Which Catholic Church? - NYTimes.


2/28/13 7:48 PM





U.S. Edition

Subscribe to Home Delivery

Log In Register Now Help

Search Opinion

















Which Catholic Church?
By PAUL KENNEDY Published: February 26, 2013

Log in to see what your friends are sharing on nytimes.com. Privacy Policy | What’s This?

Log In With Facebook

Being about the only professor at a liberal, tolerant, cosmopolitan Western university who is known to be a practicing Catholic — baptized at the age of two weeks — I have been asked frequently in recent times about what I think will happen to the church in the light of Pope Benedict’s resignation. Will it split further, between conservatives and liberals? Will there be an African pope? When will there ever be female priests, then bishops? What about declining attendance of the European congregations (as opposed to the surging populations in the southern world)?


What’s Popular Now
Van Cliburn, Pianist, Dies at 78 Native Americans and the Violence Against Women Act

I sigh. When I turn to my daily newspapers, I sigh further, at the stereotyping, the false assumptions, the hostility in some quarters, the focus upon protocol rather than substance, the obsession with fiscal laxities at the Vatican rather than the proclaimed mission of Christ. Much of this criticism is boringly predictable; I may be wrong, but I suspect it might be hard to find a month, for example, when New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd does not launch an attack upon the papacy and the Catholic Church. And when the College of Cardinals announces the successor to Benedict, there will be fervid speculation about the new pope’s attitude toward divorce, abortion, the Jews, secularism in Italy, and so on. That is one view of the Catholic Church, the church of hierarchy, tradition, formalism, its bursts of reform soon restrained by a return to conservatism. It is the church so familiar to the minds of secularists, pagans and anti-Catholics everywhere. It is the church of the 19th-century popes. It is the church of infallibility, incense, candles, and of Latin masses. Pushing it further, it is the church of financial corruption and sexual abuse. It is the church of stereotype, which is not wise. In the early 1790s, as Europe reeled under the shock of the French Revolution, the great English politician and philosopher Edmund Burke warned against condemning an entire nation, a France of about 30 million souls, for the troubles and wars. Shouldn’t we be wary of condemning a church of roughly 1 billion believers? On Wednesday last week, I went, as I usually do, to work in the lunchtime soup kitchen of the St. Thomas More Catholic chaplaincy at Yale University in downtown New Haven, Connecticut, founded almost 30 years ago to meet the needs of the poor and hungry. Among our customers, there was the usual group of permanent down-and-outs, meth

Today's Headlines Daily E-Mail
Sign up for a roundup of the day's top stories, sent every morning. See Sample | Privacy Policy





A Drone Panel Within the Executive Branch? 2.

Distance from Carnage Doesn't Prevent PTSD for Drone Pilots 3.

Predator Drones Keep an Eye on the Border, Documents Show 4. Iran: News Agency Clarifies Drone Report

Page 1 of 3

At the end of his striking homily upon this passage. 10. well.newsmax. Not everyone is Catholic. just as we need the Church Ethical and the Church Social. rejoicing also in the beauty of the services (especially the sung Masses) and the sheer intellectualism of the homilies.nytimes. the local schools had closed because of a blizzard. That’s the sole question you will be asked when you reach the Pearly Gates. This is not a dead or decaying church. a Host to Popes for Centuries. CASTEL GANDOLFO JOURNAL Hilltop Town. soup kitchens and the like. and rode on. our http://www. and loving your known and unknown neighbors as yourself. then left to die in the ditch. the beggar on the street. Just a few weeks ago. so they could not get their free school lunches. A few Sundays ago. without roots. But the despised Samaritan stopped. the desperate-looking person at the soup kitchen. the parish priest. A number of them are going off to Guatemala in mid-March to help rebuild a village still hurting from the civil wars. The litmus test is whether you help the unknown. sexism and the rest should think that they are attacking Catholicism per se. The married-priests issue is a footnote. without a physical place of worship. But no one launching an attack upon the papal elections.” Wow. take Communion and confession. It is vibrant and pulsing. changes in the liturgy. OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR A Vatican Spring? 7. or in the men’s overflow night shelter. Does this mean that Catholics do not need a worldwide church structure? Not at all. with their great commitment to prayer and social justice. Everything else. organization and a network. said Father Bob. Prepares for an Eminent Retiree 8. “is footnotes. where most of us will be baptized. They are the Yale students who also work in the downtown evening soup kitchen. need meeting houses. so is divorce. social and fund-raising events. What’s This? | Don’t Show Ads by Google what's this? 3 Early Signs of Dementia Doctor: Know These 3 Warning Signs You're About to Suffer Dementia www.com 2/28/13 7:48 PM addicts. Note that the benefactor did not assist a family member. druggies. Nobody. Vatican finances. wandering through deserts and hillsides. they would never expect to be remunerated. “Even the pagans do that!” scoffed Jesus in another address. They are the parishioners who live around Yale and come in for Sunday Mass and collegiality. Even the modest Quakers. But those parishes reside under the protective umbrella of a diocese and its bishop — and the line from a bishop goes straight to Rome. There was a father with four young kids. I talked with a young man (never seen before or since) who wanted to discuss the poems of Shelley and Keats — plus Eliot’s “Four Quartets”! The helpers at the soup kitchen are all volunteers. wants to be like the early Christians. and will you reach out to help?” Loving your God. and dignified older ladies and gentlemen who had recently lost their jobs and decided to take our food so they could spend their pittances on energy bills. Benedict XVI to Be Known as Emeritus in Retirement 6. They welcome guest speakers and participate in theological discussion groups.NYTimes. We need the Church Physical. the remarkable Catholic chaplain at Yale told us bluntly: “This is the test. smelly. THE LEDE Ask About the Papal Transition IHT RENDEZVOUS Time for an Asian Pope? OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR Which Catholic Church? Log in to discover more articles based on what you‘ve read. A man going to Jericho from Jerusalem was assaulted by robbers. and did not stop. 9. the parish church. The physical parish church offers not only a place for public worship but also a place for study groups. hairy. even perhaps the death penalty.Which Catholic Church? . Do you love your unknown neighbor as yourself? Do you love your dirty. From my perspective.html?emc=eta1&_r=0 5. or a college friend. Nobody is leaving it. the Gospel featured that very familiar tale of “the Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:25-37). is the core. What happens in Rome is. That’s simply not enough. surely. the female-priests issue is a footnote. We need the parish. Latin Masses. To talk with our clients is sometimes a revelation. drinkers.com Page 2 of 3 . or a favored charity. A priest came by. get married and eventually enjoy the last rites. but most are. took the unknown victim to an inn and paid for all that he needed.com/2013/02/27/opinion/global/which-catholic-church. contraception. What matters is your reaching out to help. A Levite came by. distant. dispossessed neighbor as yourself. It is our Catholic Church.

well.S. and the author of many books.COM MOVIES » HOME & GARDEN » FASHION & STYLE » OPINION » U.com INSIDE NYTIMES. » OPINION » Op-Ed: Our Debt.nytimes. Ourselves Six facts about the federal debt that many Americans need to be aware of. including “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. 2013. intellectual. SAVE E-MAIL SHARE Get 50% Off The New York Times & Free All Digital Access. Everything else is. footnotes. and working in so many ways to fulfill the message to love God and to love.newsmax. Get Free E-mail Alerts on These Topics Roman Catholic Church Popes Ads by Google what's this? Religion and Belief 3 Early Signs of Dementia Doctor: Know These 3 Warning Signs You're About to Suffer Dementia www. the Muse of Saint Laurent Op-Ed: A Vatican Spring? Beef Plant Closing Takes Toll on Texas Town © 2013 The New York Times Company Site Feedback Site Map Privacy Your Ad Choices Advertise Terms of Sale Terms of Service Work With Us RSS Help Contact Us MORE IN GLOBAL OPINION (1 OF 2 Op-Ed Columnist: Zer Read More » http://www.com/2013/02/27/opinion/global/which-catholic-church. Paul Kennedy is Dilworth Professor of History and director of International Security Studies at Yale University.NYTimes.Which Catholic Church? .com 2/28/13 7:48 PM Catholic Church is vibrant.html?emc=eta1&_r=0 Page 3 of 3 . in The International Herald Tribune. helpful. and reach out to. Oscar-Winning Lessons in History and Hard Sell Analyzing the Couch Liza Thorn.” TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES A version of this op-ed appeared in print on February 27. one’s unknown neighbor.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful