Sunday, March 05, 2006

"Liberal Catholics:" Don't leave. BELIEVE!

Columnist Joan Vennochi wonders if it's time for "liberal Catholics" — (translation: those who "don't agree" with Church doctrine, particularly on abortion, homosexual activity, and other "lesser" issues such as the precepts of the Catholic Church) — to leave the Church.

She bases much of today's column on the opinion of another newspaper's editor:

Sue O'Connell, the copublisher of Bay Windows, New England's largest publication for lesbian and gay readers, believes it's time for liberal Catholics to take a stand — just like board members did regarding their affiliation with Catholic Charities.

''I know a lot of Catholics, gay and straight," said O'Connell, a lesbian mother of a 5-year-old daughter. ''Everyone continues to go to church and act like their parish is not part of all of this — the sexual scandal, the association to the Vatican and its stand on gay adoption. Everyone who believes that is in a state of denial."

''It's time to find a new path," she said.

O'Connell said the church is doing the expected — enforcing its rules.

O'Connell is actually correct in the last statement. And, as we acknowleged in today's Responsorial Psalm, this is not a Bad Thing!

"Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth, to those who keep your covenant."

Believe it...or not.

In the Nicene Creed, recited every Sunday, don't we affirm that "we believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church"?

What does this mean? It means we believe in the Church — the one Church — founded by Christ and led by the successors of the Apostles...primarily the successor of Peter, who was the first to acknowlege and embrace Jesus as "the Christ, the Son of the Living God."

Today, over 150,000 folks in the United States pledged fidelity to the Church.

Contrast the notion of a few "Catholic liberals" contemplating an exodus to the thousands who, today, solemnly affirmed their ardent desire to fully enter into the life of the Church! They joyfully anticipate becoming Roman Catholics on Easter...they've been working and praying and learning and praying and praying some more to be ready to gratefully receive what so many of us were given shortly after our birth!

No, Joan and Sue..."liberal Catholics" shouldn't leave the Church.

They should — and I pray they do — drop the rather silly "liberal" label and simply be...Catholic.

Jesus said:

"And I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it."

Anybody got something better to offer?