Globe Columnist: How Dare Pope Claim Catholicism Superior!

If there's one person whose essence, whose very being, whose every fiber stands for the proposition that the Roman Catholic church is the one true religion, it is the Pope. The Church does define him as the Vicar of Christ, after all.

So you might forgive the Pope for advocating the notion that his religion is superior. But somehow that notion deeply offends Boston Globe columnist - and former Roman Catholic priest - James Carroll. In his column of today, Pope Benedict's hierarchy of truth, faith, Carroll takes the Pope to task for asserting the superiority of his faith. Referencing the Pope's recent address that has caused a stir, Carroll writes:

"The pope's lecture reveals a deeper and insulting problem. Benedict properly affirms the rationality of faith, and the corollary that faith should be spread by reasoned argument and not by violent coercion. But he does so as a way of positing Christian superiority to other faiths."

Well, yeah. That is the Pope's job description, after all.

And later: "Benedict is defending a hierarchy of truth. Faith is superior to reason. Christian faith is superior to other faiths (especially Islam). Roman Catholicism is superior to other Christian faiths. And the pope is supreme among Catholics. He does not mean to insult when he defends this schema, yet seems ignorant of how inevitably insulting it is. Nor does the pope understand that, today, such narcissism of power comes attached to a fuse."

Carroll reveals a profound ignorance, perhaps grounded in hostility, about religion. If religion is just a quaint cultural relic, well then, there's no point in getting worked up over the supposed superiority of one's religion, or "faith tradition" as Al Gore so delicately preferred it in the 2000 campaign. Many pathways to God, let's all hold hands, sing Kumbaya and see you at the anti-war march next week. But what if you believe that your religion is not merely superior, but the one way in which man can achieve salvation and avoid eternal damnation? You might just be a tad more assertive in proclaiming that fact.

Carrroll clearly can't contemplate someone so old-fashioned as to believe that. His failure exemplifies MSM attitudes toward religion and faith.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.