Dinesh D'Souza is promoting the new paperback edition of his apologia for Christianity (What's so great about Christianity?) and is planning a visit to San Francisco next weekend. That's probably why he deigned to say a few words to Heidi Benson, staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. The book section of today's edition of the Chronicle presents the results of that conversation. I was particularly struck by this exchange:
Q: What religion do you practice?Interesting. So Dinesh is no more of a Catholic than I am. We are both “Catholic by background,” but that's not the same as actually being Catholic. If he is a member of Horizon Christian Fellowship Church, then Dinesh has joined the ranks of ex-Catholics and become a Protestant. He should do something about correcting his Wikipedia entry, which lists his religion as Roman Catholic.
A: I'm a Catholic by background. I was raised in Goa, a part of India that was visited by Portuguese missionaries a few hundred years ago, which explains my last name.
My wife, Dixie, is evangelical Christian. We met in the Reagan White House, when she was a student intern. We're members of the Horizon Christian Fellowship Church.
Dixie was born in Louisiana and grew up in San Diego. The issue of me being Catholic and her being Protestant made her parents a little grumpy, but the fact that I was Indian was a nonissue.
In this politically charged election year, quite a few Catholic clerics did some vigorous pulpit-pounding demanding that their parishioners vote Republican (although most were circumspect enough to say “pro-life” instead of endorsing McCain by name). Presumably this would not have bothered D'Souza, had he been present to hear any of those sermons. Given his lapses, however, he might have fidgeted a bit at demands for ideological and philosophical purity by his ostensible co-religionists. After all, Joe Biden's Roman Catholicism was frequently called into question because he supports freedom of choice. I'm sure Dinesh heard about this, even if he has been absent from the Catholic pews. One doesn't want to be ambiguous about such matters, especially if one is a self-anointed Christian apologist. People really should know what religion they belong to.
Of course, Wikipedia is a great source of information, but it's hardly definitive. Maybe it's just a mistake on Wikipedia's part. Perhaps the encyclopedists misconstrued the intent of remarks like “me being Catholic” on Dinesh's part.
But no. Dinesh himself is the source of the error. He has an official website (which is cited in the Wikipedia article). This is what he has to say about himself on the More About Dinesh D'Souza page:
“A believing Catholic but a poorly practicing one,” D'Souza said religious faith is vital to achievement.Sorry, Dinesh, but joining an evangelical Protestant church does not make you a “poorly practicing” Catholic. It makes you an ex-Catholic. A non-Catholic. If you honestly think you're still a “believing Catholic,” then you must fear for your immortal soul (since you imagine you have one). Presumably you don't rush to your local Catholic church to attend mass after the services at Horizon Christian Fellowship Church each Sunday, which means you are in violation of a Catholic's solemn obligation for weekly mass attendance. And deliberately missing mass is a mortal sin.
Oh, oh. Dinesh is going to hell.