Dissent

The New Secular Puritan Covenant

Thanksgiving brings back memories for Americans of the Pilgrims and Puritans, carrying out their “errand into the wilderness” to build a “city on a hill,” surviving that first bleak Massachusetts winter of 1620-21. As a kid, I remember that cutting out Puritan hats from black construction paper and taping them to the school windows was [...]

Recollections of a World That Is No More

There are fewer than ten years separating the ages of my wife and me, a difference hardly worth mentioning in a marriage of more than thirty years.  Yet the distance between the two worlds we grew up in, the forces that shaped the cultural and religious horizons of our two lives, remains so vastly different [...]

The Liberal Protestant Future of Catholic Dissent

One of the many memorable scenes in David Lean’s Doctor Zhivago features Zhivago’s family fleeing the ugliness and brutality of Moscow after the Bolshevik Revolution for the tranquility of the family’s country estate in Varykino.  Upon reaching the estate after an arduous journey, Zhivago’s father-in-law, Alexander Gromeko, finds the main house boarded up, with a [...]

Fifty Years Later–Vatican II’s Unfinished Business

Fifty years after the opening of the Second Vatican Council, the Church in the United States is in the throes of a struggle. Loyal Catholics are showing renewed vigor and vitality, and are helping the Church to move forward in unity. At the same time, the Church is also being exhausted and drained from within [...]

Liberal Catholicism: Requiescat in Pace

With the dust settling on the uproar which followed the Vatican’s April intervention into the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), it’s possible to put this and other emerging trends into a longer-term perspective. The blustering reaction of the LCWR and supporters such as the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof (whose grasp of rudimentary Catholic [...]

Dissenting Catholics’ Modernity Problem

Judging from the hundreds of thousands of Germans who attended and watched Pope Benedict XVI’s September trip to his homeland (not to mention the tsunami of commentaries sparked by his Bundestag address), the pope’s visit was -- once again -- a success. And, once again, it was also an occasion for self-identified dissenting Catholics to [...]

For the Dissidents, We’re All Priests Now

While faithful Catholics concluded their celebration of the Year of the Priest only last spring, a coalition of dissident organizations like Call to Action, Voice of the Faithful, and the Women's Ordination Conference have issued a "universal call to ministry" to help build a "non-clerical Catholic Church in which the laity reclaims their baptismal priesthood." [...]

The Decline and Fall of the History Channel

There was a time when the History Channel covered actual, you know, history. That day is long passed, sadly, and most of the station's programming is now given over to ice road trucking, pawn shop reality shows, Bigfoot, and the nonsensical "prophecies" of Nostrodamus. And when it does ostensibly cover the substantive past, the channel [...]

Vatican II and the Culture of Dissent

In this Crisis Magazine classic, Russell Shaw explains why Catholic dissenters got so far so fast in the years following the council.     The Second Vatican Council closed just over 40 years ago, on December 8, 1965. For most people, the postconciliar era had begun. But for me, that troubled time in recent Catholic [...]

Three Women: A Tale of Friendship, Fidelity, and Dissent

There are times when momentous events are so compressed and juxtaposed that symbolically they represent a lifetime of great issues. Such was a recent period. Squeezed into a few days was a chunk of metaphysics, significant not only as single events but in happening side by side. First, my close friend Lee Burke announced her [...]

Curran, Dissent, & Rome: A Symposium

No matter how they judge the merits of the case, thoughtful Catholics should agree that the current controversy surrounding Rev. Charles Curran is the most crucial intellectual issue now facing the Catholic Church in America. To assess this uniquely important controversy, Catholicism in Crisis asked a number of prominent Catholic thinkers to contribute their thoughts [...]

Curran, Dissent, & Rome: A Symposium

Little has been said of potential legal developments relating to the present controversy over Fr. Charles Curran. Bishop William H. Hughes, Chairman of USCC's Committee of Bishops and Catholic College and University Presidents, was quoted in NC News (November 21) as saying that he was in possession of two "legal briefs" on the matter, which [...]

Curran, Dissent, & Rome: A Symposium

In De Moribus Ecclesiae Catholicae et de Moribus Manichaeorum, St. Augustine writes, "there is no sounder principle in the Catholic Church than that authority should precede reason." Scripture, tradition, and the teaching authority of the Catholic Church take precedence over philosophical speculation in determining Catholic teaching on faith and morals. Fr. Curran and many other [...]

Curran, Dissent, & Rome: A Symposium

The case of Charles Curran, as it has come to be called, deserves all the considered attention that it can receive. The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome has demanded that Father Charles Curran "retract those positions [he has publicly stated] which violate the conditions necessary for a professor to be [...]

Curran, Dissent, & Rome: A Symposium

What are moral absolutes? They are specific moral norms that exclude acts of certain kinds universally — e.g., adultery (contraception, abortion, etc.) is always morally wrong. The issue: All Jews and Christians held that some moral norms are absolutes; today, many Catholic theologians dissent and hold that no moral norm is an absolute. Against such [...]

Curran, Dissent, & Rome: A Symposium

Among its many dimensions, the Curran case focuses attention on the social role of the theologian in our time. Father Curran and his supporters argue that theologians have the right to pursue their researches (more precisely, their speculations) freely, unmolested by threats from outside the academy. Only in such a serene, tolerant environment, it is [...]

Curran, Dissent, & Rome: A Symposium

I am a journalist, not a theologian; my academic specialty was politics. So perhaps I should have no comment on the Curran affair. But wait. When he returned from his meetings at the Vatican, Father Curran called a press conference. Is this the world of theology, or of journalism? Soon groups of Curran's supporters were [...]

Curran, Dissent, & Rome: A Symposium

As members of the Theology Department of the University of America we wish to associate ourselves with the public statement of support issued by Bishop Matthew B. Clark, Father Curran's local ordinary. We concur with Bishop Clark that Father Curran is a priest of exemplary personal life, generous in his availability to other persons. We [...]

Curran, Dissent, & Rome: A Symposium

Many of my colleagues in the Theology Department have urged for acceptance of a "compromise" in the confrontation between Father Charles E. Curran and the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This compromise would require Father Curran to refrain from teaching sexual ethics at the University, require the SCDF to recognize Father Curran [...]

Curran, Dissent, & Rome: A Symposium

The main defense offered on behalf of the destructive moral theology Father Curran has been teaching over the past several decades is that he has never dissented from a moral position infallibly defined as essential Catholic teaching. This is unconvincing on several counts. Curran has long been identified with the view that there are no [...]

Curran, Dissent, & Rome: A Symposium

The current discussion on the proposed Vatican action to void the right of Father Charles E. Curran to teach Roman Catholic doctrine has aroused a variety of comments and responses. All are interesting, but only several focus on the central issue. Let us say in the beginning that all parties would be well served to [...]

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