The Catholic Revolution: New Wine, Old Wineskins, and the Second Vatican Council

By Andrew Greeley | Go to book overview

NINE
Why They Stay

“If you don't like the Catholic Church, ” the woman in the Donahue audience, by her own admission not Catholic, screamed at me, “why don't you stop being a priest and leave the Church?” 1

I had been criticizing what I took to be the insensitivity of some Catholic leaders to the importance of sex for healing the frictions and wounds of married life and perhaps renewing married love. I was taken aback by the intensity of her anger. Why did it matter so much to her that I had offered some relatively mild criticism? Why did such criticism seem to her to demand that I decamp from Catholicism and the priesthood?

I encounter such anger frequently: if the Church is not perfect, if I disagree with some of the things it does, why don't I get out? I can never quite figure out why the demand is made that the Church alone, of all institutions, must be perfect in order for one to remain attached to it. Perhaps such people want to apply to Catholics the same standard that a certain kind of reactionary Catholicism wishes to apply: you accept everything the pope says

-99-

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The Catholic Revolution: New Wine, Old Wineskins, and the Second Vatican Council
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents ix
  • Tables xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Old Wineskins 5
  • One - A Catholic Revolution 7
  • Two - The “confident” Church 17
  • Three - The Wineskins Burst 34
  • Four - What Happened? 41
  • Five - Effervescence Spreads from the Council to the World 61
  • Six - How Do They Stay? 71
  • Seven - New Rules, New Prophets, and Beige Catholicism 81
  • Eight - Only in America? 90
  • Nine - Why They Stay 99
  • Ten - Priests 120
  • Part II - The Search for New Wineskins 129
  • Eleven - Recovering the Catholic Heritage 131
  • Twelve - Religious Education and Beauty 150
  • Thirteen - Authority as Charm 168
  • Fourteen - Liturgists and the Laity 179
  • Conclusion 191
  • Notes 197
  • References 207
  • Index 211
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