I was happy ton see Robert Imbelli's posts containing links to a guest editorial in the Boston Globe actually recognizing that there was a religious liberty issue in the Catholic Charities adoption imbroglio and to an interview with Archbishop O'Malley in that same paper that was not entirely a sandbagging. The Globe's track record has not been that good, as we have been discussing over at Mirror of Justice. Here's my contribution to a discussion of an editorial in the Globe arguing that we "liberal Catholics" ought to throw in the towel and leave the Church:
Thanks to Rick [Garnett] for linking to the op ed by one Joan Vennochi in the Boston Globe arguing that "liberal Catholics" should leave the Catholic Church. When I lived and practiced law in Boston 20 plus years ago, I loved the Globe because it had the best sports page around, which I could admire even though I was (and am) a die-hard Yankees fan. Its sports page is still excellent, but the rest of the paper makes me gag. Between the gleefulness of its coverage of the sexual abuse crisis, its patronizing suggestion of the formation of a new "catholic charities" and its publication of Vennochi's inane suggestion, it has abandoned any attempt at evenhandedness or even understanding toward the complexities of these issues, particularly the importance of religious liberty. Rick is quite right in suggesting that liberal Catholics (at least this one) would not find her argument "comprehensible," let alone appealing. After all, what is she trying to say? It seems to be that if one accepts "liberal ideology" (whatever she means by that) one should abandon the Church, because the Church persists in taking positions inconsistent with liberal ideology. Where to begin in refuting this non sequitur? First of all, what does "ideology" have to do with religious belief? "Liberals" who are Catholic are Catholic because they believe in Jesus Christ and the one holy, catholic and apostolic church. So long as one holds that core spiritual belief one does not "leave" the Church. Second, many of us who define ourselves as "liberal Catholics" are as much as odds with elements of "liberal ideology" as we are with elements of Catholic teaching, particularly the fetishization of the autonomous rights bearer and a tendency towards moral relativism. Third, we recognize that the Church is a battleground, in which doctrine changes and evolves, moral discernment by mortal humans is imperfect, and that the People of God are pilgrims struggling to find their way with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We reject the awful certainty of ideologues such as Vennochi. Perhaps that is what makes us "liberal."