Monday, May 20, 2002

It would seem by now that everything that can be said about the Catholic scandal has been said. Yet most of the discussion leaves me slightly uncomfortable. Perhaps my understanding is faulty, but it seems that we are missing some vital elements in the discussion. We might be missing some of the hard truths of Catholic belief.

We live in an American culture and so it is natural that we accept American premises. Yet it is precisely these premises that disturb me.

Catholicism is more than a private religion. It is an entire culture with its own premises and hidden assumptions. Some of these assumptions differ radically from the American model. This radical difference is one that naturally lends itself to antagonistic confrontations because it challenges America's most deeply held and cherished assumptions.

In sincere conversations with committed Catholics, many of my insights(?) on this crisis have been initially met with angry denunciation. It is only their love for me that has allowed these friends to hold their anger in abeyance and truly listen. More often than not, they are swayed by my 'pre-Vatican' opinions.

I mention this because you are strangers and I would beg the same indulgence from you. I ask that you put aside your initial reactions and simply hear me out. When you get over your anger, read my message again. Obviously, I could be wrong about everything. At the same time, it is possible that my slightly different stance offers some small addition to the Catholic response.

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