At Dave Armstrong's blog, a post entitled: "Why is the Catholic Church so Hated?" caught my eye (to give you some background, Dave Armstrong is himself a papist). The format of the post is as follows:
1) A "Presbyterian" woman makes a claim that she sees a lot of "hatred" for "the Catholic Church."
2) A former "former Presbyterian" woman responds by attributing the "hatred" to "hell" attempting to prevail against "the Catholic Church."
3) Finally, Dave suggests that the "hatred" is a function of (1) the size of the target, (2) the widespread "misrepresentation," and (3) the "very strict morality" taught by "Catholic Christianity."
The post is interesting because it omits glaring reasons for true hatred and because it mistakes judgment for hatred.
Reasons for true hatred:
1) Association with Christianity. Rome claims to be Christian, and consequently receives some of the antipathy provided generally towards Christians by those who hate God.
2) History of Persecution: there are many folks that have not forgotten the history of persecution by the Vatican either in the form of Inquisitions, papal armies, and crusades or in the form of exhortations to "secular" rulers.
3) Scandals. There are people who truly hate the Vatican because of corrupt and scandalous activity by its priests and bishops - that can especially be the case for victims and their families.
4) Personal Experience. There are people who truly hate the Vatican because they have had a "bad experience" with Catholicism. This could be as simple as being rapped on the knuckles with a ruler by a nun in gradeschool or much more complicated, involving a priest taking sides in a family dispute.
These are all notable causes why there is true antipathy - true hatred toward the Vatican, which is often then directed to individual members of the church of Rome.
On the other hand, much of what is called "hatred" is not hatred at all. For example, most of what the first woman in Dave's post viewed as "hatred" is actually an expression of judgment, namely that the Vatican does not preach the Gospel, and that faithful devotion to the religion taught by the Vatican does not lead to salvation.
The second woman improperly assumes that "the Catholic Church" is the true church, and that consequently any desire to be separate from that church must be hell-based. If her assumption were correct, it would be a reasonable line of thought. The problem, of course, is that it is not the case that the Church of Rome is the true church.
Dave's own comments are not as far from the mark. Surely, part of the volume of negative things (all of which get labeled "hatred") is a factor of the size of Catholicism. The errors of Ebionite heretics while heinous are not a significant voice on the scene. The errors of Rome, with its claimed billion plus members, are a significant voice.
It should be noted, though, that Islam is the target of similar "hatred" in the form of saying that Koran-observing Muslims are not saved, are not the true followers of Jesus, etc. (i.e. any negative comment, particularly about eternal things) Furthermore, it's fair to say that most Christians in the English-speaking world know less about Islam than they know about Catholicism. As the number of Muslims rapidly increases in the English-speaking world, you can expect to see less emphasis on the errors of Rome in favor of emphasis on the errors of Mecca and Medina. And, of course, there are people who truly hate Islam because a 9/11 terrorist killed one of their friends or family members, or some similar reason.
Dave's comment about misrepresentation is less accurate. Surely there are misrepresentations of the Church of Rome out there, but the true hatred is not based on those misrepresentations. Even the hatred-so-called - the negative comments - are for the most part based on the truth, not on misrepresentations.
Finally, there is a seed of truth in Dave's comment about "very strict morality." There are those who reject the Church of Rome because of its emphasis on works righteousness, and specifically its legalistic rules of "morality." Surely there are people who hate the Church of Rome because she continues to acknowledge the truth that homosexual behavior is sinful, immoral, and should not be done. On the other hand, rejection of the legalism of the Vatican is Biblical and proper. It's not hatred, but judgment.
All in all, the reason for this post is to highlight and differentiate the reasons for hatred of the church of Rome and the condemnation of the false doctrine and counterfeit gospel of Rome. The former is generally unjustified, though perhaps one might feel righteous indignation reading an account of the persecution of the Albigensians. The latter is fully properly, and is not hatred in the colloquial sense at all, but the exercise of godly discretion and wisdom - something with respect to which I'm afraid the nameless "Presbyterian woman" that Dave first mentions seems to be deficient.
(link to Dave's post)