Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

On limiting damage to the spiritual sphere

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Sep 18, 2003

Last September the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston, when Cardinal Law was still in charge, ran an editorial in disparagement of the reform group Voice of the Faithful. The editors (correctly) cast doubt on VOTF's claim to be faithful to Catholic teaching by citing the manifestly dissident opinions expressed in a New Yorker article by "an early and enthusiastic promoter of the group," Fr. Walter Cuenin:

"Priests have been forced to remain silent about the supposedly unassailable prohibitions on birth control, second marriages, the ordination of married men and women. ... The divorced should be allowed a front row seat, and not be told they are unworthy to approach the communion banquet. ... Gays and lesbians should be in the other front row, and not told that their lives are 'basically disordered.'"

You get the drift. The title of the Pilot's editorial was, pointedly, "You Are Known by the Company You Keep."

Now the truly bizarre aspect of the editorial is that Cuenin is a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston, and pastor of a notoriously avant garde and (don't be shocked) gay-friendly parish in a tony Boston suburb. So we are given to understand that VOTF is discredited by having Cuenin as a supporter, but the Archdiocese of Boston -- which, unlike VOTF, has a cure of souls -- is right to commission him to preach in its name.

I don't get it either.

Well, it gets worse. Today the Boston Herald carries this news:

The Archdiocese of Boston lifted a nearly year-old ban on certain activities at a Newton parish some critics had seen as a hotbed of dissent as the clergy sexual abuse crisis unfolded. Effective immediately, Our Lady Help of Christians in Newton is allowed to host archdiocese-wide events and workshops. "Archbishop Sean (P. O'Malley) said it was time to move forward and lifted the ban," the Rev. Christopher J. Coyne, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said yesterday.

Of course, it's just possible that Fr. Cuenin has recanted all his contumacious opinions and the archdiocesan spokesman forgot to mention the fact. Other possibilities, I'm afraid, are less encouraging.

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