Fr. Richard “Abolish Celibacy and Set My Superior Chromosomes Free!” McBrien is terribly glum. According to him, “The Vatican looks for complete, utter, uncritical loyalty to the Holy See, especially as it pertains to hot-button issues like the ordination of women, celibacy for priests, and the whole spectrum of sexual and reproductive issues. They are not going to appoint anyone who has ever expressed a doubt, much less a criticism, about these issues.” Like Dom Bettinelli, I find this an amazingly out-of-touch take on the relationship between Rome and the American bishops. If *only* the American bishops were loyal to Catholic teaching, not only about these issues, but particularly about forming priests who weren’t gay rapists.
However, I’ve noticed this sort of disconnect before in other arenas. I remember reading “American Atheist” magazine and being both surprised and amused to discover that the atheists saw themselves in a state of seige–overwhelmed, angry and dispirited by the huge number of Americans who believe in God and Christ. As a Christian, I was used to hearing Christians whine about our godless country going to hell in a handbasket. I was surprised to hear that godless people thought it far too Christian. I hope McBrien’s right about how awful Rome is, just as I hope American Atheist magazine was right. But I remain a bit skeptical.