Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Catholic Atrocities

Many people accuse the Catholic Church of countless atrocities. There were the inquisitions, the Crusades, we killed Jews, we killed protestants. Some claim that Catholics are only enjoying their newfound acceptance by other Christians, and will soon rise up again to kill more multitudes.

Many of these accusations come from Jack Chick and Dave Hunt. Click on their names to learn the false nature of their claims.

What you must remember, is that the Catholic Church has been around for 2000 years. During much of that time, killing someone who disagreed with you theologically was perfectly acceptable. This was not contained to Catholicism. Let me provide some examples:
  • The followers of John Hus, known as the Hussites, were quite a force in their day.As Zwingli spread protestantism in Switzerland, protestant forces declared war on the Catholic cantons.
  • Witch trials encompassed all forms of Christianity, in Europe and America. Lutheran Germany had the highest execution rate.
  • The Thirty Years War, one of the bloodiest in Europe, was primary one of religion. It began when Calvinists threw two Catholic members of the Bohemian royal council from a window.
  • The Know-Nothings incited riots which were responsible for a number of church burnings, the burning of an Ursaline convent, and the death of dozens of Catholics.

At the same time, modern scholarship is uncovering how much of the Catholic "atrocities" in history were based on anti-Catholic bias. Read the truth about the Spanish Inquisition.

Philip Jenkins, Professor of History and Religious Studies at Pennsylvania State University (non-Catholic), writes in his book, The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice:

"There never was such a thing as a Church-wide inquisition, a terrifying monolith comparable to the NKVD or the Gestapo. It is more accurate to think of inquisitions that operated extensively in some areas in a highly decentralized way, although they notionally acted under papal authority. Inquisitions were important at certain times and places but never existed in other areas."

"The main problem about speaking of 'the Inquisition' is that it suggests that religious repression of this sort was a Catholic prerogative. In fact, before the Enlightenment, virtually all religious traditions on occasion acted similarly when they had the power to do so..This indictment of religious savagery and intolerance applies to.all the Protestant nations, even relatively liberal ones such as England and the Netherlands..Equally blameworthy would be Muslims, Hindus, and even Buddhists. After all, in the seventeenth century, when Catholic inquisitions were at their height, the Buddhist/Shinto nation of Japan was engaged in a ferocious attempt to stamp out the deviant faith of Christianity through torture and massacre. In just forty years, these Japanese religious persecutions killed far more victims than the Spanish Inquisition would in all the centuries of its existence."

You can easily find similar information about the Crusades and Catholic involvement, or lack of it, in World War II.

While it turns my stomach to quote it, here is what Candy wrote in a recent comment:

This makes this quite an enigma, then doesn't it? Why would someone claiming to be Christian, defend a cult that has killed MILLIONS of Christians? A cult that still says in their cannon that anyone who believes they are saved by Christ alone are anethama?

Why would you stand up for a church that in the 1940s had it's priests in Serbia take off their preist garb, and TORTURE millions of those people to death, because they were protestant. They were sick! They ripped babies from their mother's wombs while making the fathers watch. They cut nursing women's breasts off. They made keepsake necklaces out of human eyeballs, they peeled people's skin OFF. They collected human heads that they had decaptiated. They smiled for photos while they were chopping off heads.

They waved the protestant's head in the air in victory and smiled for more pictures.

Look back through history - the REAL history, not the revised history... You'll see that each time the Roman Catholic church started being ecumenical and nice nice to Christians, it was up until the large number of Christians trusted Roman Catholics, and then the slaughter began. If you didn't convert, you were tortured to death. Why torture? Because their cannon teaches that the more pain a person suffers before dying, the less time they'll have to spend in "purgatory." :-( Those priests tortured people to death out of love??? :-(

Look back in Ireland and France. The Catholics made nice nice with the protestants, and then they went in for the KILL.
After a bit of research, I found that Candy is probably referring to a Croatian death camp called Jasenovac. You can read more about it here:

From August 1941 to April 1945, hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews, and Romas, as well as anti-fascists of many nationalities, were murdered at the death camp known as Jasenovac. Estimates of the total numbers of men, women and children killed there range from 300,000 to 700,000. And yet, despite the scale of the crimes committed there, most of the world has never heard of Jasenovac.

Following the Nazi invasion and dismemberment of Yugoslavia in April 1941, the "Independent State of Croatia" was established as a pro-Nazi government. It was dedicated to a clerical-fascist ideology influenced both by Nazism and extreme Roman Catholic fanaticism. On coming to power, the Ustashe Party dictatorship in Croatia quickly commenced on a systematic policy of racial extermination of all Serbs, Jews and Romas living within its borders.
I suppose one might as easily point a finger at the Nazis, which were based in Lutheran Germany, and killed many, many Catholics. Dachau had a special "priest block" which held over 2500 Catholic priests. Clearly, Jasenovac was not targeted at just protestants, as Jews and Gypsies (or Roma) were killed as well.

While Catholicism is mixed in with the atrocities in Croatia, it is not the cause. The constant struggles between Croatia and Serbia are ethnic in origin, and have been in existence for centuries. If they all became born-again fundamentalists tomorrow, I think that they would still try to kill each other, because their deep-rooted hated means more to them than their religion.

As I have written before, violence in the name of religion is not restrained to Catholicism. Even protestants have, on occasion, persecuted and killed Catholics in the name of religion.

I find this one of Candy's more disturbing posts. It is very sad that she feels that one day, all Catholics will rise up and torture all non-Catholics to death. No wonder she feels we are Satanic. Truly, the church which she describes IS a Satanic one. However, it is not the Catholic Church.

Read a follow-up to this post, Non-Atrocious Catholics.

If you are new to our website, you can find links to some of our other posts about Catholicism here.

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Elena said...

Thanks Kelly for doing your research. I really thought she had flipped out this time, but this makes it a lot clearer.

BTW, I have my copy of a Woman Rides the Beast now. I'll check to see if this is where she got this info.

Thanks again Kelly!

Nancy Parode said...

I would argue that hanging, drawing and quartering Catholic priests is just as much torture as anything done by Catholics to non-Catholics. That happened in England during the reign of Elizabeth I.

I would also argue that some Protestants have killed fellow Protestants by torture. The Salem Witch "Trials" are a good example of this, as is the hounding and execution of Quakers in the American colonies.

I'd also argue that Candy is the one distorting history when she accuses Catholics of torturing Protestants in Ireland. Has she never heard of the forced expulsion of Catholics by English Protestants from the east of Ireland? (That's where the term "beyond the Pale" originated.) I think the Protestants had the best land and opportunities in Ireland for quite some time, and many Protestant landlords allowed their tenants to be evicted when they were starving to death (isn't starving a kind of torture?).

There are many sides to history. Candy seems to think her history isn't revised or slanted, but I daresay others might think otherwise, especially historians.

Truth be told, no faith group or culture has a history free of the stain of sin. People still murder each other in the name of religion.

What I object to is the deliberate slanting of history's events in the name of "truth," and the finger-pointing at the Catholic Church without adequate, personally-conducted research. I have this beef with many people besides Candy (Jack Chick, for example).

I also object to poor spelling and bad grammar, although I have been guilty of both from time to time.

Nancy Parode said...

Kelly, I am glad you quoted Candy here. It saves me the bother of going over to her site, adding to her page views and upsetting myself. I find I am a lot more tranquil if I avoid her site.

I know it's not fun to quote her, though, when she says such awful things.

Deeny said...

Almost afraid to post this, but Just to mention that many Southern Baptists, General Baptist and many Fundamental Christians in the South were racist and members of the KlKK. (They don't condone it of course now) but it is part of their history.

candyisascrazyasitgets said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
motherofmany said...

Just for clarity's sake, when did Jesus wash the feet of a prostitute?

Tracy said...

Excellent post Kelly!!!!

Anonymous said...
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Elena said...

Read the commenting guidelines in the side bar. I didn't write them for my health!



candyisascrazyasitgets said...
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Anonymous said...

"Truth be told, no faith group or culture has a history free of the stain of sin."
Exactly. That's why this WWII atrocities thing is a complete non-argument.

John Parks said...

In the article about the Spanish Inquisition it said
"Unrepentant or obstinate heretics were excommunicated and given over to the secular authorities. Despite popular myth, the Church did not burn heretics. It was the secular authorities that held heresy to be a capital offense."

My question is, why would the secular authorities hold that heresy was a capital offense unless they themselves were Catholic? If they were Catholic then it means that they had the approval from their church authority to do as they pleased with the heretics which would not be a pleasant thing.