A Look at Dave Hunt, Leading Anti-Catholic Fundamentalist
January 1999By W. Robert Aufill
W. Robert Aufill is a Benedictine novice at Saint Louis Abbey in St. Louis, where he has taken the name Brother Ambrose in honor of St. Ambrose Barlow, the English Benedictine martyr who was executed in 1641.
It has been observed, by Catholics with dismay and by others with satisfaction, that in America sizable numbers of Catholics are leaving Catholicism for fundamentalism. Some have left the Catholic Church permanently, it appears, while others as Catholic journals of apologetics show have returned, chastened by their experience. Many tell of having been encouraged away from the Church by such writers as Dave Hunt, who writes against humanism, against the occult, against the New Age and, most fiercely, against Catholicism.
American Catholics seem particularly vulnerable now to people such as Hunt, as more and more we blur the teachings and surrender the rituals that might help us to distinguish ourselves from the times in which we find ourselves. When the Mass is a freestyle drama, when sacred music is superficial and hardly sacred, when the homily is an amiable chat rather than explication and instruction, when the rich communal life of devotions, adorations, novenas, feasts, and retreats has been abandoned, the ordinary Catholic can find that visits to his parish leave him not clear-eyed and enthusiastic but confused and lethargic. Catholic hearts left unmoved by a stripped-down American Catholicism are reportedly being moved by lively evangelical congregations, and Catholic minds left uninstructed by woolly or dissenting catechizers are offered sharp lessons by such as Dave Hunt in his speeches and widely selling books. Is it any wonder that people respond? Hunts explicit anti-Catholicism speaks forthrightly the tacit anti-Catholicism so often encountered in the American Catholic Church today.
This article, I hope, will suggest that the clarity of vision offered by Hunt is specious, and that if Hunt could but see more clearly he might realize that his soundest spiritual instincts and best ecclesiological insights put him, too, on the road to Rome. The better we get to know Hunt, the more confidently we will remain in Rome, waiting to welcome him when he eventually reaches us.
Dave Hunt is the author most recently of A Woman Rides the Beast: The Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days, which expounds the classically Protestant thesis that the Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon portrayed in Revelation 17, something weve been hearing for over four centuries. (No less a convert than John Henry Newman acknowledged, in his Apologia, that the old apocalyptic Protestant propaganda continued to exert a poisonous influence on his religious imagination long after he had ceased to credit it intellectually.)
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