If you take Boston Globe columnist James Carroll seriously, you might read the latest of his vicious attacks on the Catholic Church and conclude that he would disdain someone who could stoop to "denigrate" his intellectual opponents and "caricature" their arguments. You'd be wrong.
It's not just that Carroll claims that the claims put forward by Pope Benedict XVI are "patently false" and "insulting" and based on "ignorance." That's pretty standard stuff for the Globe's resident anti-Catholic (who, oddly enough, is a former Catholic priest). You can clearly sense, in reading this screed, that what really irks Carroll is the Pope's "positing Christian superiority to other faiths."
But what he says really irks him is the Pope's "refusal to reckon with historical facts that contradict Catholic moral primacy." Yes, the refusal to reckon with inconvenient facts is a very annoying attribute. So you'd like to think that James Carroll would look down his nose at any columnist fool enough to read the Regensburg speech, see the Holy Father's trenchant criticism of Western secularism, and conclude that Pope Benedict had "supplied the religious underpinning" for the US war in Iraq. Or a columnist brazen enough to claim that in the 14th century, in the years leading up to the siege of Constantinople, "Islam sponsored rare religious amity among Jews, Christians, and Muslims."
"Bush and Benedict are in sync, and bin Laden is grinning," Carroll writes. Jim, if you see a silly smiling face, you're probably looking at a mirror.
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