Requirements of reform.

Author:Roth, James
Position:Correspondence - Letter to the Editor

In "The Catholic Reform" (Public Square, May), Richard John Neuhaus comes out in opposition to the zero tolerance policy of the bishops. In this he is wrong. The reasons why are complicated. The policy is necessary because of the collapse of public morality, the pitiful state of the American bishops, and the inaction of Rome. The bishops cannot reform themselves; there are simply too many Mahonys, Trautmans, Weaklands, etc., and not enough Georges or Vignerons in the U.S. episcopate. Collectively, they don't have what it takes, and the Vatican, with its "languid attitude," is not able, or willing, to deal with them individually. (Remember, it only accepted Archbishop Weakland's resignation when the whole sordid affair became a public scandal. A full list of these failings would require several pages.)

The Holy Father has refused to intervene personally in U.S. affairs, apparently preferring to wait for things to sort themselves out with the help of the Holy Spirit. I've got news for him: they won't. I read somewhere that the Pope has publicly wondered if he has been too soft on dissidents in the past; the answer to that one is an emphatic "yes." The Holy Father has hoped for a springtime for Christianity; instead...

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