Aggie Catholics: Newsweek Does It Again

Lisa Miller from Newsweek is at it again. Her favorite advesary, the Catholic Church, sells a lot of books and magazines when you throw it under the bus. So, why stop? She sure got this one wrong again, just as she did when talking about heaven recently.

Here is one snip that should get us going, as she talks about women in the Church:

The problem—bluntly put—is that the bishops and cardinals who manage the institutional church live behind guarded walls in a pre-Enlightenment world. Within their enclave, they remain largely untouched by the democratic revolutions in France and America. On questions of morality, they hold the group—in this case, the church—above the individual and regard modernity as a threat. We in the democratic West who criticize the hierarchy for its shocking inaction take the supremacy of the individual for granted. They in the Vatican who blast the media for bias against the pope value ecclesiastical cohesion over all. The gap is real. We don’t get them. And they don’t get us.

She got two things correct:
1 – she doesn’t “get” the Catholic Church.
2 – she is part of modern culture.

Outside of these facts, she makes a mess of the rest of the article. She, as most in the media do, casts the Catholic Church as nothing more than a political or business reality and cannot think outside of these models and structures. In this kind of understanding of the Church, the hierarchy is sexist, they don’t understand modernity and progress, the Church needs to open up the doors to the sexual revolution and an enlightened understanding of humanity.

This kind of understanding hasn’t worked so well were implemented, so why does Miller think it will work in the Church? Because she sees things such as abortion, contraception, no-fault divorce, gaining power over human life, etc. as good things.

Our modern culture calls evil a good thing and asks the Catholic Church to do so as well. I won’t hold my breath.

Even her sources are suspect. To talk about the inner workings of the Catholic Church she quotes a United Church of Christ female minister:

“You can make a good argument that part of the problem is the hierarchy, in terms of it being a boys’ club, an institution that is so ingrown and conservative and out of touch with people.”

So, the Catholic Church – which is growing leaps and bounds – should listen to a women who is part of a dying denomination about how to be “in touch”? No thanks.

It is one thing to be critical – and we should be critical of leaders who don’t stand up to evil or allow bad things to happen. But, it is quite another to merely throw random (and silly) accusations around and hope one sticks in order to lead to “change” as you think it should happen.

The Church of Lisa Miller isn’t gaining many members…Sr. Mary Ann Walsh agrees and starts with facts about the article:

Observations get tossed about without scrutiny. For example, she states, wrongly, that “few women retain high-profile management jobs, such as chancellor, within dioceses.” Fact-checking proves that wrong. If you take the requirement for ordination off the table, data shows that the number of women in leadership positions in Catholic dioceses is comparable to that of the women in the U.S. workforce as a whole. One quarter of diocesan positions at the highest level, such as chancellor or chief financial officer, are held by women. You don’t find similar numbers among U.S. corporations.

Influence in the church does not depend upon ordination, though there is no doubt that it helps. The greatest impact of the Catholic Church in the United States arguably has been through its education and hospital systems, where women have taken the lead from the start. Church women also have had an impact beyond the church. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, for example, touched hearts everywhere and educated us to the extent of abject global poverty. Historically, some women even have overshadowed popes. Most educated people have heard of Teresa of Avila and Catherine of Siena. Does anyone, even the highly educated, know who the popes were when these women lived?

Lisa Miller’s article sinks into male-bashing, church-style. She notes that not everyone in the church is bad, and suggests some hope for the church, thanks to women. She scoffs churchmen just as women when alone will dis men as hopeless and helpless, etc. (and no doubt as men similarly dis women when men gather by themselves) This is good for laughs, but not to be taken seriously.

The topic de jour for media now is sexual abuse of minors by clergy. Lisa Miller’s article seems to reduce the problem to one that could be resolved by breaking open the all-male, celibate priesthood. You can’t get a more simplistic analysis than that. Statistics show that 30-40 percent of sexual abuse occurs in the home, and that’s a conservative estimate.

What would Mary do? This is the question Miller asks. I think Sr. Mary Ann has a better answer than Miller ever will.

Thanks to Aggie Catholics for beating me to the punch. I first saw this Newsweek article at a local newsstand. I did not purchase it but was able to read the online version.

Unfortunately, my work has been keeping me pretty busy (despite a couple of posts) and I have yet been unable to dedicate time to comment on the article. But why invent the wheel?

Aggie Catholics has done a great job here and it is worth the read. The article, however, is not. Just more anti-Catholic rhetoric. What I still can’t understand is how many people write about the Church but do not understand that the Catholic Church is the only church established by Jesus Himself. This institution is of divine origins.

Besides, the article does not even address the question on the cover of the magazine, “What Would Mary Do?” But I am going to address it here. Mary would defend the Pope, not wish to be a priest and pray for all of those who abused their power. Just as she is doing right now!

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