I have been thinking about the meltdown the editors and staff of the National Schismatic Reporter (aka Fishwrap) must be having, as they gathered at their water cooler this week. Michael Sean Winters dropped that the writers were gathering in Kansas City, MO, where their HQ is.
They are circling their wagons as John L. Allen, Jr. departs their pages and as they lose the column of former Jesuit Father John Dear.
Dear, as you will recall, was dismissed from the Jesuits because he failed to obey a directive to return to his province and reside in Baltimore.
Dear, to my knowledge, hasn’t been a heretic, as many Jesuits are. [UPDATE: Dear has, in fact, called for the ordination of women. More on that, below.] He wasn’t dismissed from the Society for graviora delicta, as was Roy Bourgeois was from the Maryknoll Fathers. No, Dear was a peace activist. He protested and got arrested and did his peacenik thing. His activist role apparently took over his whole identity and, as the Jesuits recognized that and tried to rein him in, he opted for disobedience.
By the way, religious superiors will often use this technique when they need to dump a guy: they’ll give him a command that they suspect he won’t obey. That’s how they stick it to them. But I digress.
Dear’s case, however, brings up another point.
I am informed by religious that, in their religious community’s formation, John Dear was/is held up as an example to be imitated. His peace activist zeal was/is exactly what was admired and proposed by those in charge of formation of postulants and novices, and even of the professed in their “ongoing formation”.
And so I ask, are religious out there going to stick up for John Dear against the Jesuits? Will they support him in the face of the oppression from on high? From the Jesuit hierarchy? Or, on the other hand, will they support the ultra-liberal Jesuits, who lead the way in their merry dance toward the cliff’s edge?
It seems as if religious liberals are doing nothing about it. They are opting for silence.
The staffers of the National Schismatic Reporter haven’t stuck up for Dear, have they? So far, I have found only a single op-ed piece by a non-staff writer, but it is thin gruel.
Where are NSR‘s writers? Where’s they loyalty? Where are their convictions?
In November 2004, Dear spoke at the Call to Action National Conference in Milwaukee. At Fr. Dear stated (from his own website):
“I think we need to start a…letter writing campaign to the Vatican, to get one million loving, kind, respectful letters calling for change, for the complete rejection of the just war theory, for more work for justice and peace, and for the ordination of women and married priests.”