A photo was recently posted on FaceBook that depicted a large Black man, chained to a whipping post, clad only in raggedy pants. Surrounded by a crowd of jeering Whites, he was about to be whipped by an equally large White man.
The caption claimed that Negro Slaves were whipped until they professed their love for Jesus. It challenged the viewer (it was aimed at a Black audience and supposedly put together by someone claiming to be telling the 'truth' about history) to ask themselves 'what they were' before they were Christian.
I have no doubt that there have been some horrible crimes committed in the name of Christianity. I have never pretended that the Catholic Church has harbored Her fair share of the perpetrators of these crimes. In fact I regularly infuriate some of Her biggest 'haters' (Lord, how I hate that word) by acknowledging the sins of the past, asking for forgiveness and then stating that the behavior of sinners does not reflect upon the Truth; rather, it reflects upon the sinners' inability to successfully live The Truth. I also periodically anger people who re-state commons lies about The Church. Saint Junipero Sera did not kill Native Americans - the Spanish Government sure did but he did not. Galileo was not tortured, unless you call having to argue constantly with Jesuits like St Robert Bellarmine torture. The Inquisition did not kill 25 million people and the Crusades were not perpetrated against innocent Muslims. Yes, there were pedophile priests. No, it was not the majority of them; in fact, there are more sexual crimes committed against children by non-denominational Christians than Catholic priests.
In other words, when Catholics screw up I will admit it. I will not, however, admit to crimes simply because the popular culture has enshrined certain 'facts' in their minds. My challenge to people is this: do your homework, use your heads, read other sources besides secular WASP historians and ask questions.
In the case I cited above, I started asking questions and got shut down immediately as a Racist pig trying to gloss over the horrors done against the Black people by White people.
I asked questions because the assertion did not make sense historically - in fact, one of the great tragedies of the European Slave Trade is the collusion between Catholic and Protestant Europe with Islam.
People don't like this fact but it is true: the early documents that we now accept as the New Testament speak to the spread of Christianity throughout Europe and Africa. Many parts of Africa were Christian for centuries, actually shielded by isolation from the rift between East and West and the so-call 'reformers' of Europe. Coptics, Ethiopians, and others were African - and Christian - until the conquering hordes of Islamic Invaders brought them a new religion at the end of a sword. Many of the people stayed Christian, and lost their freedom to the slave trade.
The other part of this historical equation is this: the mission of The Church is to evangelize. We are not supposed to stay private with our faith and we are certainly not supposed to keep Truth to ourselves. We have been charged by God Himself to go forth and Baptize the Nations. We have to - if we don't we are in trouble when we stand before Him at the end of time.
Are we supposed to do it at the end of a sword or a gun or by whipping people?
No...we are not....and when there have been Catholics who have done so they have had to stand before Him at their deaths, explaining why they thought it was a good idea to force someone to 'become Christian or else'. You see, doing so flies right in the face of what and who we are - it is a horrific sin. You can tell we are not doing the right thing if we do stuff like that and only a madman or insane woman would try and convince you or themselves of the validity of that kind of behavior.
My question now is this: In light of the effort made by St John Paul II to atone for the past sins of the Catholic Church, will we ever be forgiven?
You see, our detractors have us at a disadvantage. Just as we cannot justify raping, beating or torture as catechetical tools, neither can we hold hatred and grudges towards those who have used those methods against us. If we do, we are merely demonstrating once more - to the world - that we are sinners. Again, we are not proving that The Truth is not real; rather, we are proving our inability to live The Truth.
For us, we have examples of those who do live The Truth. In fact, today we have someone new to pray with and to, a man who shows that being tortured and beaten to death in the name of someone's false religion is the hazard all Catholics face today.
Blessed Benedict Daswa, Pray for Us.