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, ChinaOut 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.
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.
Cherry Hill, N.J.