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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: February ::
Re: Proto-Catholilcs? Proto-Prods?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0530  Friday, 22 February 2002

[1]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Thursday, 21 Feb 2002 18:59:03 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0507 Re: Proto-Catholilcs? Proto-Prods?

[2]     From:   Kevin De Ornellas <
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        Date:   Thursday, 21 Feb 2002 22:23:14 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0507 Re: Proto-Catholics? Proto-Prods?

[3]     From:   Karen Peterson <
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        Date:   Friday, 22 Feb 2002 04:06:10 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0507 Re: Proto-Catholics? Proto-Prods?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Thursday, 21 Feb 2002 18:59:03 -0000
Subject: 13.0507 Re: Proto-Catholilcs? Proto-Prods?
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0507 Re: Proto-Catholilcs? Proto-Prods?

Though I find his view of English history eccentric, I meant no
disrespect in my response to Sam Small's comments about the Roman
Catholic Church.  Subsequent posts on this strand have revealed that my
own comments on the subject did not entirely avoid oversimplification.

"I do not dislike individual Catholics, Moslems, Jews, Hindus etc", Mr.
Small assures us, and I have no reason to question his sincerity on this
count; but, there is a "but" - "it is a self confessed fact that all
religions have expansionist agendas". Indeed - they are trying to
"expand" salvation and the light of "truth" to as many of God's children
as possible.  A laudable and charitable aim, I would have thought. If,
like me, you don't want to be "saved", you can thank them for their
concern and move on. This seems like a simple misunderstanding of what
religion is, or a stubborn refusal to accommodate the religious mindset
as anything other than mad or aggressive. To attack a belief system is
to attack its believers individually, if for nothing else then for
stupidity.

More serious because more specific is the assertion, "Papal loathing of
Communists and Jews is widely known". I think "loathing" is too strong a
word to use to describe the official position of the Papacy on these
matters. The Roman Catholic Church cannot tolerate communism because at
the centre of its ideology is materialistic atheism. This is a conflict
of fundamental belief, not an instance of wilful "loathing" or something
that can be solved merely by an increase in politeness. And to suggest
that the Papacy "loathes" Jews is, to my mind, a libel too far. Again,
one has to accept that there will always be a fundamental difference
between these belief systems and their constituent believers - that is
not loathing, it is disagreement.

My apologies to other list members who might understandably expect to
read about matters Shakespearean in this forum. In an attempt to restore
the balance, I would ask Sam Small: As you seem to believe that
Shakespeare was Roman Catholic (not a view I share), do you regard his
Romanism as benign, and if so, how and why?

In fundamental disagreement, but with fundamental respect,
m

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kevin De Ornellas <
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Date:           Thursday, 21 Feb 2002 22:23:14 +0000
Subject: 13.0507 Re: Proto-Catholics? Proto-Prods?
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0507 Re: Proto-Catholics? Proto-Prods?

>From Sam Small:

>I do not dislike individual Catholics, Moslems, Jews, Hindus etc

Well, we will all be relieved to hear that; we will all accept that, I'm
sure.

>Papal loathing of Communists and Jews is widely known.

You see, Sam, the problem here lies partly with your choice of words and
partly with the static, individual target of your remarks.

Firstly, couldn't you have used a more moderate word than 'loathing'?
Using this term of condemnation carries with it the implication that you
are personally keen to discover and excoriate the alleged vice with
considerable conviction.  Do RC Church grandees really 'loathe' devotees
of other ideological and theological schools?  Wouldn't it have been
fairer to write about, say, something like 'the spirited and perhaps
even vitriolic aversion of Catholic leaders to alternative belief
systems'?

Regarding the second problem which I perceive, you are making a general
- and probably quite sensible and sober - point about the spiritually
imperial and arguably malignant expansionist tendencies of major
religions.  But you attack a specific target, in this case the Papacy.
You could have found another example, or left things suggestively vague.

In short, without you actually meaning any disrespect or rancour, you
make the whole thing appear partisan and/or personal through what is
probably just carelessness.

 Kevin De Ornellas
 Queen's University, Belfast

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Peterson <
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Date:           Friday, 22 Feb 2002 04:06:10 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 13.0507 Re: Proto-Catholics? Proto-Prods?
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0507 Re: Proto-Catholics? Proto-Prods?

Sam, with all due respect...

> I suggest he reads "Hitler's Pope"
> by John Cornwell and
> then tell me there was no Papal enthusiasm for
> Hitler's regime.  He
> might like to look at Opus Dei's website and its
> many internet
> detractors.

I haven't read Cornwell's book yet.  The reviews I have read are, for
the most part, applauding of his research and scholarship.  Many do note
that Eugenio Pacelli's despicable behavior (as Pius XII) needs to be
addressed more within the context of Europe's response to Hitler (as
part of a widespread pattern of collaboration, appeasement, etc.) than
Cornwell does here.

Yes, Opus Dei is scary.  Many religions and denominations have scary
sub-divisions and cults.  It is a problem, and many Catholics (and
Catholic bishops, archbishops and cardinals) are actively working to try
to reign in and re-channel Opus Dei's expansionist and
paranoia-inspiring activities.

That said:

> it is a self confessed fact that all
> religions have
> expansionist agendas - and Papal loathing of
> Communists and Jews is
> widely known.

The problem with this statement is that "Papal" is quite often used
metanymically as a referent for Roman Catholicism as a whole.  Mr. Small
may have been referring strictly to John Paul II.  His loathing for
Communism (not, I think, individual Communists) is well-known.  I do not
think there is evidence to say accurately that he loathes Jews.  The
implied message here -- that there is a global Catholic anti-Jewish
conspiracy -- is as problematic, as offensive, and as bigoted as are
remarks about a "global Jewish conspiracy", or remarks about "Islam's
war against the west".

One final note before moving on: the word "catholic" *means*
"universal".  The Roman Catholic Church is probably somewhat less
"expansionist" in its philosophies than some other religious
institutions, simply because by its own understanding it is, already and
by definition, already maximally expanded.

(and yes, I'm a Catholic, albeit a non-practicing one.)

Back to Shakespeare (who?) ...

> Shakespeare was well aware of this
> global dynamic

Your evidence...?

Shakespeare's relationship to Roman Catholicism is, of course, a current
topic of interest in much biographical and biographically-inflected
scholarship.  If -- IF -- there is a case to be made that the
Shakespeare family was a bit closer to the old church (perhaps in
sentiment, if not in practice) than has been customarily assumed, his
"awareness of this global dynamic" could be variously interpreted.
Perhaps it would be more useful to limit this somewhat, saying
"Shakespeare's awareness of Catholicism's dynamics *as understood in the
Elizabethan-Jacobean* period*".

Cheers,
Karen

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