Ups and downs: Three news stories about the Catholic Church

January 20, 2011

First, a celebratory occasion: the ordination of three former Church of England bishops as Catholic priests under the new Ordinariate, a scheme to allow Anglican cross-overs to retain aspects of their own patrimony under the Roman magisterium. Then, two items reminding us all of the less joyous bits of the Church’s recent history: the revelation of a 1997 letter from the Vatican cautioning the Irish hierarchy against automatically reporting accused pedophile priests to the police, and here in Boston the decision of abuse victims’ lawyer Mitchell Garabedian to publicize a list of accused priests, claiming that the Archdiocese was reneging on a commitment to reveal the names itself.

Bear in mind also that the principal factor in the recent defections to Rome from the Church of England is the recent decision of the latter to allow the consecration of women bishops.

There are things I have always admired about the Catholic Church. The corpus of systematic thought, the liturgy, the human infrastructure. The commitment to service to the poor and needy. And whenever in my life I have found myself thinking too seriously about these things, I could always count on the Pope or some Cardinal to say or do something to remind me of all the reasons I am happy not to be a Catholic.  Some would say this proves there is a God. Or a devil.

One of my ex-Catholic friends says she has quit eating eggs Benedict. I suggested instead renaming them. Freedom eggs, perhaps. Or eggs Heretic.

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