The National Catholic Review

As the news is again reminding us, Catholics are part of a secretive and abusive church, built on “homosocial” power: men governing men and excluding women; men in a culture of homoerotic images too often and too loudly denying genuine life beyond heterosexuality; and willing to go to almost any length to protect this coven of masculine narcissism.

I am a member of a church that has abused thousands of kids and teenagers over the last several decades. How does my work in religion and culture relate to this trauma, to this Catholic evil? I have argued in a recent book that “the physical-spiritual violence toward thousands and thousands of young souls in the past several decades calls fundamentally into question the content and purpose of thinking for and with this religious institution. As theologian Stephen Pattison has argued, the ‘long-overdue ‘discovery’ of child abuse must be to Western theologians what the challenge of the poor has been to colleagues in South America—an imperative to a fundamental re-visioning of theology.’ Sexual abuse of minors is the awful lodestar for all future American Catholic theology.”

Catholicism is a tradition that has given me an early familial religious identity, that educated me as a child, that provided my PhD training (at Boston College), and that set up a higher education system that has employed me (at three Jesuit universities over the last decade). I still identify as a Catholic theologian, though in my recent work I have tried to open that category up to various other philosophies and perspectives that might include, out of the conviction that one religious habitation may not be enough for the demands of our pluralistic present, nor is it necessarily adequate to the heterogeneous history that gives us our religious identity.

But this turn to multiplicity in religious identification cannot mask the singular Catholic truth that my church has abused, raped, and silenced boys and girls, has accepted that abuse as collateral damage in the outworking of the Roman Catholic project, and worked hard to invent ways to protect abusers and to protect itself from knowing the details. But decades and indeed centuries of skating ahead of the cracks are now, I hope, ending, and not because church officials decided it was time to end the lies, but because victims-survivors have, across the world, called a massive ecclesial timeout on Catholic business as usual.

Since the breakthrough revelations in 2002 in Boston, thanks to the secular media, the end of a kind of Catholicism has begun. This should even be experienced as the end of Catholicism as such, properly interpreted, insofar as Catholicism is so identified with these old structures of governance. But it is also true that Catholicism will not die. Too many are still set free by all the elements of its potential for courageous and holy living: liturgy, prayer, study, justice, mercy.

But there will have to be a new Catholicism, or new Catholicisms. There will have to be, because new Catholicisms are already emerging. It is now old news that the old system of a deferential laity who will continue to show up for “full, conscious, and active participation” in the face of an inability of our church to come to terms with an adult laity and the mendacity of its old structures of authority – this system is gone or going. Different Catholicisms are already detaching themselves from these old structures, from below: Catholics redefining their mass attendance, their loving relationships, their relation to the magisterium, their sense of the roles of women, their relation to people of other faiths and religions, and more.

My theological work sits at the intersection of faith and culture, especially popular culture. In the face of what is being revealed about the Catholicism that has been so much my atmosphere, how can I justify my intellectual work? I have had to ask myself whether my research project shares in the failures of ecclesial courage into which I was also trained as a Catholic. This is not an easy question to answer. I realize now that focusing on theology and culture has been an escape from ecclesial problems. And responsibility? But it has also been a way of preparing myself and my readers and students for dealing with the implosion of this Catholicism. Understanding how faith and culture interrelate, with rigor and patience, can be the antechamber of a new way of being religious, after what we will have had to let go about what we thought Catholicism was and could be.

Tom Beaudoin

New York City, New York, United States

UPDATE 27 March 2010, 6:00pm EST

Thank you to all who have read and responded so far, both on this blog and by email. I have a few brief responses:

* A few of the responses were of the "anticipatory justice" variety, suggesting that Catholic tradition is built durably for dealing with such crises of leadership. Some responses say that Catholicism has been scandalous before; that people are imperfect; that we have dogmas, doctrines, or canon laws to deal with such things. I am concerned that these responses dilute our attention to the present, to the victims, to the processes that led to and protected the abuse, and to the ways that abusive practices are linked to a whole style of religious governance. Moreover, I am reluctant to embrace a theological prefiguring of where this is all going. Paul Lakeland may be right dogmatically that "we are in the dying and rising business." I would argue, though, that identifying the (theological) business we're in is not as theologically necessary, or indeed urgent, as identifying the ways that appeals to that "business" are going to help us stop the destructive patterns in the way the church is run (just as appeals to that "business" have been part of keeping the traumatic behaviors going in the past). Tendencies to anticipate in advance how we're going to get out of this suggests to me a reluctance to face the trauma. (I do not thereby suggest that Lakeland disagrees with this.) I am with Prof. Lakeland on the importance of not knowing where a thoroughgoing confrontation with all that needs to be confronted will lead us. The global outrage suggests that many have hope. But I think it is theologically important that with respect to the church, we do not now know exactly for what we should hope, because we do not yet have the theological exposure to the truths we need. The theological task at hand seems more to do with the struggle to tell the truth about ourselves as church.

* This crisis gathers together so many seismic issues at stake for the Catholic Church that it may well be that there is a rationale for calling Vatican III.

Tom Beaudoin

 

Comments

lLetha Chamberlain | 4/5/2010 - 1:54am
To the one saying "you know nothing about psychology":
I am a veteran forty-year psychiatric nurse with a graduate education in clinical psychology-plus a survivor of profound and mutilating sexual abuse (as a infant under the age of one-per physical examination by two women's health specialists, as well as the testimony of my family).  I have spent years assisting and treating childhood sexual abuse survivors... in psychiatric hospitals of all kinds, in college health clinics, and in the Church.  "Victimhood" is a nasty game in this society, so quick to "blame" and "litigate" we have lost all sense of our basic one-ness, and our flawed natures.
That modern psychiatry has contributed to all this: with the labeling, the "incurable" diagnoses (none of which is scientificly accurate), the mis-labeling of many behaviors as "disordered", when, in fact-can be strengths available to heal... or lead a productive life... the corrupt nature of psychiatry associated with the non-stop use of chemicals that cost so much, most cannot afford them (including our medical financing system), and the long-term therapy entailed that is often non-effective/and certainly beyond the means of most-led me to the healing of the Church (free and available).  If modern psychiatry is so effective-why are there millions of street people with these diagnoses-stigmatized forever?  In the one state hospital in which I worked back in the 70's... I found a population of people being encouraged to work in meaningful jobs sustaining the community (it's now against the law to put patients to work), a clean and healthy environment with food, I, too, as staff purchased for 35 cents/meal and ate... on gorgeous and well-maintained grounds (where most of the staff lived-exercised, and meditated in the rural countryside of these grounds) and gardens, where some of the food was grown.  Some state hospitals also had dairy cattle and other farm animals as well-all maintained by the patients supervised by staff.  The advent of "drugs" instead of using warm water baths to calm the aggitated (as well as "packs", which were also effective) did nothing more than poison their bodies and make them into "zombies".  As a society we have become so fearful of emotions (thanks to the "war on terror" as well as our basic distrust of one-another), and simply living (all we do is work to sustain our greed for "consumption") as God intended-playing hard, working hard, and then resting on Sundays... plus since we no longer have to work to survive (although it was known in the past there were some who could not adequately support themselves-these were cared for by the extended family, not social programs).  In these circumstances, there were no "disposable people"-life had meaning and purpose extended "to the least of these", who had their own role in the families.  Now, we are so busy working in dead-end jobs fourteen hrs/day, we cannot have the Eucharist of eating home-cooked and regular meals from home-produced food around the shared table.  To sustain survival meant hard work that is an anathema to the modern person... sitting in front of computers all day, then going home to sit in front of the "boob tube".  Most of those former skills have completely been forgotten... but are NOT obsolete and will come very handy for those knowing them in our immediate future when processed and prepared foods become too expensive to buy.  When one is concerned with getting food on the table, growing it, and constructing a roof overhead-one forgets the emotional difficulties so much more easily.  The physical labor involved is healing in itself.  Proper foods can replace much of the medicine we pop today (my 104 y/o great-aunt told me the secret to her longevity was not taking medicine and using food as medicine... she went to the same nursing school as did I-but fifty years prior).
No wonder there are so many wanting "traditionalism" in the Church!  We have seen the errors of our ways!  Since when is "progress" going into the "great unknown"?
Brandon Kemp | 3/28/2010 - 9:53pm
This is by-far the most beautiful, sincere, balanced analysis I have ever seen on this website. If Rome had the courage to say this, then the church would be so much better off. Thank you.
Anonymous | 3/28/2010 - 8:49pm
I am a victim of sexual abuse as a kid and speaking for myself, it's had the effect that Archbishop Nichols mentioned ...  "Abuse damages, often irrevocably, a child's ability to trust another, to fashion stable relationships, to sustain self-esteem."  But I suppose it could be differnt depending on the person.
JIM MCCREA | 3/28/2010 - 5:45pm
 Lisa Christina Chamberlain:  may I assume from your comments that you have personal experience as a victim of sex abuse that gives you a basis for your claims?  If not, how can you say what you say?
Georgene Bernatz | 3/28/2010 - 2:57pm
In reference to Winnifred Holloway's post (no. 9):
''The Catholic Church, in its essence, will not change and will be with us all the days of our (the world's) life.''
Then, in light of this grave situation, God help us all!
Fran Ferder | 3/28/2010 - 1:34pm
Tom, I appreciated your article. An institution, claiming to represent everyone who is part of it, but limits access to its leadership only to ordained males, and rules with secrecy and control is an institution doomed to fall. Right now, it feels like a long requium. I have worked with victims of clergy abuse for two decades and felt the cold and hard ''brick wall'' of the institution give way to compassion only a few times. Yes, victim-survivors can heal, but they can never gain back a childhood taken by preditor priests who have been protected by an institution that has an insidious pathology at its core. The ''root causes'' have been named many times-among them: Fear and suspicion of sexuality, especially female sexuality, and an unfounded belief that God wants a church leadership that excludes them. I do not believe that clergy sexual abuse would have gone on this long, been so staunchly protected, and the victims dismissed so lightly and often with cruelty, if there were women-especially mothers, involved in leadership at the highest levels of the church. We have nothing less than a total restructuring of governance as one of our critical tasks in the church. Another is a healthier theology of human sexuality-one that embraces all the love stories.
Stanley Kopacz | 3/28/2010 - 10:38am
When I saw the word "abusive" in Tom Beaudoin's blog entry, I didn't think specifically of the sexual abuse, though this is the most horrid part of it.  I thought of all the abuse of theologians and people of good will by the authoritarian, top-down, uncollaborative system that has been retrenched over the last two papacies.
This has been a tough lent.  The hierarchy keeps giving us more crosses to bear, the heaviest of which is themselves.
Mona Villarrubia | 3/28/2010 - 8:02am
Letha, you apparently have no understanding of psychology. There is no cure for pedophilia, just as there is no cure for alcoholism. Alcoholics in AA are given tools and support, not sent out to work in bars. It is expected that they will fail. But they can always come back and start over, because THEY ARE NOT CRIMINALS. But if they do break the law while drunk they are not given a FREE PASS from criminal prosecution.
Pedophile priests on the other hand were told there is a cure for their ''behavior,'' that they can pray for healing and be absolved of their sins through reception of the Sacraments. And then they were sent out ''all fixed'' to work with children in church schools, and take altar boys on trips.
When are we going to let go of the magical view of sacraments as a cure for psychological disorders. Sacramental healing is insufficient; pedophiles, given access to children will continue to offend, despite weekly absolution and daily Eucharist. It has been proven. 
Prayer can be one tool but prayer alone is not enough. Pedophiles priests have never been cured only moved around, and their perversions protected though systemic secrecy. They should have been required to attend pedophile support groups where the fist thing they would do is introduce themselves and say, I am a pedophile.''   They should never be given work in parishes; they should have to identify themselves to the local law enforcement and communities as sex offenders. Of course that would require that they get prosecuted through the criminal courts first. They should live under strict supervision.
Finally, sexual abuse most certainly does end lives. SNAP has a data base of victims who have committed suicide; some after receiving a ''settlement.'' It continues to grow.  It is very, very hard to live through this horror when day after day the papers reveal more evil in the Church's systemic support for pedophiles and suppression of victims. And night after night we re-live the horrors of our own abuse in our nightmares. WE, the victims, no longer have the support of our parishes or the sacraments to give us peace. Only the pedophile priests still have that. And they also get free counseling. For over a decade I have been attempting to get help with my ongoing mental health costs. The help I received has long ago been exhausted and now other victims in my family are finally asking for help. This is not nonsense. We are just trying to survive.
My oldest son committed suicide. How much of his depression was a result of my struggles and hospitalizations? We'll never know. But don't dare tell me that's NONSENSE.  
Dan Hannula | 3/28/2010 - 3:25am
Thank you Tom.  As a lay Catholic I am also weary (like Winifred above) of the church's medieval approach to modern life.  I have struggled with a real tension between my Catholic faith, which matured in the '70's while studying at a Jesuit university, and the greater church.  I pray that the uncovering of this institutional atrocity will ultimately open the church to the Holy Spirit and a flowering of true Christianity rather than, as I expect, a further digging in of an increasingly fundamentalist hierarchy. 
John Raymer | 3/27/2010 - 10:55pm
1. Where did "Malachy" come from in this discussion? I can find no context in comments or original article, so please explain what you are talking about. Do you mean Malachi the prophet?

2. As is being discussed in another post, the problem is the widespread, systematic cover-up by the bishops at all levels, and, it would appear, in all countries. Nixon had to resign for covering up a single burglary. How does that compare to thousands or tens of thousands or millions of pedophilia cases that have been systematically covered over the years and centuries by bishops, cardinals and maybe even popes?

3. I imagine that for all of us our greatest hope is the the words of the Prophet Malachi come true quickly: that the LORD will purify His Church like a refiner's fire; that He will burn out the pedophiles and all those who harbor and excuse them; that he will purge our Church of those who are more concerned with "avoiding scandal" than with exercising true justice. This is the renewal I hope for.
Michael Bindner | 3/27/2010 - 9:47pm
One more thing, the truth of Malachy's prophesy is immaterial if the Holy Father believes it. Given how accurate it has been since England allowed the See of Westminster to be reconstituted (they were jumbled during its entire absence - spooky), it is not unreasonable to believe in them.
Michael Bindner | 3/27/2010 - 9:42pm
I do not think there will ever be another world wide conclave. The people who go to and follow such things read the Prophesies of Malachy. If the Glory of the Olive implies not only the name Benedict but also unification with the Orthodox as a lesser Church than Constaninople, the next conclave will be a rump affair in reaction to the change and, according to Malachy, will not end well for the Eternal City.
lLetha Chamberlain | 3/27/2010 - 9:34pm
I also wish to refer you to a book that will be coming out in a couple of months... ''What Am I Asked to Do?'' containing frank material about the healing from sexual abuse-I'm sorry, even though sometimes it takes a long time, sexual abuse most assuredly does NOT end a life or even mean that person cannot heal.  If one assumes a hx like this is the end-then, it is, for the person involved (the reason for the disgrace of psychiatric ''uncurable'' diagnoses, which was not said thirty years ago, when people actually DID heal from them!)  If we are going to tell people they are incurable-then they will be.  Whatever happened to the power of the Sacraments to heal?  Are we going to ignore the words in the Bible about Jesus' healing of these issues?  When will we again realize the importance of ''redemptive suffering'' for the People of God?  Or is this media blitz of those saying we should not have to suffer to increase our suffering (an inevitable part of being human!)  I want to say loudly and clearly, I am NOT saying the abuse shouldn't be addressed and brought to a halt as much as humanly possible!  What I AM saying, is even this... yes, even this... is amenable to the healing power of God!  Furthermore, since this issue has been going on since the beginning of humanity (and is found in even greater degree in the homes)... let's do what we can about it, help those to heal by not ''limiting'' them with ''labels''... but most certainly of all-it is not a large cash award that heals sexual abuse (even the lawyers say, ''the emptiness will never go away, in spite of the award!-NONSENSE!), it is careful ''listening'' with love, attention, and compassion-and frequenting the Sacraments!
Kathryn Kirui | 3/27/2010 - 6:02pm
The idea of of a new Catholicism is, as another commenter has said, most moving. Speaking of the relationship of the Catholic Church to other faiths, I can't help but wonder why, for example, when the Church shares its core ideas about loving God and one's neighbor with its esteemed ancestor, Judaism, does the Church follow the custom of reading the Hebrew scriptures in darkness at Easter Vigil, not turning on the lights until it's time for the Christian scriptures to be read? And why are readings at Mass which mention ''the Jews'' in a negative way almost always presented without any clarifying or contextualizing remarks by the homilist? In fact, sometimes the homilist even carries the same phrase over, uncritically, into the homily. I hope that these and many other serious questions regarding the nature of the Catholic Church's relationship to Judaism will be carefully
examined when that new Catholicism arrives, as well as questions about the Church's relation to other faiths.
Stephen Murray | 3/27/2010 - 1:13pm
Actually the Council of Elvira in 306 dealt with this very problem.  There is something wrong with males, if you haven't figured that out by now. 
Anonymous | 3/27/2010 - 11:22am
We all seem to agree on a thorough spring cleaning.  never to have the clerical power/culture to cover-up again. We have to emphasize it's not the abuse sin, it's the cover-up.. We all know sin.. we are angered by the cover-up which perpetuates sin. I have worked with 25 priests who were creditably accused and I know they thought they were 'protected'.. the cowards walked around with a stance of impunity.
The Pope is now 83.. when he goes or really goes to whom will the conclave look for a successor? As they say in the present NCAA round ball .."they have no bench' at least in the cardinal ranks. is the next tier a possiblity?
CLAIRE BANGASSER MS | 3/27/2010 - 9:13am
Thank you for your post, Tom. I find it timely and therapeutic.
For my own part, I see a difference between loyalty to Christ and loyalty to Rome. I am glad that changes come through survivors, I would also like to see the people in the pew demand changes as well. I agree with the question, 'where are the other bishops in this?' By remaining silent, they contribute to the evil being done. Finally, I feel in the Catholic Church today a new wind of Reformation, an absolute disgust at the hypocrisy, the lies and rationalizations. We do need Hercules to come and wash out the Vatican stables.
Beth Cioffoletti | 3/27/2010 - 8:54am
Paul, I saw your letter in the NY Times this morning.  Great idea!  You're also right about the dying and rising business.
Paul Lakeland | 3/27/2010 - 7:49am
I would go most of the way with you, Tom, on this excellent post. And to all the comments, with you or not, remember that we are in the dying and rising business. There is much in the church that is worth continuing to celebrate but that seems to be dying out, and not a few things we will be glad to be rid of. I'd put traditonal religious orders of women in the first category and clericalism in the second. I hope beyond hope that the evils of sex abuse don't lead to the demise of the Catholic intellectual tradition or to an end to all that religious practice has meant and continues to mean to people. What lies the other side of a comprehensive house-cleaning is not something we can know. That we need such a purification is beyond dispute. The problem for us Catholics, differently from most other Christian churches, is that policing is locked away in the tiny minority of Catholics who are also the focus of concern. If it were up to me I'd put the religious sisters in charge of a comprehensive "apostolic visitation" of the higher clergy, but collectively we have neither the imagination nor the sense of humor to see the value of that.
John Raymer | 3/27/2010 - 12:51am
1. I don't think it is fair to speak of hyperventilating in the face of the Church destroying the lives of so many boy and girls through sexual abuse. If we are not hyperventilating then I think we are guilty of the most egregious spiritual sloth. Personally, I regard abortion and pedophilia as equally grave sins. The main difference is that the Church has been systematically condoning male pedophilia by protecting and hiding the perpetrators for centuries.

2. These issues are not new. They were discussed in full detail by the Lutherans in the 1520's and 1530's. Sexual abuse of boys and adulterous relations with women by the clergy the principal reason for the Protestant rejection of a celibate male clergy. [Review the Lutheran Book of Concord for documentation.] The reason we did not hear about this problem for 500 years is because the church was so effective at suppressing the information before the "information age."

3. Tom's notion of a new Catholicism was most moving. I was at St. Paul's Outside the Walls about three years ago. Around the inside are portraits of all the popes from St. Peter to Benedict the XVI. But there is only one blank spot after Benedict...
Pearce Shea | 3/26/2010 - 8:49pm
The point about multiple Catholicisms is a clever one, but I think Charles Taylor puts it much better. I also would suggest that we've always lived with multiple Catholicisms and it was, in some small, the post VII effort to homogonize the Mass, with a mind to create a truly global liturgy to match the universal Church, to permit more Catholicisms into the liturgy and theology, to normalize the multiplicity of faith experiences and beliefs has been quite bad for both us parishioners and the Church as it has not only turned wonderful variegated Catholicisms into pablum, but also, in an effort to be inclusive, has permitted quite a bit of theological and spiritual disipation.
 
But that sort of gets to the next point. Cardinal George, in his recent book, spoke of the resurgence of "traditionalism" and suggested that the popularity of older forms of Catholicism might in part be due to the fact that many of the negative connotations of "traditional" aspects of the faith had lost their negative connotations for the younger generation. It's probably also due, in part, to a reactionary turn against the liberalism of the Church during the ascendancy of early Gen Xers. Sure, certain aspects of a progressive theological agenda have been percolating for many Catholics as potential alternatives, as possible "New Catholicisms," but so have plenty of older forms of Catholicism. Who is to say what will eventually win out?
 
And finally, to have a crisis of faith in face of a worldly Church misbehaving terribly is not something new (which I don't say to belittle yours, Tom). The Church, as an institution of considerable power and age, has accrued its fair share of inequities and out and out atrocities. Frankly, though, we aren't Catholic in spite of the Spanish Inquisition and certainly not because of it. We are Catholic because we know that Christ was the Son of God, died for our sins and told Peter "you are the rock..." (to summarize things). The Spanish Inquisitions of the world is simply what happens when people fail to live up to the principles put before them by their Church.
 
 
Beth Cioffoletti | 3/26/2010 - 7:57pm
I love the dynamic aliveness of this approach to Catholicism, the openness to a new way to be Catholic.
Peter Lakeonovich | 3/26/2010 - 6:47pm
I find little but hyperventilation and overeaction in this column. The fact is that most priests and religious are not abusers. The fact is that Anglicans and other Christians are coming into the Catholic Church in droves. Yes, the same Catholic Church that takes its authority from the Chair of Peter, which is the authority bestowed upon it by Jesus Christ Himself. To see that there will be operational changes in governance doesn't require a PhD. But these changes are not changes in what Catholocism is. Perhaps, if as the author writes, Catholicism were merely a "tradition" then there may be something to the fact that operational changes are changes in Catholicism. But that is not the case, not even theologically. The Catholic Church, in its essence, will not change and will be with us all the days of our (the world's) life. The Catholic Church, through the sacraments, is means insituted by Jesus Christ to share in His grace and salvation. In the word of our Lord, and as JPII would remind us, be not afraid.
Winifred Holloway | 3/26/2010 - 5:56pm
You give me hope, Tom.  Don't give up.  I am grateful to the Holy Spirit for my faith.  Thankfully, it's not dependent on popes and bishops.  But I see within my own family and among my friends, what the medieval approach to modern life is doing to the institutional church.  I am weary of the emphasis on abortion, homosexuality, male priesthood.  It is killing our church.  The hierarchy have become fundamentalists.  They might as well sign on with the television preachers.  When an institution is threatened, it digs in.  A mistake.  The Holy Spirit is screaming at us, but the men in charge are not listening to her.
 
Anonymous | 3/26/2010 - 5:55pm
The Tom I addessed is Tom Maher
Anonymous | 3/26/2010 - 5:53pm
Tom
Fr Thomas Doyle OP et al wrote a beginning paper to all US bishops in 1985.[ignored]. and the subsequent 25 years of books and studies have nailed the problem down.. It's time for action Tom.. and please don't give it 'lets start over' GOP stance'..
Tom Maher | 3/26/2010 - 5:11pm
The known sexual abuse problem of the church is not boundless, timeless and of metaphysical origins. This problem like all problems confronting human beings has finite and discoverable root causes and boundaries. Let's find out what the real root casues are before doing something rash that may make us feel good but not actually be the church's real problem.

Let's use a unbiased, scientific approach to discover what the root casues of the church's problems actually are. Find out what the facts are and then define the problem(s). Once the problem is defined then formulate an apporpriate solution(s).

If a person has a heart attack one would call a medical doctor not a theologian. Similarly the church itself as an human organization needs an unbiased scientific approach to deal with its organizational problems.

Lets not jump to solutions based on wild speculations and not based on real facts.
Michael Bindner | 3/26/2010 - 5:07pm
Powerful stuff. I wrote about this in my book, Musings from the Christian Left, which is self published. The web page for the essay on Rebuilding the Body of Christ is at http://xianleft.blogspot.com/2009/10/rebuilding-body-of-christ.html
Anonymous | 3/26/2010 - 4:37pm
Thanks for this post.
David Pasinski | 3/26/2010 - 3:26pm
Thank you, Tom, for a wonderful essay and challenge. As a "married priest" ("resigned to" the fact that the church does not want to use me since my marriage rather than "resigned from" the priesthood and yet very active in my parish and in various writings), I identify with this tension - though I am not employed by a Catholic institution which is a huge difference, I realilze. Thank you for articulating some hope for "new ways' of being catholic- even in this era in which any initiative or heterodoxy seems impossible.
Anonymous | 3/26/2010 - 3:01pm
Tom,  Well said.. Now, will all 300 of the US bishops remain silent? Will they watch the Catholic ship slowly sink? Will all stay silent? Will even a few at least, stand up and point with some courage, toward the direction of dry land so that the laity and their families can have some hope of not all drowning?.