Look out! Crocodile bishops attacking children. (Thomas Nast’s anti-Catholic cartoon.)

Yikes! Look out! Crocodile bishops attacking children. (Thomas Nast’s 1875 anti-Catholic cartoon.)

With the Holy Father’s visit to the United States just around the corner, Business Insider featured an interesting article that looks at the long history of anti-Catholicism in the United States.

The land of immigrants enshrined freedom of religion in the constitution yet spent much of its history despising, harassing and marginalising Catholics.

From the first Puritan settlers to televangelists, leading political, business and religious figures lambasted followers of Rome as theological abominations and traitorous fifth columnists.

While ridiculous forms of mockery like the prowling crocodile bishops phenomenon are a thing of the past, prejudice against the Church and her teachings is not consigned to the history books. In many respects, it could be said that assaults against the Church are even stronger today, sadly abetted by an army of dissenting Catholics in the public arena. For an excellent read on the subject, check out Philip Jenkins’ The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice.