Larry Doyle’s “Jesus-Eating Cult”

Larry Doyle

Larry Doyle

The reaction of Catholic leaders to Larry Doyle’s satiric piece at HuffPo this week, “The Jesus-Eating Cult of Rick Santorum,” has been exactly the wrong reaction.  We have taken offense, demanded apologies of Arianna Huffington, and asked that we please not be exposed through satire to the virulently-anti Catholic opinions of the Church’s opponents.  Doyle’s piece, like the shows for which he has written, “Beavis and Butthead,” and “The Simpsons,” was crude. There’s no doubt about that.

He led off

“It’s time to take a good hard look at Rick Santorum’s faith.

“Many of you will be shocked to learn what our possible future president believes, who he answers to, the bloody jihads his so-called church has carried on for centuries, and its current role as the tactical arm of the North American Man-Boy Love Association.”

So, the Crusades are chalked up as “bloody jihads” and the current hierarchy as promoters of pedophilia.

He goes on to say

“Unlike Christians, Santorum and his fellow Roman Catholics participate in a barbaric ritual dating back two millennia, a “mass” in which a black-robed cleric casts a spell over some bread and wine, transfiguring it into the actual living flesh and blood of their Christ. Followers then line up to eat the Jesus meat and drink his holy blood in a cannibalistic reverie not often seen outside Cinemax.”

Larry Doyle is a bright guy, and part of the satire here alludes to historical slurs against Roman Catholicism (and in fact, all Christians, when all Christians belonged to one Church prior to the schism with Orthodoxy.)   The magical spell of common parlance, “hocus pocus,” derives from the words of consecration in the Latin Mass, “hoc est enim corpus”–this is my very body.  During the age of persecution under the ancient Romans, Christians were accused of being “cannibals” for believing they were partaking of the real body and blood of their Lord in the Eucharist.  Larry Doyle, an Irish Catholic by heritage and a former altar boy, knows where he comes from and therefore how to strike at the  heart of the tradition. His piece puts a new spin on accusations that have been around since the time of Nero.

Should we be shocked and appalled by this?  Hardly, it only means that today’s Catholics are getting back to being authentic Christians in an increasingly pagan society. “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad,” says the Lord (Matt 5:11-12a).  Jesus does not say, Kindly ask them to mind their manners and treat the faith as too precious for open discussion.

In a subsequent posting Doyle mocked the pro forma apology being required of him, and frankly, I don’t blame him.  He said what he said because he hates Catholicism for standing in the way of a secular agenda.  I’d much rather have frank and honest hatred exposed for what is it than Orwellian expressions of “respect” for religion that are really just a smoke screen for the tyrannical imposition of secular values.

When we ask for apologies from such people, we are asking that faith enjoy a privileged status where it’s largely treated as out-of-bounds for frank criticism, and therefore, in fact, irrelevant to public issues.

If we want to reintroduce the Christian vocabulary into the conversation, then we are going to have to let criticisms, even vicious attacks, flow freely.  Do I really need to point out that Doyle’s commentary–and anything else like it–does more to expose the vile nature of anti-Catholic prejudice and its prevalence in our society than anything Bill Donohue and The Catholic League could possible do?  (For the record, I admire Donohue and The Catholic League’s work tremendously.)

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  • Since  yours is the only reasoned critique I’ve read from so-called Christians (one of whom just sent my wife an email about how ashamed all our neighbors (with  specific neighborhood we will in) must be, and sympathizing at what our children must be going through at school (with the school they go to), I will respond.

    First, as I’ve said, the piece was satirical. I know people think I just came up with that after being attacked, but any careful reader of the original can see that. Although critics have been quick to label me as a liberal, the piece is cast as the opinion of a very conservative Christian. (e,g. the frequent negative comparisons to Christianity, which the writer describes as the official national religion.) The attacks themselves are all ones which have been made by evangelicals against Catholics. The “author” of the piece in fact expresses concern that if Santorum become president, he will have to abandon capital punishment (Fortunately for  pro-death penalty Christians, Santorum doesn’t seem to follow the Pope on that one) and only use the military for wars the Vatican finds just (i.e. almost none). The key to piece comes in the penultimate paragraph, in which the writer says, “Ordinarily I would be loathe to discuss all this, feeling that issues of
    faith and religion should be kept out of politics. But it’s far too
    late for that, and I have an obligation to expose this phony theology
    that threatens to supplant Christianity as our official national
    religion.” Note, in particular, the phrase “phony theology.”

    The piece was meant to be a demonstration of what Santorum and his ilk are doing to other religions, in a way that they might better understand. Yes, it was vicious and illegitimate and indefensible. That was the point.

     I don’t espouse the views of Catholicism in the piece, nor did I intend anyone to take them literally. I had thought them too ridiculous to taken something that might be published on a national site. (The writer at one point ties Catholicism to terrorism by invoking the Inquisition, for goodness sake!) I’m sorry that so many people evidently misread it, but I also strongly believe that many willfully misread it in order to make political hay off it.

    What I do abhor is supposed Christians attacking the religious beliefs of others. Rick Santorum has a long history of questioning Obama’s faith and winking at the notion that the president is a Muslim.  This is abundantly clear, by the way, by the response of so many Catholics to my piece, who have used it to renew their attacks on Muslims and Jews (and I mean, quite literally; check the twitter feed on this). Santorum flat out says it is impossible to be liberal and Christian (Something I think would come as a surprise to Christ). In the dark recesses of the internet, and in my email inbox,  Santorum’s supporters are saying much worse.

    Perhaps the satire missed the mark; perhaps it was incompetent. But it was what it was, and that was an argument, however inartful, against attacking other people’s faith.

     I reject any argument that is based on my holding anti-Catholic views. I just don’t.

  • Harold Fickett

     Thank you, Larry, for such a careful and reasoned reply.  I’m astonished that you found this but am glad you did.  I’m not an expert on Santorum’s stances, although since he follows Church teaching so closely I imagine he does follow the Pope on the death penalty.  Perhaps others can help us here.  And, I can understand your chagrin that everyone has missed the “persona” you were adopting and presumed that all the expressed views, however far-fetched, must be your own. 

    I think what we have in Santorum versus Obama is, in a sense, a debate between traditional Catholicism and liberal Protestantism with a strong “social Gospel” stamp.  Calling liberalism “phony” is an unhappy piece of rhetoric, in many senses, one of which is the inference that this position cannot be held genuinely, as of course it can.  Saying that the basic assumptions of liberal Protestantism are in error and utopian thinking can lead to disastrous results is what I think Santorum was aiming at. 

    I’m glad that the voice in the piece is a fiction, and maybe if all of us were more subtle and literary readers we would have readily given you credit for this distancing device. 

    Nothing in Catholicism certainly teaches attacking others for their religious views, and thanks for reminding us of that.  I’m really grateful you stopped by and commented, and truly horrified your family finds itself under duress.  God bless.  You are always welcome here. 

  • AnnaMarie53

    I appreciate any good debate.  However, we need to define terms here…satire means a look at a subject in a humorous way.  There is NOTHING  in any of Larry Doyle’s piece that could be in any way called funny.  It is mean, vitriolic, and just plain tacky.  One thing I do agree with Mr. Fickett on, and that is the gloves have come off as to what many evangelicals and other Protestants really think of Catholicism.  I heard all the things Mr. Doyle said when I was still a child and I still have arguments with people who think Protestants were “just kidding” when they said (and believed) horrid things about Catholics, especially nuns and priests. I can take it, but I can’t stand around looking professorial when my Mother (the Church) is being spit on.  I don’t know any Catholics who willingly will.

  • Santorum says that he “agrees” with the Pope that the death penalty should be “limited.” That is not the Vatican’s view, however..

    Make no mistake, though: when Santorum questions Obama’s faith, he’s not attacking liberal Protestantism. He sending a signal  to his creepier supporters that he is sympathetic to their view that Obama is a secret Muslim sent here to establish an Islamic dictatorship. I know, that sounds ridiculous, but there are a lot of folks who believe that. I don’t think Santorum believes that, and I’m sure he wouldn’t want to be in the same room with many of the people who support him, but he also never goes out of his way to disabuse them of their insane and hateful views.

    Ask Santorum (and many, many  conservative Christian leaders) if they believe Obama is a Christian, and they always respond the exact same way: “He says he’s a Christian.” Wink.

  • Harold Fickett

     I don’t know Santorum personally, Larry, but I believe he’s a man of honor and not sending any signals–secret or otherwise–to the creepy people who think Obama is part of some elaborate Muslim conspiracy.  Would that the world were that simple!  The differences in the thinking of Obama and Santorum are way more complex than that, as you clearly realize.  

    There’s a primary coming up here in Atlanta where I live, and I know people who are heavily involved in the Santorum campaign.  If I get a chance–and I may–I’ll interview Santorum and give him the opportunity to disabuse the nuts of their “insane and hateful views.”  That would be a pleasure.  

  •  If we are going to define terms, then we should define satire correctly. Here’s the dictionary:

    “the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.”

    Note the “or.” Also, traditionally and classically, satire has often not been humorous. The most famous example of all was alluded to earlier, Swift’s “A Modest Proposal.” Not a lot of yocks there. In fact, it outraged many who thought he was being serious.

    I didn’t intend for the piece to be humorous.

  • Well written article and great debate! This country allows
    us the freedom to debate and our first amendment is therefore something to be
    protected and preserved at all costs.

    To Larry Doyle’s point – I watched Bill O’Reilly interview Senator
    Santorum yesterday and he had plenty of opportunity to attack President Obama’s
    faith. In fact O’Reilly pushed and baited but Senator Santorum didn’t bite. He
    actually paid the President some compliments on a personal level. Commendable! Unfortunately
    there are personal attacks on people from both extremes and both are wrong. If
    we are true to Christ, we are called to act in charity.

  • Matt B

    Harold, This whole debate just proves the time-honored axiom that, if you feed Christians, they become more like Christ.  However, If you feed pigeons…

  • Editor

    Hello Larry, 

    Your link leads to a shallow article that deals pretty clumsily with the facts. Anybody who knew what JPII really taught knows he wanted to see the death penalty go away, and it is that hope (and only his hope) that is expressed in that document. But JPII agreed that states should retain their right to exercise the death penalty, as in this quote from the Catechism (which he approved and promulgated): “…the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.” (#2267).

  • gespin3549

    Larry, I’ll be the first to appreciate good satire and the first to engage in civilized debate with anyone, but frankly, you really did cross the line with the following, 

    “Roman Catholics participate in a barbaric ritual dating back two millennia, a “mass” in which a black-robed cleric casts a spell over some bread and wine, transfiguring it into the actual living flesh and blood of their Christ. Followers then line up to eat the Jesus meat and drink his holy blood in a cannibalistic reverie not often seen outside Cinemax.””How you could possibly think that is not offensive to simple and faithful Joe and Jane Catholic in the street is offensive in itself. If you understood who the Blessed Sacrament is you would not dare violate the core of my faith in such a flippant and irreverent manner. Let me ask you – would you curse the Koran and poop on an image of Mohammed in public? No you would not out of fear of what you know would more than likely happen to you. Why would the unmentioned reaction occur? Rhetorical question there.

    Well Catholics, real Catholics, not the five and dime Kennedy and Pelosi Cafeteria Catholics mind you, feel the exact same way about the Blessed Sacrament and even more so. Because Jesus taught the opposite of what Mohammed taught, no Catholic will harm you in spite of your grave offense, but grave and truly offensive and hurtful your remarks remain nonetheless.

  • pnyikos

     Larry, your bit about cannibalism loses its sting when one considers the case of the Donner party.  In order to stay alive, members ate the bodies of those who died of natural causes.  There is no moral stigma attached to such cannibalism, and it seems there never was any suspicion of murder in this famous case.

    Jesus told his disciples something similar: in order to stay alive spiritually, they must eat his flesh and drink his blood.  The Catholic Church teaches the same thing, only in different words.  And again there is no moral stigma since the Jesus was killed almost 20 centuries ago, by people unconnected with us.

    That said, I must say I’m curious as to why you incorporated such an un-original piece into your satire.  Were you trying to make some point with it?

    Anyway, I’m glad you decided to participate in this forum. Would that more people  written about in articles would do the same.

  • pnyikos

     So, what evidence have you that Obama is a Christian besides his say-so and the fact that he attended a church for decades whose pastor is probably to blame for Michele Obama’s statement shortly after McCain conceded, that for the first time she was proud to be an American?

    Parallel: Sebelius, Pelosi, and Reid call themselves Catholics, so we accept them on their say-so and the fact that they have not yet been excommunicated.  But many here, myself included, believe Catholicism died in their hearts many years ago.

  • Steve Kernan

    Well said Harry! I just recently had such an engagement with two family members over withholding communion from a woman who is in an active lesbian relationship. Their language immediately turned to calls of bigotry and hatred with no desire for discussion. It hurt but it was only sticks and stones. Our forefathers had lions, gladiators, burning cauldrons, crucifixions, etc and yet the Church survived

  • Bob

    Larry–I’ve never watched your shows but I am aware that you appeal to our baser instincts. I must say however that this post is rich in irony. You lend approbation to anti Catholic bigotry which, to those who consume your product, will be used to justify in a silly manner their own prejudices. I am not complaining that my kids are subject to this bigotry with greater frequency, but I must applaud you for the finer sense of irony found in this post, namely, that you complain about having received some unpleasant emails while you aid and abet the very same, and far more prevalent if not ambient, trash talk into the public square. Again, I thank you for the subtle irony which was otherwise missing from your “satire”..

    Also, a second observation about your “reasoned critique” comment—-Mr. Fickett’s critique was to Catholics—a critique with which I agree. Personally I think you haughtily flatter yourself describing this nonsense as “satire”—that is satire as an art form. Otherwise I find sopping for apologies from the cultural cretins a complete waste of time.

  • The point was to repeat, in an exaggerated fashion, the sorts of insults that have historically been slung at Catholics, couched in the rhetoric a lot of so-called Christians are using today to slander other faiths or beliefs. Thus the use of “cult” (Mormonism) and references to history of violence (Islam), etc. The phrasing of the connection of the Church to NAMBLA, for example, is identical to a that of a elected  Republican who called The Girl Scouts of America a front organization for Planned Parenthood (He doesn’t like their inclusive policies). Later in the piece, the claim is backed up with a blithe “based on some research I conducted on the internet,” which is a direct quote. I recognize perhaps not everybody has heard that story, which is why I linked to it in the first instance.

    Yes, Jesus-eaters is not original. Many of your friends on the evangelical side use it all the time. It is not, by the way, a slur ever used by the liberal left. There are lots of liberals who have problems with organized religion, particularly conservative denominations, and plenty of ugly talk, but they mostly don’t distinguish between Catholicism from Protestantism, or even amongst the quite varied strains of Protestants. That’s a shame, really, because there is much common ground between the left and many Catholic causes (and with many Protestant churches).  

  • Well I don’t think any of us will be confusing Larry Doyle with Mark Twain or Voltaire anytime soon.

  • You didn’t intend for the
     piece to be humorous and no one found it or you humorous in any way I think is fair to say.  What are you serious about Larry, what you write about Muslims?  Would you like us to find what you write about THEM and make it clear who is writing it?  From what I have seen we won’t be confusing you with the author of Persian Letters. 

  •  Here’s a couple of “unpleasant” emails or Facebook posts I’ve received from good Catholics like yourself:

    “Die, liberal scum!”

    “F— allah!” (This from a member of our military)

    “I will come while you sleep. I will take your children.”

    “I am going to find you and cut your head off. LOL.”

    “I hope you have good security. You are going to need it.”

    “Kill yourself, you f–ing douchbag.”

    [There are others I won’t quote, because they are unpleasant enough that I may have to share them with the police.]

    I’m not going to deny there is anti-Catholic and anti-Christian sentiment out there, but Catholicism and Christianity remain dominant forces in the United States. I ask you:

    Have you or any Catholic you know ever been removed from an airplane because your presence made other passangers “uncomfortable”?

    Has anyone in the US ever protested the construction of a Catholic church because it would upset the neighbors?

    Have you ever been denied a job or a promotion or housing or any service anywhere because of your Catholicism.

    Do you know any Catholics who were nabbed by thugs out “lookin’ for papists” who then tied them to the back of a truck?

    Prejudice is prejudice and bigotry is bigotry, but they are not all equal, and it is bit disingenuous to pretend so.

  •  If you were asked if Santorum was a Catholic, you wouldn’t say, “He says he is.” You would say, “Yes,” and you might add, “and it’s insulting for you question it.”

  • Larry, two wrongs do not
    make a right. While you admit that there is anti Christian and anti Catholic
    sentiment, you have deduced that since they are the “majority” this is
    justifiable? Your words are self contradictory. You might be better able to
    achieve the justice you speak of, from the platform of condemning ALL bigotry
    toward ANY individual. Your current path creates more animosity and pits one
    group against another. Ever considered that approach? Or is this thought
    process not tantalizing enough to sell? At some point in order to be viewed as
    credible, one must put their money where their mouth is…

  • At the end of the day it isn’t how anyone else defines Santorum or Pelosi or the President. In the end each person’s words and actions should tell their story – shouldn’t it?

  •  I did not say that bigotry is justifiable. I said that insulting speech and dragging someone behind a truck until they are dead is not morally equivalent. And, yes, I do believe that bigotry aimed at an oppressed minority is more troubling than the same directed at the ruling majority. Feel free to disagree.

  • Harold Fickett

    A couple of points in response to Larry and other commentators. 

    Larry’s main points seems to be that if a Catholic like Santorum is going to cast aspersions on the faith of President Obama or others than such Catholic leaders better get ready for for all the old prejudices and slurs against Catholicism to  be trotted out.  What’s sauce for the goose is sauce
    for the gander.  I don’t believe Santorum is doing this–perhaps I’m blinded by my own partisan feelngs–but Larry’s point is fair, even if I disagree with the underlying assumption. 

    I know you don’t think, Larry–and how could you–that  anyone who makes such threats as you’ve referenced is a “good Catholic.”  I want Cathoic Exchange to distinguish itself as a place where you get a fair and charitable hearing.
    Nutballs abound, but I’ll try to bounce any that might show up here. 

    Obama’s faith is very much, as I’ve said before, the social Gospel of liberal Protestantism.  It follows the line of Harvey Cox’s 60’s classic, THE SECULAR CITY, in which progressive forces in the world set the agenda for
    Christianity.  The reason many resist giving Obama credit for his faith is that liberal Protestantism looks–and mostly acts–almost nothing like traditional Christianity.  It cloaks Hegelian ideas in Christian language. Even in religion there’s such a thing as counterfeiting.  You can call anything “Christianity” –just as you can replicas of dollar bills on a copying machine–but unless the beliefs are genuinely true to the faith, or at least close, people are gong to have their suspicions.  I think if Obama said, “I’m a liberal Protestant who sees Jesus as a Great Teacher rather than
    the Savior of the world” (or whatever he does believe with more depth than he’s done to date)  he’d dispel the winking.  We’d all know where we stand. Actually, wouldn’t that be great if he gave such an interview and talked more specifically about the outlines of his faith? That might clear what your rightly point out as the noxious air. 

    Finally, although Catholics are not hoisted off airplanes or dragged to death behind pick-up trucks in the United States, our beliefs are routinely dismissed as an unaccountable
    remnant of medievalism.  (Christians are, in fact, being viciously slaughtered around the world right now.) What’s more, religious liberty in this country is in genuine jeopardy as a result of the secular-city agenda that  sees
    contraception, including abortion-on-demand, as a means of promoting every sovereign individual’s career ambitions.  See Obama’s speech on the anniversary of Roe this year, where he said that our daughters must have access to abortion so that they can have the same career opportunities as our
    sons.  He actually said that! 

    Faithful Catholics keep trying to suggest that killing
    the unborn is not justified by anyone’s desire to become a lawyer.  We’d like people like you, Larry, to join us in this fundamental concern for human rights.  That’s what we see Santorum asking the country to do, and he is roundly treated as a zealot and fool for it. 

    No one, neiher you nor Santorum nor anyone else, should be castigated for his concerns that justice be done and human rights protected.  It is the defining away of the rights of  the marginalized that we can embrace as our common concern.

    I want to reaffirm how much I’ve appreciated you participating here and offer you a “handshake in thought,” as Van Gogh liked to sign his letters. I don’t see why you would be participating in this discussion if you didn’t sincerely want to reach out to the Catholic community. That’s appreciated.

  • Hey, are you the same John Gury who posted this on my Facebook page:

    “I’ll show you something about Muslims and code. Larry is probably not too good at Math like algebra. He also does not know Arabic too well but guys like him will in fact
    ridicule Muslims using aliases. Now with Arabic what you can do are things like encode data such as specific locations like where Larry is for example using images. What is really neat is that if Larry moves around I can use the same
    image only with a very simple new key to generate his new coordinates. I really admire the math skill of those cultures.”

    Or are you the John Gury who said Catholics were going to cast spells against me, “much worse than voodoo, but they can use that too since they invented most of it”?

  • Bob

    Mr. Doyle–you respond with the cynic’s tool of broodish sanctimony.  Your narrative regarding bigotry toward Catholics shows the great chasm between your world at huffpo and our world. You take to heart your charicatures of Catholics, and in essence make the point that bigotry toward a minority is bad but bigotry of your sort is perfectly justified toward a “majority.”

    Your attempted rhetorical points fall flat. As we speak, the Church militant are giving their blood—in Nigeria, the Sudan, China, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Iran, our people suffer.  In the West we see soft secular tyranny taking root at an accelerated pace.  As Catholics we are in Communion with those who are being martyred and we understand the threadbare nature of protection which once the law here ensured. The deed to my first home, an old fixer upper, prohibited its sale to Catholics, a reminder of the world in which my grandparents lived, overcame, and planted the seed to allow me to prosper.

    I share with you the outrage of those emails to which you have been subjected. I take solace for you that you have the police involved safeguarding your rights to free expression of your ideas, including your own prejudices. You have sought the protection of law, and so do we Catholics that we may openly practice and live our Faith. I do not mean to make light of these hateful emails which torment you but the irony is there once again. The vile hateful language, while more personal from your perspective, is what you employ when writing your screed against or about Catholicism.

    Mr. Doyle—it is good of you to have responded for by doing so you show that you are attempting to justify your work. That is something we should all do such that we work for the greater glory of God. I would invite you to read a few encyclicals in your journey or other sources of Catholic doctrine, such as our Catechism. I detect a good student and Wisdom will improve the satirist in you. Christ’s Peace Mr. Doyle.


  • Mr. Doyle,

    My heart breaks, that you, once a sweet natured altar boy, left the mystical ‘body of Christ’ and profit by holding it, and thereby, Christ himself, to ridicule and scorn.  With love in my heart for all mankind, including you, I invite you, as did Harold, to look again to the source of our Faith, Jesus Christ and what HE taught, as preserved through the centuries by the Church. I invite you to do a satire about Mother Teresa….but that would be all but impossible, since she practiced what the Church calls us all to…Extreme Love! I hope and pray you come home to the Church Larry! You’ll find a most loving welcome and your writing skills can truly lift up mankind, when placed at the service of Him, who willingly took your place and mine on that horrible cross 2 thousand years ago.

  • DrResweber

    Specifically to Mr. Doyle:
    I had heard about; but, hadn’t really paid attention to or read your piece until today. As such, when I did read it, I had the context of having first read this article here at Catholic Exchange and some of your responses to it. In fairness to others, that gave me a context that several others did not have. Nevertheless, I will concede one important point to you. Your piece was so over the top outrageous that it’s hard to imagine that someone wouldn’t suspect that “something was up” (even without the benefit of that context).
    That being said, that is about the only point I can give you. The piece is crude, unfunny and without merit. Do you really expect people to think that that it somehow mirrors how Rick Santorum specifically or conservative Catholics/Christians generally act? That, sir, is almost as offensive as your piece would have been if it were meant as a “literal” screed.
    You still owe us an apology; but, I suspect we’ll never get one. On the spiritual level, that just means we have one more opportunity to “turn the other cheek”. On the political/cultural level, it seems to confirm once again that the intolerant and bigoted cultural left cannot be reasoned with and must simply and overwhelmingly be defeated at the ballot box.
    For the record, I condemn any attempts to silence you through violence and/or threats of such.
    But I do wish you’d just be silent.
    Good day, sir.

  • caporasa

    It should not be surprising that people are scandalized at the prospect of eating the body and drinking the blood of Christ. John chapter 6 attests that even Jesus’ disciples could not tolerate such a vulgar teaching and left Him. He then turned to Peter and asked if he too would leave, to which Peter responded – “to whom shall we go?…”
    Of course in understanding Christ as the Pascal Lamb (who takes away the sins of the world and averts the angle of death), one knows the Passover meal was not complete until you ate of the Lamb and spread its blood on the wooden cross-beams of the household. One recalls also that this was all foreshadowed in the seemingly barbaric and capricious command from God that Abraham sacrifice his long awaited, first-born, dearly beloved son, that is until we discover that God Himself will provide the Lamb (on the very same site no less). Also, it was no accident that Melchizedek the Just priest-king from Salem (Jerusalem) offered bread and wine as a perfect “thank offering” (Eucharistia). I could go on, but I think you can understand that if you truly appreciated what is being offered for the salvation of the world you would attempt to attend the holy sacrifice of the Mass every day, as in fact many practicing Catholics do.

    Mr. Doyle, spend an hour on your knees before the Eucharist and pour your heart out before him and you will truly learn that His Yoke is easy and His burden light.

  • Gordon Plotts

    Hello Mr. Fickett,


    Thank you for reminding all of us that violence, albeit the
    violence of unleashed angry words, does not cure anything.  Someone wise
    said “anger manages everything badly”.  I was thinking about the “Jesus
    eating cult” comment and thought what I would like people to know is that we
    Catholics believe in a God so intimately connected to us that he comes to us in
    the most ordinary of elements, bread and wine.  And that his intimacy
    takes place during a meal with friends that is so much a part of who we are
    that our small fragile selves can in some way accept that truth.  That he
    can change the ordinary into something extraordinary should not be disbelieved
    or something we have to defend with harsh words.  If we do are we any
    better than those who would kill over a burning of their Koran.


    Best regards,


    Gordon Plotts 

  • It appears acceptable by all sides in the world today
    that the end justifies the means.  Each
    one takes their definitions, calls on proofs that agree with their definitions and
    claims the other side is lying or worse.  Seldom have I found conversation that looked
    for agreement first.  This series of
    posts does not have that intention either. 
     I am not clear about the upset
    myself.  I suspect St Francis of Assisi would
    just smile.  Gilbert K Chesterton wrote,
    It isn’t that they can’t see the
    solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.

    Larry Doyle’s piece
    is either a drowning man or someone making a lot of noise.    The reactions are all in a dance with one of
    those points of view.   I am barely able
    to swim on my own in a wading pool so I cannot offer assistance if he is
    drowning.  We would both perish in that
    situation and he says he is not drowning.  The noise does not appear to make any
    difference however.  Larry’s make-wrong-I-be-right
    article has a paper-thin crust of satirical peanut butter and like all rock and
    roll, some like it and some don’t.   The
    end justifies the means or it doesn’t.    On the plus side Chesterton said, If a thing
    is worth doing, it is worth doing badly. On the other hand he wrote, Cruelty
    is, perhaps, the worst kind of sin. Intellectual cruelty is certainly the worst
    kind of cruelty.  He also said, We are
    justified in enforcing good morals, for they belong to all mankind; but we are
    not justified in enforcing good manners, for good manners always mean our own


    This conversation only keeps people in the stream headed in the direction
    introduced as the Third Reich by Adolf Hitler.  
    As a child, I wanted to know what the first two ‘Reich’ were and you
    will spend a lot of time looking for an answer. 
    It will have you in my view get out of the water! 

    Since this is actually about current election politics in the USA the current set
    of imposters and puppets operating the levers and dials of government, appear
    less worthy and less competent than that last few administrations over thirty
    plus years.   However, there are no accidents in
    politics.  GK Chesterton a hundred years ago
    saw “The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and
    Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The
    business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being
    corrected.” The democrat half of the ONLY government party of the USA is
    intent upon bringing the Third Reich into full flower as soon as possible.  The republican half of that same party thinks
    it should take a little longer, a day or two perhaps.  Jesus would not be a party to either group.  The end justifies the means or it doesn’t.    You
    will know them by their fruit, their results NOT their intentions, good bad or

    last Chestertons…


    is not bigotry to be certain we are right; but it is bigotry to be unable to
    imagine how we might possibly have gone wrong.


    It is the test of a
    good religion whether you can joke about it.

  • Reinerhouse

    How do you know they came from Catholics?

  • Reinerhouse

    Btw, the answer to all your questions is a resounding and profound YES. All of these things did happen to Catholics in this country. It was not right then and neither is the religious bigotry of today. I don’t get the point you are trying to make. I will also say that the threats that are being made against you are scandalous and absolutely reprehensible

  • Mike

    I’m not sure I see the slander of others faiths that you are positing. I have never heard any Catholic leaders attack Mormomism as cult or or that matter say Islam is a violent religion. In fact I have seen the opposite with many attempts to reach out to to self other faiths. Sure there may be individuals of Catholics who act wrongly in this regard, but they don’t represent the faith.

  • Charlie

    Larry, you ask: “Has anyone in the US ever protested the construction of a Catholic church because it would upset the neighbors?”  The answer is yes:

  •  Now?

  • Myra DSouza
  • Holy Humor!

    Two millennia have passed and still Jesus’ timeless explanation holds the truth, “This I command you: love one another. If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
    If you belonged to the
    world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to
    the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.”

    Christ remains the eternally faithful, forever forgiving and loving, forever patient and persistent bridegroom. Humanity, his beloved spouse, ever more independent and miraculously capable, pridefully spurns such pathetic, pitiful drivel.  Ever more resentful and unappreciative, Christ’s rejecting bride must parade her power and disdain. 

    Thanks to Rick Santorum’s welfare reform, Uncle Sam and his 50 nephews moved the indigent off taxpayer-funded welfare and put the entire population – indigent, middle and upper class, EVERYONE WITH A CHILD- on noncustodial-parent-funded welfare and eliminated the economic need for marriage or love or the apparent taxpayer costs of the new, invisible welfare. So now, 55% of children grow up in broken homes and nearly 45% of babies are born out of wedlock with a 90% certainty that their parents will not collaborate in love for the benefit of their children.Rather, they are free at last to pursue their own interests.

    Cohabitation with its near perfect relationship failure rate for couples rapidly replaces marriage; fewer and fewer care to commit their hearts and souls to anything but perceived advantages of the flesh. Though our Father never intended same-sex sexuality to conceive children, our laws increasingly deny our vulnerable little ones the opportunity of understanding just what our Creator intended for man and woman and what His son’s Word meant about true love – that we are to love each other as God loves, sharing His sun and rain equally with good and bad alike, forgiving not seven times, but seventy-seven times and loving the most bitterest, enemy to the end.  Let’s be real. God’s love is just not practical, realistic, fruitful or fun, we humans dogmatically insist. Every poll agrees.  So, of course we reject those idiot Catholics for believing such nonsense about God and His totally unbelievable cartoon son, Jesus. He professes a love so supernatural that not one Christian believer comes close to love like that, except maybe His mother.  Now come on, His Virgin mother?  What a joke!  Mankind can replace and reroute the blood vessels of the human heart with the ease of his DaVinci robot, leave virtually no scars and send us home two or three days later – now that we’ll believe. That’s getting Godly. Haven’t we seen it in our own families? But the Father of the universe conceiving His son by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a 13 year old? Only a dumb Christian who failed biology 101 could buy such nonsense. Sure, we can believe that God Himself is a pedophile, certainly by the behavior of His priests. But He’s no miracle worker conceiving a God-Man like that with Hocus-Pocus Holy Spirit! Damn Disney Catholics!!!  Let’s force them to use birth control and abort any of their little nuisances that escape the pill, the suction, or the scissors in the back of their little heads. With fewer kids, society will work a whole lot better. Kids are just a pain. Stay together for the kids?  No way!  Children should be seen and shot whenever they cease being useful or fun.

  • If we want to reintroduce the Christian vocabulary into the conversation, then we are going to have to let criticisms, even vicious attacks, flow freely”   Well they certainly are flowing freely, and I don’t see the need to keep having to verify and  prove.   I agree about not asking for apologies in these cases and really don’t care if they apologize or not. Why is the onus on the group being subject to abuse to introduce a moral vocabulary into  any “conversation”  that is at the level of of raving profanity, boorish stupidity that a person thinks is funny?  Let him go into a bar and exercise his bold rights of free speech and satire and see what happens, rather than push it out on some stupid blog that has no immediate consequences, where there are legions of anonymous Larry Doyles. That is a fair standard, would you say this in any bar in the US? Why do I suspect Larry would not want to do that?   You, Harold, might want to engage a guy like Larry in a reasonable discussion of Christian and Catholic morality but I really don’t think that is how it works in the real world or what he really wants. What he wants is to make you look stupid. In my case he is going to have a hard time doing that.  

  • mike

    appreciate your reply about the trickiness of the First Amendment but don’t
    share your perspective. I think the FFs were brilliant in how they
    formulated “freedom of religion”. First, we need to understand
    that they believed this and other of our rights were natural and came from a
    Creator, a Deity, a God. They did not come from a Government. In fact, while a
    government is necessary, they posited that a government is only legitimate when
    it acknowledges that “rights” come from God. They never
    envisioned that the 1st Amendment was there to “force” believes of
    one faith upon another. In fact, just the opposite- it was created so that
    there would not be preference to one faith or the creation of a “national
    religion or faith”. It was created to allow all to practice their faith as
    they so fit. I think this is at the heart of this HHS mandate issue. We see the
    POTUS insisting that the government provides us with these various rights
    which is in direct contradiction to our FFs and what we state in the Declaration
    of Independence. If we allow the government to assign rights as it is doing
    here, then we are on a very dangerous slippery slope. I also would point out
    that RCs outside of this country are facing real martyrdom today- the Catholic
    community in Iraq
    has been decimated. Catholics are frequently attacked in many African, Asian
    and ME countries. My point in raising Catholic bias in the past in the US was to
    illustrate that unfortunately this is part of our immigrant history. Does it
    make it right- of course not! But what is happening today to followers of Islam
    is certainly not unique in our history.

  • Vytautask

    Your piece is excellent. My congratulations. Don’t pay much attention to the Catholic threats. Threatening – with punishment in this life, or hell in the next one – is their main tool and the best that the can do.

  • Vytautask

    Cannot stop laughing after reading this: “Santorum has made no secret of his plans to implement his leader’s dicta on allowed uses of vaginas and anuses”. :))) What has happened with America? The land of the free.  I mean sure, he wont’ be elected, because that would make the US like another Taliban-run country, but even considering such people for the post of the most influencial guy in the world sounds terrible .

  • Mike

    Thank you for proving Mr. Doyle’s point in your two comments.

  • Editor

    To Vytautask and all: please note that Mr. Doyle has simply cut and pasted some ugly remarks he evidently received on Facebook, assuring us that they are Catholic–nobody here has any idea if the commenters were genuinely Catholic or not. Note also that this entire debate happening now is happening in an orthodox Catholic site, where Mr. Doyle’s critics, even though they disagree, are all handling themselves in a respectful, civil manner. In other words, attempts to paint Mr. Doyle as a martyr suffering at the hands of religious intolerance look foolish and adolescent–he has proceeded to say exactly what he wants to say in a society that protects his right to do so, his career is perfectly intact, and he is having a swell time. 

  • Memindfire


  • Ahawkins77


    I think it’s a little presumptous to say that the comments you received on FB and listed above came from “good Catholics”….I believe someone in this thread mentioned that as Christians we are to react/ act in charity and I presume that most of us have, allowing you your first amendment right to free speech. I think todays readings for Monday, March 5th, 2012 in the Catholic church are a timely reminder for all of us on both sides of this issue. At first I was very upset by your piece, but after pondering it for a while and reading much of the responses both from you and from others, I am no longer upset, now I am just sad.

  • JamesIgnatius

    I, for one, am grateful for the recent attention upon such critical issues as human life, artificial contraception, and the basic tenets of our Catholic Faith.  It is when The Bride of Christ is persecuted and mocked that She time and again proves to the world her eternal Truths.

  • Nah

    That’s right Vita vita vegamin.  Catholic threats are weak and frankly not very persuasive in an evil world.  Love is our only weapon and the amunition is abundantly available in the body and blood of Christ.  God help us if that source of love ever disappears.  Mockery, peer pressure and being cool are the weapons of the insecure; unfortunately for Larry, his satire hit that shallow mark.

  • Nah

    Although you make it very tempting, I am not going to pass judgement on you.  Instead you helped me examine my conscience.  I believe you need my prayers and not my scourn.  I understand your explanation of the satire but the satire didn’t work.  You squandered a perfect opportunity to do good by reaching a broader audience with your apology.  Instead you played it safe by singing to the oh so tolerant, liberal, secular choir.  It seems ingenuous to be shocked at the backlash you are receiving, when your satire practicallly begged for it. 
    Catholics are easy targets to mock, and we step into the trap of the evil one all the time by getting angry with our critics.  The whole purpose of anti-Catholic rhetoric is to weaken the body of Christ from within.  No religion or Christian denomination has perfect, sinless followers.  All humans are broken.  Catholics provide the amunition for their enemies by allowing insults to break us further.  Fortunately, we have all we need to heal us.  All we have to do is want to be healed.  Thank you for reminding me. 
    I will offer my prayers up for you and your family today out of the only source of love – the body and blood of Christ.

  • Nfriemel


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  • Dear Mr. Fickett,
    I disagree a bit.  Yes, we may be being asked to move toward that authenticity of being hated and if so we will be blessed.  But since we live in a society that still pretends, at least, to be based on dialogue we are not asking that Faith be given a privileged position but that the persons who have offended be given a chance to tone it down and reenter dialogue.  When they have not fine shake the dust from our feet.

    Of course if you are suggesting that we grow up and that satire is is a correct Christian response, I have been waiting  for someone (perhaps Catholic Exchange ) to employ a cartoonist or essayist for a daily or weekly entry totally skewering the secularist Know-Nothings (19th Century reference ironically appropriate).  Perhaps one lampooning Doyle and Huffington would be a good start.  Their worship of the Pill and dead babies as the key to happiness under their high priest Obama should provide someone with the right kind of artistic talent ample material with which to work. 

    As for Mr. Doyle’s response:  Perhaps you know him personally and feel confident about his quaifications as a satirist.  He asks to be given every benefit of the doubt, while taking Santorum to task giving him none.  We are to trust that he is not a bigot while he assumes that Santorum’s statements are bigotry.  You ask me to trust that he is the gentleman satirist who merely
    criticizes one Catholic whom he finds extreme but he did not lampoon
    Santorum he lampooned the whole Faith!  When one ridicules the Eucharist I pause to wonder if he aims merely to light rhetorical fires in hearts or to actually burn the churches down.  The former does not always lead to the latter but the latter often begins as or masquerades as the former.

  • Alecto

    I agree.  But I also wonder what would have happened had this been a rant against homosexuals, gay marriage or some other sacred cow on the Left and the author a dedicated conservative or Christian?  Why are we supposed to be polite while they disembowel us?  I do not do victim and I’m not about to be eaten by a lion or nailed to a cross – if I’m going down, I’m going down swinging.  I’m part-Irish like Doyle, but a practicing Catholic, I know what it means to be scrappy.  Bring it on Doyle, I’ve got a knuckle sandwich with your name on it.

  • Harold Fickett

     Thank you for your comment Father Calabrese.  I take your point.  It would bear more weight, at least with me, if the conservative religious response weren’t so predictably censorious.  I think by presuming that folks would like to be civil–and understanding that satire as a form depends on posing as a neutral observer (even a fool) while attacking ferociously–we are more likely to draw them into a dialogue than by using pressure tactics to silence them.  That only increases our opponents’ outrage.

    Specifically, Larry went on these pages to comment, running the risk of incurring further attacks, as a means of reaching out to the Catholic community.  That was pretty cool of him, don’t you think?  If he wanted just to trade insults he could have done that in a lot of other places–ones much more congenial to his point-of-view.  I’ve tried to honor his gesture in my responses, as have others.  You have, too, of course.  If we could JUST ask people to tone it down instead of rising up in righteous indignation and demanding apologies, I think we would be more effective.

    I also think, as you suggest, that it would be TERRIFICALLY effective to employ a cartoonist at Catholic Exchange along the lines you mention.  I stand ready to accept any appropriately talented volunteer that comes along, and also officially stand here with my tin cup for alms toward that end.  Few things could delight me more.  God bless, Harold

  • Thanks so much for the reply.
    I do agree with you; I found his additional responses encouraging.  Your responses, were respectful, factual and firm.  I thought the tone of the exchanges, some of which I found after I commented, improved as the “chat” went along.  HopefulIy all will be better off for the exchange and some of his HuffPo readers will also recognize you as an honest partner in exchanging ideas.  I waited before commenting only because I wanted to reflect on the points you were trying to get across before just firing away. 
    My experience in the Internet world has been mixed.  Some have accepted me as a dialogue partner but when called on their rhetoric or given a mirror of it they get angry.  Others stay the course of dialogue through the good and the slightly ugly.  God bless,
    Fr Peter

  • Why should you put up with something written by a guy would not have the guts to say it out loud in a bar.  This having a conversation with Larry to see why he is so hateful, why we don’t understand  the brilliant satire of what he wrote, ad nauseum is like telling your kid to be reasonable and show kindness to a bully. Plus, this business of atheists and whoever else pointing out to you what your religion teaches so they can feel superior to you while they are insulting you is total bullshit. The person attacking you is going to tell you how much better they are than you because they are so fucking smart and dignified by comparison? I don’t think so. Even if you are some kind of renegade radical reformer revolutionary priest or nun and no one has recognized your cause, the early abolition of slavery for example,  it still does not work that way. That is not how it works even when you are Protestant at total war against the church. Like putting up with the tactics of a dirty fighter. 

  • James Stagg

    Good article!  Great idea!  Bring ’em on!

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  • Brian A. Cook

    I will concede that the satire (let’s not forget what it was) is
    completely mean-spirited.  However, I must take issue with the blithe
    quoting of one of the Beatitudes.  In order to qualify, the accusations
    MUST be completely unjustified–they key word is “falsely.” 

    Are there
    not injustices and ambiguities within the Church’s history?  I have been
    asking hard questions in order to search for the truth.  As a matter of
    fact, I went to Confession yesterday to ask for renewed faith in
    Christ’s presence in the Church.    I appreciate Blessed John Paul’s
    mass of penance immensely, as it is a much-needed starting point for

    Oh, an I do appreciate the serious attempts on this thread to dialogue with the author. 

  • Why dialogue with someone who wants to add more material to make you look stupid  and who continues to ridicule while telling you how HE rejects being anti religion, anti Catholic? Look at his Facebook page. He is not even at the level of “being intentionally disingenuous” but is a liar and a bully. He does not deserve the benefit of polite discourse because he forfeited that right a long long time ago. 

  • Larry thinks he is a smart guy but he is in for some big surprises. Like from my relative Catholic moral theologian Jean-Pierre Gury who addressed this very topic about how to deal with guys like Larry:   

  • Sean

    First I’d like to thank Mr. Fickett for his post and for the civil dialogue that ensued. I wish more comments sections would be moderated in order to focus on the issues and not personal attacks or disruptions from misfits. I was surprised to see Mr. Doyle engaging in the dialogue and appreciate the opportunity to address him. However, I feel he used the opportunity to state his position and opinions rather than accept constructive criticism and to be open to persuasion. I’d like to make a couple of points to Mr. Doyle that others haven’t already addressed. First, as hospitible as this forum may be it certainly is not the only one of its kind. The overwhelming majority of Catholics are willing and eager to hear you out fairly and discuss your piece. By insinuating otherwise, you continue to insult us while claiming to do otherwise. Second, while you have admitted that your piece was not perfect and it could have done a better job as satire, you have failed to acknowledge the fact that you did little to help it be understood. You could have included an explanation at the end of the article, a disclaimer if you will, so that people would not get the wrong idea. However, this brings me to my third point. I think you intended to shock Catholics, because what you chose to ridicule goes straight to the heart of our faith. It’s disingenuous for you to write something so hurtful and then further insult us for being so “stupid” as to be offended. My final point is that a large part of the reason we were offended is because the article was published on The Huffington Post. Any casual observer of their religion section would notice their hostility and distain for the Catholic Church and especially the Holy Father and the bishops. Even if your intentions were as you described them, I am certain that the editors’ intentions with publishing your article were to offend Catholics and further their anti-Catholic agenda. The fact that Ariana Huffington, the editors, and many Democratic politicians and pundits won’t come out and concede that this sort of thing was in poor taste and handled wrongly and apologize for it demonstrates that they think it’s okay to attack Catholics and our faith.

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  • chaco

    I think everyone would agree that in order for evil to gain any head-way, it has to make itself appear good; “Wolf in sheep’s clothing”. Hitler claimed to have good intentions. I don’t think Doyle can promote his cause without 1st proving his “Pedophile Protectors” label. The only statistics I’ve seen show a  low- single digit percentage of credible cases against Catholic clergy. This compared to a much higher percentage among secular authority figures.  I agree that if someone can’t back up their claim, you should limit discussion to the weather or more trivial subjects.   We are not called as much to doing great things. Rather, we are called to do things with great love.  Until I can sense the love/concern in Doyle’s argument, I’m just going to comment on the weather. Such lack of credibility isn’t worth getting upset over. 

  • Wanna be cartoonist

    Oh if only we could find a true Catholic cartoonist…While watching my local new station on TV last night, I saw the knitted pink uterus that is being sent by many pro-death women to members of the US Congress with the message: keep your hands off my uterus.  IF only we could find a talented cartoonist to portray these man-made knitted objects with the God-made baby knitted in its womb.  The message from the baby could be really powerful.  I can imagine for instance a message from the child saying: “On this we can agree. Keep your hands off!”   Or maybe: “Keep your hands off my life, liberty and pursuit of happiness!”  If only I could draw…