Thursday, January 17, 2008

"An extremely conservative priesthood and hierarchy"

My workplace has access to the full text Time archives back to 1923, so today when some construction workers accidentally broke into a gas line and we all had to evacuate the lab, I went to the library and looked up all articles from 1968 mentioning the phrase "Humanae Vitae". (Wouldn't you?) This turned up exactly the sort of article I expected from Time-- there's much I could say but others have said it better. I just want to quote this astonishing sentence, speculating on the effects of that encyclical:
In some areas of the church with an extremely conservative priesthood and hierarchy, such as Los Angeles or much of Great Britain, it is probable that there will be countless quiet, unannounced defections from the church.
Yes, dear reader, that is what Time Magazine said. Great Britain and Los Angeles in 1968 were apparently reputed to have "an extremely conservative priesthood and hierarchy."

What happened???


Kellen said...

I'm not Catholic and not familiar with that section of history, so I'm just shooting in the dark here.

The most obvious possibility would be Time's prediction: were there "countless quiet, unannounced defections from the church"?

Or perhaps their "extreme" conservatism caused the attitude post-Vatican II to be very reactionary, much more towards [over]zealous reform?

Adrienne said...

You first have to ask who decided they were conservative to begin with. The main point is this: we don't have conservative Catholics or liberal Catholics-----we just have Catholics.

eulogos said...

Adrienne, that is either naive or disingenuous.

You could say that anyone who doesn't agree with all of the theological and moral teachings of the CCC is not a Catholic, but then you would have to say some Catholic bishops are not Catholics. And, I think, the majority of Catholics in the United States. Probably the majority of Catholics who attend mass regularly in the United States.

Even within the limits of orthodoxy there would be differences in opinions about how orthodoxy should be guarded, about liturgy, about popular devotions.

Liberal and conservative are difficult enough to define for political purposes. They don't fit ecclesiastical matters very well. But there is certainly a spectrum of opinion within Catholicism. I think there are some opinions I could say are definitely "not Catholic," but I wouldn't be so quick to say that the holders of those opinions "aren't Catholics."

Susan Peterson