Yeah, I’m Catholic. Not the best in the world. Maybe not even in the top ten.
I may get there though. The snark, ridicule and contempt shown by columnists and online commenters at the New York Times and Washington Post on everything and anything Catholic has been getting my Irish up and is causing me to be more energized in defense of the Faith Community into which I was born.
I grew up in a very Catholic environment. My father was one of ten, three of whom became Nuns (Sisters). When I was quite young, one or more of the Sisters would visit. They always wore the old style full religious habit. I have vivid memories of one of the Sisters looking at me in a way that made me think she knew I had been very bad and she knew the particulars of my reprehensible behavior in great detail and if she had anything to do with it God was waiting to give me a good ass kicking.
I was about three years old when all this was going down and all I could think was “how did she know?”
Luckily there was a friendly uncle who often came by for Holidays. He was a Jesuit Priest, Fr. Fred Berrigan, SJ (not related to the Berrigan brothers of the sixties). Father Fred was always in a good mood and he seemed to think I was good company. I liked him a lot. So, I guess things evened out, all things considered.
Church on Sunday was not a “maybe” thing in the Callaghan household. If you were living in the house you went to Mass.
But, religion, or “God”, was almost never mentioned in the house. God was Sunday Church. Being Catholic in our world was who we were. No need to talk about it
One day, when I was about 14, I came home from school and there was a Bible on the kitchen table. I was already a bona fide wise guy by then. I pointed at the Bible and asked Pop (I always called my father “Pop”) where he got the Bible. He said he got it from a door to door salesman. I asked him what he was going to do with it. He said “we’re going to have family readings….”
He couldn’t quite keep a completely straight face when he said “family readings.” He and I knew we were not going to have “Readings” of any sort. That horse left the barn a long time ago. That’s not to say he wasn’t a good and honest Catholic. He was Catholic to the core. No need to talk about it or do readings.
The Bible went into the bookcase and stayed there unopened until he went to his Reward (RIP).
When I went away to College, I stopped going to Mass. I stayed away for years but always identified as Catholic and tended to gravitate towards Spiritual and Mystical subjects when I browsed Libraries. I ended up attending three Jesuit Colleges and then Law School.
Third year College I had a strange experience. The only Jewish guy I knew at our Jesuit Catholic College asked me if I wanted to share a cottage for the summer. The cottage was in the woods, close to Campus. The deal was to split rent. I would live in the cottage he would live mostly at home and we’d have parties in the cottage.
I was a bit surprised he was asking me. We were friendly, but not close. I looked at the cottage. It was a great place. The price was right and we made a deal.
Maybe ten days into our deal my new “partner” came to the cottage with a Jewish friend and announced that they wanted to “talk to me about the Catholic Church.”
Huh? At that period of my life there were exactly three valid subjects of conversation: women, sports and beer. Exams would make four if it was that time of year.
My “partner” had brought a guy named “Joel” over and they literally wanted to talk to me about the Catholic Church. As Church Lady would have said, “Isn’t that special.”
They got about as far as some Pope named Urban V or XXV, who knows, (I was blissfully unaware of any Popes named Urban) and I said “this is total bullshit.” I said “you guys are trying to pull a double team on me and I don’t want any part of it.”
Oops. Quiet. Some embarrassment. Attempted explanations. Nervous efforts to find some humor in the situation and, in due course, my two free lance Jewish Inquisitors left. We got through the summer. Had some decent parties and Popes Urban and Rural never entered the conversation again.
I had never experienced anything like the “we want to talk about the Catholic Church” thing. It was strange and foreign to me. I had gone K-12 to public schools in a tough multi ethnic middle class textile mill town…..maybe five to ten percent Jewish, lots of Poles, French, Ukrainians, Irish, Italians plus some Lebanese and an extended, and successful, black family.
We didn’t go to each other’s homes and announce that we wanted to examine the deficiencies of being Polish or Episcopalian or Lebanese or Jewish.
The “we want to talk to you about the Catholic Church” event told me something about how Jews looked at Catholics then and some insight into how that uneasiness has developed in an ugly way right now.
Right now, in the New York Times and the Washington Post, if you’re Catholic you’ve got some explaining to do. The Times has Jewish ownership and management. The Post is owned by Bezos but has a long history of very well connected Jews setting editorial policy. No one exercises more influence at the Post now than Ruth Marcus, Yale, Harvard Law. Washington, DC Jewish Royalty.
Suppose an article goes up in the Times or the Post about Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh or seven year Naval officer, Steve Bannon, (both Catholic). The article itself will be reasonably professional. The dirty work gets done in the comments that go up in the online edition.
Here’s where the people who own the newspaper can shape public opinion by what they allow up in the form of comments and what they don’t allow up. And, outside parties can shape comments by working as a team. The Israelis, by their own admission, are expert at organized use of the comment section. They call it Hasbara, which is Hebrew for Explaining.
I get the Times and Post digital editions. Right now, the most popular topics for haters are first, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. Second would be STEVE BANNON. Third, BRETT KAVANAUGH. Bannon and Kavanaugh are Catholic and a majority of Justices on the Court are Catholic.
Articles on Trump enablers are standard fare at the Post and Times. Bannon gets handled much differently than Jews, Kushner, Mnuchin, Miller and the granddaddy of all Trump enablers, the late Sheldon Adelson.
Hardly anyone in the US has even heard of Sheldon Adelson. Why is that? Simple. It was in the interest of Jewish Media owners ( Brian Roberts at MSNBC and Rupert Murdoch at FOX) to keep him out of the news so Adelson could help Trump help Israel screw the American people and advantage Israel.
Applying simple reverse engineering, its apparent a decision has been made, by people who own media, love Israel, and think strategically that it’s in Israel’s interest that Catholics are diminished in political effectiveness. Catholics have shown that they can’t be counted on to love Israel, no matter what. Catholics pitch a bitch when Israel murders children by the hundreds in Gaza. Catholics don’t talk about Iran with “sufficient” hatred to please Israel. Catholics “get in the way” when Israel wants to run up a “good” body count in Gaza.
It took Rachel Maddow six days to even mention the name “GAZA” the last time Israel conducted a slaughter operation in GAZA, the open air prison one tenth the size of Rhode Island. Ownership sure got what they paid for with Maddow. Her viewers got bupkis.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll have more on Hasbara and other fun stuff very soon.
Oh, one more thing, every time I’ve written about Steve Bannon I’ve closed by saying….
Hang In There Steve Bannon.
Comments are welcome at tomc[at]wednesdayswars[dot]com. Comments will be addressed in subsequent posts.