Barry Andrew Ward’s Catholic-bashing letter of May 9 … falsely portrays the Cathars as an innocent, wrongfully persecuted religious minority. In fact they held that the world was fundamentally evil, that suicide was admirable, that marital intercourse and reproduction were abhorrent, and other teachings that would have devastated society if their teachings had spread.
Ward also omits the fact that the crusade against this societally harmful movement was launched only after peaceful outreaches had failed — and after the Cathars had murdered a papal envoy.
I suggest that Ward quit living in the distant past and read relatively modern papal encyclicals — such as Pope Leo XII’s “Rerum Novarum” or Pope Pius XI’s “Quadragesimo Anno” — that are seen by devout Catholics and nonbelievers alike as groundbreaking human-rights statements. The latter, in particular, served as one of the foundations for the United Nations’ historic 1948 Declaration on Human Rights. Ward thinks that Catholicism and human rights are not to be linked, but the world’s most prominent international organization apparently disagrees.
Ward’s linking of Catholicism to Nazism is almost too despicable to warrant a response. By the time Hitler, Goering, Goebbels, et al., had launched their reign of terror, they had long since abandoned the Catholicism of their youth.
Does Ward seriously believe that Nazism had anything to do with Catholic doctrine or teaching?
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.