The National Catholic Review
Is Anyone Listening?

Courageous and forthright are words that come to mind in trying to describe the editorial “The Millstone” (4/12), although it occurs to this reader that America’s clear and concise suggestions could have been made some years ago. “Come clean, be accountable, seek out the victims and empower the laity”—these demands have all been made before without any outward sign that the clerical church hears our plea or even wants to change. I hope that the church will listen to this erudite challenge from America.

But I am reminded that your last editor, Thomas J. Reese, S.J., was removed by Rome for similar challenging viewpoints. Let us hope this reactionary approach will not be repeated. As a longtime member of what some Catholics consider a dissident group, Voice of the Faithful, we have insisted on all the points you’ve made in this editorial, with not much concrete results. Pray God this piece will start Rome in reforming itself.

Ed Thompson Sr.

Farmingdale, N.Y.

Power of the Purse Strings

Empower the laity? We already have the power of baptism and the power of the purse strings. It’s time for the laity to financially bankrupt a morally bankrupt hierarchy. When every pastor, monsignor, bishop and cardinal has had to stand in line to file for unemployment benefits and food stamps or seek assistance at a job corps agency, then they will listen. Then they will understand.

Craig B. McKee

Hong Kong, China

Out of the Power Cycle

A very thoughtful, fine editorial. I concur on the need for humility and more significant lay involvement and oversight. A note of reality, however: As a former parish council member, among many other volunteer positions in the church, I know that parish and diocesan councils have no power. They are advisory. I regret all those evenings I gave up in “service to my parish.” Lay people have no power in the church unless they are wealthy, way right of center and slavishly loyal to the hierarchy. The bishops and cardinals currently in charge (most of them) have been hand-picked for their loyalty to the Vatican and the Curia. Infallibility, it seems, now includes just about every office in the Vatican.

We have to live in our own time. The churchmen in Rome are quite comfortable in medieval time. It pains me that my children may just walk away. The hierarchy does not want to join the rest of us pilgrims in this century. I hope the Holy Spirit is working overtime.

Winifred Holloway

Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

America Reconsidered

Congratulations to the editors of America for rediscovering their courage and their honesty. As a reader for over four decades, I have considered dropping my subscription because of the failure of the editors to address important issues during the last few years. I am glad that you have found your voice once again. Please continue to show courage and honesty. We need thoughtful and intelligent discourse within the church.

William H. Green, M.D.

Springfield, Pa.

Unnecessary Quests

In all of this, what grates is that when the scandal first broke in the 1980s, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was busy firing the Rev. Charles Curran from Catholic University for his public disagreement with “Humanae Vitae,” and when it flared up again in the early 2000s, the C.D.F. was spending its time criticizing Roger Haight, S.J., for his inclusive Christology—unnecessary quests for doctrinal purity when what was needed was an examination of conscience.

Jerry Vigna

Cherry Hill, N.J.

 

Comments

JOSEPH MCOSCAR | 4/27/2010 - 9:17am

I was delighted to see the two letters from Springfield, PA and Cherry Hill, NJ. Having served in the Archdiocese of Phila and now living in Southern New Jersey I have despaired for years over the moribund attitudes and atmosphere permeating both dioceses. I remember well a conversation with Cardinal Krol after Vatican II closed in which I commented on the wonderful challenges and opportunities which constituted the mandate of the Council. His response to me was that the Council was over and closed and what occurred at the Council did not allow for any growth or development. Such was the legacy which became the reactionary rallying cry over the ensuing years.


The present state of the institution, for me, is the Holy Spirit saying "you have thwarted my vision for the People of God for far too long. I will have my way, now a very painful way, but you, the hierarchs, made the choice to thwart what was my will. You abdicated your prophetic charism. Now either change or live with the consequences of your obstructionism".


Thank God, there are still people like these two letter writers who have not lost the vision.


 

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