Posts Tagged “assumption of mary”

The Assumption of the Virgin (1612-17); Peter Paul RubensSomething I’ve long warned American Catholics about is their alliance with the Religious Right. This movement had grown out of the Southern Baptist Convention initially as pushback against segregation (WebCite cached article). And its membership remains primarily evangelical Protestant … even though the Roman Catholic bishops have joined ranks with them, and there are plenty of Catholic politicians (e.g. Rick Santorum, Sam Brownback, Newt Gingrich, and others) who are definitely part of the R.R. The reality of this Catholic/R.R. alliance is that it’s tenuous at best, predicated on only a few points in common, such as opposition to abortion and contraception. The reality is that they’ve been ecclesiastical rivals for centuries, and while they’re no longer at war with one another, each maintains its own distinct vision of Christ and Christianity.

What a lot of Catholics fail to understand — or even know about — is the degree of hatred a lot of their supposed allies in the R.R. have for them. They don’t often make a point of it, but there are occasions when evangelical Protestants find themselves unable to contain their contempt for those “saint-worshipping papists.” An example of this phenomenon emerged when TX gov. Greg Abbott — a Catholic — posted something recently to Facebook (cached):

Texaas Governor Greg Abbott (R) got a lesson in religious tolerance over the weekend after posting an image of the Virgin Mary accompanied by praise on his Facebook page, according to the San Antonio Express-News [cached].

On Saturday the governor, who is Catholic, posted an image of the mother of Jesus [cached] on his Texans for Abbott Facebook page, accompanied by the comment: “The Virgin Mary is exalted above the choirs of angels. Blessed is the Lord who has raised her up.” Saturday was the celebration of the Assumption; the day when the Holy Mother is believed to have been accepted into Heaven.

Responses from followers on Facebook were fast and furious, with many joining in with the governor and praising the Virgin Mary, while others less accepting of his Catholicism accused him of idolatry.

“So you’re Catholic Mr. Abbott? So what? You worship idols; not something I’d be telling everyone,” one commenter wrote, while another seconded the comment, writing: “This is nothing more than idol worship.”

Another pointed out that “Jesus is The Blessed and Holy One!!!” before asking “Were you hacked ?????”

Comments ran to over 900 as people of various faiths battled over whose religion was the most righteous, argued over Scripture, and even questioned the accuracy of the Bible and whether Jesus wrote it.

Honestly, I hadn’t known the Republican Abbott was Catholic. And I suppose a lot of folks (of the evangelical Protestant sort) even in Texas didn’t know it — which is why his Facebook post elicited so much sanctimonious outrage. Had his Catholicism been more widely known, the reaction probably wouldn’t have been as extensive or vitriolic as this, because those evangelical Protestants would already have been steeled to Abbott’s Catholicism and held their tongues.

At any rate, this should provide a lesson to any Catholics out there whose political leanings are toward the Religious Right. Pay attention: These people are not your friends. Many don’t even consider you to be Christians! They may not be up-front about it, or let it show very often, but the bottom line is that they hate Catholics almost as much as they hate Muslims and atheists. If they manage to seize control of the country and make it into the “Christian nation” they’ve been screaming for, once they’ve dispensed with both of those groups, Catholics — followed closely by Orthodox Christians — will be next on their hit list. They won’t give a shit that you helped them establish their Christocracy; they’ll persecute you mercilessly in spite of it, because you’re un-Christian idolaters, as they see it. And they’ll be happy to go after you with everything they’ve got.

So Catholics, be careful. Very, very careful.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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The artist known by the single name “Madonna” has a long history of stirring up religious controversy, mostly invoking the wrath of Catholics and the Vatican (which has several times called for boycotts against her). Perhaps the most significant such controversy flared in 1989 with the release of her video for “Like A Prayer,” which featured — for no known reason — burning crosses, as well as her dancing and lying around suggestively inside what appears to be a Catholic church. Her mock crucifixion staged during performances in 2006 didn’t exactly win her any Catholic fans, either. Some of the outrage over those was understandable — if only slightly.

But the controversy over her upcoming tour, including appearances in Poland, is a little hard to figure out. The CBC reports on this particular dust-up:

A Catholic group is planning public prayer sessions to protest Madonna’s first appearance in Poland because the concert falls on the date of a significant religious festival.

The movement is being led by an ultra-conservative councillor in Warsaw, who wants the city to ban Madonna’s concert. …

Aug. 15, the date of Madonna’s sold-out Polish concert, is the Assumption, which celebrates Mary being taken bodily to heaven after her death. About 90 per cent of Poland’s 38 million people are Roman Catholic.

Apparently the Feast of the Assumption is a really serious holiday in Poland. Roman Catholics … as well as Anglicans … around the world observe the Feast of the Assumption every August 15. All sorts of events … not just Madonna concerts … are held that day, in Catholic-majority countries.

This seems to be a problem in Poland only. I’m not sure why, except that August 15 also happens to be the Day of the Polish Army, a commemoration of the Poles’ victory over the Soviets in the Battle of Warsaw in 1920. Moreover, and in spite of this even, concerts are frequently part of holiday celebrations, the world over.

So all in all, this whole thing is very strange.

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