A New Kind of Catholic

By Marc Dion

October 16, 2020 4 min read

The choosing of Amy Coney Barrett as Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee is brilliant from the stereotype standpoint.

Sure, she's a religious conservative and, as such, she can be counted on to roll women's rights back to 1640, but she's Catholic.

If she were the usual sort of Jesus-pesterer out of Oklahoma, she'd be open to all kinds of jokes about snake handling, speaking in tongues and being personally "healed" by Rev. Billy Joe Buck Bob of the Frog's Corner Church of Everyday Holiness.

But she's not.

Instead, she's a Catholic, a member of a faith known for elegance of thought and language, or at least it was before Catholic universities started teaching that being a vegan was a reliable route to salvation.

And, if she is a Catholic, she's not the stereotypical mackerel-snapper, the rosary-rattler with a statue of the Virgin Mary in the front yard, and a painting of the Last Supper on black velvet hanging over the couch.

That's Mexican Catholic. That's Italian Catholic. That's greasy and unknowable and quite possibly involved in organized crime. No. Barrett is tasteless Catholic, the seeming vanilla pudding of Catholicism. As serious as she may be about her religion, she's not your old immigrant grandmother who wore black for 40 years after her husband died.

And as serious as she may be about her Bible-driven spider's nest of beliefs, she's not grits-and-gravy Christian, either. She'll probably help to roll gay rights back to 1950, but you couldn't get the word "sissy" out of her if you put a pistol barrel in her ear. At least not yet.

Barrett is megachurch Christian, suburban Christian, coffee hour Christian with a twist of Catholic. She thinks it's fine to hurl racial slurs at your co-workers, but she's got two adorable adopted Haitian children to prove she's not a bigot. My money says at least one goes all Colin Kaepernick by the time they're 25. The other one will probably just drink too much.

Of course, Barrett has close ties to some semi-Catholic group of mudheads who believe a woman's choice should be between a husband, a convent and a brothel.

Not that she didn't walk every path ever made for her by other, braver women who were the first to go to college, the first to go to law school, the first to become a lawyer, the first to become a judge. If she gets confirmed, and she probably will, her footprints are going to be all over Ruth Bader Ginsburg's back.

And that's really the nut of it, isn't it?

Amy Coney Barrett stands atop a pile of the dead, of those men and women, black and white, who tried to tear this country away from privilege, who tried to give everyone a chance. Heroic deeds were done to put her up on the great height. Lives were lost or broken.

She's a little bit Catholic and a little bit evangelical Christian, and a whole lot of forgetting how the doors of power were opened for her.

To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's latest book, a collection of his best columns, is called "Devil's Elbow: Dancing in the Ashes of America." It is available in paperback from Amazon.com, and for Nook, Kindle, GooglePlay and iBooks.

Like it? Share it!

  • 1

Marc Dion
About Marc Dion
Read More | RSS | Subscribe