Saturday, June 26, 2010

Church leadership, in time, will follow this wayward priest

Church leadership, in time, will follow this wayward priest


Publication of the Rev. Charles Curran's "Banned by the Pope" in the June 14 Newsweek was most timely and appreciated. As an active Catholic long interested in and working for reform of our church hierarchy, I venture to say that Curran speaks for a vast majority of the Catholics in the United States, and I believe elsewhere.

I met him in Naples, Fla., when he was the featured speaker at the Speakers Forum of Voice of The Faithful of Southwest Florida several years ago. I was a member of the board of that organization. A small number of our group also had the opportunity to speak with him personally at a breakfast meeting. He was banned by the bishop from our Catholic premises, so we rented a Protestant church for Curran's full-house turnout.

Curran is truly an inspiration of gentle persistence for needed change in our church's wounded hierarchical system. I am currently studying medieval history and particularly am digesting "Medieval Europe, Fifth Edition, A Short History," by C. Warren Hollister. Like a tennis match, except under war conditions, it was state and church; then church and state; and the Jesus we know from the Gospels was nowhere in sight.

The good priests, the nuns, the multitude of women on the front lines, and the men in smaller numbers, are the backbone of day-to-day Catholicism at the parish level. They are the church, all laboring in sharp contrast to the hierarchy who are determined to preserve their status quo. Today's hierarchy fights to maintain the power position of "authority not be questioned," which it wrestled from the kings of medieval times, who were deposed in favor of government from and by the people.

The church hierarchy has a hold on the last bastion of that "the king can do no wrong" unchristian position of bygone days. But change will come and democratic principles will return, as in the very early pre-Constantine church.

"But the church is not a democracy."

Who says?

They say.

Who are they? They are the guys now in charge, who in their younger years were part of us, but now enjoy their supremacy too much. To the kings' positions of no accountability: No more.

Thomas L. Murray is a retired South end attorney. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 1951 and lives in Niles.

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