Catholic Hall Monitors

I’m on a mailing list put out by a person I describe as a Catholic hall monitor named Colleen Perfect. Mrs. Perfect has a mission to make sure all Catholics subscribe to her brand of Catholicism or burn in hell. And all non-Catholics are basically screwed (sorry, at least I get to burn). The latest issue that has her panties in a bunch is a group called Call to Action, that – get this – thinks women and married men should be priests, thinks the Vatican should be more open about how it spends money, and thinks the laity should be able to have a say in church decisions. Here’s their platform:

  • “We appeal to the institutional church to reform and renew its structures. We also appeal to the people of God to witness to the Spirit who lives within us and to seek ways to serve the vision of God in human society.
  • “We call upon church officials to incorporate women at all levels of ministry and decision-making.
  • “We call upon the church to discard the medieval discipline of mandatory priestly celibacy and to open the priesthood to women and married me…so that the Eucharist may continue to be the center of the spiritual life of all Catholics.
  • “We call for extensive consultation with the Catholic people in developing church teaching on human sexuality.
  • “We claim our responsibility as committed laity, religious and clergy to participate in the selection of our local bishops, a time-honored tradition in the church.
  • “We call for open dialogue, academic freedom, and due process.
  • “We call upon the church to become a model of financial openness on all levels, including the Vatican.
  • “We call for a fundamental change so that young people will see and hear God living in and through the church as a participatory community of believers who practice what they preach.”

Sounds pretty sane to me. But here’s what Mrs. Perfect (yes, that’s her real name) has to say about the Vatican’s plan to excommunicate members of this group:

This action is absolutely necessary to safe-guard our Holy Mother Church, and finally put a stop to the confusion this dissident group, “Call to Action”, has caused for many years!

Help me figure this out:

  • What good does it do to excommunicate people who don’t feel like they’ve done anything wrong?
  • Is it a bad thing to think women should be able to hold leadership positions in the church?
  • Were any Cardinals, including Cardinal Bernard Law, excommunicated for their role in the priest pedophilia scandal? How does that compare to this?

Another thing that confuses me: Why does the church take a hard line against having women in power or married priests, yet doesn’t excommunicate the 96% of Catholics in the United States who use birth control? If you’re going to take a principled stand, why not go all the way. Have a truly principled church made up of the fraction of the remaining 4% who aren’t breaking other rules created by the Vatican and enforced by Mrs. Perfect.

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