In the midst of pointing out yet another anti-Catholic editorial cartoon, Diogenes reminds us that those who so arduously reject orthodox Catholic belief often do so without knowing a single bit of it.
The British critic Bernard Levin used to say that many people pass their entire lives under the false impression that they have read Das Kapital. In same way, many Catholics congratulate themselves as “Thinking Catholics” under the false impression that they have devoted actual thought to the Church’s theology. The vast majority have simply followed the line of least cultural resistance by adapting themselves to the fashion that disdains Catholic orthodoxy as a kind of boot camp of working class muscular moralism. Since it’s so terribly un-chic, you never have to get around to showing that it’s false. And because style-setters like Bertrand Russell and Susan Sontag were intellectuals, today’s heterodox trendies reflexively award themselves the same dignity — whether or not they’ve read three words from Denzinger.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen used to say that while there are many who hate what they think the Catholic Church is, there isn’t a handful that hate what the Church actually is. While he was speaking of anti-Catholic fundamentalists at the time, unfortunately this has come to describe more and more actual Catholics.
Of course, it’s not just Catholicism that is subject to this phenomenon. The trend in public discourse these days is to shoot from the hip and to attack that which you have knowledge of based on what you’ve read at Wikipedia.