Responding to anti-Catholic hatred in a rage-filled culture

St. Philip Neri’s example is something we desperately need in today’s world, for our world is much like the Rome of his time.

(Image: Mohamed Nohassi/

The first line of the recent report states: “Three students at a Catholic university were harassed by 60 counter-protesters as they demonstrated against a drag queen show on campus.”

According to the article, at one point, someone even yelled, “I hate Catholic people.”

Yes, at a Catholic university, someone yelled “I hate Catholic people.” The hatred we see today is all too real. And it is destroying our country.

A priest named St. Philip Neri, who’s feast day we celebrate this Friday, May 26th, understood how hatred ruins souls.

He once said , “We ought to hate no one, for God never comes where there is no love of our neighbors.”

This amazing saint had a special way with people. Known as “Good little Phil” from the time he was young, he spent his life drawing people to God through his actions. History tells us that in 1544, Philip felt a “ball of fire enter through his mouth and lodge in his heart.” From that time on, he radiated the peace and love of the Holy Spirit such that “troubled souls were calmed just by drawing near to Philip’s heart and experiencing in his warmth the fire of divine love.”

Philip lived in Rome and saw the “moral hazards” that kept young men away from a life filled with Christ’s love, so he became their spiritual father. It is said that “they were drawn to Philip by his constant care for them, and he began hosting a daily gathering, not only to keep them occupied but to inspire them to a holy life.” Philip shared Scripture with them, taught them about God and the saints, and encouraged them to pray, perform works of mercy, and receive the sacraments often.

Though these men regularly gathered in Philip’s room to talk and learn, they quickly outgrew this space and had to move to a room in the church. At times, he also took them on “field trips” that included works of service such as caring for the ill in hospitals and feeding the poor, but he also took them on fun trips to visit churches or to sit and chat while having a picnic outside. These men became known for the location where they met and were soon called the “community of the Oratory.”

This group became so large that Philip needed help; he established the Congregation of the Oratory, and until the day he died, he led people to Christ with his “joyful and encouraging way.”

Philip was truly an amazing priest, and his example is something we desperately need in today’s world, for our world is much like the Rome of his time. Decadence, immorality, and violence abound. And just as Philip understood that we will never be able to change hearts and minds with hatred and anger, so must we understand this.

In his Catechism in a Year podcast, Fr. Mike Schmitz recently said, “Your life may be the only Bible someone ever reads.”

In other words, our lives must be an example to others. The way we act and treat others must draw them to Christ. Philip lived this, and he taught the men of the Oratory to live this as well. Their actions help us understand that building a culture of life starts with each of us, as even just one person can make a difference, as illustrated by the students at that Catholic university—Loyola of Chicago.

We need examples of moral courage today, especially as we see morality replaced with hedonism; respect for others replaced with respect for only those who hold the same beliefs; and a disregard for the sick, the elderly, and pre-born babies. Further, we see an increase in the number of people who believe the mantra “you do you” as a way of life.

But “you do you” is not born of love. It’s actually born of apathy. And where does apathy come from? It comes from a form of hatred for others.

Love wants what’s best for another. But if we don’t care about someone, we allow them to do whatever they want—thus “you do you.” “You do you” tells people that they can hurt themselves as long as their actions don’t affect us. It’s the ultimate brush off.

The Church helps us see the wrongness in this ideology. And saints like St. Philip model how to live a life that combats hatred and embraces love.

So let us live our lives as Philip did. Let us live our lives as if we are the only Bible someone will ever read. And let us use our love of Christ to diffuse hatred in our homes, in our workplaces, and within our communities. As Philip said, “God never comes where there is no love of our neighbors.”

We will never find God if we are consumed with hatred.

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About Susan Ciancio 48 Articles
Susan Ciancio is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and has worked as a writer and editor for nearly 19 years; 13 of those years have been in the pro-life sector. Currently, she is the editor of American Life League’s Celebrate Life Magazine—the nation’s premier Catholic pro-life magazine. She is also the executive editor of ALL’s Culture of Life Studies Program—a pre-K-12 Catholic pro-life education organization.


  1. St. Philip Neri is one of my heroes but to be fair, his life was threatened on more than one occasion. I hope we don’t have to face what he did. But if so, I hope God sends us a Guardian Angel-type dog as he sent Philip Neri.

  2. Christians, especially, Catholics are the targets of a war on Christianity. Yet, it seems, most Christians are unaware of this or in denial. This war has many fronts and many weapons and many soldiers, among them the LGBT thugs, the Drag Queen psychotics, the Democrat Party, commies and others. This war began 2000 years ago in Jerusalem.

  3. Where are the successors of the Apostles —and I do not mean issuing once a year policy statements at the bishops’ conferences (where half the bishops vote No in any case, about anything “controversial”)

    • YOU are the successor to the Apostles. As the saying goes, when you point your finger at others, you have three more fingers pointing back at you.

  4. The tension that exits between the Knights Templar and, in the article, the example of St. Philip Neri is one I personally struggle with. My spiritual director once asked me regarding the movie “The Mission” who was acting according to God’s will: the mercenary turned monk played by Robert DeNiro or the pious Abbot played by Jeremy Irons. I told him the obvious, Jeremy Irons. “Mmmm. Not so fast”, he said. “In this case, I’m not so sure”. One does wonder without the Cristeros whether there would be a Catholic Church in Mexico today. In the Book of Ecclesiastes we read that there is a time for everything, including war. In fact, the current mode of the church since V2 is to provide aggiornamento or accompany modern man. Since then, we seem to have lost our own way as we’ve taken to accepting, comforting, mollifying all kinds of otherwise abhorrent behavior (anent the LGBTQUIA++ agenda). I think we’ve provided too much accompaniment; we’re suffering an identity crisis as a result. Using Ecclesiastes again, perhaps it’s time to suspend this role and take seriously the fact that the world, the flesh and the devil are STILL and WILL BE our enemies until Christ makes a footstool of them. I believe it’s well past time to strap on the armor, pick up the sword and combat these evil forces that exist to send souls to Hell. Let us at least take seriously the fact that Our Lord entrusted to us His mission of saving souls. Sadly, it even seems like that, too, is now negotiable.

  5. Ciancio writes:

    “Yes, at a Catholic university, someone yelled ‘I hate Catholic people.’ The hatred we see today is all too real. And it is destroying our country.”

    Malevolent people know which institution is its primary enemy, and that of course is the Catholic Church. This is why it will always face many more attacks than lesser forms of Christianity will face.

    Alas, the hatred of Catholicism is not limited to overt expressions of hatred like the one featured in this article. Much of it festers and spreads its cancer in more subtle or serpentine ways pretending to be a friend of Catholicism while working constantly to destroy it. For example, one anti-Catholic fellow is freely permitted to spread his heretical ideas in an otherwise excellent Catholic online journal that states it “examines the news from a faithfully Catholic perspective,” and that it also “offers an unwavering commitment to the truth in light of the Gospel.”

    Yes, in a Catholic journal dedicated to the truth and examining news from a faithfully Catholic perspective, heretical anti-Catholic ideas are published as commentary despite the undeniable harm that all heretical ideas bring about.

    It is indeed quite a burden to be an editor of a journal dedicated to the truth of Catholicism, so why does the editor add to that burden by publishing comments clearly not dedicated to the truth of Catholicism? This constitutes highly sinful formal cooperation, because publishing the anti-Catholic heresies from a known anti-Catholic heretic is approved by the editor who wills that such be published even if he disagrees with the heretical content. Catholic Morality 101.

    Moreover, if only one person who reads such heretical comments begins to question or, God forbid, loses some aspects or all of one’s Catholic faith as is the obvious intention of the writer of such comments, then any editor that permits the spreading of these errors is, despite his or her good overall intentions, guilty of helping to bring about the loss of faith in that person who should not be subject to reading heretical views presented as truth by any commenter in a Catholic journal.

    Now, the editor of the Catholic journal does not have to go through each comment point by point provided by the known anti-Catholic heretic to determine which comments are heretical and which ones are not. Instead, he would act justly if he simply refused to publish any and all further comments by the known heretic in order to safeguard the Faith and the faith of individual Catholics. The heretic has no right to spread his errors in a Catholic journal dedicated to Catholic truth, and he should be stopped immediately from causing any further harm. Allowing the harm to continue based perhaps on some journalistic principle of freedom of expression that is not in line with Catholic teaching is also not honorable or just in any way. Again, it is formally cooperating with the evil that should never be done. Lastly, allowing the heretic to participate as he does in the comboxes is not going to lead him to Catholicism. In fact, it strengthens his resolve to continue his perverted mission. To be sure, the heretic has rejected all outreaches made to him by many good Catholics to seriously consider the truth of Catholicism, because it is his desire to destroy Catholicism, and he laughs at the editor who willingly provides him with a platform to further his unholy mission.

    • “..heretical anti-Catholic ideas are published as commentary despite the undeniable harm that all heretical ideas bring about…”

      Comments are “commentary” in some sense, certainly, but I think our readers, who likely live in the real world, are quite aware and familiar with many false or even anti-Catholic opinions, beliefs, etc.

      The continual use of the term “heretic” to apply to Mr. Young is, in my view, not helpful. But we’ve allowed it, if only because some of his views are formally heretical.

      But the term “heresy” usually refers to a Catholic who has left the Faith. “Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same…” (CCC 2089).

      All that said, our editorial team, as of two days ago, has decided to seriously limit Mr. Young’s comments. (I’d also note that many–many!–of his submitted comments over the past few months have not been approved.) These particular conversations are going nowhere good, in part because Mr. Young has shown that he is not, I am convinced, acting in good faith or with good will.

      And, frankly, I’m tiring of it. We work hard at CWR to moderate comments, a nearly thankless task, so that good discussions can be had. Even with those who are not Catholic or who disagree with the Catholic Church. But this has run its course.

      Perhaps we’ve been too patient in that regard. If nothing else, Mr. Young cannot complain that he was denied a chance to have his say and to respond to good questions, which he rarely answered.

      Upward and onward.

      • Thanks, Carl:

        To be sure, many and probably most CWR readers are able to spot the problems with heretical ideas being spewed, but some ideas and how they are slickly packaged are quite subtle and can avoid proper discernment even by some quite knowledgeable about the Faith. Accordingly, if only one faithful Catholic of CWR is swayed in any way into accepting any aspect of Protestantism as set forth by heretic Brian Young (and it sure looks like he has already fooled a few who should know better but don’t; one person who touts his PhD has even praised heretic Young by claiming that Young has indeed helped Catholics get a better understanding of scripture, which is pure rubbish…and you also know that it is.), then CWR bears some responsibility in willfully permitting the heresies and anti-Catholicism to be published. Cutting back is not enough. The poison must be fully eradicated to prevent any further harm.

        Consider the following: If you were a Catholic Priest, and during Mass a known Protestant with anti-Catholic views entered the Church and began spewing anti-Catholic and/or other heretical statements, would you allow it to continue based on the notion that most people in the pews can recognize the malevolence and the heresies, or would you put a stop to it because such statements are completely inappropriate in that Catholic forum? If you didn’t stop it, you would then be guilty of formal cooperation with the evil.

        Obviously, a journal is not at the same level of holiness, respect, and so on that a Mass enjoys, but any journal that professes to promote the truth of Catholicism and declares itself to be spreading only the good news of Catholicism is similarly obligated to prevent any heresies and/or anti-Catholic views from being published……..And not just cut back on them.

        Now, calling out Brian Young as a heretic is necessary to further enlighten others regarding what he is all about. It matters not how the term is usually applied. What matters is the truth. Your quotation from the Catechism leaves a bit to be desired. Note the more fuller explanation by Fr. John Hardon in his superb “Modern Catholic Dictionary,” 1980, 1999 (p. 247):

        “Anyone who, after receiving baptism, while remaining nominally a Christian, pertinaciously denies or doubts any of the truths that must be believed with divine and Catholic faith is considered a heretic. Accordingly four elements must be verified to constitute formal heresy; previous valid baptism, which need not have been in the Catholic Church; external profession of still being a Christian, otherwise a person becomes an apostate; outright denial or positive doubt regarding a truth that the Catholic Church has actually proposed as revealed by God; and the disbelief must be morally culpable, where a nominal Christian refuses to accept what he knows is a doctrinal imperative.

        …Subjectively a person must recognize his obligation to believe. If he acts in good faith, as with most persons brought up in non-Catholic surroundings, the heresy is only material and implies neither guilt nor sin against the faith.”

        Let’s give Brian Young the benefit of the doubt regarding heresy even though his rejection/dismissal of such obvious things like Mary being the Mother of God after it was clearly explained to him illustrate a lack of good faith regarding this belief, he is at the very least a material heretic, and so he can rightly and justly be labeled as a heretic. In colloquial terms, it is calling a spade a spade in defense of the truth and Truth Itself. Once again from “A Man For All Seasons”:

        More: Roper, the answer’s “no.” (Firmly) and will be “no” so long as you’re a heretic.

        Roper: (Firing) That’s a word I don’t like, Sir Thomas!

        More: It’s not a likable word. (Coming to life) It’s not a likable thing!

        Will you eradicate the poison completely and entirely, or will still permit some of it to be published? Will you continue to allow Protestant preaching in CWR’s Catholic comboxes, or will you stop all of it to curtail its evil?

        St. Michael the Archangel, Defend Us in Battle!

        • I think it might be appropriate and necessary for you to take a step back and examine your own motives and tone here. You seem to have set yourself up as judge, jury, and arbiter of truth, a role not granted to you by God. Be careful and mindful about throwing the term heretic around so loosely and self-righteously. Your Mary Tudor approach is as deeply problematic and un-Christlike as the person you are slandering.

          • Thanks for the chuckle. Absolutely nothing of what you have set forth about me has even a scintilla of the truth in it. In fact, as they say in the scientific community, you are so far off the mark that you are not even wrong, but I forgive you since you know not what you write.

            Doctor Veritatis
            Fidei Defensor

      • Thank you, Mr. Olson, for doing such an admirable job on this thankless task.

        The CWR team offers a unique opportunity for us armchair theologians to weigh in on the Church outrages of the day.

        Unfortunately, recent discussions between Brian Young and various other contributors seem to have reached a point where little constructive was actually being communicated.

        But I commend the CWR staff for their generosity and their forbearance. You keep this friendly little comment community going as a generally positive, always informative, often amusing forum.

        Thank you.

  6. Has Pope Francis not lead the way in responding to the Worldwide explosion in Anti-Catholic Hatred and Persecution, from China to Glasgow?
    “I believe in God, not in a Catholic God” he stated in the first of over 7 exclusive interviews 6 months after he attained the Active Ministerium.

    The World follows his lead?

  7. I could do without some of these LONG vociferous accusing comments. Maybe cut them off at one paragraph? Just a thought.

    • It’s an ego thing rooted in pride, ultimately. Editing can’t really fix that, unfortunately. Only self-awareness and conversion can.

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