Delusions of acceptance in the Catholic Church

Paranoia means that you imagine people are out to get you when they’re really not.  I think there needs to be a word for the opposite delusion–imagining that people aren’t out to get you when they really are.  Let’s call it “anti-paranoia”, shall we?  Whatever we choose to call it, R. R. Reno at First Things has a strong case.  I see that once again he’s advertising what he thinks is his brilliant insight:  that what’s happening in Europe now is that the Catholic Church is losing the special treatment it’s enjoyed for centuries.  This special treatment, what he calls being part of a “magic circle”, apparently meant, among other things, a lack of accountability from the press and the law.  Now, anyone who’s been awake since 1789 knows that this is absolutely insane.  For the last two centuries, the Catholic Church has indeed held a special place in Europe–a special case of legal disability, press defamation, and recurrent persecution.  The anti-clerical press actually predates the French Revolution, and for the past 200 years, the peoples of Europe have been fed a steady diet of stories about the alleged misdeeds of the clergy.  As for the Church’s political “privileges”, don’t get me started.  What does Reno think of the Jacobin Terror, the Risorgimento, the Dreyfusards, the KulturKapmpf, the 1905 disestablishment, the Spanish Republican terror, and more expulsions of religious orders and siezures of Church property than I can count?  When people say that the Church should be treated like any other organization, I always think “if only!”  (Of course, I also think it would be inadequate for the Church to be treated like another organization.  Since I think Catholicism is true, I think it should be established, and, as an irreplaceable instrument of the spiritual common good, it should be protected by the State.  However, ceasing to treat the Church as a specially disfavored organization would be a good place to start.)  When a Catholic priest is accused of some wrongdoing, even if the alleged wrongdoing happened several decades ago, the accusation is front page news everywhere in the world.  What other organization could withstand that sort of scrutiny, and that level of defamation?  Indeed, every Catholic misdeed is said by our journalistic overlords to discredit the Faith itself, and they always demand that the Pope himself be arrested.  If this standard were universally followed, would any world leader be walking free?  But of course it isn’t, and it never has been.  The press has always been fanatically devoted to one goal and one alone–the destruction of the Catholic Church.  The record of the modern State–from Cavour to Bismark to Combes to Blair to Zapatero–is equally clear.

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