Synopses & Reviews
Anti-Catholicism has a long history in America. And as Philip Jenkins argues in The New Anti-Catholicism
, this virulent strain of hatred--once thought dead--is alive and well in our nation, but few people seem to notice, or care.
A statement that is seen as racist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, or homophobic can haunt a speaker for years, writes Jenkins, but it is still possible to make hostile and vituperative public statements about Roman Catholicism without fear of serious repercussions. Jenkins shines a light on anti-Catholic sentiment in American society and illuminates its causes, looking closely at gay and feminist anti-Catholicism, anti-Catholic rhetoric and imagery in the media, and the anti-Catholicism of the academic world. For newspapers and newsmagazines, for television news and in movies, for major book publishers, the Catholic Church has come to provide a grossly stereotyped public villain. Catholic opinions, doctrines, and individual leaders are frequently the butt of harsh satire. Indeed, the notion that the church is a deadly enemy of women, the idea of Catholic misogyny, is commonly accepted in the news media and in popular culture, says Jenkins. And the recent pedophile priest scandal, he shows, has revived many ancient anti-Catholic stereotypes.
It was said that with the election of John F. Kennedy, anti-Catholicism in America was dead. This provocative new book corrects that illusion, drawing attention to this important issue.
"A fascinating tale, exploring the depths of the consciousness of this country--diverse forces that weave together the history of the civilization that we share.... His prose is energetic, assertive and blessed with a crystalline coherence. Packed with historic detail and intricate referential material, it is nonetheless crisp and easy to read. This is a book of powerfully convincing fairness, of impressive scholarship and of extraordinary courage--Jenkins strips naked some of the most cherished hypocrisies of American ideologues from one extreme of the spectrum to the other."--Michael Pakenham, Baltimore Sun
"A provocative brief on some of the uglier prejudices lurking behind today's Catholic controversies.... Alerts readers to the forgotten history and persistence of anti-Catholic biases in American politics and culture."--Paul Baumann, The Washington Post
"A spirited account of how deep, pervasive, and multifaceted is the elite culture's animus toward the Catholic Church."--First Things
"A thought-provoking and balanced analysis of prejudice against Catholics.... Honest, passionate, and convincing, it will cause the reader to reconsider basic assumptions."--Library Journal
"Eye-opening and complacency shaking.... Jenkins examines liberal anti-Catholicism in chapters on whether 'The Church Hates Women' and 'The Church Kills Gays'; the treatment of Catholics and the church by news media, in the movies, and on TV; the current 'pedophile priest' crisis; and dissident Catholic historians' critique of Pope Pius XII's relations with the Third Reich."--Booklist (starred review)
"A serious look at the why anti-Catholicism is the 'last acceptable prejudice' in the United States--why opinion leaders of every sort of casually slam the Catholic Church when they wouldn't dream of slamming any other church or institution."--Our Sunday Visitor
"A long overdue dissection of the most protean prejudice in American history, The New Anti-Catholicism should challenge the complacent who imagine anti-Catholic bias to be confined to the nation's fever swamps. It should also (although it probably won't) cause a serious examination of conscience on the political left, where anti-Catholic canards are now epidemic. Emphatically not a book for Catholics only, The New Anti-Catholicism should be required reading in every newsroom in the country." --George Weigel, author of Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II, The Truth of Catholicism: Ten Controversies Explored, and The Courage to Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform, and the Future of the Church
"This is an astonishing book. Most of us get used to the contempt heaped upon the Catholic church by nice, liberal people (as if such contempt were only to be expected), so we stop thinking of it as the gross deformity of soul it is. Jenkins, once a Catholic but no longer, quietly amasses evidence about more types of prejudice and bigotry against Catholics than most of us are conscious of. He is particularly good at diagnosing 'the black legends' about Catholicism which everybody 'knows' are true-the Crusades, the Inquisition, 'silence' regarding the Holocaust-and the inner agitation of 'anti-Catholic Catholics,' who have internalized the world's contempt. A serious, original, provocative study." --Michael Novak, author of On Two Wings: Humble Faith and Common Sense at the American Founding
"There are few scholars in the nation better equipped to address the subject of anti-Catholicism than Philip Jenkins. That he has succeeded is indisputable. The New Anti-Catholicism is thorough, erudite, and convincing. I highly recommend it." --William A. Donohue, President, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
"During the recent season of scandals, Catholics have generally, and with good reason, been reluctant to point out the obvious, namely, that the media carnival was in significant part motored by old-fashioned anti-Catholicism. Jenkins, an Episcopalian, has no such inhibitions and here offers a spirited account of how deep, pervasive, and multifaceted is the elite culture's animus toward the Catholic Church."--First Things
"A book of powerfully convincing fairness, of impressive scholarship and of extraordinary courage.... His prose is energetic, assertive and blessed with a crystalline coherence."--Baltimore Sun
"This new book on anti-Catholicism as a fashionable prejudice is not a whine or a whimper, but a sober little list of facts, and that may make it hard to ignore.... An objective and irrefutable catalogue of biases."--National Review
"A provocative brief on some of the uglier prejudices lurking behind today's Catholic controversies."--The Washington Post
Jenkins presents a scathing account of anti-Catholicism in modern American--in politics, the media, the entertainment industry, and academia.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 217-247) and index.
About the Author
is Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies at Pennsylvania State University. His books include Pedophiles and Priests: Anatomy of a Contemporary Crisis, Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History
, and The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity
. He frequently appears on radio and television as an authority on the clergy abuse issue and was the author of a recent major article in Atlantic Monthly
on the future of the Church.
Table of Contents
Limits of hatred -- The Catholic menace -- Catholics and liberals -- The church hates women -- The church kills gays -- Catholics and the news media -- "The perp walk of sacramental perverts" : the pedophile priest crisis -- Catholics in movies and television -- Black legends : rewriting Catholic history -- The end of prejudice?