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The Catholic Advance, or Retreat

     It is not politically correct to assess the social consequences of various faiths, yet it must be done, since only responsible citizenship can save the world. The common criticism of the Catholic Church is that it is mostly theater. Of practically none of the Kennedy family can it be said that they led "a godly and a sober life." "Godly" does not mean parading one's faith, as is commonly done in America. "Not everyone who says 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the kingdom of heaven..." The Catholic Church never said a word about about the Kennedys' transgressions. A Catholic might point to Clinton parading to church conspicuously holding a Bible. Clinton is not a Puritan.
     Latin Americans are pouring into the United States, and are taking over churches previously frequented by Irish Americans. They have many qualities, but public morality is not one of them. Clerical celibacy is unrealistic, and it has given rise to a series of scandals which have cost the Church dearly.
     The latest is the case of Roman Catholic Bishop G. Patrick Ziemann of the very large diocese of Santa Rosa in northern California. He has resigned as bishop after a Guatemalan priest, Jorie Hume Salas, filed a lawsuit acusing the bishop of sexual abuse and demanding millions in damages. The bishop has not come clean, and he apparently ordained the priest without the proper training. The priest in turn seems to have tried to blackmail the bishop.
     A Santa Rosa nun, Sister Jane Kelly, has spoken out like a modern Savonarola. Clearly not only Catholic laypersons are protesting (hence the word "Protestant"). Sister Kelly will not suffer the fate of Savonarola; it is against the law, although anthropologists justify all kinds of practices as part of a culture. But there may be an American Martin Luther waiting in the wings. I remember sixty years ago hearing a fiery sermon in Florence denouncing Luther as the devil incarnate. Now the Catholic Church treats him with respect. Is this a preview of what will happen in the United States?

Ronald Hilton - 07/25/99

More on The Catholic Advance, or Retreat

     Linda Nyquist has again expressed her fear of the "firing squad" for her opinions. She can relax. WAIS is "the last bastion of reasonableness." She writes:
     Wait for the firing squad on this one! Or maybe WAISers aren't a religious lot and won't really care about these comments on the Catholic Church. In prior messages, you know my feelings; however, as a product of 20 years of Catholic education (Ursuline High School in Santa Rosa and Notre Dame in Belmont), followed by a fine secular education at UNAM and UDLA in Mexico, I do have a comment. Growing up, we thought the Catholic Church and all the rules and regulations of the nuns were nuts. Now I have seen the influence of the evangelicals and pentecostals in Latin America, and here. The Catholic Church is looking like the last bastion of reasonableness.
     Bill Van Orsdol comments:
     In your discussion on the Catholic Church you didn't mention the subject of birth control or family planning. The Catholic Church is responsible for excess population in many countries of this world. What is your feeling on that subject?
     My response: I agree.
     Bill Van Orsdol is a religious man. His condemnation of the Catholic position on birth and population control has received wide support from WAISers. Here is Linda Nyquist's comment. I chose it because she had previously expressed her new respect for the Catholic Church, an ambivalence shared by many Catholics:
     Along with Mr. Van Orsdol, I concur that the Catholic Church has been irresponsible in the areas of family planning and birth control. Its position suggests that it is acceptable to God that infants die at birth and during the first year of life in record numbers in the third world, and that those that live often do so in the most miserable of circumstances, with no hope whatsoever. Mother Teresa said that the western world had much to learn from India, as Indians would prefer to leave a baby in a dust bin [garbage can] than commit the sin/crime of abortion. This viewpoint is, from my perspective, obscene; worse is that nary a peep was seemingly uttered worldwide to challenge this. Regarding Mother Teresa, please refer to the book "Missionary Position." Then decide for yourself.
     My comment: Mother Teresa, commonly referred to as a saint, is unsophisticated. She told the story of a couple which could not have a baby, so they prayed, and the woman conceived. Laus deo. One more baby.

Ronald Hilton - 07/27/99