Mark Twain and the Catholic Church

Posted: August 6, 2007 in Organizations

I am comparing perceived misdeeds by the Catholic Church that are only misdeeds when we fold time and apply today’s evolving mores to incidents that happened centuries ago with  yellow journalism practiced by a reporter who went on to become one of our most beloved writers and applying journalistic standards that establish criteria for quality reporting these days.

Many centuries ago the Catholic Church practiced officially sanctioned inquisitions and other misdeeds that would no longer be tolerated in that same church because the fallible human beings that hold high office in it are changing with the ages as they observe that those ancient practices simply aren’t tenable.

It is established fact that Mark Twain worked as a reporter at one time that practiced the false reporting that passes as mere entertainment now – and, in fact was then by those cynical journalists who didn’t care about disseminating the truth. They sold the literary equivalent to snake oil to unsuspecting readers in the wild wild west. Any harm that might have been done was entirely unintentional.

It is a matter of practicality that the main stream media be ever vigilant to transgressions against rules against deception. If we paint the main stream media with a broad brush of cynicism and eschew everything they say because of exposed shady incidents, then we cut ourselves off from the vast majority of honest reporting that serves to illuminate our times.

So, too Catholics can be proud of the accomplishments of the Church over the ages while they remain vigilant to continuing violations of the Church-members’ trust.

I would offer that Catholics show the remarkable maturity it did in the 1930’s when they side-stepped the controversy over evolution with the very wise proclamation that it doesn’t make any difference what you believe about evolution as long as you believe that when the first creature that was, in fact a human was infused by God with a soul. This includes discharging myths represented as truths; and recognizing that superstition is the religion of feeble minds. The multitude of people who have sunk into mental illness because they became so confused by inconsistencies that were thrust onto them by well-meaning clerics is legend. It is only by adopting a strong hold on realities and reason that one can keep their sanity and not obsess over holding on to non-sense principles.

I will also use this as an argument to support progressive movements within and outside the Church. It is only when we allow reason to govern our thoughts and actions that we can strive to improve the lives of man in his confusing world.

I am envisioning a world in which Martin Luther reigned in the zealots and woke the Vatican to abuses to the effect of changing the Church’s practices for the better. As progressives became more influential they brought the Church in line with God’s wishes.


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