What do you call a guy who leaves the priesthood, rejects fundamental doctrine of the Catholic Church, and propagates egregious falsehoods about Catholics? If you're the Los Angeles Times, you call him a "Devout Catholic" – in your headline. Un·be·liev·a·ble.
The subject in a fawning article in the Times is James Carroll. A new documentary film is based on his 2001 book, Constantine's Sword, an awful work that advances the premise that anti-Semitism is central to Catholicism and Christianity.
Who is James Carroll? Here's your first hint: He writes for the Boston Globe. But quite simply, "James Carroll is a professional anti-Catholic," as author/catechist Oswald Sobrino has aptly written. He is an "anti-Catholic Catholic." Even the Times acknowledges that he "rejects the very roots of [the Church's] doctrine." Yet this is the Times' idea of a "devout Catholic"?!?
And Carroll's premise that Catholicism is rooted in anti-Semitism has been roundly discredited. Carroll's terrible work was addressed over several pages in the excellent book by Philip Jenkins, The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice. Carroll's book is presented as a modern-day example of anti-Catholic rhetoric. Wrote Jenkins (who is not a Catholic himself) (emphasis mine):
Carroll is simply wrong about anti-Semitism being integral to Catholic Christianity: no direct historical highway leads from the evangelists to Auschwitz. Just as suspect, therefore is Carroll's attempt to discredit traditional Christianity by contextualizing it together with the dreadful crimes of anti-Semitism. He is overpresenting his case in order to justify a "reform agenda" that amounts to a blueprint for the annihilation of the Catholic Church. Much of Carroll's book is devoted to his agenda for a proposed Third Vatican Council, which would cure the Catholic Church of the dreadful faults that have made it a "failed and sinful Church." For all its excellent intentions, its moral fervor, Carroll's book is a frontal attack on Catholic Christianity, and this agenda shapes its interpretations on every page. (p. 190) (Thank you, Oswald Sobrino!)
(For an online shredding of Carroll's book, see "Constantine’s Sword: A Review Article," by Robert P. Lockwood.)
The review in the Times also propagates Carroll's (and others') vicious falsehood that Pope Pius XII "was silent" during World War II as Jews were massacred. Modern scholar after modern scholar has debunked this repeatedly.
The Pius War: Responses to the Critics of Pius XII by William Doino, Joseph Bottum, David G. Dalin
Consensus and Controversy: Defending Pope Pius XII by Margherita Marchione
Defamation Of Pius XII by Ralph Mcinerny
Of course, nowhere in the Times' article is there any outside criticism of Carroll and his work. His outrageous claims are taken as (gospel) truth.
Anti-Catholic bigotry at the Los Angeles Times? As we've reported before, it wouldn't be the first time.