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Group says US Catholics have not lost faith in Church

Catholics have not lost faith in their church, they have lost confidence in their leaders, author and newspaper columnist Eugene Kennedy told the conference of the US Catholic group Call to Action.

Kennedy (pictured) and two other speakers opened the group's three-day conference in Milwaukee by talking about the revelations of sexual abuse by priests that have shaken the Catholic Church in the past year.

Using stories, literature and allegory, Kennedy compared the church's silence and mismanaged reaction to the sex scandal to a fictional hero afraid to speak out in the king's court for fear of incurring the wrath of the king. Yet, by story's end, the hero grows and is able to speak out, which helps everyone else to grow.

That is what the Catholic Church needs, Kennedy said, and groups such as Call to Action are the ones who have to speak out.

Call to Action is an independent Catholic Church renewal organisation of more than 25,000 laity, people in religious life, priests and bishops that supports a "grassroots" effort of church reform.

Kennedy, who is professor emeritus of psychology at Loyola University, Chicago, said the crisis was as much or more about power than about sex. It's a matter of the church hierarchy protecting itself, he said.

"This is not a crisis of Catholic belief. It is a crisis of the church as an organisation, and the people have lost confidence in their leaders," Kennedy said.


Call to Action

4 Nov 2002