Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Patricia Miller, Good Catholics: The Battle Over Abortion in the Catholic Church — Excerpts

I'm now reading Patricia Miller's book Good Catholics: The Battle Over Abortion in the Catholic Church (Berkeley: Univ. of CA Press, 2014). Here are several snippets from it that have caught my attention as I've read (all of which seem to me clearly pertinent to major stories still unfolding in American Catholicism):

Humanae Vitae came as a shock to Catholics, who had seen other aspects of their church—like the Latin mass and the teaching that Catholicism was the only road to salvation—change as a result of Vatican II and widely expected the contraception ban to be lifted. It seemed that the church was perfectly willing to evolve doctrine—except when it affected women (26).

And then this:

In 1980, the religious right helped to catapult Ronald Reagan into the White House and swing the Senate to the Republicans. For the first time since Roe v. Wade, opponents of abortion controlled the presidency and the Senate. In the ultimate political irony, the Catholic bishops had by their unstinting opposition to abortion helped bring into power a determined conservative movement that opposed almost everything that the Catholic Church stood for—compassion for the poor and immigrants, opposition to the death penalty, and concern for the environment (88).

And finally:

As a result of this increasing hierarchical conservatism, coupled with the systematic stifling of dissent, the church began to ossify from within [i.e., in the 1980s]. The vibrant theological discussions that had characterized the 1960s and 1970s were silenced. Young Catholics shied away from vocations; seminary enrollment was only one-third of what it had been in the 1960s and the population of priests and nuns was graying and thinning. As many as one-fifth of priests, and an even great proportion of nuns, had left the ministry (138).

No comments: