Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

RELIGION: Catholic Church doesn’t need modernizing

Letter by Mary J. Locke, Federal Way on April 24, 2012 at 9:48 am with 50 Comments »
April 24, 2012 1:14 pm

A letter writer (TNT, 4-24) said the Catholic Church needs to modernize. Why? There are thousands of Protestant denominations and nondenominational churches. We need a church that has more than 2,000 years of wisdom dating back to the first pope, Jesus’ apostle Peter.

The church is a worldwide bureaucracy, so not every thing runs smoothly. Catholics are human, and many do not live up to the high standards of the faith, but Jesus is a merciful God and he forgives.

That letter just looked like Catholic-bashing. If you don’t like the Catholic Church, join another church.

I’m happy to be Catholic.

Leave a comment Comments → 50
  1. The Catholic Church needs a hierarchy that will honor its obligation to protect the body of the Church – unlike what it has done, and continues to do with the child rape cover-up.

    The Catholic Church needs to honor its own teachings on moral teachings and recognize that, when almost the entirety of the Church has rejected the teachings on contraception based upon their individual consciences that that teaching is invalid.

    The Catholic Church needs to honor its tradition of good works and social justice and reverse the anti-Vatican II movement initiated by JPII and continued by Benedict.

  2. If you don’t like the Catholic Church, join another church.

    It seems that a lot of us are taking your advice (actually, I didn’t join another church – just stopped going to church altogether)

    While nearly one-in-three Americans (31%) were raised in the Catholic faith, today fewer than one-in-four (24%) describe themselves as Catholic. These losses would have been even more pronounced were it not for the offsetting impact of immigration.

  3. It’s “the largest institutional crisis in centuries, possibly in church history,” says the National Catholic Reporter. Worldwide, the Roman Catholic Church now has 1.1 billion members, compared with 1.5 billion Muslims and 593 million Protestants. In the U.S., all the major denominations have seen their numbers decline in recent years, but the Catholic Church has taken the biggest hit. Since the 1960s, four American-born Catholics have left the church for every one who has converted, according to a 2009 Pew study. In 2008 alone, Catholic membership declined by 400,000. More than 1,000 parishes have closed since 1995, and the number of priests has fallen from about 49,000 to 40,000 during that same period. Some 3,400 Catholic parishes in the U.S. now lack a resident priest. “Catholicism is in decline across America,” says sociologist David Carlin.

  4. What sparked this decline?
    Its roots actually trace back to the 1960s, when a split developed over the reforms introduced by Pope John XXIII. Dismayed by the pope’s calls for more participation by laypeople in church affairs, many tradition-minded bishops and cardinals defended the centrality of Rome and frowned on the social activism of priests that was unleashed by the reforms, known as Vatican II. After Pope John’s death, in 1963, the traditionalists increased their power within the Vatican, culminating with the elevation of John Paul II to the papacy, in 1978. He undid many of his predecessor’s reforms, and millions of liberal Catholics drifted away, fed up with what they saw as Vatican authoritarianism as well as its unstinting opposition to abortion and artificial contraception.


  5. menopaws says:

    I, too was raised Catholic……….My drift away started when my Step-Dad took me to the nursing home to meet the nun that had taken care of him when his parents put him in a Catholic orphanage…….He visited her several times per year bringing her things like toothpaste, soap,hygiene items……….It was a nursing home run by the Church for the nuns and they lived in abject poverty. The place was dirty and these ladies did not have enough money to provide themselves with their basic needs. In contrast, the Priest in our parish retired to a lovely retirement home, also run by the Catholic church for it’s elderly priests. It was on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi, with beautiful grounds and a 9 hole golf course.
    The treatment of women by the church was what drove me out the door. Just a few days ago, once again, the nuns were told to “behave” by the Vatican or there would be some form of censure or punishment.
    So, when the Catholic community starts flapping their mouths, I generally don’t care to listen…….Along with pedophiles in the priesthood, there is an attitude towards women that is downright medieval and somewhat cruel. So, yes, letter writer, I find your faith offensive for it’s treatment of both children and women………The city I grew up in, St. Louis, has billboards today advertising it’s Catholic seminaries…….Recruiting for the priesthood as the older priests die off is problematic for this Church…….There is a strong reason for that. Medieval doctrine in our modern world does not attract either the best or the brightest……..Within a few years, as parishes lose their numbers, churches will begin to close. In St. Louis, a huge Catholic city, it has already begun. The reality for this church is not promising for its future in this country…….And, I must applaud that……..

  6. LornaDoone says:

    Mary, let’s talk.

    “We need a church that has more than 2,000 years of wisdom dating back to the first pope, Jesus’ apostle Peter”

    “Catholic tradition and doctrine hold that the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ in the 1st century AD in Judea within the Roman Empire. The New Testament records Jesus’ activities and teaching, his appointment of the twelve Apostles and his instructions to them to continue his work.”

    According to the entire rest of the Christian world the above quote, one of them yours, is wrong. The Orthodox Church would claim to be first and most of Prostestantism would not dispute that. My recollection is that the Roman Catholics were more along the lines of 300 AD. Frankly I’m not going to search and try to fend off the Catholic propaganda on the internet to further dispute you, because ALL OF IT is based on BELIEF anyway.

    Your statement though is a monument to the problem with yours and all the rest of the religions. None of them know the historical truth and none are willing to admit it.

  7. averageJoseph says:

    You have to admit… after reading posts from people defending the muslims and their religion, and then reading the same people’s posts about “modernizing the catholic religion” or other such remarks, it’s remarkable. Seriously remarkable.

  8. RLangdon says:

    “If you don’t like the Catholic Church, join another church.” Exactly correct. There are many other churches you can join if you don’t like The Catholic Church.


    If you are not a Catholic, then you are best served to keep your opinions about changes needed in The Catholic Church to yourself. Your opinion really only counts if you are a current Catholic. If you are a former or lapsed Catholic your opinion of The Curch doesn’t matter one bit. Keep it to yourself, thank you!

  9. I have every right to express my concerns about the Church I grew up in and left after the conservatives (JPII and Benedict) took over after John XXIII.

  10. RLangdon says:

    No, you really don’t beerBoy. When you left The Church, you left your rights to participate in it as well. Just as those who left East Berlin during the Cold War to escape to freedom in The West, they left whatever influence they may have had in East Berlin government when they crossed The Wall. You have crossed the wall of The Catholic Church. You can go back to the other side if you want, and make your suggestions to The Church then, but as long as you are on the outside, your opinions do not matter one iota.

  11. Frankenchrist says:

    I’m not a Catholic, never been a Catholic, and don’t know any Catholics. However, a church that protects and defends child rapists by the thousands deserves scrutiny, opinion, criticism, and discussion from anyone and everyone.

  12. RL – even after one leaves they still have the right to express opioions.

  13. If you’re not part of The Church, your opinion is just so much hot air.

  14. If, and when, the Catholic Church fully cooperates with legal authorities to stop child rape by Catholic Church officials AND when the Church stops attempting to intervene in secular issues THEN I will gladly not add my opinion to a Church that is dying due to the reactionary forces that came into power after John XXIII died.

    But – until then – Church business that directly affects ALL citizens is not protected.

    RL – you may choose to ignore my and others’ voices but that only further insulates and isolates the eroding Church. When my father tells me that the priest (his parish still has a resident priest) told the parishioners that they were all going to hell if they voted for anyone who was pro-choice then I, as a citizen – not just as a cultural Catholic (you can never truly be an ex-Catholic) – have every right to express concern that an official of the Church is flaunting the law.

  15. menopaws says:

    If we have no right to criticize this Church—please explain to me why they are allowed to help formulate government policies about birth control??????? Policies that affect their employees who may not be Catholic either……..Get real—if our society awards them this kind of power—what they say and do makes them fair game in the public arena…….Particularly when it involves the government of EVERYONE-Catholic or not…….So, maybe they need to shut their mouths or learn to take the heat………Influencing public policy means they step into that arena and criticism and scrutiny is REQUIRED……….I am not particularly interested in their views about birth control, but apparently Congress is—so that makes it MY business, Catholic or not.

  16. RL –
    You are not a member of the Congress – so your opinion does not count.

  17. The Catholic Church has the right to remain in whichever century it chooses. The Catholic Church is not a democracy. Until the Catholic Church becomes a democracy even its own members have no right to express their opinions. If a Catholic doesn’t want to follow the rules than leave or risk excommunication. As long as their rules do not violate the law of the land the Catholic Church has every right to dictate to its members.

  18. BTW, Think about it the next time the word sheep is used to refer to the Pope’s (the one with the shepherds staff) followers.

  19. scooter6139 says:

    RLangdon – You realize you just painted yourself into a corner here, don’t you? With that preposterous statement of ‘unless you are part of it then you can’t comment on it’? That removes you from almost every discussion made here on these opinions sections. Are you gay/hetro/trans-gender? Are you a male/female? Are you a democrat/republican/progressive/conservative? How about union/non-union? If you are one then you can’t comment on the other.

    You’ve just taken yourself out of most of these discussions with that logical fallacy. Would you care to retract that?

  20. When was the last time that the Catholic Church asked for the opinion of its members?

  21. Bandito – in America even Catholics are protected by our Constitution – including the right of free speech.

  22. philichi says:

    Beerboy and Lornadonne have no need for the Catholic church. You worship at the alter of Obama.
    Beerboy and LornaDonne you have interesting little tidbits that you think that you know about everything. However when confronted by the facts of your own beliefs you just can’t take it. Your whole leftist foundation is a lie and is bankrupt.
    The Church has been around 2000 years. Your leftist beliefs have been around since Marx, Lenin, Hitler and the rest. All have failed to achieve their goals.
    At least the Church has educated Western civilization, built the first hospitals, universities, etc. All that is in the wake of the left is death. Nazi death camps, Mao starvation, North Korea Starvation,Stalin’s starvation, Roosevelt Japanese prison camps and extended depression because of his policies.
    To think that you are trying to cast blackness on the whole Church because of a small amount homosexual priests. Perhaps you should clean up the church where you worship first.

  23. philichi – you continue to demonstrate your complete lack of reading comprehension skills. Keep posting – you denigrate your position every time.

  24. philichi says:

    Beerboy Is that the best that you can do? I was hoping that you could defend your left. However, I have learned that when the left is confronted with the truth, they simply move to be critical the messenger. Berrboy, you have reacted by the book.

  25. Couple of observatins bBoy: Did you actually say this and mean it? “when almost the entirety of the Church has rejected the teachings on contraception based upon their individual consciences that that teaching is invalid.”

    So, a church should abandon what it believes to be the teachings of God when the majority of the people disagree with it? Didn’t the majority of Americans condone slavery at one time? Should the abolitionists (the church) have ceased to speak out because the teachings of the God ran counter to the voice of the people?

    How about Dietrick Bonhoeffer (an ordaned representative of “the church”) — should he have remained silent in Germany because the majority of Germans embraced the actions of the Third Reich?

    And then there’s this bit of contradiction, captured in your two comments below (from this thread):

    “many tradition-minded bishops and cardinals defended the centrality of Rome and frowned on the social activism of priests that was unleashed by the reforms, known as Vatican II.”

    “AND when the Church stops attempting to intervene in secular issues THEN I will gladly not add my opinion to a Church that is dying due to the reactionary forces that came into power after John XXIII died.”

    Based on the entirety of your comments on this thread, I gather you approved of the “social activism” of priests on the one hand, but you think the church should not “intervene in seculari issues,” on the other hand.

    And you know what? I’m not even taking aim at the fact that you are conflicted in this matter because most of us deal with inner conflicts on many of the important moral issues of the day, from death penalty to aborition and back again. Being conflicted means you are thinking, complex person.

    What I’m getting at here is that you don’t seem to recognize this conflict within yourself. I’m not much interested in the “White-Hat: Black-Hat” crowd on these threads. On both sides, they represent those who dig foxholes and crawl in never to see the light of day again. But I always hold out hope that you might be more in touch with the realitly of this human dilemma.

    and for the record, of COURSE you have a right to express your opinion about the RC church. Granted, those who only know what they read in the newspapers (God help us and I mean that literally) probably ought to zip it, but you have every right to speak on the subject given your story.

  26. Sozo – all churches cherry pick their beliefs – otherwise Christians would still practice animal sacrifices, slavery, stoning etc, and we would be a male-dominated culture.

  27. sozo – for an intelligent and evenhanded discussion of the RC teachings on moral law and individual conscience:

    Actually, this tension between the traditional hierarchical authoritarian view and the complete authority of the individual conscience is one of the things that I treasure about the Church.

    I admit to extrapolation. The numbers show that fully 92% of the Church has rejected the teachings on contraception. It goes to follow that a authoritarian moral teaching from the hierarchy that is only followed by 8% of the Church and rejected – based upon the demand to follow one’s individual conscience – I conclude that the teaching is not an authentic moral teaching. The Church is the entire body of believers – not just the clergy.

  28. philichi – I believe in the maxim
    Never wrestle with a pig: You both get all dirty, and the pig likes it.

    sozo isn’t a Catholic but she asks far more intelligent questions about the RC than you do.

  29. sozo – of course I am conflicted and recognize that my beliefs don’t fit neatly and aren’t nearly as consistent as, ferinstance, the RC Church’s teachings on the sanctity of life which extends from sperm to convicted killer and to the quality of life of all citizens.

    I don’t believe that every sperm is sacred nor that every life should be saved. I am conflicted on abortion and see why some vehemently oppose it yet I am convinced that access to safe legal abortions is important to defend. I am conflicted on capital punishment – there are some people who are so heinous that they should die. I am strongly for improving the quality of life for all yet I feel more than a little annoyed when I see folks with a whole pack of children buying groceries with food stamps (this is where my whole-hearted support for contraception comes in – if you can’t afford them, don’t have them).

    I am deeply concerned about the Church’s complete betrayal of the trust that is given to the clergy with the child abuse cover-up. While I disagree profoundly with the Church’s teachings on contraception and homosexuality, it is this cover-up more than anything else that has shaken me to the core.

    Regarding the Church’s regression away from Vatican II – I was raised in the Vatican II church. My class was the first that didn’t have to learn Latin in order to be altar boys. The religious tenets of the faith I was taught were Vatican II. The autocrats in the Vatican who have undermined this theological council’s decisions have done it stealthily – not even having the honesty to convene a third Vatican Council to overthrow what was passed. The Church I was raised in no longer exists.

  30. I am likewise conflicted, bBoy. It might surprise you to know that I am even conflicted about abortion, though I have made an intentional decision to advocate for the unborn who have no voice and are afforded no rights. I’ve never understood why people can be so passionate in advocating for animals but feel no such compunction for the undelivered child.

    But oh well, that’s for another time.

    I understand your distress regarding what appears to be a cover up of pedophilia in the church, though surely you must recognize the conflict church leaders had in some of those situations. Do you condemn someone, or forgive and seek to help them? Now, for those instances where priests were simply moved to new domains and their conduct ignored, well…that’s an entirely different matter.

    Do you not concur that some room for hope and rehabilitation should remain in place for people?

    As for contraception, I have never thought it wrong to prevent a pregnancy, but were I to join the RC church, I’d have to wrestle with that contradiction. I have friends in the Eastern Orthodox Church who accept the basic tenets and doctrines of that faith while not embracing their position regarding women priests. Does that make them hypocrites?

    Do any of us belong to a church or a denomination where we agree 100% with every doctrinal point? I doubt it, but that doesn’t mean we should walk away from the church, at least not in my opinion. It simply means we remain in the body and do what we can to best understand God’s leading in all of these matters.

    Just to make the point, you do realize that the percentage of pedophiles in the RC community pretty much matches the percentage of society at large? I mention only because I want to be clear that it’s the cover-up that impacted you, not the presence of this aberration?

  31. I mention only because I want to be clear that it’s the cover-up that impacted you, not the presence of this aberration?


    I was befriended by a priest in my teens who was very important in helping me through various typical crises of growing up. Years later I was contacted by my parents who told me that they were contacted by a lawyer investigating allegations of sex abuse by this priest. Talk about conflicted! This was a man who I cared deeply about and never, ever had any reason to imagine that he could do such a horrid thing. The lawyers never contacted me – perhaps because I had nothing damning to add to their case. The priest has since died. I continue to have extremely mixed emotions when I think of him.

  32. RLangdon says:

    xring, you are wrong!

    scooter, you are wrong too!

    beerBoy you are the most wrong.

  33. RLangdon says:

    Bandito is most correct!

  34. Phillchi,
    Actually leftest beliefs predate the Chruch. Many of the things you attribute to the Church were found in pri-christian pagan realms.

    Since you are never right, saying I am wrong means I am correct, and Bandito is most wrong.

  35. RLangdon says:

    cross-ring, What is a “pri-christian pagan realm”? “pri?”

    (Did you forget again to proofread your comment before clicking the Submit Comment button as I suggested you should do in the other topic where I schooled you in proper English?)

  36. RL so you are phillchi now. Try ‘pre-christian’. Your reading skills are worse than my spelling sckiils.

    Now here’s a suggesting for you – take a 12 step walk on a 11 step dock.

  37. xring, you are wrong!

    scooter, you are wrong too!

    beerBoy you are the most wrong.

    I guess RLangdon showed us! Such a brilliant display of rhetoric!

  38. You’re conflicted about the priest because you have not sold your soul to the world of black and white IMO bBoy. You should be conflicted. Regardless of the man’s other choices, he chose to befriend and help you. It is simple minded and just wrong to turn all of these priests into a collective group of monsters. It may serve a purpose for those who do it, perhaps help them deny their own baser instincts, but it’s folly. And btw, unless the priest was found guilty of misconduct, you shouldn’t presume the allegations against him were true. You know there HAD to be people who lied about priests during this manic era of priestly pedophilia paranoia.

    Did you read this morning about the young woman whose baby was shot while still in the womb during the L.A. riots 20 years ago? Both mother and baby survived and the child has a scar on her arm from the bullet. She was delivered by C-section at 7 1/2 months. Does this not at least give you pause about abortion?

  39. Didn’t mean for that last part just for bBoy. Those of you who say that a baby in the womb isn’t officially a baby until it’s delivered. What say you about docs airlifting this little one out of her mother’s belly and saving her life?

  40. RLangdon says:

    cross-ring “spelling sckiils” Now that’s funny!!! You are funny!!! You are ridiculous!

  41. beerBoy – You have been shown!!!

  42. Either you are on drugs or you should be.

  43. I am high on LIFE!!!

  44. Hmm bBoy, no comment about the rescue of the unborn baby 20 years ago?

  45. sozo – I am not supportive of late-term abortion. In the story you have shared, the mother made the choice to attempt to save her offspring (and, at 7 1/2 months I would think that she had already made the choice to bear the child rather than end the pregnancy). I really have nothing to add.

  46. Not even to concede that the unborn inside her was, in fact, “a baby?”

  47. Not going to argue semantics here. As I said – I don’t support late-term abortions – that’s all I’m going to give you.

  48. RLangdon says:

    xring wrote: “RL – You are not a member of the Congress – so your opinion does not count.”

    On another topic you wrote something about when you were in college blah blah blah… I don’t believe you went to college. In fact, based on your level of knowledge of our government, I’d conclude you were more than likely a HS dropout.

    Members of Congress are representatives of the people they serve who live in the districts when they are elected from. That’s why it is called The House of Representatives. The Members of congress serve me, and you too. They “represent” us. We have every right to express our wants, needs and desires to our Member of Congress, because that is his/her constitutional job.

    The United States is not a Church, but if it were, all of us who live here as citizens would be members of The Church of the United States. If YOU xring were to move to Canada, and give up your membership (citizenship) in The United States, then you would have NO SAY in the governance of The United States. Just as people who are NOT members of The Catholic Church have no say in the governance of The Catholic Church.

    Is that simple enough for you to understand now xring? This is why I said you were and are “wrong!” And probably a dropout too.

  49. RLangdon – current, active members of the Laity of the Catholic Church have NO SAY in its governance so it goes without saying that non-members have NO SAY in its governance.

    But you stated that only current, active members of the Catholic Church have a right to STATE AN OPINION about the Catholic Church.


  50. villager98 says:

    Perhaps Ms Locke should take her own advice and go live in the Vatican if she prefers Roman Catholic dogma to the U. S. Constitution. Or, if the Pope wants to meddle in U. S. civil and legal affairs he might open R.C. elections to U.S. citizens.

We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0