A recently published book by Jane Anderson, Priests in Love, is a manifesto for revolt against the papacy and many other aspects of orthodox Catholicism. Despite this, the book is being promoted in some church circles.
This is its position, in brief:
* More and more priests are ceasing to be celibate and have sexual partners, male and female. This makes them better priests, more mature, better able to relate to their parishioners.
* Vatican II was a move in the right direction, but since then the late John Paul II tried to turn back the clock and reassert the control of the Vatican over the Church.
* Catholics today are more educated, and live in democracies (unlike in the past) and are demanding the old hierarchy be dismantled.
* We need an egalitarian Christian community. Women, men, priests and laity, should all participate equally in the life of the Church, and decide matters of faith and morals at the grass roots. We should be ruled not by Rome but by the spirit of our diocese.
* There is a need to reform the theology and structure of the Church. Homosexuality is not wrong and divorce is not a sin. Contraception (the pill, condoms) is licit. Mary was not a virgin and the Eucharist is not a sacrifice but the celebration of community. We should not exclude sinners from our communion, even unrepentant ones.
This view of the Church is quite widespread among Catholics and one wonders why this should be so. In the 1960s, young Catholics I met at Sydney University expressed similar objections to the Church, but they left it. Why is there now a large body of Catholics who are not willing to leave, even though they no longer believe that the Church is the only avenue of salvation?
Port Pirie, SA