Thursday, April 30, 2009

Out and About - April 2009

Above: On Wednesday, April 8, some friends and I participated in a “Passover seder meal for Christians” hosted by my friend Robert Caruso, his partner, John, and members of their church, Cornerstone Old Catholic Community.

Standing (from left): Emily, Fred, Brian, and Robert. Front: John, me, and Kay.

For additional images, along with more about this special meal, click here.

Celebrating the Easter Vigil - Saturday, April 11, 2009 - with my friends Brigid and Molly (above), and John, Ken, and Rita (below).

Above: Easter Sunday lunch with my friends (from left) Kathleen, Ken, Paula, Sue Ann, and Carol.

Above: Checking out a new bar called Tickles in Northeast Minneapolis – Sunday, April 12, 2009.

Above: With fellow Catholic Coalition for Church Reform co-founder, Connie Aligada, at one of our many meetings during the past few months - this one in Hudson, WI, on Tuesday, April 18. And the reason for all these meetings? Well, keep reading . . .

Above: The April 18, 2009, prayer breakfast hosted by the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform.

The primary purpose of the prayer breakfast was to announce and plan a series of “Synods of the Baptized,” scheduled to take place within the local church over the next two-three years. The keynote speaker at the breakfast was Janet Hauter, vice-president of Voice of the Faithful (National) and co-chair of the American Catholic Council.

For more about this “exciting and joyous” event in the local church and/or to get involved, click here.

Above: With my good friends Ken and Carol Masters at the Trust Meals on Wheels’ “Thank you, Volunteers!” luncheon – Monday, April 20, 2009.

Every Thursday, Ken and I deliver meals to house-bound people. He drives and I deliver. We make a great team!

Above and below: The third and final session of CPCSM’s 2009 Bill Kummer Forum – Monday, April 20.

This particular session involved the screening of the award-winning documentary film, For the Bible Tells Me So, at Spirit of Hope Catholic Community.

Pictured with me in the photo above are CPCSM co-founder, David McCaffrey (center), and Spirit of Hope pastor, Rev. Marty Shanahan (at right).

Above: At Spirit of Hope Catholic Community - April 20, 2009. From left: Paula Ruddy, Bill LeMay, David McCaffrey, Deb LeMay, me, Bill Wright, Roger Urbanski, and Rev. Marty Shanahan.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Out and About - February/March 2009

Looking Back:
April 2007
April 2008

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Responding to Bishop John "We Are at War" Finn

I often find that I like reading the responses to a given online article more than the article itself.

Case in point: the National Catholic Reporter recently published the transcript of a keynote address by Robert W. Finn (pictured at right), bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese. This address was delivered at the 2009 Gospel of Life Convention held at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park, Kan., earlier this month. It was entitled, “Warriors for the Victory of Life,” and in it Bishop Finn called the “church militant” — the church on earth — into a battle for human souls in defense of the sacredness and dignity of human life. At one point Finn declared that as Catholics, “We are at war!”

I have to say in all honesty that as a Catholic, not to mention a person who strives to be both informed and compassionate, this type of war-focused rhetoric makes me embarrassed. Similarly, I’ve discovered that I’m now very careful when riding on the bus not to be seen reading the Catholic Spirit, the misnamed “official” newspaper of the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese. I mean, who wants to be seen reading articles with headlines like: “Homosexual Attraction: A Disordered Desire for Love.” It’s embarrassing, I tell you – not to mention anti-intellectual, insensitive, and just plain wrong.

Yet the various marks of stupidity and arrogance of the “official” Church are not just embarrassing. As Bishop Finn diatribe attests, they’re becoming quite dangerous and terrifying. They are reflective of a type of rabid fundamentalism that is giving contemporary Catholicism – and religion in general – a bad name. Is it any wonder that people are abandoning organized religion in droves?

Just how dangerous is this Catholic right rhetoric? Well, one of my favorite writers, Doris Lessing (pictured at left), remarked early in the presidential campaign of Barack Obama that, if elected, he would be assassinated. I was disappointed and angry with this remark by Lessing. Maybe it was the way her comment was reported, but it seemed to be, on her part, uncharacteristically pessimistic and unsubstantiated in its certainty. I was not used to such qualities from this woman, one whom I greatly admire not only as a writer but as an intelligent and pragmatic critic of the excessive and dehumanizing traits of all forms of ideology – racism, sexism, colonialism, Communism, capitalism, feminism, political-correctness, and the various expressions of religious fundamentalism. Of course, her comment was undoubtedly influenced by the terrible injustices and violence she witnessed against blacks while growing up in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Perhaps for someone of her generation and experience, the idea of a black man being allowed to remain in a position of influence and power by the forces of intolerance and hatred is unthinkable. Which is sad.

Yet in light of the recent rants from many on the Catholic right – Bishop Finn among them – I sense that if an attempt is made on President Obama life it won’t be racially motivated. No, if, God forbid, such an assassination attempt is made, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if an unhinged Catholic pro-lifer was found to be responsible. Elements within the Catholic right are inciting violence. It’s terrifying and it’s wrong. If something does happen to Obama, the type of rhetoric from the Catholic right that we’ve been hearing lately will, in one way or another, have some responsibility to bear. That’s difficult for me as a Catholic to acknowledge. But it’s becoming increasing obvious to me that it’s true. Just read some of the comments below – especially number 8.

Anyway, here are some NCR readers comments to Bishop Finn’s speech that I found particularly insightful – and at times, despite my above stated concerns, even hopeful.


1. William Lindsey writes: Apocalyptic rants with heavy-handed rhetoric about Satan usually fail to convince those to whom they’re directed. They’re not arguments from strength, but from weakness – the kind of argument folks develop when they sense that they have lost or are about to lose a battle.

In my view, we’d have been so much better off if our pastoral leaders had encouraged dialogue about the values they want to inculcate in our culture and communicate to the public sphere. Shouting is not going to communicate those values, particularly when the shouting is attended by veiled threats and talk of the diabolical.

We are doing a very good job of marginalizing ourselves, and we deserve to be marginalized in the public sphere, if this is what we have to offer.

Not to mention that the level of verbal violence I hear in this rant tends to tip the scales in the direction of actual violence on the part of hot-headed apocalypticists who won’t hear the distinctions about loving our “enemies” while hating what they believe.

2. LittleBear writes: At no point did Bishop Finn mention any pastoral concern for women facing abortions. At no point does Bishop Finn mention these women at all. This is the problem that Bishop Finn and other arch/bishops have – they rarely mention these women (as though they are not human). It is as though these women are walking baby-making machines – who should not ever, for any reason, stop producing babies.

The Church tries to celebrate the “dignity” of women – as though women are pieces of art – instead of real human persons who have vices as well as virtues. But the Church does not engage women, especially poor women who might have abortions, in any type of dialogue about their concerns about having children, raising them (often alone), caring for their health and education. There is only the same rhetoric – the rights of the unborn – nothing about what happens after birth.

The term “Warriors for the Victory of Life” sounds like an address for males only – and is just as mindless of women who must care for young life after it is born – with very little real assistance from the offices of the USCCB [United States Conference of Catholic Bishops].

3. Randy Kowalik writes: This is getting more than annoying! If there isn’t some recognition of the fact that abortion is the direct result of the prohibition of effective birth control methods being condemned by the church, thinking Catholics will continue to ignore the “war cries.” Pro Life before conception and Pro-Choice after! As with celibacy and the shortage of priests, why are we being presented with “puzzles” that have very ethical and logical answers?

4. Fran writes: What a rant! There are many ways to destroy a human life; abortion is only one way. This one issue approach is hypocritical. Think about all the lives destroyed/maimed as a result of the pedophile scandal, the war in Iraq – to name a few.

5. Anonymous writes: Sure are a lot of violent words in this speech. I know he makes occasional reference to obeying the law, but that’s an incidental comment. The constant message is “war, attack, fight, battle, enemies, war, war, war.” I can’t help but think that this is a terrible person who is pretending to advocate for innocents. This person is not an instrument of love on earth.

6. Rachel writes: Is this how the men in skirts & silk & lace get their “masculinity” restored?

7. Msgr. Titus writes: American Catholics have to realize [that] every RC Bishop speaks and writes for the edification of one person: Benedict XVI. No one else’s opinion matters to these men whose ambitions lead them to want to please Rome at any price. Offend all politicians-fine! Offend women- no problem! As long as Rome has you on record of defending “human life,” condemning modern relativism, and supporting “family values.” Pray for these spineless political animals in purple!

8. Anonymous writes: This is the kind of fundamentalist-extremist rhetoric that HAS TO STOP! I’m sure this bishop is not intending to incite hatred and violence, but that is what this kind of rhetoric brings out in people. My own 85-year-old father, a very faithful and pious Catholic who has been a Pro-Life activist for many years, has commented in the name of Pro-Life, because of what he has been hearing on EWTN and from listening to Rush Limbaugh: “I wish someone would assassinate [President] Obama!” He said this with a sense of violent rage which was truly disturbing.

Should we be “calling people to arms” in the name of pro-life, even as this bishop tries to qualify it? I cannot believe that this helps the cause even against abortion, let alone the other neglected pro-life issues, or even Christian living and values generally. I am not saying would never say that I in any way believe that abortion is ever morally good or that we shouldn’t do what we can to ultimately stop abortion. But all this inflammatory rhetoric serves only to distort rather than clarify what are proper Christian attitudes and what Catholic Christians ought to be doing for the sake of achieving true justice and peace.

9. Anonymous writes: Go ahead with your “pro-life” war! That’s all that the Pro-lifers really stood for anyway: War

Wipe yourselves out hypocrites! Destroy the Church in the process! The devil will be proud of you!

You Pro-lifers put Bush into office two times and where did that get us on the abortion issue? Nowhere.

You Pro-lifers who put Bush into office also called for a War in Iraq and you are baby killers and mother killers and pro-war.

Makes perfect sense from the right wing to be for war, more war, nothing but war talk. Yap, yap, yap ... blah, blah, blah, a lot of war mongering from you folks. Pray against all wars. That would be the Christian thing to do.

Pray for Peace. Work for Peace. Live in Peace. Be one with Jesus Christ and you will find Peace.

The mark of the devil is a call to War.

The mark of Jesus Christ is only of Peace.

Pro-lifers – get a real life in the life of Jesus Christ. Save us from your despair and hopelessness.

10. Anonymous writes: I keep trying to imagine Bishop Finn’s words coming from the mouth of Jesus as he encounters the woman caught in adultery or the woman at the well or Peter in the garden or even the thief crucified alongside of him. But I can’t! Are we reading different Scriptures?

11. Thomas writes: Bishop Finn is another example of an authoritarian personality on a rampage. People such as this make it more difficult being a proud member of the Catholic faith.

12. Frère charles du désert OSB OBLAT writes: Finn falsely cites JPII (so often called the Lesser of the two) thusly: “In his encyclical Evangelium Vitae, on the Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II said that we must oppose the culture of death, and he said we must construct a civilization of life and love. So, we must defend the right to life, but even beyond that we must take action for the promotion of what is good. We must build a civilization that proclaims the Gospel of Life.”

He quickly references a “civilization of life and love” and then quickly drops the love in all of his remarks. In fact his remarks are profoundly and radically hateful. He calls for a militant and repressive civilization of what he defines as life, as good, yet devoid of Love.

Saint Maximillian Kolbe said that hate cannot conquer love as hate is not creative.

Dude. Where’s the Love? With Love comes compassion, mercy, tolerance, humility, acceptance, forgiveness, self-abnegation and all of the gifts listed by Saint Paul. Otherwise, without Love, you are a clanging gong, Paul wrote.

Where’s the Love?

Recommended Off-site Links:
Bishop Finn Declares War: The Devil We Know - William D. Lindsey (Bilgrimage, April 29, 2009).
Satan, the Last Best Excuse for Failed Strategy - Colleen Kochivor-Baker (Enlightened Catholicism, April 29, 2009).
Safe, Legal, and Early - A New Way of Thinking About Abortion - Steven Waldman (, April 27, 2009).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
It’s Still Out There
The Bishops and Obama (Part 1)
The Bishops and Obama (Part 2)
Disarming the Weapons Within

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Journey Begins


(To start at the beginning of this series, click here)


Well, that was certainly different!

“You really should check Dignity out,” Jay had insisted. “It’s a ‘traditional’ Mass,” he had said.

Well, I did check it out – and, as I said, it was certainly different.

I arrived at Southside United Methodist early and settled into a pew towards the front of the church. It was a nice enough worship space – though way too sparse for my tastes. Well, it is a Protestant church, I reminded myself. I looked around dejectedly. No statue of the Sacred Heart anywhere within these walls!

I must admit that I was surprised by the turnout. There must have been about 30 people – mostly men in their fifties and sixties. They all seemed pleasant enough, but I wasn’t in the mood for chit-chat, and so kept to myself – hoping I wouldn’t be considered a spy from the chancery!

As I sat waiting for Mass to begin, I found myself wondering what exactly I was in for. Jay said that, last he knew, some more traditionally-minded priests were celebrating Mass with the Dignity community. Well, traditionally-minded when it came to liturgy, that is. Obviously we won’t be hearing the virtues and benefits of the Church’s official teachings on homosexuality or of the Courage movement being extolled from the pulpit. And, yes, there was a pulpit.

Yet as appealing as the idea was of a more traditional Catholic Mass, welcoming of gay folks like myself, I questioned if this space at Southside United Methodist would work for me in the long term. Looking around once again, I was definitely missing those distinctly Roman Catholic elements that I appreciated so much.

An organ began to play and I searched through my hymnal for the words that folks around me were already beginning to sing. Movement to my left caught my attention and I turned to look at the processional. Perhaps I’ll recognize the priest celebrating this evening’s Mass. As it turned out: definitely not.

To my utter shock I watched as a woman walked past me towards the altar – a woman in the place where a priest should have been! Our eyes briefly met, and by her expression I realized my look of shock had taken her aback. Well, I thought, I can hardly help that! I closed my gaping mouth and turned away, fumbling with my hymnal. Just wait until I see Jay, I silently fumed.

I seriously considered making a run for the exit, but people had stopped singing and the Mass – if it really was a Mass – had began. This is terrible, I thought. I’m stuck here. I have to sit through this . . . this . . . charade! And on top of it all, her vestments were all wrong for this time of the liturgical year!

I couldn’t focus on the opening prayers or even the readings as I was racking my brain to remember what I’d read about these women “priests.” I recalled something about an ordination on a boat on a river or a lake, and that the identity of the male bishop who ordained them had to be kept secret. Now, of course, the women were ordaining themselves. I think there were even some female bishops! According to them, they were in full apostolic succession – I guess because they had been ordained by that male bishop. Still, weren’t they all excommunicated? It was all very confusing. And I resented the fact that I had been encouraged to come here only to have to sit through . . .

. . . She smiled at me! The woman . . . the woman priest . . . she smiled at me as she finished the gospel reading and looked out over the congregation! It was a warm smile . . . a welcoming smile. A smile that, I swear, said, “I see you’re upset, and that’s okay.”

She then began her homily in a voice that was light and lilting. Her message was all about how, when it comes to sexual matters, we need to transform the Church’s current “theology of arrogance,” into a theology that lovingly and respectfully listens to the sexual wisdom of all. She also talked about sexuality as an education in how to be human, in how to be open and vulnerable, not hiding behind facades. She was adamant that our sexual experiences can and should open us to growth and to learning how to love. She reminded us that our God is a creative God, and a lover of diversity. She even suggested that to truly respect this diversity, we should talk about “homosexualities,” as differences are just as prevalent among LGBT people as they are within the straight community, of which she counts herself as a member.

I must admit I was impressed by her words. They conveyed so much compassion and wisdom. And I realized with a curious mixture of sadness and anger, just how spiritually malnourished I had been kept at St. Jerome’s. Yet here, at last, was substance! Here was someone speaking to me as an adult, as a thinking, feeling human being. Here was someone who recognized that my experiences as a gay man had something to offer the Church, were needed by the Church.

I suddenly felt embarrassed by my initial reaction to this woman. I had been fuming and agitated, petty and judgmental. Yet now, after hearing her words and the truth they contained, I felt centered and at peace. I also felt compelled to talk to her, to learn more about her and the whole women priest thing.

To be honest, it had crossed my mind that I couldn’t possibly go to Communion. Yet now, after hearing such a welcoming and inclusive homily, I realized that I couldn’t possibly not go. Again, the difference from my last experience at St. Jerome’s was profound.

After Mass there were announcements, one of which threatened my new found peace. Apparently, Fr. O’Connor is hosting a Courage conference next month at St. Jerome’s! Furthermore, he has an article published in the latest issue of the diocesan paper (which I must admit I don’t read!) emphasizing the Church’s teaching that “same-sex attractions” comprise a “disordered desire for love.” Dignity, along with some folks from St. Anne’s, is planning on having a presence at this conference – to protest it, if need be. From what I could gather, someone from Dignity leadership is trying to negotiate with the chancery for a special forum at the conference – a forum that would allow people from both Courage and Dignity to exchange experiences and insights. It’s still unclear whether such a forum will take place, and I could sense that if it didn’t many of those present would be willing to picket the conference.

Wow, I thought, this is something new. Maybe I could cover it for the paper.

As people made their way downstairs for refreshments, I approached Cathie, the woman who had presided at Mass. Yes, I admit it: I was feeling ashamed about the way I had looked down on her and judged her. I wanted to apologize. But before I could get a word out she stepped forward and gave me a great big hug.

“Thank you,” she said.

No . . . Thank you,” I replied. “Your homily . . . I . . . it really spoke to me.”

“Wonderful!” she said. “Actually, I hope it spoke to all of us – male and female, gay and straight, partnered and single. That’s what is needed in our Church: a theology of human sexuality that is informed by all of our experiences; all of our dreams and desires and insights.”

“Yes!” I said with a wide smile. “Yes . . . yes!” To my amazement I was laughing – laughing with relief and joy!

“My, you have such a beautiful smile! What’s your name?”

“James. James Curtis.”

“Well, James Curtis, it’s a pleasure and honor to meet you. Is this your first time at Dignity?”

I shared with her my situation, of how I felt like I didn’t have a spiritual home within Catholicism anymore. Her eyes welled with kindness and empathy as she listened. And, movie buff that I am, I couldn’t help but think of Dr. Aziz’s words to Mrs. Moore in the film A Passage to India: “You have the most kindest eyes of any Englishwoman I’ve met.” Only I would have to say, “. . . of any priest I’ve met.”

Suddenly, my own situation seemed not so unique, not so important. And I heard myself asking: “But I want to know more about you, and about this whole . . . er . . . priest thing.”

I faltered, embarrassed.

“Why, yes, of course, James. I’d love to share my journey with you. And, believe me, it’s been quite a journey.”

Her warm smile really was quite infectious. I returned it and handed her my card.

Later, I got talking to some of the Dignity regulars. I shared with them my issues with St. Jerome’s - and, in particular, how, as a gay man, I no longer felt welcomed there. A guy named Vince suggested I try St. Aelred’s.

“It’s a Cistercian parish,” Vince said, “and as such it has a certain amount of, shall we say, independence from the Diocese. I think you’ll find it to your liking. I know the parish priest quite well. And believe me, you won’t be hearing Courage promoted from the pulpit - or on any church bulletin boards. It’s a very gay-friendly place.”

I asked how long female priests had been saying Mass at Dignity.

“They’re called Roman Catholic Womenpriests, dear,” Vince informed me, “and they’ve been celebrating Mass with us for about a year now. And let me tell you, when they first started it caused quite a stir. We lost a good 20, maybe 30 percent of our members. All men, I should add. It seems they want the Church to change only enough to accept them. In their view, women can stay in their subservient place. They just don’t make the connections.”

“You mean the connection between the different ‘isms’ - like sexism, racism, and heterosexism?”

“Yes, dear! Exactly.”

Goodness, I thought, who would have thought that a sweet old queen like Vince would be talking just like my radical queer activist friend, Jack. What a night of surprises it’s been.

Vince winked at me. “You know, I sometimes think that if those guys who walked weren’t out gay men, they’d be among our most rabid opponents. Do you know what I mean?”

And now I’m at home, reflecting on the various and surprising turns of events at Dignity. I wrote at the beginning of this journal entry that this evening’s Mass hadn’t been “traditional.” But now I’m thinking differently. And not because – as a quick search of the Internet has shown – there were indeed the equivalent of female “priests” in the early church, but because Cathie seemed to be what a priest – a pastor – should be. Not someone who lords it over others and pushes them this way and that, but a loving figure who gathers people together in a spirit of acceptance and welcome – in the spirit of Christ. Perhaps priests and bishops should be shepherds not of people, but of all the experiences and insights of the people. Perhaps then, and only then – equipped with such wisdom – should they be considered authentic teachers . . . like Cathie was tonight.

Oh, such radical thoughts, James! Just one experience of a female priest and already you’re re-imagining the Church. Yet, I wonder: is it really such a re-imagining? Or is it rather a reclaiming? I need to do some research. Perhaps Jay could direct me towards some good books on the early church and the role of those people in it whom we now call priests.

It’s late . . . after midnight! I really should go to sleep. Yet I still feel as if I’m on . . . well . . . almost a high from this evening. It’s not just Cathie’s homily, or the prospect of challenging the Courage conference and its screwed-up ideology, but the fact that I’m also feeling incredibly horny. Is there a connection? I mean, I feel spiritually aroused, and, as is often the case with me, it gets manifested – or better yet, embodied – by being sexually aroused. I’m as hard as a rock!

And, of course, whenever I’m feeling this way I think of Carlos . . . beautiful Carlos. Why? Because it’s with him that I still long to express this spiritual/sexual desire. With him such expression feels, or rather felt, so right and so very good.

But Carlos is out of the picture, and if I think about him for too long resentment rises within me and makes me angry and sad . . . and anything but horny (as I can tell already!). And what and who exactly is it that I resent? Is it ever having met him? How our relationship ended? Is it myself? Him? God? Life? All of the above? Okay, this is getting me nowhere. It’s a useless exercise. God, help me focus on more positive things.

Tomorrow I plan on attending early morning Mass at St. Aelred’s. Then at work I’ll ask Frank, my editor, if I can cover the Courage conference and Dignity’s response to it. Hopefully, Cathie will call and we can arrange to meet and talk. I feel I have so much to learn. Oh, which reminds me, I must contact Jay and get some book recommendations.

It’s strange: Cathie said she’s been on a journey, and tonight I feel like I’ve begun one. It’s a journey of consciousness, an awakening in many ways. It’s exciting, yes. But also a little scary. Yet I remember that smile of Cathie’s. She was okay with where I was at when I first saw her and reacted the way I did. I think she knew I was on a journey and that I had it in me to go beyond where it was I was at. And she was right.

I can’t help but think that this is how God works - accepting us where we’re at but always encouraging us and trusting that we can go beyond, be better yet.

So now, before I go to sleep, I light a candle before my portrait of the Sacred Heart, and I pray that God will guide me on what’s definitely feeling like a new journey in my faith life. I trust you, loving God. You love me, I know. Guide and strengthen me on my way. May it always be your Way as well.

NEXT: Carlos

See also the previous installments of The Journal of James Curtis:
Part One: A “Bells and Smells” Kind of Guy
Part Two: A Quiet Visit and an Exhausting Conversation

Image: Gabriel Loire

Monday, April 27, 2009

It's Still Out There

Today’s developments in the Notre Dame “controversy” suggest
that the “distrustful and factious sectarian spirit” that motivates
the Catholic right remains a force to be reckoned with.

Earlier today is was reported that former US ambassador and “pro-life” Harvard professor Mary Ann Glendon (pictured at right), has decided to decline the University of Notre Dame’s highest honor, the Laetare Medal. This decision was made, she said, because of the “very serious problems” raised by the university’s invitation to President Barack Obama to be this year’s commencement speaker and the recipient of an honorary degree. Both Glendon and Obama were to be present at this year’s commencement at Notre Dame.

I believe that this latest development - or rather, twist - in the ongoing Notre Dame brouhaha owes much to the destructive power of the Catholic right, a movement that has ensured, among other things, the “Limbaugh-ization of Catholic discourse.” Glendon, it should be noted, is a revered figure among many on the increasingly “fringe” Catholic right. According to Rocco Palmo, she’s been “long ago dubbed ‘God’s Lawyer’ and the ‘First Lady’ of the Stateside church.” Palmo also notes that she is a “highly-respected figure at the Holy See.” Could a person of Glengon’s caliber be pressured into declining Notre Dame’s prestigious award by the Catholic right? We’ll probably never know for sure, but some commentators have definite opinions.

But before examining such opinions, let’s look at how some of the other key players - in particular, Fr. John Jenkins (pictured at left), president of Notre Dame, and President Obama - have responded to Glendon’s decision.

Jenkins, in a statement released this afternoon, said that although disappointed by Glendon’s decision, it is the university’s intention to award the Laetare Medal to “another deserving recipient.”

The White House has also released a statement, noting that:

President Obama is disappointed by former Ambassador Mary Glendon’s decision, but he looks forward to delivering an inclusive and respectful speech at the Notre Dame graduation, a school with a rich history of fostering the exchange of ideas. While he is honored to have the support of millions of people of all faiths, he does not govern with the expectation that everyone sees eye to eye with him on every position, and the spirit of debate and healthy disagreement on important issues is part of what he loves about this country.

Back to Glendon and what may or may not have motivated her decision. Colleen Kochivar-Baker has posted a thoughtful reflection addressing this matter on her blog, Enlightened Catholicism. Following is an excerpt.

There’s really not a great deal left to say about this situation. It saddens me that Dr. Glendon decided it was in her best interests to turn down the Laetare Medal. I see it is as a capitulation on her part to right wing political interests. She may have held out as long as she did hoping the heat would die down, but apparently she doesn’t really understand the mentality of the people who were responsible for her own political successes. Perhaps it was pay back time.

In this letter she blames it specifically on Notre Dame’s conferring an honorary degree in violation of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ 2004 letter which states that Catholic universities should not confer honors on those who are in direct defiance of Catholic moral principles. She does not mention that Notre Dame sought the advice of canon lawyers as to whether this letter pertained to non-Catholics who are under no obligation to support Catholic moral doctrine. It seems these lawyers determined the letter did not apply to non-Catholics. I guess it doesn’t matter what canon lawyers think in the face of the opposition of less than 10% of the USCCB. This is a classic case of tyranny by a tiny minority over the much more vast silent majority. That’s pretty much been the case in American Catholicism for the last decade. Catholicism may not be a democracy, but it’s also not supposed to be a tyranny of the few over the many.

It looks to me that Dr. Glendon has decided it’s better to be exploited by the right than give the perception of being exploited by the left. Which says it’s not about Catholicism per se, it’s about who you will let exploit you. If Dr. Glendon was operating out of personal conviction she would have turned down the Laetare Medal as soon as she heard Obama was to give the commencement address and receive an honorary degree. The fact it’s taken her six weeks to come to this decision speaks more about concession to political interests than to her convictions.

(NOTE: To read Kochivar-Baker’s commentary in its entirety , and to read Glendon’s “open letter” to the president of Notre Dame, click here.)

Kochivar-Baker chose the following image to accompany her commentary on Glendon’s decision to decline Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal . . .

. . . and the caption Kachivar-Baker puts beneath this photo says: “Happier and headier days for Dr. Glendon. Days when politics and religion mixed very well for her career.”


Meanwhile, David Tenney, a self-described “committed member” of the “pro-life movement,” offers some insightful analysis over at dotCommonweal.

The Church’s voice on abortion is not being marginalized because of an increasing disrespect for prenatal life on the part of the public. If anything the trend in opinion polls in recent years (especially among the younger generations) has been towards a greater respect for prenatal life. The reason the Church’s message is being marginalized on this issue in America is that the pro-life movement has become so associated with the political agenda and tactics of the right wing of the Republican party. Especially given the fact that the overarching theme of conservative media at the present time is the complete demonization of Obama, I think the Church ought to be very careful about sending high profile symbolic messages that seem to fit with that theme and further contribute to the perception that the Church has simply become an attack arm of the Republican party. . . . Take for instance the e-mail message I received from Fr. Frank Pavone and Priests for Life the other day that declared: “OBAMA HAS DECLARED WAR ON THE UNBORN!” This is partisan rhetoric, not prophetic speech.

And just as I was wondering what the rest of the world thinks of all of this, I spied at dotCommonweal a link to this article from Canada, one that highlights and celebrates “Obama’s Transformational Moment.” What exactly is it talking about? Well, following are some excepts.

This is now a defining moment in world history. It is of the same magnitude as the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, which brought a sudden end to the Cold War. It is not just that [Obama] is of African-American descent, though that itself breaks new political ground. It is rather what he stands for: moving the world from a culture of war to a culture of peace.

. . . A culture of peace is an approach to life that seeks to transform the cultural tendencies toward war and violence into a culture where dialogue, respect and fairness govern social relations. In this way, violence can be prevented through a more tolerant global ethic. I am not saying, by any means, that all the political systems of the world are ready to operate on the principles of a culture of peace; nor am I implying that President Obama is ready for canonization. I am saying that the new president has done a startling U-turn in the manner in which he deals with other governments. Just showing some of the attributes of a culture of peace raises the level of hope that the modern world can find a way to turn away from the path of misery and annihilation to sustainable development for all.

Bill DeHaas, the individual who highlighted this particular article, opines that “it is sad that Ms. Glendon reached her decision in light of the above facts [concerning Obama’s efforts to create a culture of peace]. It appears that many are unable to see the forest for the trees.”

A quote by Henri de Lubac was also shared earlier today at dotCommonweal, one that contains a phrase that, for me, sums up very well what it is that motivates many so-called traditionalist Catholics: a “distrustful and factious sectarian spirit.”

Over at Vox Nova, an excellent overview is provided of the nature and development of this dangerous, hypocritical, and decidedly un-Christlike “spirit” - one that reminds me of the destructive figure of El Coloso (see opening image). I’ll conclude by sharing an extended excerpt from this well-written piece from Vox Nova.

Over the last quarter century or so, we have seen an increasing alliance between Catholics and right-wing evangelicals and other pseudo-conservatives in the public square, exactly matching the new intensity of discourse. In a great irony, as Weigel, Neuhaus and Novak tried to provide some intellectual underpinning behind this endeavour, the whole movement was becoming more and more anti-intellectual. It was the era of Limbaugh, Coulter, and Fox News. These figures and what they represent came in from the cold, and entered the political mainstream.

The tactic was one of constant attack against the demonized other, and they took advantage of media weakness — its reduction of everything to a case of he-said-she-said, the preference for personalities over depth, and its cheerleading the general dumbing down of the culture. It was deceptively simple — the whole noise machine would say the same thing over and over and over, until it entered conventional wisdom. It would feign outrage at the mere hint of an insult. It would always stay on the offensive. It focused on the trivial, the symbolic. It saw conspiracies everywhere, from the New York Times to the science of global warming. Strangely enough, this often worked. The media played the game. Thus things like the abolition on inheritance taxes on the very wealthy became a standard bearer for unfairness. And with the ascent of Bush and the security state, it took a far more sinister tone.

But in the fading Bush years, progressive over-reach meant that the movement began to lose steam. And the worst economic and financial crisis since the Great Depression had an amazing effects of focusing minds on what was truly important. As Obama rose in popularity, the movement became increasingly unhinged and apocalyptic as each successive wave of attack failed to dislodge him. Wasn’t he a big government liberal? No? OK, a socialist? Anti-American? How about a fascist? As each attack failed, the instigators grew more irritated. We saw Sarah Palin’s shameless attempts to bring out the worst in people during the election, all the while being utterly oblivious to matters of policy and governance. We saw the increasing unhinged post-election tactics and rhetoric. We saw a huge spike in gun sales. To merely play the back-and-forth political game and call it “Obama Derangement Sydrome” would be a gross underestimation.

Into this milieu comes a number of core life issues, especially abortion and ESCR [embryonic stem cell research]. By stressing these issues above all others, and by selectively choosing the Church teachings owed assent by the faithful, the Catholics of the right managed to associate themselves with this movement to a greater degree than ever before. For the Catholic right has borrowed the rhetoric, the style, and the tactics of the political right. Screaming about Obama being the most “anti-Catholic” or “most pro-abortion” president ever is simply the Limbaugh-ization of Catholic discourse. Catholics in other countries do not act this way, and are increasing puzzled by the behavior of their American cousins.

Of course, these tactics are defined by simplicity and certainty, black and white. There can be no equivocation. Translated into Catholic terms, this means the Democrats are wrong on a restricted number of non-negotiables and so cannot be supported, ever. They are the “party of death”. The Republicans might not be perfect, but they don’t peddle death. Well, except they do peddle death. Catholic allies of the movement are thus given two choices — defend their allies, or maintain a strict silence. Never one to stay quiet, George Weigel is still stubbornly and persistently defending the Iraq war, while the latest evidence suggests that the decisions taken by George Bush led to a million dead, 4.5 million displaced, and 5 million orphans. But Bush cannot be held responsible for the vast majority of these deaths, right? Well, sure, just as Barack Obama is not responsible for the millions of abortions that take place annually. The best charge you can level against him is that he favors keeping in place the very conditions that allow the killing of the unborn to continue (but remember, these conditions relate both to the legal framework and the accompanying socio-economic circumstances). It’s not so simple after all, is it?

The outcome is slightly disconcerting. While the Catholic right obsesses over the Obama invitation to Notre Dame in apocalyptic terms, there is a huge silence over the release of the torture memos, the final proof that the Bush regime greenlighted the torturing of prisoners, something the Church deems intrinsically evil, and something Obama has ended. The response? Silence, or sad attempts to give Bush the benefit of the doubt.

The Catholic right may think they have won a major tactical victory with the “watershed moment” over Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame, but nothing could be further from the truth. More and more, the core life issues of abortion and ESCR will be seen as the domain of the crazy fringe, and will become more disassociated from the broader culture of life issues that define Church teaching. The reaction of many supposed pro-life Catholics to Iraq and to torture will not be forgotten. And that is an absolute disaster if Catholics have any hope of persuading the general culture that abortion is not a “right” to be cherished, much as Catholics have slowly but surely been turning the tide against the death penalty. When I see the lists circulating on the right pertaining to Obama’s abortion sins, these lists seem dominated by the fact that he is appointing people who support legalized abortion to various posts. What is left unsaid is that he is appointing people whose views on these matters are very much part of the mainstream. And because of the utterly failed tactics of the Catholic right, they will remain part of the mainstream. And that is the real tragedy.

Recommended Off-site Links:
Safe, Legal, and Early - A New Way of Thinking About Abortion - Steven Waldman (, April 27, 2009).
The Battle to Control Catholic Commencements - Elizabeth Redden (, April 28, 2009).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
What the Notre Dame Controversy is Really About and What’s Really at Stake
A Mountain Out of a Molehill
The Bishops and Obama (Part 1)
The Bishops and Obama (Part 2)
What Does It Mean to Be a Catholic University?
A Not So “New” Catholic University

Opening Image: “El Coloso,” a painting that at one time was attributed to Francisco de Goya, but which is now believed to have been painted by his apprentice Asensio Juliá. Wikipedia notes that: “The enormous body of the giant takes up the center of the composition. It seems to adopt an aggressive posture, judging by the position of the arm and the closed fist. The painting was painted during the Peninsular War, and could represent this war. . . . The giants attitude has been the object of various interpretations. It is not known whether he is walking or standing. His posture is also ambiguous; he could be amongst the mountains or buried up to his knees. . . . The giant’s eyes are closed, which could represent blind violence. Contrasting with the erect figure of the giant, small figures of the village people appear in the valley that seem to be fleeing in all directions, with the exception of a donkey which remains calm, which could symbolize . . . the incomprehension of war.”

"Something Exciting and Joyous"

The April 18 Prayer Breakfast
of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform

Note: This piece was first written for and published on the Progressive Catholic Voice website. To leave a comment on this article, please do so here at the PCV site. Thanks.

On Saturday, April 18, the newly formed, Twin Cities-based Catholic Coalition for Church Reform hosted a prayer breakfast at the Metropolitan Ballroom in Golden Valley. The primary purpose of this event was to announce and plan a series of “Synods of the Baptized,” scheduled to take place within the local church over the next two-three years.

Bernie Rodel (pictured at left), a co-founding member of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, notes that the coalition is an “organized mechanism for speaking out.”

“We feel that it is necessary to unite the personnel and talents of a number of local reform organizations, to have a fusion of reform efforts that are organized, methodical, and articulate,” Rodel said. “We realize we need to develop a coalition focused upon action.”

Accordingly, the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR) is the “coming together of organizations of concerned and caring Catholics who promote the full participation of the baptized in all aspects of church life.”

Member groups of CCCR include Call to Action-MN (CTA-MN), the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM), the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church (ARCC), Corpus, Dignity Twin Cities, the Progressive Catholic Voice, and Roman Catholic Womenpriests, and the Minnesota St. Joan’s Community, dedicated to women’s ordination.

The coalition’s inaugural prayer breakfast on April 18 drew 160 people from across the Twin Cities metropolitan area and beyond.

A “Kingdom-Centered” Church

Rodel said that one of the first things that the CCCR Planning Committee needed to do was to reclaim and articulate an understanding of Church rooted in the original message of Jesus. It’s a reclamation to which others within the Church – including members of the hierarchy – have been committed. For as Rodel noted on April 18: “We chose to adopt the Asian bishops’ model of Church which took them nearly thirty years to develop.”

In explaining this model, Rodel observed that: “We’re seeing a shift from a ‘church centered’ ecclesiology to a ‘kingdom centered’ ecclesiology. In other words there is a shift from the behavior of the hierarchy which promotes predominately the welfare and triumph of the church as an organization. Everything is made to serve the church’s extension and influence.”

“In the ‘Kingdom-Centered’ church,” added Rodel, “the Reign of God and its values as proclaimed and lived by Jesus are the center around which everything revolves: forgiveness, reconciliation, justice and peace are extended to all.”

Rodel then proceeded to share five characteristics of a “Kingdom-Centered” church:

1. The church must be seen as a “communion of communities” where all the baptized recognize and accept each other as brothers and sisters.

2. In this ecclesiology there is an explicit and effective recognition of fundamental equality among all of the baptized.

3. Since the gifts of the Holy Spirit are gifts to all the baptized, the church has to have a participatory and collaborative nature of all its ministries.

4. The church must have a dialogical spirit since we need to proclaim the Gospel.

5. The church must be prophetic. We must transform this world and point it to the Kingdom that is yet to come.

Vision and Mission

Not surprisingly, a “Kingdom-centered” model of Church undergirds and supports the CCCR’s vision and mission. The coalition envisions a Church “fully alive, locally and universally, that radiates Jesus’ core teaching of radical equality, unabashed inclusivity, and transforming love.” To achieve this end, CCCR is dedicated to embodying a mission statement that will facilitate courageous and honest dialogue, assure full participation in the life of the church, promote justice and reconciliation in the church, explore Christian/Catholic identity, and witness to the unity of all people of good will while valuing diversity.

Rodel concluded his April 18 remarks by noting that, “as church reform is pursued the greatest temptation is to say that nothing does any good, and one would be better off to take off (both an internal and external emigration). Meantime, where hope is lacking, so is action!” Accordingly, he urged those in attendance to commit to a “Declaration Against Resignation.”

“We think it’s time for the Catholic Church to be transformed from a Roman ‘empire’ into a Catholic ‘commonwealth’,” said Rodel. “We need to ask each of you: Are you ready to move from ecclesiastical domination, from centrism, and from fear to the five values of the Coalition’s understanding of Church? Are you ready to work against disenfranchisement and toward an open Catholicity?

The thunderous applause and cheers from those in attendance clearly conveyed an affirmative answer to such crucial questions.

Many Voices, One Church

CCCR’s April 18 prayer breakfast began with a liturgy entitled “Many Voices, One Church.” This liturgy focused on claiming the “incomparable powers” and “unshackled grace” of baptism as together as Catholics we faithfully respond to the need for reform in the Church.

Part of the liturgy involved participants rejecting ways of thinking and behaving that keep them from God and thus from fully claiming their baptismal authority. These ways of thinking and behaving include dualism; systems of inequality and exclusion (including sexism, racism, heterosexism, and unjust economic arrangements); violence; environmental degradation; and the organization of medieval laws that disallow women, married couples, and same-sex partners from answering their God-given call to liturgical leadership, make it impossible for the Holy Spirit to move among the faithful, and exclude many within the Church from the Eucharistic table.

Participants also acknowledged and reaffirmed what it is they believed in, including an all-loving, inclusive God; Jesus “who became Christ and who calls us to carry out the mission of justice and mercy for all”; the Spirit experienced in the margins of life and in unexpected ways; a universal Church where ministry arises from baptism, charism, and discernment within and by the local church; and an emerging era of “both/and,” of “all of us” – a time, in other words, of “diversity within unity.”

Saturday’s prayer breakfast liturgy concluded with participants anointing one another with oil and acknowledging and celebrating that: “We, [God’s] people, were born of water and the Holy Spirit, and are members of Christ’s body, the Church. As Christ received a priestly, prophetic, and royal anointing, so have we at baptism. With this oil we recommit ourselves to faithfully following our baptismal vocation to reform God’s church in this era.”

Resurrection People

The keynote speaker at the CCCR’s April 18 prayer breakfast was Janet Hauter, vice-president of Voice of the Faithful (National) and co-chair of the American Catholic Council, who began her address to the 160 attendees by noting how scientists have been saying for some time that discovery, innovation, and creativity tend to start in multiple places simultaneously. In other words, when there’s an invention or an initiative in one place, then generally, within a very short period of time, the same invention and/or initiative takes place in one or more other parts of the world.

“That’s what I’m witnessing here today,” declared Hauter. “What I and others have been working on with the American Catholic Council and with Voice of the Faithful, parallels what you have already developed with the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform here in the Twin Cities. In your mission statement, your vision statement, the liturgy that really brought home your message, and the initiatives you are beginning to launch, I see something that is exciting and joyous.”

Hauter said that she was particularly excited because as Catholics we are living through a period where we are hearing very clearly God’s call to become resurrection people. “And as a resurrection people,” Hauter noted, “its time to get off our duff.”

“What’s exciting for me,” she said, “is that this newly founded coalition in the Twin Cities is working on the same reform agenda as Voice of the Faithful, Call to Action, and the American Catholic Council.” For Hauter, this is a sign that the Spirit is engineering the movement of church reform in our time.

Furthermore, she noted that for some time now, “we have been saying to the hierarchy that as a Church we need to become inclusive, transparent, and accountable. More and more we’re seeing and hearing parish councils and diocesan groups using these words and insisting that they be made real. We’re making a difference.”

Hauter applauded the work of CCCR – especially its vision and mission statements. “We need to begin with a clear vision of the future. It’s a crucial first step,” she insisted. “You have already done that. Your mission statement is the means to the end, and the end is your vision of the Church.”

Leadership and Community-Building

In addition to establishing a clear vision, Hauter also noted that we “need to find the leaders who can implement this vision in a trustworthy fashion and with respect – with no screaming, shouting, and raised fists. We need to be mindful of the Church’s tradition and respectful of its doctrines. By moving forward together in such ways we will begin making and being the change we long to see.”

The issue of leadership in the reform movement is critical, Hauter said. “I can’t stress enough that if the people don’t believe that we can succeed, then all our efforts will fail. It is crucial that we show them potential and the possibility of a future Church that is inclusive, transparent, and accountable.”

As reform groups continue to emerge and energize themselves and grow, it is important, says Hauter, that the principles of community organizing become paramount to the leadership of these groups.

“Community organizing is a relational model that says you need to meet one-on-one; that you need to know one another in order to lead effectively,” Hauter told the prayer breakfast audience. “As that relational wheel begins to spin, you have people who can ‘sell’ the concept of reform to neighbors, friends, and family. Immediately it begins to grow by concentric circles.”

Intrinsic to this growth, says Hauter, is the “critical issue of communication.” She is adamant that “the more communication that we are able to generate about what we’re doing, whose doing it, how we’re doing it, and what has worked and what hasn’t, then the more faithful we’ll be to the vision of Church we’re striving for and the more successful we may well end up being.

Priest, Prophet, and King

“We have to repackage the dream of Church that Jesus intended,” Hauter insisted. “Jesus did not intend an institution-bound by hierarchical rules.”

Using a business analogy, Hauter said that as reform-dedicated Catholics “we need to create a climate for change because, bottom line, churches are in the relational business – our relation to Jesus, Jesus’ relation to us, our relation to one another.”

“If you focus on the issue of relationship, Hauter advised, “then you understand what it is we’re packaging and it becomes less threatening and overwhelming than looking at challenging the hierarchy.”

“Relationship-building is key,” she declared, “and the baptismal relationship that we have is key. I was thrilled when I heard that CCCR is building upon the foundation of baptism because at baptism we have been named priest, prophet, and king.”

In relation to this important insight, Hauter noted that each one of us needs to “become a new creation.” Change can only start inside of us as individuals first. We need to understand that we are in fact priest, prophet, and king. And we need to pass that truth on to others within our own communal structures.”

The Inevitability of Change

Hauter noted that one of the tragedies of both the sexual abuse crisis and the monarchical view of hierarchical rule that Catholics have tolerated for far too long is that we are losing our Catholic identity. “We have lost the understanding of what baptism truly means,” she said, “and we have become subservient to rules that make no sense.”

In addition, Hauter observed that reform-dedicated Catholics are “being attacked because members of the hierarchy perceive us to be against doctrine.” Citing the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis’ Office of the Vicar General’s dismissive statement about CCCR, Hauter said that this type of reaction “is a very typical and redundant cry of the hierarchy. It’s the only bullet in their gun.”

Hauter observed that there is a powerful fallacy within Roman Catholicism that the Church is incapable of change. Yet such thinking, she insists, is indeed a fallacy.

“Change,” says Hauter, “is not only possible but will happen in our life time.” Yet we have to understand the context of this change, she cautions.

“We need to know our stuff and we can’t afford to be bamboozled by the hierarchy. It’s very easy to know more than they know. They will always come at us with the comment that we are trying to change doctrine. This isn’t necessarily true, but as Tom Doyle says, ‘When change occurs, doctrine will follow.’ We may not be setting out to change doctrine, but the net effect is that that may happen.”

Hauter is convinced that as Catholics we are at a crossroads akin to the “perfect storm.” She notes that there have been fiscal mistakes that have been made across the Catholic world, along with sexual abuse cover-ups. “We are at a time when the vast majority of Catholics are either going to give up or join a church reform movement,” she said. “Our communication of the reform agenda is crucial to get them on board with us.”

Heralding the fact that CCCR’s prayer breakfast began with a “very, very powerful liturgy,” Hauter said that it is “crucial that we stay true to our roots, as the expression of rites and rituals will help us in our mission and work, and will nourish us as we face the dilemmas ahead.”

Next Steps

As Bernie Rodel mentioned in his April 18 presentation , the CCCR is a “coalition focused upon action.” Accordingly, it is planning a series of “Synods of the Baptized,” scheduled to take place in 2010 and 2011.

To help plan for the 2010 synod, CCCR is inviting people to be part of one or more “work/study groups.” The purpose of these groups is to gather people together who share a passion for reforming certain areas of church life. These areas – including official policies and practices – are ones that many have long recognized as being at odds with the Gospel message of love proclaimed by Jesus. These areas include clericalism, the selection of bishops, official teaching on sexuality and gender, and church authority and governance.

The idea is that at the 2010 synod, each work/study group will make their case for reform – offering recommendations and resolutions that will be voted on by the entire synod. In addition, one of the main goals of the 2010 synod is the establishment of a Coordinating Council which will communicate and implement the resolutions and recommendations passed by the synod.

Said another way, this Coordinating Council will be a representative organization – made up of representatives from the various work/study groups – dedicated to proactively communicating the reform agenda of, in time, both the 2010 and 2011 synods with all the baptized, including local church leaders.

At CCCR’s April 18 prayer breakfast, attendees reviewed the work/study groups already established and suggested additional groups. Approximately 100 people signed-up for the group/s they expressed interested in.

The groups already established are:

1. Bishop Selection
2. Clericalism in the Church/Post-Patriarchal Parish Culture
3. Local Church Organizational Change: How to Make It Happen
4. Church Authority and Governance
5. Sexual Orientation, Gender, and the Construction of a Healthy and Informed Theology of Human Sexuality
6. Catholic Identity/Christian Identity
7. Emerging Church/Intentional Eucharistic Communities
8. Catholic Spirituality
9. Ministry in the Service of Mission
10. Communication in a Polarized Community
11. Marriage
12. Social Justice

Other topics suggested for development:

Centrality of Eucharist
Increasing Inclusivity in Scripture and Lectionary
Children, Youth, and Family
Liturgy – Praying as Authentic Communities in Connection with the Universal Church
New Cosmology and How to Ritualize It

Note: For more information about these group and/or to sign-up, call Paula Ruddy at 612-379-1043. See also the CCCR website at

Would you like to comment on this article? Please do so here, where it was first published at the Progressive Catholic Voice. Thanks.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Many Voices, One Church
The Catholic Coalition for Church Reform
A Declaration for Reform and Renewal
The Call to Be Dialogical Catholics
Staying On Board
A Time to Re-think the Basis and Repair the Damage
Clearing the Debris

Recommended Off-site Link:
In What Sense Are We Progressive Catholics? - An Offering for Reflection and Discussion