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US bishops urged to cut tolerance of 'dissenters'

Church leaders should stop rewarding so-called dissenting Catholics with choice committee positions and be more forthcoming about homosexual priests, 39 conservative Catholics told five bishops at a closed-door summit earlier this week.

"It doesn't help instruct the faithful when publicly dissenting Catholics are rewarded with positions of participation in official roles in the church, when they're asked to keynote Catholic dinners," said Crisis magazine publisher Deal Hudson, one of the summit conveners.

"We asked them to think about what criteria they are using when they invite ... Catholic leaders who are dissenting, especially on the issue of life."

The participants cited the example of the appointment of former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta to the National Review Board, a panel to address the clergy's sexual-abuse crisis. They said Panetta demonstrated his rejection of Church Teaching when he remained Chief of Staff when President Clinton vetoed the partial-birth abortion ban.

"It sends a message we're not taking this teaching [on abortion] too seriously when we turn around and appoint to a position of great trust, indeed a position with which to advise the church on how to deal with a moral crisis, somebody who publicly, very prominently believes what is incompatible with Catholic teaching."

The summit was a response to a 7 July meeting between several bishops and centrist and liberal Catholics. The five bishops at this week's meeting in Washington included Bishops Conference President Wilton Gregory, and Washington Archbishop Theodore McCarrick.

Washington Times

Conservative lay Catholics urge bishops to stop putting dissenters in high-profile posts (AP)
Crisis Magazine

In letter, 600 clergy reaffirm vow of celibacy (Zenit/EWTN)

10 Sep 2003