16 September, 2010

Interfaith Leaders Denounce Bigotry Against Muslims.

FLASH- UPDATE Benedict speaking in the UK about freedom of worship, and strongly supports the call to ecumenical dialogue and for respect for other religions and faith communities. 0-17-10.

After nine years, the 9-11 memorial in New York remains unfinished. Apart from any technical difficulties, there have been many kinds of disagreements, squabbles, even fights over the memorial. All of these differences and disagreements pale in light of the polarization that characterizes this nation today over plans by Muslims to build a Muslim Center (which will contain a Mosque and prayer space for those of other religions).
It is very understandable that some, perhaps very many, of the survivors, their families, and close friends would carry resentment, even hatred, toward the terrorists and by extension Muslims or Islam. All of us are human after all.
The question is, why have so many other Americans become so upset and angry over building the Center; even to the point of willingness to abrogate key portions of the US Constitution?
It seems to me that the “causes” are many and complex. Some of the things that have affected this outpouring of opposition and even hatred include:
  1. A general frightening feeling that “America,” has or is loosing it’s preeminent status as the “world power.”
  2. Confusion and frustration over two “wars” that have produced partial military solutions but without viable political solutions even after the deaths of thousands of people and spending millions and millions of dollars prosecuting these “wars.”
  3. The tremendous US and international economic collapse we are suffering, with loss of jobs, many of which will never return, the inadequacy of healthcare reform, and gridlock resulting in a lack of faith in the recovery and re-attainment of secure jobs.
  4. The seeming exploitation of the economic “recovery” by politicians and media for their own political gain or increased ratings.
  5. Woefully inadequate knowledge of the history of the Middle East and even a more abysmal lack of understanding of Islam.
  6. and perhaps most of all the development and use of extreme “Christian” anti-Islamic attitudes and actions against Islam. Think of “burning Korans” or marches with nasty signs in Murfreesboro, TN. 

An Interfaith Response.
On September 7, 2010 representatives of Mainline Protestant (Eg. Methodists and Episcopalians, the Orthodox) Christians, Roman Catholic Christians, Evangelical Christians, Jewish, and Muslim religious leaders met to present a very strong and positive message, calling all religious people witness to their one God of Love, justice, and mercy.
The statement begins with these strong words:
As religious leaders in this great country, we have come together in our nation’s capital to denounce categorically the derision, misinformation and outright bigotry being directed against America’s Muslim community. We bear a sacred responsibility… to promote a culture of mutual respect and the assurance of religious freedom for all… we announce a new era of interfaith cooperation. (Emphasis in original).

The statement continues to make several points:
  1. There is support for the Constitutional and traditional Freedom of Religion. They claim the right to, “give witness to our own moral convictions in the public square as well as individual, “freedom to worship in congregations of our own choosing.
  2. That rather than give in to, “the anti-Muslim frenzy that has been generated over the plans to build an Islamic center and mosque… near Ground Zero,” the Interfaith group proposes that we, “…not… debate the the Park 51 project [center and mosque] anew, but rather respond to the atmosphere of fear and contempt for fellow Americans of the Muslim faith that the controversy has generated.
  3. That as Americans and people of faith, “We stand by the principle that to attack any religion in the United States is to do violence to the religious freedom of all Americans.”
  4. Realizing that in a globalizing world religious differences must not “…lead to hostility or division between communities… that no religion should be judged on the words or actions of those who seek to pervert it through acts of violence… that bearing false witness against our neighbor – something condemned by all three of our religious traditions – must be counteracted by truly seeking to understand “the Other” and building on our common belief in a God of love, justice and mercy.
  5. That, “Leaders of local congregations have a special responsibility to teach with accuracy, fairness and respect about other faith traditions” and to discover ways to extend interfaith collaboration into common action through interfaith, “education, inter-congregational visitations, and service programs that redress social ills…”
  6. That as the diligent work of our scholars has shown, “Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all see an intimate link between faithfulness to God and love of neighbor; a neighbor who in many instances is the stranger in our midst.” It is by beginning at the point we all can agree on –love of God and neighbor- that we can live in harmony in a diverse, global world.

A few observations.

This document was signed by 35 religious leaders (See last 3 pages of the statement) by a goodly number of Jewish and Muslim leaders and Evangelical, Orthodox, Mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic leaders (including Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, DC; Fr. James Massa representing the USCCB; and Mr. Nicholas Richardson, Communications Director of the Archdiocese of New York).
In light of this charged situation, these leaders spoke as prophets arising out of the best of their traditions.
They made the very wise decision to condemn violence and hatred. They went on to emphasize that the beginning of dialogue and action must arise from what we hold in common –Love of God and neighbor- and not from our differences (only a few of which are very serious and difficult to deal with).
Pope Paul VI, in Evangelii Nuntiandi, asked why do we send out missionaries? His answer effectively said not to “convert” others but to live the joy of the Gospel in such a way that some others would be attracted to the Faith by the action of God in their hearts. We might ask, “Why care about the Muslims? Isn’t our Christian task to proselytize them and convert them to Christianity? I would say, at this moment, we Christians ought to live our Gospel and love our Muslim Neighbor. We can leave the “converting” to God.

These leaders correctly, in my judgment, linked their religious message to the legal and Constitutional rights that Americans possess: the freedom of religion and freedom of speech. I have seen time and again pleas or demands by conservative Evangelical Leaders and the recent popes that their missionaries and religious communities be allowed to live, worship and otherwise practice the Christian faith in other more closed societies (E.g. Saudi Arabia, Iran). But it behooves us to practice what we preach and what we desire from other countries, not only because it is the morally right thing to do, but because it will help Christians who want access to other countries.

Finally, the Leaders who signed this document were, again, wise to emphasize the need for dialogue and action at the level of the local congregation or parish. The bi-lateral and multi-lateral high level dialogues at the national and international level between and among denominations (Catholic, Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, and Southern Baptists [with Catholics terminated by a decision of the SBC], has borne much fruit, although there remain many tensions within and between some groups.

However, “the rubber [really] hits the road,” so to speak, when actual people, people who live in the same or nearby communities, come together face-to-face and begin to listen to and learn from each other; when people of different religious traditions actually interact with each other, come to understand each others’ ways, act together, and, perhaps, come to trust each other, healing may occur to all, so that we become more faithful, Jews, Christians, and Muslims (and those of other faith traditions also).

Please feel free to comment on this or any other of my blog posts.

11 September, 2010

The Ninth Anniversary of the 9/11 Tragedy

Yes, it is most appropriate to remember all those who died nine years ago today. Those who died included ordinary people who had gone to work in the Twin Towers or the Pentagon, people who were flying in the plane over Pennsylvania and innocent by-standers. Then there were all of our public servants (Fire Fighters, Police Officers, health personnel, and others) and scores of volunteers, even a gay Catholic priest. And yes, even some Muslims. We must pray for all whom we have lost. Finally, as difficult as it may be, we are called to remember and pray for the terrorists because, as evil as their acts were, they are children of Allah, the same God as the the God of Christians and Jews.

Today also we must remember the families and friends of all those who have died in this tragedy. They, too, carry a burden of pain at the loss of their loved ones, whether one of the original victims or a responder. Too often those who remain behind feel abandoned, frustrated, angry, helpless, or hate-filled, Or they may feel guilty that it wasn’t they rather than the loved one who died. We must honor and support the now single parent who must raise a child alone, the mother whose son or daughter was her sole support, all the children who lost a parent, a brother or sister and must make a life without their support.

There are new victims whom we must remember and for whom we must pray, including those family members who can no longer go on with life and fall into the abyss themselves, those workers and public service men and women who today learn what it means to suffer cancer and other debilities from long-term exposure around this tragic site.

Finally, we must meditate and pray over the distrust and even hatred for the “other.” Both Islam and Christianity are being torn apart because of this tragedy. We must get beyond the distrust or hatred of a whole people, of the nations themselves, of different religions. There was a song during the 1960s, Give Peace a Chance.” We are called as believers and as Americans to work diligently to foster a world of justice with mercy and peace.

There are two phrases in the Catholic Liturgy that speak to me at this time, and I especially like to hear them in Latin:  Vita mutatur non tollitur (Life is changed, not taken away) and Pax vobis (Peace to all).

Catholic Bishops React to Judge Walker’s Decision on Prop8. Part Two: Cardinal Mahony.

In Part One of this series of two, I spoke about the official reaction of the Catholic Bishops to Judge Walker’s decision that Prop8 in California is unconstitutional. On August 4th, the very day of the decision, Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angles wrote a strong post in opposition to Judge Walker’s decision.

In his blog, the Cardinal presented a different perspective on the issue of gay marriage and the Court’s ruling. Early in his post, the Cardinal says, “There is only one issue… Is Marriage of Divine or of Human Origin?”  Mahony mentions and defends “traditional” (one man-one woman) marriage referring to it as of Divine origin, “instituted by God,” to carry out “God’s Plan,”  God’s “revelation,” etc.

He continues and implies that knowledge of the “fact” that marriage between one woman and one man is per se nota. Here is what he says,

Every single religious faith community in our known history has held this belief [that marriage is only between one man and one woman] since recorded history began. Every indigenous group discovered through history also understood this belief about marriage, and carried out cultural practices to sustain that belief. Marriage is of Divine origin, and that belief is embedded deeply into the heart and spirit of human beings—also described as the natural law for the human family.

In this article Cardinal Mahony makes a very clear Faith Statement. He believes, as many, many other Catholics do, that marriage is of Divine Origin (although that may mean different things to different people). He believes that God just puts this understanding, “into the hearts and spirits of human beings.” He says that this belief resides in us “… as the natural law of the human family.” This statement implies, if not outright claims, that the “Divine Plan,”" “God’s will” is identical to the natural law. To demonstrate, outside of a faith context, that God’s Will and natural law are identical would be an extremely difficult task, if it is possible at all. There are others who use the term “natural law,” but in no way believe that it is identical to “God’s Plan.”

The Cardinal contrasts his understanding of the “objective truth” of his position with what he believes to be the limited and subjectivist position of Judge Walker; Cardinal Mahony says,

Judge Walker , “focused solely upon individual testimony on how Prop 8 affected them personally….[He] pays no attention to this fundamental issue, and relies solely upon how Prop 8 made certain members of society “feel” about themselves…. [He] chose to listen to anguished voices about their perception of marriage, rather than plumb the depths of the origin of this divinely inspired institution. Judge Walker assumes that the institution of marriage is of human and civil origin, and therefore that “marriage” can mean anything any person wishes to ascribe to the institution. 

My observations on Cardinal Mahony’s  blog.

  1. I don’t know, but I hope the Cardinal was just very upset and “shot from the hip” when he wrote this post.
  2. The Cardinal insists on making the fundamental issue revolve around whether or not the origin of marriage is Divine or human. Raising the issue this way might be theologically acceptable, but it certainly isn’t an argument that can be raised in a civil court procedure. One can use religious beliefs to explain the motivation of a person to act, but it can’t be used to declare a law or court ruling to be true or false.
  3. Mahony claims that “every single society in recorded history understood that marriage has always been a man-woman affair.” That statement, just isn’t true! The universality of his statement, “every single society…” can be his religious conviction, or a deductively generated statement, but history and social science not only can’t confirm that principle, it can demonstrate that empirically it is not true.  
  4. Cardinal Mahony and other bishops and right-wing Christians, hardly ever define “traditional family.” Often times their leaders define the “family” as a heterosexual couple who make a public statement and life-time commitment through a public ritual to live together and usually to bear children. Often people imagine a married couple with two kids living in a single-family home from which daddy goes to work as the breadwinner, and mom keeps house, cooks and takes care of the children. If it ever existed in real life it’s time frame was from the just after World War II until the middle 1960s. In fact, today the 2000 Census Table 2 reported that only 23.5% of households contained a heterosexual married couple with children living at home. What is needed today, rather than an overly universalized, abstract definition of a particular family type, is a nuanced and historically accurate understanding of “Marriage” and family as they actually existed and changed.
  5. Cardinal Mahony seems to assume that Judge Walker based his judgment primarily on his own emotional and subjective understanding of the the issue, as when he says the Judge, “…relies solely upon how Prop 8 made certain members of society “feel” about themselves” or “…chose to listen to anguished voices about their perception of marriage…” Does the transcript of the trial bear out the Cardinal’s line of argument? I do not know, but the Appeals Court proceedings may well clear up this issue. I hope and trust that Cardinal Mahony, has not knowingly or unknowingly played off the universalist, objectivist understanding of life against the particularistic, relational view.  Some of the best moral theology today has clearly demonstrated that the human experience of individuals and communities must taken into account as constitutive of the moral decision-making process.

In summary, I  can reiterate that my main point is not to call into question the substance of the idea of gay marriage. My purpose has been to show that the Bishops’ approach to defending their legal position on gay marriage is unhelpful at best and, at worst, will only deepen the chasm between the the institutional Church and those who are characterized by a “modern” or “post-modern worldview". Thomas Aquinas discovered how to express the Faith in ways which his contemporaries could understand it. Today, we do not need “a” new Thomas Aquinas. Rather we need to listen to our best theologians, pastors, and ordinary people who are actually living out these “issues” in their lives.

09 September, 2010

Catholic Bishops React to Judge Walker’s Decision on Prop8. Part One: Cardinal George and USCCB.

By now just about everyone knows that Judge Walker of the 9th Circuit ruled that Prop8 in California is unconstitutional and that his order to implement the ruling and allow Gay Marriages in California by 18 August was stayed indefinitely by a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Catholic hierarchy, through Cardinal George, issued a statement of disappointment and total opposition to Walker’s decision. Cardinal Mahoney issued his own statement as did other bishops. See Part Two in a separate post).

For quite some time the bishops have publicly argued against gay marriage primarily of the basis of damage to and destruction of the family unit. This was a form of explanation and an argument that many conservatives intuitively accepted. This allowed a coalition of Prop8 supporters to form a religious-political group to proceed at Law. However, Judge Walker ruled that no credible evidence had been presented by the supporters of Prop8 that gay marriage would, in fact, endanger “Traditional” marriage and family life.

I have no intention here of arguing the “facts” or details of the trial or court decision. I’m more interested in what appears in the bishops’ statement that gives some insight into a change in the focus of the bishops’ argument and the evidence they present.

Cardinal Frances George,
President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)

Immediately after Judge Walker’s August 4th decision declaring Prop8 unconstitutional, Cardinal George issued the Bishops’ official reaction to the court’s decision in these words, 

Marriage between a man and a woman is the bedrock of any society. The misuse of law to change the nature of marriage undermines the common good. It is tragic that a federal judge would overturn the clear and expressed will of the people in their support for the institution of marriage. No court of civil law has the authority to reach into areas of human experience that nature itself has defined.

The first thing to note in this statement is that there is no longer any direct mention of the preservation of the family and caring for children. The emphasis is now on marriage itself rather than on the family and children. Second, the emphasis is on nature and natural law and there is no mention of God. Third, the Cardinal claims that marriage between a man and woman is the bedrock of society.

Archbishop Kurtz, Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage issued a statement in tandem with Cardinal George’s statement. Both statements appear in the same press release issued by the USCCB. The Archbishop says,

Citizens of this nation have uniformly voted to uphold the understanding of marriage as a union of one man and one woman in every jurisdiction where the issue has been on the ballot. This understanding is neither irrational nor unlawful… Marriage is more fundamental and essential to the well being of society than perhaps any other institution. It is simply unimaginable that the court could now claim a conflict between marriage and the Constitution.

This statement also focuses on marriage and at best only indirectly on family. It also focuses on a philosophical argument by using the phrase, “… neither irrational nor unlawful.” The statement apparently defends the Catholic understanding of marriage by appealing to the majority votes supporting “traditional” marriage in civil ballots. Finally, the claim is made that marriage is more basic than (“perhaps”) and other institution; that it is the “bedrock of any society.”

I suggest that the Bishops reevaluate the strength of their arguments to find ways to frame our religious beliefs in a manner that contemporary people (including a majority of US Catholics) can at least understand enough to actually deal with them through discourse in the public square or in the courtroom. I would also suggest that the bishops give the findings of social science their just due and refrain from gross, oversimplified, general statements that social science cannot defend because they are oversimplifications of the findings of science or just wrong because they have no empirical support. 

One can make such a philosophical argument but it flies in the face of all empirical social science. Social anthropologists and sociologists will agree that kinship and marriage were, in fact, the only organizing principle for Hunter Gather societies and that some form of “marriage” was present. As societies grew larger and underwent major technological and other changes, the role of kinship-marriage-family decreased over time.

A Few Observations on these Statements.

  1. These statements on not based on nor is there any reference to Sacred Scripture. This is no doubt due to the realization that arguments in civil courts can not be posed as arising from particular religious belief systems and because the Catholic Church has always been uncomfortable arguing marriage and other sexual norms from the Bible.
  2. These statements do begin to frame the debate in philosophical terms by appealing to “nature,” and “natural Law.” The Church’s preference to argue from the perspective of philosophy goes all the way back to the Stoics through Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas to the “manuals” of theology used in seminaries well into the first half of the Twentieth Century; all of which focused on a particular concept of “natural law.'” One of the difficulties is that the bulk of contemporary adults haven’t any idea of what Thomas Aquinas Aquinas met by the terms “nature” and “natural law.” In fact, among those outside the Church who still use the terms there are various definitions and perspectives. This is also true within Catholic Theology.
  3. The Church uses an historically conscious perspective that reaches out to adequately understand the historical and cultural settings within which the real experience of people occurs. And it willingly uses information from sociology, anthropology, and other social sciences to form its principles and norms for action in the area of social ethics. However, the Church uses an entirely different, classist ethical system of doing ethics to make judgments about personal and sexual ethics (including marriage, family, birth control and homosexuality). Because most reasonably educated people today understand the world in historically conscious terms, it seems incumbent on the Church to open a dialogue in this area and realize that those who see marriage and family in this “new” way are not stupid or are badly misinformed. For example just about any professional social anthropologist or macro-level sociologist will say that although the first mention of a male-female “marriage” was present in Ancient Greece, that throughout history and across cultures marriage has meant many things and served many purposes. Today Kinship-marriage-family form just one of a number of institutions competing for our loyalty.

All I am asking is that Church Leaders realize that the understanding they have from past “tradition” is incomplete and needs to be developed in light of what has happened through the years and centuries, and make honest attempts to understand marriage and sexual ethics, in general, in this way . We in the Church gain nothing from refusing to hear “the other.” An interesting point of discussion is that well into the 1200s, the northern European Catholic Church maintained the legitimate practice and rite of “betrothal” distinct from the actual “wedding.” During the in between period, sexual intercourse was not encouraged but was permitted. How might this idea be reevaluated and reformed in light of the very high percentage of young people who have sex before marriage these days? This is not a recommendation, but a suggestion to think over potential ways to keep to tradition and still speak to contemporaries. Remember, at the end of World War II, Cardinal Suhard even argued that some form of “trial marriage” be allowed by the Church.

In summary, all I am asking for is that when the official Church takes its position on gay marriage that it, first, seriously take into account ways of speaking about contemporary issues to contemporary people, including civil courts, in ways that dialogue and common understanding can be reached, second, that it see the value and fruitfulness of applying to personal and sexual morality, the same principles it uses in speaking about social morality, and, third, that Leaders of the Church realize that in US civil courts, religious beliefs cannot be used to defend or oppose governmental laws or policies.


See: Catholic Bishops React to Judge Walker’s Decision on Prop8. Part Two: Cardinal Mahoney.

04 September, 2010

A Cafeteria Catholic—Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia !

The Setting.
Conservative Catholics are very quick to accuse more “liberal” Catholics of picking and choosing to accept some, but not all, of Catholic teachings. Whether it is use of “artificial” birth control or not “attending” Mass every Sunday or questioning the Church’s position on same-sex behavior, liberals are dismissed as “cafeteria Catholics” choosing only those beliefs,  norms and behaviors that they want to.
Well, conservative Catholics are also cafeteria Catholics; they just select other beliefs and norms to reject. Look at the large number of conservative Catholics today who resist the Vatican and American Bishops teachings on foreign policy,  immigration and capital punishment! A very clear example of the latter is Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s clear-cut rejection of the Catholic teaching on Capital Punishment.
In an earlier post I remarked that the Church has always taught that the community / society has the right to defend itself against violent behavior that endangers individuals and the larger civic community, even the use of capital punishment under some extreme conditions,. Certainly since the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, the “Church” has reaffirmed tradition, and with new insight into our contemporary situation, teaches that there is never justification for use of capital punishment in modern industrial and post-industrial societies. Why? The popes respond that there are other “less extreme” measures that accomplish the same goal: the protection of individuals and communities as a whole. One such measure is the penalty of Life in Prison Without Parole. This is what the Catechism says”
Today, in fact as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense of doing harm –-without definitively taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself—the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are extremely rare, if practically non-existent.”  The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1997 edition. # 2267 par 3. See also Pope John Paul, II: Evangelim Vitae  Par. 56).

Justice Antonin Scalia’s rejection of the Papal teaching on Capital Punishment.
Justice Scalia publicly rejected  Papal teaching on Capital Punishment in Chicago on 25 January 2002, and again in February 2002 during an open forum at Georgetown University as reported by the Pew Research Center in Scalia Calls Death Penalty Constitutional, Not Immoral (See also: “Scalia questions Catholic stance on death penalty” USA Today 02/04/2002 [no longer online]).
At the Chicago meeting, Justice Scalia said a number of things that showed his opposition to Church teaching. Speaking as a strict constitutionalist, Scalia said. “the constitutionality of the death penalty is not a difficult soul-wrenching question.
In response to a question asking whether current practice violates the Eighth Amendment, Justice Scalia responded, “Does it [the death penalty] constitute cruel and unusual punishment? The answer is No.”
As a Roman Catholic, Scalia disagrees with the recent teaching of the Catholic catechism and Evangelium Vitae “that the death penalty can only be imposed to protect rather than avenge,” and is therefore almost always wrong……. In fact Justice Scalia reacted to this statement by saying, This view [Canon 2267] is not a “position that Christianity has always maintained…There have Christian opponents of the death penalty just as there have been Christian pacifists, but neither of those positions has ever been  predominant in the church.
The Justice also said, “No authority that I know of denies the 2000-year-old tradition of the church approving capital punishment…I don’t see why there’s been a change.”
Especially in this response Justice Scalia tries to justify his rejection of the Pope’s teaching on the grounds that it is not old or traditional enough. Scalia is out of touch with the idea of the development [not wholesale change] of doctrine and that the Church has used an historically conscious method of doing social ethics at least since the late 1890s.
When asked whether or how his religious views came into play, Scalia, replied,
“I try mightily to prevent my religious views… from affecting my interpretation of the laws…. He continued, “The only one of my religious views that has anything to do  with my job as a judge is the seventh commandment –thou shalt not lie.

My observations on Justice Scalia as a “Cafeteria” Catholic.
I do not at all question the sincerity of Antonin Scalia’s Faith. He attended Georgetown University and later taught there as a visiting professor. He is the father of nine children. He is a “strict constructionist” and one of the most conservative justices on the Court. He is 73 years old.
I have no quarrel with Justice Scalia as a man. I do feel, however, that he is an excellent example of a conservative Cafeteria Catholic. At least two characteristics help account for this situation. First, he does not believe that the US Constitution is a “living document” but rather it is an “enduring” document that must be read and interpreted just as it was written, sort of like inerrantist fundamentalist Christians understand the Bible. Second, whether he uses the word or not, he has a “classist” understanding of Law and his faith. A classist understands the world as unchanging, with universal norms both in principle and application. This view tends to be very static. It sees change as a negative thing and, therefore, is very hesitant to take into account specific contemporary sociocultural realities or ongoing human experience as relevant to moral decision making. That is why he doesn’t like to see the “change” in the Church’s understanding  of the applicability of the practice of capital punishment.
My real point here is that conservative Catholics are  very often “Cafeteria Catholics.” The major difference between a liberal and a conservative “Cafeteria Catholic” is the particular part(s) of Catholic teaching they choose to ignore or reject.

Another Cafeteria Catholic I know
For example, I blogged, emailed and IMed a Catholic young man for months and months. He was the first person to ever comment on one of my blog posts. He is very intelligent, funny, and deep down he is very tender. He loves his family unconditionally. He loves the Catholic Church as he understands it. Unfortunately right now he is very angry and presents himself as very close-minded. He seldom heard anything I ever said (because it was too complicated) and once he began to call me a “heretic,” a “pretend Catholic” and things like that, I was miffed and felt like he really couldn’t / wouldn’t be a dialogue partner any longer. I must admit I broke off what began as a good friendship with sadness and hurt feelings.
But this man, who so defends  the “Church” in some areas, is a Cafeteria Catholic. In a previous blog he operated, he showed by what he wrote that he was unable to accept the Vatican and American Bishops’ positions on immigration and health care, or foreign policy.
So in the end, continually voicing, and screaming by Conservative Catholics that Vatican II,  liberal or progressive Catholics are unfaithful to the Church is to say the least, not helpful and will be one more thing to drive people out of the Church.
Comments are welcome here!!!