In my endeavor to become a Catholic, I have been reading various books in a personal crash course on the faith. One of the books that helped me immensely is Michael Coren's Why Catholics Are Right. In this slim volume, Coren makes a vigorous defense against the popular criticisms of the Church. These involve things like the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, and the sex abuse scandal. Coren does a masterful job addressing these issues, and the man pulls no punches.
One of the things I have discovered in my journey is the heaping amount of anti-Catholic hatred out there. As someone who grew up in the Protestant South and as a former atheist, I know all about this hatred. What Coren's book does is show how these haters are also liars grasping at any stick to beat their favorite dog. These lies are not merely differences of opinion but outright distortion of the facts.
The biggest issue facing the Church is the sex abuse scandal. This scandal is regrettable but also one that was unavoidable in a church of over one billion people. As the Sandusky scandal at Penn State shows, this is a problem outside the Church as well as in it. It plagues other religions, youth sports, and the public school system. And Coren makes the point that Catholics themselves are very upset over these things. Nothing can ever excuse these crimes, but Coren shows that the Catholic Church is not alone on this and is not indifferent to it. Basically, those who hate the Church have found a gold mine in this issue and milk it for all it is worth when the reality is that the Church has less of a problem with it than the New York public school system. The one difference between the Church and these other organizations is that the Church shows actual contrition and regret over the scandal. And, despite the lies about papal indifference, the Pope has strived mightily to address this issue. His work and pronouncements on this issue are utterly ignored. Seeing it from Coren's perspective is a real eye opener.
The other interesting thing I have learned from Coren and others is that Catholicism is thoroughly biblical. Most anti-Catholic hatred comes from evangelical and fundamentalist Protestants that believe the Church is some sort of cult that added to or distorted the Christian message. The reality is that it is Protestants who go against Scripture and have perverted what Scripture says and add to it. The Catholic Church is on firm Scriptural ground while the thousands of Protestant denominations that exist simply make up whatever doctrine or teaching will make them feel good for that moment.
The Catholic Church is not perfect, and Coren does not deny this. As my wife puts it to me, the Catholic Church is totally self-aware and mindful of its shortcomings. Coren's book is no whitewash. It is merely a spotlight, and I came away from the book strengthened by my conviction that the Catholic Church is the true and authentic church of Jesus Christ established on the rock of Peter, the first pope, and unbroken in its apostolic succession for almost 2000 years. I think this is why so many in the world hate the Church. People hate the Church not for what it gets wrong but for what it gets right. I highly recommend this book.