American Catholicism: And Now Where? by John G. Deedy

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By John G. Deedy

THE AMERICAN CATHOLIC church is a striking institu­ tion. Its humans worship in numbers that dwarf figures from in different places. It has the most brilliant of Cath­ olic tuition platforms, possibly the main brilliant. it really is usually an obedient church, a few might say docile­ controversies of modern years even though. it's a church characterised by means of nice loyalty to the pope and via unstinting monetary generosity to Rome. nonetheless, the Ameri­ can church is a church in transition. there was ero­ sion in parts of church existence. but extra is probably going. The vii viii PREFACE American Catholic church, in sum, is a ready-made sub­ ject for research and learn. whilst this booklet undertaking on American Catholicism was once first broached, no specific time urgency concerned. lately, nuns and clergymen had ex­ ited the non secular existence by means of the millions, and their ranks weren't being refilled. Many seminaries and convents were closed for loss of desire, then bought off to satisfy the monetary imperatives of the respective non secular com­ munities. The management of Catholic hospitals in numerous towns were became over to put forums, and some Catholic schools had close their gates. a couple of Catholic guides had disappeared from view, and in lots of Catholic parishes, focuses shifted, usually to ac­ tivities of apostolic inconsequence, as emphases tired clear of diocesan colleges, very a lot of which had closed for good.

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Very probably, they did, though their experiment did not exactly become practice in the field of vocations' recruitment. The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate tried another tack. " The pitch was a combination of spoof and seriousness. Now, people may legitimately debate approaches such as these. Was the medium wrong (because inappropriate) for the Trinitarians? Was the message wrong (because overly frivolous) for the Oblates of Mary Immaculate? But those questions stray into another issue. The point is that one way or another, new priests can be recruited.

Soon Szoka was reversing himself, and finally, on 23 February 1983 he called on Mansour to resign her post. Mansour refused, declaring that though personally opposed to abortion, she could tolerate government funding of abortion out of consideration for American pluralism. It was a rationale not essentially different from Drinan's, but like Drinan's, it was unacceptable. The Vatican hurried Auxiliary Bishop Anthony J. Bevilacqua of Brooklyn to Detroit as its troubleshooter. Mansour kept her job, but she was forced to resign as a nun.

That Rome left it to the American bishops to settle the unrest themselves is testimony to the restraint and the trust, if not also the wisdom, of Paul VI. The same restraint, to say no more, could not be expected today, as was made abundantly clear by the resurrection of grievances against Curran in 1985 through the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Of course, there is a different pontificate in place now, and reigning popes largely set the ideological tones of the curias.

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