What a Liberal Priest Really Means…

Yesterday in the Washington Post I was featured with some other Catholic writers in an amusing piece called “If I Were Pope” Among my fellow contributors was Fr James Martin SJ.

Earlier today I posted a response to Fr Martin’s opinions which was unworthy, and in which I violated a promise I made when I started this blog that I would never publicly criticize a fellow priest or Bishop.

If you’ve been directed to this post by social media or some sort of link–the offending post has gone and suitable apologies rendered to Fr Martin.




  • ThomasL

    I am a little concerned by the “never criticize another cleric” stance. What that means in practice is that wrongs are paraded around unchecked and unchallenged. In the words of St. Sir Thomas More, “silence is consent”.

    There is a balance, as in everything, one need not go around correcting everyone about every little thing. However, the reverse stance, “I’ll never criticize anybody about anything,” seems to put fraternity ahead of truth.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      the key word in my obligation not to criticize is ‘publicly’. Also, I don’t mind if laypeople criticize. Go for it…:-)

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    I agree, and I intend to write a post addressing the issues raised in a more general way without criticizing a particular priest in public.

  • http://www.jlewisstatues.co.uk jean

    Yep, just came back to remove my reply to…see you got there already, thank you ( – :
    Some days are just bad post days….

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06205058638823965743 Matt

    I appreciate that you aren’t going to restrict the lay-posters (and even Protestants) from commenting. I do seek to be respecful for those who teach, but believe that when error is publicly taught, it should be publicly disagreed with.

  • FW Ken

    I’m a layman who profoundly disagrees with Fr. Martin. That doesn’t mean I disrespect him as a man or a Christian. We had a bishop for many years who was a Vatican II kinda guy if you know what I mean. He was also hospitable to former Anglicans, who are definitely not “liberal” (whatever that means). He was a good man with whom I had some serious disagreements. Grownups often disagree, without being disagreeable. Of course, some people are simply disagreeable. It happens.

  • Patricia

    Well, I do cringe when I hear anyone speak badly of another priest, even if said priest is wrong. I didn’t really see your article so much as “anti- Father Jim” as much as anti-his points of view. For goodness sakes, the reason we are in this “politically correct” destructive to the faith crisis is because priest and bishops seldom speak out when the should (against behavior or teaching, not the priest).

    Honestly, I thought your piece was so good I came back to copy if for my files, fearing it might not still be on line if I ever wanted to read it again. I do hope you continue to write/speak out against disobedience, as we can’t hear enough, or the consequences of it.

    All said, big disappointment for Patheos, considering the fact that probably at least half of Patheos Catholic Bloggers had “open season” with Cardinal Mahoney. I don’t see the difference, only a double standard. FWIW, I’m no fan of many of Mahoney’s actions (and or inactions), but the bottom line is he is still a priest, has not been legally convicted, and, was given persmission by his Bishop.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      There is a sense of fraternity between priests which the post violated. I don’t mind at all if laypeople criticize us. :-)