Toledo Blade poll response: "This is why I'm not Catholic"

You may think Toledo Bishop Leonard Blair's decision to prohibit fundraising for breast cancer-fighting Komen Foundation to be foolish overkill or sound pastoral groundskeeping. I don't know. But I do find myself wondering what sort of bias is being nurtured over at the Toledo Blade when I stumbled upon the following poll which accompanied a story covering Komen's response to Blair (look for it on bottom-right column).

It asked readers:"Should the Catholic Church prevent funds from going to groups that may fund embryonic stem cell research?"


So far, fair enough. But here are your possible responses:

Absolutely, all life is sacred

Probably, although some exceptions OK

I don't like it but I respect their stand

This is why I'm not Catholic

How's that again? "This is why I'm not Catholic"? Really? Am I getting overly sensitive in my old age or is that last option a little, oh, repulsively sectarian? (Tis a good day for it, of course.) How does one get from the respectful response numero three to number four's sharp jab in the denominational ribs? Exactly what point are the editors trying to make here: that Blair is being a little unnecessarily hard-headed on this issue or that being Catholic is just an all around bad idea? I would kindly suggest to the Blade that they might consider reformulating that poll in a way that is not completely insensitive to all Catholics. I hate go BillDonahue on them, but would they really compose a poll in this glib and offensive manner about any other religious community in America?

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ed gleason
7 years 6 months ago
Sure this papers poll is offensive but>>>

Toledo Catholics can’t even fund parishes and schools properly. Who believes that Mass going Catholics are flooding this foundation with money anyway?  Will we hear next some episcopal pronouncements to not to fund Muslim mosques? Who thinks up these non -issues in every Chancery? stop it with these attention seeking pronoucements  and get with spreading the Gospel using words if necessary.

Brendan McGrath
7 years 6 months ago
Although Kevin already implicitly pointed it out in his blog post, could you imagine the outcry if the paper had a poll with the option, "This is why I'm not Jewish"? 

Of course, I suppose there's an "outcry" on this one, but not from the sort of people there SHOULD be an outcry from.

On a side note, I was intrigued recently upon reflection that I always find this sort of anti-Catholicism upsetting/annoying/disheartening, but I've never really been bothered by the old anti-Catholicism of a Protestant variety, like that seen here:  (The ironic thing is that this article/essay, except for a few points of nuance, doesn't really misrepresent Catholic doctrine on justification - it presents it pretty much accurately, but just dislikes it.)  If anything, because I tend to be more liberal (but also traditional), I tend to "enjoy" the type of anti-Catholicism that comes from more conservative sources.  It's the anti-Catholicism that comes from liberal sources that upsets me, perhaps because those are often people with whom I'd identify on many other things - and it's also the kind of anti-Catholicism that can actually really influence and draw away many Catholics, at least the Catholics of the Northeast U.S. variety like me. 

Vince Killoran
7 years 6 months ago
I agree that it's a dumb way to phrase a possible survey response but does it deserve much blog space (equal to that of the next report on the Irish Church)?

As for the "This is why I'm not Catholic," I would argue that the recent Pew data reporting that ex-Catholics make up a large part of the population underscores the significant disatisfaction with the Church from lapsed/ex Catholics.
Dale Rodrigue
7 years 6 months ago
Hmm, Kevin, after reading your other blog ''Another Dark Day For The Church In Ireland'' I am have changed my mind and think that the question was indeed proper.  With many Catholics leaving the Faith I think it is appropriate to ask and probably would be the most chosen answer if this question was asked in Ireland this evening.
Brendan McGrath
7 years 6 months ago
Vince - I agree, and I'm frustrated/angry both at the hierarchy for alienating so many of my fellow Catholics (I'm 29) and at said fellow Catholics for letting themselves be alienated and leaving, but regardless, does any of that justify constructing a poll with that option?

Incidentally, something like that should never be a reason for not being Catholic.  I may be exasperated with the bishops, but I believe that unfortunately, the papacy and the episcopacy are divinely established.  They may make dumb decisions like this and we should protest, seek reform, etc., but they have that annoying habit of teaching infallibly when they get together in one of those councils, and without them, the sacramental vine would be cut off.
Jim McCrea
7 years 6 months ago
"would they really compose a poll in this glib and offensive manner about any other religious community in America?"

If said religious community was as arrogant as the US Catholic leadership can be too many times, I'm sure they would.

Catholicism's day of EXPECTING obeisance as a matter of right is long gone.  Positive comments are given where earned, not expected as a matter of course.
Brendan McGrath
7 years 6 months ago
But Jim, as much as I agree about the hierarchy, to push back a bit on your argument - first, "the Church" and "Catholics" and "the Catholic community" is more than just the bishops - in fact, the "US Catholic leadership" as you put it is more than just the bishops.  Should the actions and statements of the bishops render illegitimate any objections to swipes at the Church such as the one taken in that poll?

Also, would there ever be a situation under which it would be appropriate to make "this is why I'm not Jewish" an option in a poll?  Suppose a conference of rabbis or whatever started behaving the way our bishops do - does that mean a poll like that would be OK?
Adam Rasmussen
7 years 6 months ago
In deference to His Excellency, I'll withold a definitive judgment, but I have to say, on the face of it, I'm rather skeptical about his decision. No organization is perfect. And certainly no bishop wants us to withold donations from the Church herself, in spite of her many sins and poor decisions, which we acknowledge at the beginning of every Mass. But being bishop is a tough job, so I am willing to be a bit generous, even when I am uneasy about a particular statement or pastoral decision.
7 years 6 months ago
I see this issue of America has an (excellent) article baout why women stay in the Church.
I note all of the posters here are men.


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