Leaving the Church is a Luxury the World Cannot Afford

It was no surprise when, last week, Bill Keller’s New York Times column declaring that progressive and liberal Catholics should leave the church, received a seemingly endless screed of online comments, as well as Facebook shares, tweets and recurring spins on blog rolls.

It was easy for those feeling demoralized by the hierarchy’s condemnation of nuns, its thinly veiled political campaign for religious freedom and its ongoing, unhealthy preoccupation with matters of the pelvic zone to resonate with Keller’s disappointment and despair.

The hostile takeover of the church by archconservative forces, best summed up in the rants of Bill Donohue, is a fait accompli, Keller concluded, and things are not going to change.

I share Keller’s assessment that church officials seem to want Catholics who dissent from some, if not all, of the church’s teachings related to sexuality — the ordination of women, support for same-sex marriage — to leave the church. How else can one explain the unpleasant, reactionary atmosphere the hierarchy is straining to cultivate within the church’s walls?

But what seems to elude Keller, as it does many of those who comment on this topic, is that the ability to leave the church is a luxury afforded only to Catholics in the West.


June 26, 2012, on Regional News Network’s “Richard French Live”

June 26, 2012, on Regional News Network’s “Richard French Live”

Topic: “The Vatican Report: Cracking Down on Nuns”

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