Not So Fast There

By Ted Blount
Naples Daily News [Naples, Florida]
March 26, 2004

Rose and Richard Morley warn that lay participation in the governance of the Catholic Church would result in "deterioration, distortion and immorality," as in those reform churches in the Yellow Pages. This insults our Protestant friends, and sincerest apologies are in order. In fact, it is the Catholic leadership that has given us deterioration, distortion and immorality, and it is the laity's duty to address these wrongs.

It may surprise many Catholics to learn that the laity has played a powerful role in governing the church at times. For example, in the early years of the American church the laity controlled (with the permission of bishops) most of the temporal affairs of the church. And our first bishop, John Carroll, was sensitive to our democratic culture and was elected, at his insistence, by priests who were responsive to the will of their constituents.

Nothing in Scripture mandates that the church be governed as it is today. Or, as one Catholic university professor has put it, "Jesus no more planned the current form of the papacy than did Sitting Bull plan the Bureau of Indian Affairs."

As for the John Jay Report, it undoubtedly contains truthful data. But it certainly does not tell all of the truth about sex abuse in the church. And it conveniently sidesteps the biggest issue of all, i.e., the cover-up schemes of the bishops. It is just another maneuver by the bishops to divert our attention from the real problem.

Ted Blount/Bonita Springs

VOTF S.W. Florida