Wednesday, July 8, 2015

NCR tells it

July 9
I often wish readers could hear or see the comments I get to my blog, especially if they have more content than a compliment. I like compliments, of course, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget the one from a woman whose husband liked my writing so much she asked him if he was in love with Jeanette.

Occasionally I have included emails in my own post, and I decided to do it again. 
John Chuchman:
I am Catholic evermore, Roman, never again.  I don't see the Franciscan Spirituality of Rohr or the Spiritualities of the other Major Orders as being "Roman."
Even if Jesus had organized a church, which he did not, it surely would not be Roman. 

I decided to post three comments anonymously without asking or waiting for consent.
fascinating, especially on Eleanor Roosevelt.  keep up your fine work.

Thanks, Jeanette.
Yes, I read the article in the NCR…
It will take a long time to undo the literal belief in Christian myth…
But I seriously believe we are making some progress.

Like you, I came relatively late to admiration of E. R.  Barbara Cook wrote a two-volume biography of her a few years ago and I think it is still among the best sources on E. R.  She is very much a “saint” to me as well!

NCR tells it        July 8

The latest edition of National Catholic Reporter focuses on the sex abuse crisis. Most interesting to me is NCR’s role in uncovering the scandal—going back to 1985, thirty years ago.  Jason Berry told the story of a priest-pedophile in Louisiana, and Arthur Jones reported on other molesting priests around the country. Back then, NCR already hit the right targets—priests preying on vulnerable children and bishops covering up the facts. Tom Fox, editor then and publisher now, comments:

We saw these dual patterns from the start. It took years for us to fill out the picture—and we had to do it pretty much on our own.

Other Catholic publications wouldn’t touch the story. Most were controlled by bishops who had little or no desire to say anything bad about the church.

Even secular papers were afraid of confronting Catholic officials. NCR’s courage points to what I like about it. It reveals everything—the crud as well as the clean.

It’s worth going to a library for this fascinating issue if you don’t subscribe to the printed paper.
I can link you to this story about John Nienstedt, disgraced archbishop in St. Paul, but Minnesotans interested in this will know as much or more if they listen to Minnesota Public Radio. Here’s a link to stories showing NCR’s history of reporting sex abuse starting 30 years ago. One story includes Tom Fox’s disclosure that as a child he was molested by a priest, which likely motivated him to persist in covering the painful topic when the rest of the world avoided it.

Like Tom Fox, I persist in talking and writing about another issue in religion that Christians avoid, even educated ones—literal belief in Christian myth. Churches encourage worship of a god-man, ignoring information that comes from science, mythology, history, and studies in comparative religion.
So young people and thoughtful adults are becoming “nones” or non-affiliated with religion. They accept spiritual reality but are dissatisfied with traditional Christian churches. I say good for them. Thoughtful Christian educators ought to stop lazily going along with God-talk that feels stupid to a growing body of cradle Christians.

I am a cradle Catholic and I am asked why I still call myself Catholic when I don’t sound like other Catholics. I cherish my religion, and I explain why I stay in God Is Not Three Guys in the Sky. In the memoir I’m now working on, I am trying to sort out how my life led me from parochial to global consciousness. I suspect some readers of NCR and maybe even some writers for NCR are in the same boat I am.