The energetic renascence of anti-Catholicism in Western precincts has been making itself felt for a while now, with some instances more visible than others. There was the low-water mark of 2004, for example, when the Italian intellectual Rocco Buttiglione was nominated as a justice minister of the European Commission— only to be forced to withdraw on grounds that, as an orthodox Catholic, he could not be trusted to uphold ever-changing secular imperatives concerning sex. There are the more farcical reverberations in our own time and place—like Senator Dianne Feinstein’s recent declaration to an impeccably qualified Catholic candidate for judicial appointment that “the dogma lives loudly within you.” And then there’s what might be called the hidden hand of this hardy prejudice, the kind that shapes outcomes without showing its face.

The majority of...

 
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