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I read the transcript (there is also audio available) of an National Public Radio segment on the recent develops between the American Bishops, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (a subsidiary of the Magisterium on Nuns).
The players are the NPR interviewer, who despite working for this ultra-liberal outlet does a fair job, the nearly-ubiquitous John Allen of the Fishwrap, Donna Bethell, Chairman of the board of directors for Christendom College, Sr. Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK (one of the organizations associated with LCWR and under review by the Holy See).
Some great things happen in this interview.
Allen gave a workman-like summary of what is going on, but the really interesting stuff happens in the second part of the segment.
First, Donna Bethell really shines, hitting one after another out of the park. Don’t miss her demolition of Sr. Campbell’s utilitarian eisegesis of Scripture moment of Our Lord and the Samaritan woman at the well. Also, when a caller named “Mary” presented her point of view:
CONAN: So you don’t think that your disagreements on doctrine make you any less of a Catholic?
MARY: No, I think I’m a good Catholic. In fact, when I go to confession, I sit there, and I say: You know, I really don’t have a whole lot to say because I think I do a pretty good job. [The confessor heaves a sigh…] Maybe pride is my biggest sin. But no, I think I’m a good Catholic. I think our social doctrine, social justice doctrine is ignored, and we’re focusing on this contraception. [How paradigmatic this is!]
And when I’m out feeding people and helping women with three or four kids, they could probably do without all these kids with no family support. And to be pushing against contraception and pushing against, you know – and I get so – what was your question?
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
MARY: No, I don’t think it makes me worse of a Catholic. I think I’m a good Catholic if I pay attention to the doctrines that are important: Eucharist and social justice. I think our social – and taking care of the poor. That’s – that is what we’re supposed to be doing, and so few do.
CONAN: Mary, thanks very much for the call, appreciate it.
MARY: Thank you.
CONAN: And I wonder, Donna Bethell, that’s somebody who people would – some would uphold as a model, and others would say, well, that’s an a la carte Catholic.
BETHELL: Well, in effect she said she was an a la carte Catholic. She said that she was going to accept the things that were important to her. And I think she sounds like a wonderful lady, a very generous lady, a very warm and caring lady, and that’s just the sort of person that you would like to have as a Catholic.
I think she has not been presented, probably, with the fullness of Catholic doctrine. She probably has not been – had a full explanation to her of why contraception is a problem.
Anyway, if I ever run into Donna Bethell, I’d be happy to buy her lunch and thank her for her recent media appearances!
Take the time to read the transcript or listen to the audio. There is a lot going on. And you who have been reading here for a while will hear all the themes and cliches.
We could even try to create a list of themes to listen or watch for!
So, share your favorite bits here.
And listen for how Sr. Campbell tries (and fails) to back herself and NETWORK away from the Magisterium of Nuns. Too good.