The Hesitant Pilgrim: American Catholicism after the Council

The Hesitant Pilgrim: American Catholicism after the Council

The Hesitant Pilgrim: American Catholicism after the Council

The Hesitant Pilgrim: American Catholicism after the Council

Excerpt

Somewhere in the twisted recesses of my morose Celtic soul, there are strong barriers to speaking or writing about myself. It seems much more pleasant to hide the ego behind facile prose and to divorce one's private life from one's public stand.

But in this particular volume, representing as it does the thoughts of a bit more than a decade of study and work, I suppose it is advisable to let a little of my daemon out of the bottle so that the reader who has been led to pick up this book may have a clear idea of the ground on which I stand.

First of all, let me affirm that I am what has come to be called a liberal, in terms of both politics and Roman Catholic polity. I was born a liberal, I am a liberal now, and I hope to die a liberal. I believe in change, growth, progress, and in the greatest possible freedom for the individual in both civil and ecclesiastical polity. I believe in an open society and an open Church. I believe in open inquiry and freedom of discussion in both the State and the Church. I have always believed in these things and I always will, and I count it one of the great blessings of my life to be able to live in a time when the liberal tradition is definitely accepted once again by the Church.

But I believe also in dissent, in the right and indeed the obligation of the individual to think out his own position within the limits of the teaching of the magisterium, "to call his own shots." One must be free not only to dissent from conservative . . .

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