Saturday, December 1, 2012

Quote of the Day

The galling truth is that many American Catholics—perhaps a majority—do not fully share the bishops’ view of what constitutes the fulfillment of human nature. They do not believe [for instance] that same-sex intercourse and the use of contraceptives are “unnatural,” and therefore do not see gay marriage or contraceptive coverage as threats to religious liberty.

Of course many laity are dissenting from the magisterium, and doing so in part because the bishops’ credibility has been so drastically diminished. We all know why; there’s no need to belabor the sexual-abuse scandal with its record of episcopal obfuscation and self-pity, or before that the damage done by Humanae vitae. Although [Archbishop] Dolan acknowledges the disenchantment in the pews, he’s clearly impatient with the subject. Bishops, he tells John L. Allen Jr., have to "get over this sense of being gun-shy" in the wake of all the revelations. Conceding that he and his colleagues must speak with "graciousness, and a sense of contrition," he adds that "we have to mean it." But do they really mean it? The impression of many attentive Catholics is that they’d rather pound the crosier on the floor. Dolan himself insists on "the uniquely normative value of the magisterium of the bishops," as though that "value" remains self-evident.

There are excellent reasons to find the bishops’ recent dudgeon unconvincing. Over the past decade, we’ve witnessed plenty of outrages to human dignity in this country: the official legitimation of torture and assassination; the prosecution of a war condemned by not one but two popes; the growing attacks on governmental support and compassion for the destitute, often under cover of ‘subsidiarity.’ The bishops’ responses to these outrages have been muted at best. Why so little prophetic ardor to battle these iniquities? Why no ‘fortnights for dignity’ to rally the faithful against state-sponsored violence abroad? Or haven’t the bishops noticed that the United States has been at war for the better part of the past twenty years?

Eugene McCarraher
Excerpted frpm "Morbid Symptoms:
The Catholic Right’s False Nostalgia
November 23, 2012


  1. I would be interested to see you guys address the following.

    American Catholics are something like 7 percent of all Catholics. Progressive American Catholics are perhaps half of that.

    Perhaps Church messaging is not connecting with many Americans because it's not intended for us, but for the much larger global Catholic community?

    Progressive American Catholics may make up something like half of the American Church, but perhaps they make up a tiny fraction of the full Catholic community?

    I don't claim to know, and this is a question, not a statement.

    Ideally, I would hope you could address questions like this in an objective, detached sort of scientific fact based manner, and not through the lens of bitter partisanship. I think such discussion might be more interesting and credible if you can...


  2. The men quoted in the article were speaking to American conservative Catholics. They were expressing nostalgia for an America that never was and a Church that never was.