Catholic Culture Solidarity
Catholic Culture Solidarity

the usual suspects

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Mar 02, 2006

Questioned about the 19 priests from Quebec who published a letter attacking the Church's teaching on homosexuality, John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter wonders why it's a big deal:

These 19 signatories are the usual suspects. There is no name on that list that would just shock you. There is nobody of any rank on that list that would surprise you that they would sign such a letter. It is the usual crowd writing about the usual things.
All too true. The priests involved in this caper have been consistently dissenting from Church teachings for years now; it's no longer the least bit surprising to anyone who has been paying attention.

But what about people who haven't paid attention? What about the naive Catholics who presume that, when they visit their local parish, the homily will faithfully reflect what the Church teaches, and what they need to hear as they work toward their own salvation? John Allen gets that point, too:

But there is an expectation that if someone is teaching, preaching or publishing in the name of the Church, they should not add to the confusion of what Church teaching actually is.

There's one time-tested method of ensuring that parish preaching matches Catholic orthodoxy. It's called a bishop-- that is, one who accepts his responsibility.

John Allen is right; it's really not news when priests reject Church teaching. You can probably find it happening any given Sunday in a parish near you. It's commonplace. But when a bishop does his duty, that should be a headline story.

Oh, wait; I spoke too soon. A Canadian bishop has responded to the dissidents' statement. "It's not an earthquake," said Bishop Louis Dicaire.

"They're exercising their right to public expression," he added, "although one could question whether it's the best way to advance the debate."

Ah. Yes. One could question that. Indeed. Everybody clear now?

Now we know that we can attend Mass at any parish in Quebec, knowing that if the local pastor encourages worship of Baal, we can confidently expect the bishop to intervene promptly-- well, more or less promptly-- and question whether that priest has chosen the best way to advance the debate.

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