the professional anti-Catholic Catholic

By Diogenes (articles ) | May 01, 2006

James Carroll was once a Paulist priest, but even the lax standards of orthodoxy and orthopraxis without that order proved too tough for him. Now he's a regular op-ed writer with the Boston Globe, cranking out column after column to criticize the Catholic Church, his father, or (when he's really on his game) both.

A Globe reader grows accustomed to the constant assaults on Catholic teaching, but today's column goes beyond the usual carping. It's about condoms, and you can guess which side our hero is on.

"Any mitigation of absolutism in Vatican rejection of condoms would be a welcome step in the right direction," Carroll says. "Indeed, the announcement that a change is being considered is already a mitigation."

He's wrong in two different ways. A change in Church teaching would not be a step in the right direction, and there has not been any announcement that a change is being considered. But since Carroll is a famously inaccurate reporter, those errors are not surprising. The next sentence is:

Yet as a Catholic I respond to this news with complicated feelings.

What!?! Is James Carroll saying that he might regret a change in Catholic teaching!?!

No, no, no. Relax. Impossible. Read on. What he's actually saying is that even if the Church changes moral teachings today, we'll still need columnists like Carroll to lead us in protest against what the Church used to teach:

For more than 20 years, the hierarchy's rejection of condom use has been killing people. Even were the Vatican to change its position now -- and pray it does -- Catholics must still reckon with that betrayal.

Every once in a while, the professional anti-Catholic offers us a glimpse of how utterly he depends upon the Church. If per impossible the Vatican followed his advice, Carroll would have nothing to write about-- except, perhaps how very bad the Catholic Church was, before ceasing to be the Catholic Church.

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  • Posted by: - May. 02, 2006 8:50 AM ET USA

    I can understand why they call it invincible ignorance.

  • Posted by: - May. 01, 2006 9:15 AM ET USA

    In my opinion Carroll reached rock bottom during the 2004 campaign when he defended Kerry's brand of Catholicism by noting that he often sees the senator at Mass (at the Jesuit Center I want to say, but that may be too easy) and that he, Carroll, observes Kerry praying and he just knows he's sincere. Forget the horrible image. For phoniness it's hard to beat, but I'm open to suggestions. Of course you wonder if Kerry knows Carroll is watching him. Or if Carroll knows that Kerry knows...ugh.