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    Monday, March 06, 2006

    Liberals tired of tolerating their Church

    ''I know a lot of Catholics, gay and straight," said O'Connell, a lesbian mother of a 5-year-old daughter. ''Everyone continues to go to church and act like their parish is not part of all of this -- the sexual scandal, the association to the Vatican and its stand on gay adoption. Everyone who believes that is in a state of denial."

    ''It's time to find a new path," she said.

    Will liberals in America ever get the message?

    Last week, seven members of the board of Catholic Charities of Boston announced their resignations. They were protesting the effort by Massachusetts bishops to prohibit gays from adopting children from their Catholic social service agencies. The seven who quit said the prohibition ''threatens the very essence of our Christian mission."
    But the Roman Catholic Church, the institution seeking the prohibition, holds a drastically different view.

    Church doctrine states that allowing children to be adopted by same-sex couples ''would actually mean doing violence to these children." Gay adoptions are ''gravely immoral."
    If you agree with those principles, you are, according to the Vatican, a Catholic in good standing.
    If you don't, you're not.

    Liberals raised as Catholics refuse to accept this reality. We think we can be prochoice, pro-gay marriage , pro-gay adoption, and in favor of married and female priests and still call ourselves Catholic. The people who make the rules say we don't meet the criteria.
    Every pronouncement from Pope Benedict XVI draws another line between official church doctrine and liberal ideology. When do liberals choose one side or the other?

    The stubborness is rooted in nostalgia, inertia, and arrogance. We cherish some memories, like the lacy white communion dress and the innocence of childhood confessions. Despite spotty attendance, we enjoy the ritual of Sunday Mass. We also believe our views are the enlightened ones and Rome's represent the neanderthal; eventually we will get a pope who understands that.

    Liberals view the Catholic Charities controversy in Boston as a watershed moment, signaling a church hierarchy out of touch with ordinary Catholics.


    "Spotty attendance" indeed.

    I think I change my numbers at times based on recent experience, but it
    seems to me that half of the folks in the pews are Catholic, 10% of folks in the
    pews are serious Catholics. The good news is that we are all baptized.


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