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USA: Breaking the Spell

As you might imagine, the suggestion that “America Needs Catholicism” was not received enthusiastically by letter writers to the Times. One correspondent asked where the Church had been in the 1920s and 1930s during the advent of European fascism. A fair question, to be sure, but one that ignores how the Church became an outspoken and influential force for democratization and human rights after the Second Vatican Council. Another writer was “truly appalled” by Walther’s proposal that America would benefit from a version of post–World War II European Christian Democracy. He was sure such a political outcome would threaten the freedom of nonreligious citizens, although there is little evidence that Christian Democracy ever threatened the freedom of nonreligious Europeans. Quite the contrary: secularization has triumphed in Europe, including in those countries where Christian Democratic parties have been the most successful. Still another letter writer complained that the Catholic Church denies decision-making authority to women, that it continues to condemn abortion and divorce, and that its creeds and doctrines are nothing more than “magical thinking.” So far from being relevant, the Church is, from this point of view, beyond redemption.

Source: Commonweal

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