Catholic World News

What happened to the liberal Catholic tradition?

August 21, 2012

Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn laments the disappearance of a liberal Catholic tradition that posed real challenges to American conservatives.

Today the liberal impulse in American Catholic life has substituted political for religious orthodoxy. In retrospect, the turning point is easy to spot: liberal Catholicism's acquiescence in the Democratic Party's drift toward supporting abortion at a time when church leaders had the influence to stop it.

Substituting political orthodoxy for fundamental principles of Catholic teaching, McGurn argues, the religious left has taken its stand on issues that involve prudential judgments, outside the scope of authoritative Church teaching—while ignoring what the Church says on clear moral questions. “And while they believe that the pope and bishops have nothing of value to offer about the sanctity of marriage or the duty of protecting unborn life, when it comes to federal spending, suddenly a miter means infallibility.”


For all current news, visit our News home page.

Further information:
Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: unum - Aug. 22, 2012 8:01 AM ET USA

    Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount" never mentioned a role for government. Rather, it called on each of us to be the keeper of our brothers and sisters in need, and to show them His love by our actions. Christ's Church, whatever the denomination, can never allow government to assume the important work Christ assigned to His followers. The progressives in the clergy and the laity who want to politicize the Church and subcontract its work to government are truly the anti-Christ.

  • Posted by: MatJohn - Aug. 21, 2012 9:35 PM ET USA

    Equating social justice with the snuffing of human life in the womb is a travesty of the English language.