Two anti-Catholic sentiments were issued in the staff meeting today. The first: a man had approached the senior pastor and handed him the information card we stick in every program. It has a space for name & address if you want to be added to the mailing list, a list of small group/activity options and a list for prayer requests. The man was apparently a very nice, outgoing guy that really made an impression on the senior pastor. On the prayer request section of the card, the man had written "pray for us sinners." The church secretary, who was raised Catholic and attended parochial schools until she became a Protestant during college, said under her breath "sounds Catholic to me" with more than a hint of disdain. She repeated it again a minute or so later, again with disdain. Apparently even the use of Catholic-esque language is verboten.
The second was occasioned by the death of a woman in our church over the weekend. She had cancer and was undergoing chemotheraphy, but her death was still a surprise. Her chemo was progressing well and even if it did not take care of her cancer, she was still expected to live for several months. She checked herself into the hospital because the latest round had left her extremely tired. She awoke in the middle of the night and requested a drink of water from the nurse. The nurse returned a few minutes later and found her dead. This woman was a strong woman of faith who left a significant legacy both within this church and in the lives of those around her. There is no doubt that she was welcomed into heaven as a good and faithful servant. Monday night, the church had an informal time of prayer & celebration for this woman's life. The church secretary, with deep suspiction, asked "what exactly were you praying for?" They said it was prayers of thanks for her life, for a quick and quiet death, for her legacy, prayers for the salvation of her family and for the upcoming funeral. The secretary said "I was just wondering because the Catholics would be trying to pray her into heaven", with sarcasm and vitriol echoing in her words.
Today, both of these anti-Catholic statements came from the same person, but this is unfortunately par for the course here and frequently come from a variety of sources. And frankly, I'm damn sick of it. I'm sick of the judgmental arrogance that assumes Catholics are just a bunch of delusional idiots who are going straight to hell. I'm sick of the lack of historical understanding that a whole lot of what Protestants, particularly evangelicals, believe is not even close to what the early church accepted or practiced. I'm thankful to be leaving.