Over the past two weeks, the U.S. bishops have been inundated with advice from lay Catholics on how to reform the Church. Some have been responsible and deserve a voice, but many have been irresponsible and deserve to be ignored.
Who are the problem lay people? They are agenda-ridden Catholics who want to turn the Catholic Church into a mainline Protestant denomination. Here's a sampling of what they want. (Keep in mind their advice is supposed to resolve the sexual abuse scandal.)
Alexander Stille, writing in the New York Review of Books, wants an end to celibacy and demands women priests. Readers of the Baltimore Sun were told the same thing in two different columns, one by Dan Rodricks and the other by Stephen J. Stahley. James Heaney, writing for the Commonweal website, says we must end celibacy.
Activists chimed in as well. Anne Haddad, a leader of Women of the New Testament, wants women priests. Another group, The Women Who Stayed, decided to up the ante and demand women cardinals.
Others were more ambitious. John Gehring, who is funded by the atheist, Catholic-hating billionaire, George Soros, told readers of the New York Times that the problem with the Church is patriarchy and the Church's teachings on sexuality. A new entity, 5 Theses, says we need to normalize "LGBTQ relationships and same sex marriage," and need to ordain "married men, women, and people of all genders." It did not say who the latter are or what they might look like.
Even those who are not lay Catholics got into the mix. George Shultz, an elderly economist and an Episcopalian, told the Washington Post that we need to end celibacy and welcome women priests. Father Alexander Santora of New Jersey demands a married clergy and "greater acceptance for gay clergy."
None of these people bothered to tell us how we would resolve the problem of clergy sexual abuse by changing the Church's teachings on ordination or sexuality. That they refuse to state the obvious—this has been a homosexual scandal all along—only weakens their position.
They are also seemingly unaware of the fact that many of the Protestant mainline denominations that adopted these reforms are crashing—they've been in free fall for decades. Indeed, the decline in membership was driven by these reforms! Why is it seen as "progressive" to adopt strictures that cause a regression?
Sexual abuse by homosexual priests has been checked since the Dallas reforms of 2002, making it all the more ludicrous to adopt these irrational reforms. Fortunately, few bishops will listen to them.