The things you can learn from Inside the Vatican


It’s a Catholic magazine, and Anthony Barcellos sent me a scan of their letters page. It’s very enlightening.

The things I learned from this sample:

  • Catholics are old.

  • Many of them are in prison.

  • I have succeeded in my crusade to drive them out of my university.

What caught Anthony’s eye was this letter:

MAGAZINE IS “VITAL” FOR CATHOLIC STUDENTS

The University of Minnesota in Morris, as well as the main campus in the Twin Cities, is 98% atheist. That is why Inside the Vatican is vital. I was the only Catholic professor there, now retired, so I know whereof I speak. I wish to give this gift subscription to the few Catholic students at UM-Morris.

Maria Louisa Rodriguez

Morris, Minnesota, USA

I do not know who Maria Louisa Rodriguez is — she may have retired before I got here. But there are a few errors in her letter. Catholicism is the single largest religious denomination in Minnesota, with about a quarter of the population, and while universities do have their demographic biases, I rather doubt that we’d be able to exclude Catholics that thoroughly, especially since we don’t have any filters in admissions that would discriminate.

I wish I could say specifically that I know Catholic students, but since I don’t attend the church, and I never ask any of my students what they do on Sundays, I don’t know. Also don’t care. It’s not as if I would put a question on an exam about it.

I do happen to know that a couple of faculty members are Catholic, so I guess we’ve been backsliding since those halcyon, Catholic-free days immediately after Ms Rodriquez’s retirements.

I’m also curious about what’s going on in the UMM Newman Center, this lovely building just off campus, a few blocks from me. Apparently all the photos on that page of students there are photoshop fakes, their schedule of Catholic-associated events are a lie, and the coordinators are all making it up when they claim to be students.

Uh-oh. Maybe the lesson I should learn is that the old jailbirds who write in to Inside the Vatican are all making crap up.

Comments

  1. Rich Woods says

    The one which struck me was the letter containing the phrase ‘in a world besieged by the confusion of conflicting opinions’.

    I think the writer likes to be told what to think and how to act. Heaven forfend that she should try to work it out for herself.

  2. says

    Largest single denomination. I think Lutherans slightly outnumber Catholics, but are more fractured into distinct synods … that mostly hate each other.

  3. johnnyw says

    “Dear ITV,

    I never thought this would happen to me, but one day while I was reading Leviticus…”

  4. archangelospumoni says

    All:
    Become a beekeeper. This always helps me stay a few per cent sane. When I am working with the bees I don’t have the mental bother of being marginally concerned or aware of Drumpfh, Catholics, Maria Louisa Rodriguez, anywhere that is 98% atheist, etc.

    s/
    Archangelo Spumoni

  5. anthrosciguy says

    I suspect that what Maria Louisa Rodriguez was actually saying was “I was so obnoxious about anything even remotely concerning my religious beliefs that even the other Catholics didn’t want to talk to me.”.

  6. Holms says

    The University of Minnesota in Morris, as well as the main campus in the Twin Cities, is 98% atheist. That is why Inside the Vatican is vital. I was the only Catholic professor there, now retired, so I know whereof I speak. I wish to give this gift subscription to the few Catholic students at UM-Morris.

    Uh-oh. Maybe the lesson I should learn is that the old jailbirds who write in to Inside the Vatican are all making crap up.

    Standard christian persecution complex, nothing to see here, move along.

  7. unclefrogy says

    letters to the editor are always suspect, they are selected and sometimes edited by the staff.
    They should be considered in the same way as anything else on the editorial pages.
    What purpose was a particular letter selected for? is the question.

    uncle frogy

  8. handsomemrtoad says

    PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE do not use hateful, bigoted language here! Avoid the offensive pejorative word “Catholic”. You might offend someone by saying that word! Use a neutral, objective, purely-descriptive term like “Mackerel-snapper” or “Poper-scoper”. Thank you.

  9. johnlee says

    “We need to acccompany the Pope in prayer”

    You would think that the Lord had figured out who the Vicar of Christ was by this point, thus making further prayer superfluous.

  10. numerobis says

    What I see from that Letters page is that the editors are still getting a few rich old catholics to fund their rag, but nobody else, so they got together and brainstormed what they figured a letters section would look like that could convince the rich old catholics to continue to send funding.

  11. cartomancer says

    Pffft. Back in the good old Thirteenth Century the letters from Catholics to the Vatican were far more exciting. You might actually get a response from Thomas Aquinas himself, as a certain noblewoman from the Low Countries (some think it was Margaret of Flanders, others the Duchess of Brabant) discovered when she asked how she should treat the Jews in her region.

    The answer was basically “tax them all you want, but don’t drive them to starvation with it, and since everything they own was got through illicit usury you should only use the taxes to pay back those they have charged interest to or give them to the church for pious purposes. Oh, and make sure they wear special clothes so you can tell them apart from Christians”.

  12. gijoel says

    I was reading ‘Debt: the first five thousand years.’ awhile ago and the author made an interesting observation. Basically every society needs a credit mechanism, but the average peasant dislikes being in debt and will look for ways to dodge it. So you either make it a sin to not pay back the debt, or you force a minority group to become the financiers. Thus if you can lend with impunity via a despised third party, and can engage in a pogrom if you owe too much money.

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