The Boston Globe prints a letter today from the ultra-liberal Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church. (“In the Church”? As opposed to Catholics outside the Church?)
It’s mainly predictable stuff. Under the guise of congratulating Pope John Paul on his 25 years as Pope, they trash him and Church teaching to suit their own agenda. Their first complaint? “The most serious of these is the Eucharistic famine brought about by John Paul II’s refusal to consider optional celibacy for priests or to discuss the ordination of women.” Eucharistic famine? Okay, there are fewer priests in the US today than 40 years ago, but 90 percent of Catholics in the US live within a half hour drive of a Catholic church with a priest celebrating Mass every Sunday. I wouldn’t exactly call that a famine.
Plus it’s not solely a lack of priests that is the problem. Even in places where there are parishes with priests every few miles, the pews are empty because of lay apathy. Will putting a woman behind the altar change that? Look at all the Protestant denominations that have married and female clergy. They’re declining at pretty quick clip.
Note the description of ARCC at the end of the letter: “ARCC is an organization founded in 1980 by lay and clerical Catholics that is attempting to bring structural change in the church.” Structural change. Sound familiar? That’s Voice of the Faithful’s rallying cry.
The ties between this is ultra-liberal group and VOTF go beyond that as well. The idea to model the Church’s governance on the US Constitution comes from ARCC. In fact, some of the first few founders of VOTF were ARCC and Call to Action leaders. Yet they claim to be “centrist.” I don’t think so.