"Catholic" means "universal." It also means "broad-minded." In this sense, it's sort of like the term "global," which can mean "worldwide" or the opposite of "provincial." Ironically, the two meanings of "catholic" are at odds with respect to the Catholic Church. The Pope teaches that the "Catholic" version of Christianity is the right one for all Christians and that Christianity is the only right religion for all people. How "broad-minded" is that?


Not to say that the Catholics are unique in this regard. The claim to exclusive universality is also found in most of the rest of Christianity and in most of Islam. It's the term "Catholic" that's ironic, not narrow mindedness on its own.


August 2003


Catholic Doublespeak: irony and doctrine

Gay Pride Parade, Seattle

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