were atrocities and the church should ask forgiveness for those

        “From what has been said, it can be concluded that John Paul II’s appeal to the Church to mark the Jubilee Year by an admission of guilt for the sufferings and wrongs committed by her sons and daughters in the past,”

        Strange how you see it wholesale…


      2. Josie, Thanks for your comment but I believe even many of your fellow Catholics would distance themselves from your coarseness. May the Holy Spirit lead you to the truth of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.


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