This poll shows that most American Catholics go with our faith first, our religion second. We have plenty of members of our parish who are homosexual, and we're glad to have them, despite what the Church's rules are about that. For the most part we are a pro-life community, but I don't know anyone who pickets an abortion clinic. We all know divorced Catholics—they're part of our community too—because sometimes there are excellent reasons to get divorced, despite what the Church says about that, too. I can't speak for all Catholic women, but as a mom, I feel that if women were allowed to play a bigger role in the leadership of the Church, there never would have been a pedophile scandal at all and the Church's conservative positions on many issues would be very different.
So it looks like the "cafeteria Catholics" are now the new mainstream of the American Catholic Church. I'm not surprised.
As they said in the Movie "White Men Can't Jump"...
"Dude, you were almost there!"
To think that if women were in leadership positions in the Catholic Church there never would have been a sex scandal is ludicrous. We all know what the sex scandal is about and that's power. Women have had their share of abusing power in the church just as much as men have.
With regards to her other commments, I would say two things:
I think she is accurate on how many people feel about having divorced and gay people in their pews--but I don't believe that this is because of any theological reason. In a world of diversity, inclusion is held up as an almost sacred value in our society. Many Catholics believe that homosexuality is wrong but wouldn't shun the homosexual from their pew (even if they might shun them at communion time). Many people think that couples don't really try very hard to save their marriage and then are all too willing to jump through many hoops to try to procure an annulment from the church should they want to remarry. When there are some marriages that never should have took place to begin with and have caused much pain to families, many Catholics believe that an annulment is fine and some may even equate divorce with that process.
And as for the pro-life comment...
We're all too nice when it comes to abortion. As Bishop Chaput has stated and I'll paraphrase here..."We don't really care." If we really cared Pregnancy Crisis Centers would be shrines and plentiful. We'd all be foster parents and we'd let that inconvenience us without complaint. We'd hire pregnant teens to do jobs that feed their family well and provide for their medical care and not say two words about it. We'd charitably provide council to politicians instead of merely screaming at them or writing them a nicely worded letter.
If we really cared about the unborn we wouldn't care if President Obama was speaking at Notre Dame--because we'd be too busy taking care of the children and mothers that he picks an all too easy solution for. If we really cared we'd wonder why we allowed the state to kill prisoners in our name and we'd lose a lot of sleep over that. If we really cared, we'd be angry about why people are going hungry tonight and we would go a little hungrier ourselves and share not just what we want to dispose of with the poor but what we have and think we deserve ourselves.
But we don't do that, do we?
No, instead like most Americans we choose comfort.
That's what is missing from that little survey that isn't really worth the paper it's written on or the time it took to compile.
It doesn't really look at the big picture when it comes to our faith which is often all too easy, convenient and not at all messy. Nobody's feathers ever get matted down nor do we ever risk offending anyone who might not share our views--and for the few that do, we call them crazy, out of touch fanatics.
We simple choose to pray in peace in our nice quiet church that's free of any controversy and continue to delude ourselves into thinking that this is what the radical message of Christ's love is really all about.
Our own comfort.
Because you see, neither the conservatives nor the liberals have gotten this right. And surveys don't tell us how we are responding with love to those who need us.
We like the comfortable wood of the manger but hate the painful wood of the cross.
But as we move towards holy week that cross is where we are called to look. And it scares us to think that if we even came close to loving others as much as Jesus did that our result would in fact be similar: They'd crucify us.
And so, our wooden pews get cushioned and our views become ones that get kept to ourselves. We like Christmas but without labor and Easter with cute bunnies but without a painful death a few days before the resurrection.
And that my friends is simple American Catholicism. Where the comfy come to pray.
Now survey THAT!