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Democratic Catholicism--A Call to Holiness through Transparency:

Accountability, Dialogue, and Representation

Ingrid Shafer, 4 May 2003

(Lecture for HOPE meeting at St. Charles Church, Oklahoma City)

Conservative Catholics are fond of reminding their reform-minded pew-mates that “the Church is not a democracy” and, indeed, the Catholic Church can be viewed as the only absolute monarchy extant in the contemporary western world.  However, neither the Church nor Christianity is a monolith, and democratic ideals are deeply embedded in that strand of the Christian braid that encouraged lay participation in choosing pastors and bishops in medieval and early modern Europe,  allowed Cardinal Nicolas of Cusa (1401-1464) to appreciate religious diversity1, gave birth to Catholicism's "changeling child,"2 the European Enlightenment, and inspired John Carrol (1735 -1815), indefatigable champion of religious liberty and the first bishop of our infant republic, to inform Rome that bishops should be elected by the priests of the new nation.

Despite the animosity of many "Enlightened Rulers" toward the institutional Church  and papal anathemas hurled in past centuries at the evils of “modernism,” it now seems clear that the call for liberty, brotherhood, equality, and respect for diversity represents the very best Christianity has to offer and is infinitely closer to the message of Jesus who called the Father “abba” and his disciples “friends” than the crusading intolerance that burned witches, Jews, and heretics, ignited the assorted religious wars of the 17th century, and championed the notion of divine rights for absolute monarchs.   On the other hand, in a milieu as deeply permeated by Christian culture as the Western world of the 18th and 19th centuries, democratic ideals simply could not have proliferated as quickly as they did if they had not been anticipated in at least certain key elements of the Christian tradition. Eventually, even the institutional Church went through a democratic metamorphosis in the 1960s during the Second Vatican Council.3  The radical nature of the change in a mere 200 years can be illustrated by contrasting  Pope Benedict XIV’s encyclical concerning the Polish Jews issued in 1751 and the prayer Pope John Paul II left in the Western Wall in March 2000.

In A quo primum (14 June 1751) Benedict praised the Polish bishops for prohibiting the principle of freedom of conscience and for having done "all they could to aid the Poles in their resistance to the Jews."(#1) He then expressed his deep concern over recent changes in Jewish-Christian relationship, specifically that the number of Jews had increased considerably, that they controlled businesses and estates,(#2)  and that "It is now even commonplace for Christians and Jews to intermingle anywhere."(#3) He cites Innocent III, who "after saying that Jews were being received by Christians into their cities, warns that the method and condition of this reception should guard against their repaying the benefit with evildoing. `They on being admitted to our acquaintance in a spirit of mercy, repay us, the popular proverb says, as the mouse in the wallet, the snake in the lap and fire in the bosom usually repay their host.'" (#5)

I can imagine Benedict’s ghost shudder in horror at the following article in the Jerusalem Post, Internet Edition of Monday,  March 27 2000 15:10 20 Adar II 5760.

Pope places prayer in Western Wall

By Haim Shapiro

JERUSALEM (March 27) - In an intensely moving moment, Pope John Paul II yesterday made his way haltingly to the Western Wall, bowed his head and stood silently, then placed a prayer in the Wall.  

As the pontiff turned to leave, he paused and then turned back to the Wall for another moment of silence.  

He inserted a prayer which had been prepared in advance, which appeared to sum up in a few lines his appreciation for Judaism, his feelings about the persecution of Jews, and his aspirations for a new dialogue with the Jewish people.  

           "God of our fathers, you chose Abraham and his descendants to bring your Name to the Nations. We are deeply saddened by the behavior of those who in the course of history have caused these children of yours to suffer, and asking Your forgiveness we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the people of the Covenant," the prayer said. At the bottom was his signature and the date.  

Without the Second Vatican Council’s promulgation on October 28, 1965 of  "Declaration On the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions" (Nostra Aetate)  this papal action would not have been possible.  That day, some twenty-five hundred Catholic bishops, including the Bishop of Rome, Pope Paul VI, signed one of the most significant documents of the council, and by signing it, admitted that the Church is capable of admitting and correcting errors.  This sort of critical assessment of our own history is rooted in the 18th century Enlightenment, though it had already emerged three hundred years earlier when the Humanist scholar Lorenzo Valla (1407-1457) exposed the fraudulent Donation of Constantine.

The progenitor of both the Enlightenment and ultimately the Second Vatican Council is that strand of the Christian braid which combines the notion of the Stoic cosmopolis with emphasis on the Incarnation, the kingdom of God on Earth, the sacramentality of the world, the linking of reason and faith, the primacy of conscience, service, community, the Golden Rule, following Jesus through acts of kindness, loving one's enemies, the liberation of the powerless, and the essential equality -- originally in heaven and eventually on earth -- of men and women, sovereigns and subjects.

As Leonard Swidler points out, the Church "is in a position similar to that of the parent and the teacher. In fact, the Church is often referred to as ‘Holy Mother Church,’ and one of the most vital functions of the Church is to fulfill its mission to proclaim the Gospel, to be a teacher of the nations, to exercise magisterium. If this is true, then at least one of the major goals of the Church must also be that of the parent and the teacher-the development of maturity in those for whom it has concern."4 In other words, it is the task of the teacher to help students to hone their critical skills and creative powers, to become autonomous, and to think for themselves. Good parents do not confine toddlers to the play pen and teenagers to safely fenced yards.

Of course, we have to keep in mind that this is not the only definition of proper parenting. There are those who would insist that parents should permanently think for their children, protecting them from the evil that lurks within their psyche and threatens them from outside. This attitude is also part of the Catholic tradition and would tend to oppose the democratic approach.  With Vatican II, however, most Catholics began to think and act as free, responsible adults in the Church.

Those newly empowered adults became increasingly aware of their calling in the course of that Council. Pope John XXIII had convoked this universal synod-the largest and first ever truly global ecumenical council-and became its beacon. But the Council might still have turned into little more than 2500 bishops agreeing on the agenda and routinely rubber-stamping documents sent down from above-prepared in advance and circulated by various Commissions-if it had not been for Achille Cardinal Lienart's courageous wake-up call at the very beginning of the first working session. The French Cardinal, seconded by Joseph Cardinal Frings of Cologne, challenged the assembled fathers to take personal control of the proceedings and claim the Council authentically for themselves-to elect representatives from national groups, to write their own documents, to forge coalitions and learn to dialogue-in sum, to work ground-up from the episcopal grass roots and give the democratic process a chance.5

Hence, at the Council's very inception implicitly there was already the call which would transform the self-image of the Church as constituted not solely or even primarily by the Roman pontiff and magisterium, but as incarnated initially in the voting bishops and ultimately in the sensus fidelium of all the People of God-including but not limited to ordained bishops, priests, and pope. The realization that "We are the Church" was born, and from then an ever increasing number of Catholics all over the globe began to feel responsible for their Church not as meek and unreflective assenting automata, "bumps in the pews," but as active collaborators called to build the Pilgrim Church. This was a Church, many among the faithful were beginning to realize, which was unchanging only in the sense that it was itself a process of growth and renewal, called from the very beginning to reflection and continuous reform in the Spirit of Dialogue, Compassion, and Love.

On September 28, 1964, during the discussion of the Declaration on Relgious Liberty, the Pope's personal theologian, Bishop Carlo Colombo said bluntly, "If there is no dialogue among men, they will not find integral truth."6 The age of intellectual and spiritual despotism was coming to an end. Henri Fesquet summarizes the Council's accomplishment as "we may say that Vatican II has shaken the conviction widely held by Catholics that doctrine is unchangeable. The whole course of the Council has proven the contrary; everything that is not strictly an article of faith is subject to changes according to the well known adage, Ecclesia semper reformanda."7

This radical turn, of course, was opposed by a minority of Council participants (eventually leading to the departure and excommunication of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre). Clearly, those Catholics did not "hear" Pope John XXIII's message condemning the "prophets of gloom" as ultimately un-Catholic:

We feel we must disagree with those prophets of gloom, who are always forecasting disaster, as though the end of the world were at hand. In the present order of things, Divine Providence is leading us to a new order of human relations which, by men's own efforts and even beyond their very expectations, are directed toward the fufillment of God's superior and inscrutable designs. And everything, even human differences, leads to the greater good of the Church.8

Human efforts! This attitude is worlds removed from that of Pius X who insisted less than 60 years earlier that:

Our predecessor Pius IX wrote: "These enemies of divine revelation extol human progress to the skies, and with rash and sacrilegious daring would have it introduced into the Catholic religion as if this religion were not the work of God but of man, or some kind of philosophical discovery susceptible of perfection by human efforts." Your thinking offers nothing new. We find it condemned in the Syllabus of Pius IX, where it is enunciated in these terms: "Divine revelation is imperfect, and therefore subject to continual and indefinite progress, corresponding with the progress of human reason"; and condemned still more solemnly in the Vatican Council: "The doctrine of the faith which God has revealed has not been proposed to human intelligences to be perfected by them as if it were a philosophical system, but as a divine deposit entrusted to the Spouse of Christ to be faithfully guarded and infallibly interpreted. Hence also that sense of the sacred dogmas is to be perpetually retained which our Holy Mother the Church has once declared, nor is this sense ever to be abandoned on plea or pretext of a more profound comprehension of the truth."9

The current  age is finally giving us an opportunity to transcend this kind of "either/or" antagonism and draw strength from another, non- adversarial, and even more ancient Christian tradition: the Catholic tendency to think in terms of the fluid, permeable boundaries of the incarnational "both/and" paradigm-the paradigm which can inspire and support a non-imperialistic  approach to institutional governance.

The Council did not spontaneously engender its democratic vision in a vacuum but from within a fundamental strand of the Catholic tradition. Andrew Greeley, in a fascinating little monograph, No Bigger than Necessary, identifies those pro- and proto-democratic  aspects of Catholic social theory -the principles of personalism, subsidiarity, and pluralism:

Rerum novarum was essentially a defense of the rights of the working man combined with a vigorous condemnation of nineteenth-century socialism. Forty years after the encyclical Quadragesimo anno came closer to articulating a positive Catholic view of an organic society in particular by laying out the three cardinal principles of Catholic social theory: personalism, subsidiarity, and pluralism. Personalism insists that the goal of the society is to develop and enrich the individual human person; the state and society exist for the person and not vice versa. Subsidiarity insists that no organization should be bigger than necessary and that nothing should be done by a large and higher social unit than can be done effectively by a lower and smaller unit. Pluralism contends that a healthy society is characterized by a wide variety of intermediate groups freely flourishing between the individual and the state.10

Nevertheless, the reforms of Vatican II hit the Vatican citadel like a powerful and unexpected tornado.  Almost overnight, much of what had formed the exoskeleton of the institutional church lay in shambles.  Gone were centuries of navel-gazing along with the triumphalist insistence that there was only One Truth, the Catholic Truth, and only One Concern, otherworldly salvation, to be granted exclusively to those who followed the Catholic Truth. Instead, the Council acknowledged the value of pluralism, turned its attention to the role of the Church in the world, and called on Catholics everywhere to collaborate with others-including Protestants, atheists, and nonbelievers in general-to achieve global justice on earth. Reading the Vatican II documents, one finds it almost inconceivable that exactly a century earlier, in 1864, Pope Pius IX had issued the notorious "Syllabus of Errors" which insisted that it was a serious error for a Catholic to argue that "the Roman Pontiff can and ought to reconcile and harmonize himself with progress, with liberalism, and with modern civilization."11 Eventually, Pius IX tried to anathemize not only liberalism, but democracy, science, and any contact with non-Catholics.

The contrast with Vatican II is stunning. In their opening "Message to Humanity" the Council Fathers "look forward to a spiritual renewal from which will also flow a happy impulse on behalf of human values such as scientific discoveries, technological advances, and a wider diffusion of knowledge." They continue: "As we undertake our work, therefore, we would emphasize whatever concerns the dignity of man, whatever contributes to a genuine community of peoples." Finally, and most significantly, they "humbly and ardently call for all men to work along with us in building up a more just and brotherly city in this world."12

This is the spirit of Pope John XXIII, this great champion of human rights and human liberty. In Pacem in terris he calls the Universal Declaration of Human Rights "an act of the highest importance," adding that "the recognition and respect of those rights and respective liberties is proclaimed as a goal to be achieved by all peoples and all countries."13 He considers the Declaration:

an important step on the path towards the juridical-political organization of all the peoples of the world. For in it, in most solemn form, the dignity of a human person is acknowledged to all human beings; and as a consequence there is proclaimed, as a fundamental right, the right of every man freely to investigate the truth and to follow the norms of moral good and justice, and also the right to a life worthy of man's dignity, while other rights connected with those mentioned are likewise proclaimed.14

Greeley notes that:

In Mater et magistra and Pacem in terris, Pope John brought to brilliant fruition the theorizing of the previous seven decades. Mater et magistra updated Quadragesimo anno and laid out a strong, positive defense of the integrity of the human person and the social rights and obligations of that person in the modern world. Much less than his predecessors was John disturbed by the world he saw around him, and much more than any pope in recent memory was he capable of seeing the opportunity in the human quest for freedom, justice, and dignity, and the contributions the Catholic tradition could make to that quest. In Pacem in terris he turned to the world economic and political order and, in what may be the most successful of all papal encyclicals, applied to world problems the Catholic social theoretical perspective.15

Contrast these encyclicals with Pope Leo XIII's insistence in 1888 that the doctrine of human rights is:

most hurtful both to individuals and to the State. For, once ascribe to human reason the only authority to decide what is true and what is good, and the real distinction between good and evil is destroyed; honor and dishonor differ not in their nature, but in the opinion and judgment of each one; pleasure is the measure of what is lawful; and, given a code of morality which can have little or no power to restrain or quiet the unruly propensities of man, a way is naturally opened to universal corruption16

Concerning human rights and equality of the the sexes, as recently as 31 December 1930, Pius XI condemned the equality of women in Casti conubii: insisting on the "primacy of the husband with regard to the wife and children, the ready subjection of the wife and her willing obedience, . . .."17  He continued:

The same false teachers who try to dim the luster of conjugal faith and purity do not scruple to do away the with the honorable and trusting obedience which the woman owes to the man. Many of them even go further an assert that such a subjection of one party to the other is unworthy of human dignity, that the rights of husband and wife are equal; wherefore, they boldly proclaim the emancipation of women has been or ought to be effected....[T]hat is to say, the woman is to be freed at her own good pleasure from the burdensome duties properly belonging to a wife as companion and mother (We have already said that this is not an emancipation but a crime)...18

Still, while Leo XIII was suspicious of the notion of human rights, he clearly furthered the cause of institutional accountability by opening the Vatican archives to scholars and admonishing them to report only and all the truth - a principle many bishops have not learned yet!  The Church is an institution inspired by God but implemented by human beings.  In a sense, the Church is a living organism with the ability to respond constructively to internal and external  challenges.  In this process, admitting fault is a condition of  healing.  Over the centuries mistakes have been made, and those  mistakes can only be corrected if they are openly admitted and discussed, regardless of the short-term embarrassment this may cause.

I now want to read part of a speech19 given last fall at Carlos III University in Madrid by my friend and colleague Leonard Swidler of Temple University at an international meeting on Renewal in the Catholic Church.

I. History of and Mandate for Democracy - a Constitution - in the Catholic Church

a) A Papal Mandate

Set up a Constitution - not just for civil states, not just for some parishes and dioceses, not just for Catholic lay organizations, or for the laity as such - but for the whole Catholic Church! Those were the instructions of Pope Paul VI during the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), and he set up an International Commission to begin that process. The Commission worked for fourteen years and produced several drafts of what it called the Lex Fundamentalis Ecclesiae, the "Fundamental Law of the Church," or Constitution. Unfortunately, it was decided in 1980 not to promulgate it.

b) Democratic Structures in Catholic History

Constitutions and democratic structures are not something new or strange to the Catholic Church. In very many ways, throughout much of its history the Catholic Church has been a kind of "Limited Democracy." We learned in primary school that the Greek word for "people" is Demos and the Greek word for "rule" is Kratia, and from those two words we derive the term "Democracy," the "Rule by the People." After more than two centuries of civil experience we are comfortable with the idea that the "People Should Rule" in civil society. But, how do we know that the "People Should Rule" in the Catholic Church?

We know first, from Scriptures: Because all people are made in "God’s image" (Gen 1:26), "knowing good and evil" (Gen 3:25). Second, from Tradition: Recently the Pope together with all the bishops proclaimed that, "All [Catholics] are led to..., wherever necessary, undertake with vigor the task of renewal and reform," and insisted that all Catholics' "primary duty is to make an honest and careful appraisal of whatever needs to be renewed and achieved in the Catholic household itself" (Vatican Council II, "Decree on Ecumenism"). This was a continuation of the tradition from the very beginning of the Christian Church when all the faithful gathered together to choose a successor to the Apostle Judas (Acts 1:15-26). Two other 1st-century documents confirm this approach: "You [the Faithful] must, then, elect for yourselves bishops and deacons." (Didache, 15:1-2); bishops should be chosen "with the consent of the whole Church." (1 Clement, 44,5).

This practice passed into the post-Apostolic period, as evidenced by one of the oldest known synods (already in the 2nd century) that all the faithful participated in early synods: "For this reason believers in Asia often assembled in many Asian localities, examined the new doctrines, and condemned the heresy" (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History (PG 20, 468). St. Cyprian (3rd century) bore witness to the custom of the people having the right not only to elect, but also to reject and even recall bishops: "The people themselves most especially have the power to chose worthy bishops or to reject unworthy ones" (Epistle, 67, 3, CSEL, 3.2.737). Following the old Roman principle, "Whatever affects everyone must be decided upon by everyone," St. Cyprian very often convoked synods: "Concilio frequenter acto" (Epistle xxvi), and wrote to his priests and deacons: "From the beginning of my episcopate I have been determined to undertake nothing on my own private judgment without consulting you and gaining the assent of the people" (PL 4, 234).

Every Catholic schoolgirl and schoolboy knows the stories of the elections of St. Ambrose as bishop of Milan and St. Augustine bishop of Hippo (4th and 5th centuries) by the acclamation of the people: "Nos elegimus eum!" "We elect him!" A little later Pope St. Celestine (d. 432 A.D.) said: "No one is given the episcopate uninvited. The consent and desire of the clerics, the people, and leadership are required" (Epistle, iv, 5; PL, 50, 431). That redoubtable Pope St. Leo the Great (d. 461 A.D.), who faced down Attila the Hun and saved Rome from the sack, wrote: "Let him who will stand before all be elected by all" (Epistle, x, 4; PL, 54, 634).

These principles from the early centuries of Christian practice were reiterated in various synods until as late as the Council of Paris in 829 A.D. Basically the election of bishops by the clergy and people remained in effect until the 12th century - over half the present span of Christianity. In addition, the first seven Ecumenical Councils, which set all the basic Christian doctrines, were all convoked, presided over, and promulgated, not by popes or bishops or even clerics, but by laymen and - shocking! - a lay woman! Further, every single Catholic religious order of priests, sisters, or brothers, have from their beginnings with St. Benedict in the sixth century governed themselves by Constitutions! which include the election of leaders, limited term of office, due process of law....--all democratic structures centuries before the American Constitution.

c) Democracy at the Beginning of the American Catholic Church

Even at the beginning of the United States of America, our first bishop, John Carroll (1735-1815), and his two coadjutor bishops were, with the full approval of Rome, elected at least by all of the priests of the U.S.; Carroll then proposed a similar election of all subsequent bishops in America - only to be blocked by Rome. One of Carroll’s greatest successors, John England, Bishop of the Carolinas 1820-1840, governed his diocese with a Constitution, which the entire diocese approved before it took effect; following his Constitution, he held an Annual Diocesan Convention, at which he gave a full accounting of all activities, including the finances (Leonard Swidler, Toward a Catholic Constitution, 118-25).

d) The Contemporary Magisterium supports Democracy

Then perhaps unconsciously following Bishop England’s example, Pope Paul VI called for a Catholic Constitution, a Lex Fundamentalis Ecclesiae. He went further in 1967 and 71, stating: "‘It belongs to the laity, without waiting passively for orders and directives, to take the initiative...infuse a Christian spirit into the mentality, customs, laws and structures of the community in which they live.'20 [One of the most important communities we live in is the Catholic Church.] Let each one examine himself, to see what he has done up to now, and what he ought to do. It is not enough to recall principles, state intentions, point to crying injustice and utter prophetic denunciations; these words will lack real weight unless they are accompanied for each individual by a livelier awareness of personal responsibility and by effective action."21 Here is a call to action to all of us by the pope himself!

Pope John Paul II continued on this path when he noted that "Democracy...represents a most important topic for the new millennium...[the Church] values the democratic system inasmuch as it ensures the participation of citizens in making political choices, guarantees to the governed the possibility both of electing and holding accountable those who govern them, and of replacing them".22

In brief, then: What the Church needs in the 21st century is a Return to Tradition - of shared rights and responsibilities for all the "People of God," spelled out in written form for all to see - a Constitution!


  1 Nicolas writes, "It happened after some days, perhaps as the fruit of an intense and sustained meditation, that a vision appeared to this ardently devoted Man. In this vision it was manifested that by means of a few sages versed in the variety of religions that exist throughout the world it could be possible to reach a certain peaceful concord. And it is through this concord that a lasting peace in religion may be attained and established by convenient and truthful means." Cited in Raimundo Panikkar, The Intrareligious Dialogue (New York: Paulist Press, 1978), p. ix.

  2 Leonard Swidler,  Toward a Catholic Constitution (New York: Crossroad, 1996), p. 9.

  3 The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), popularly called "Vatican II" is the last of a series of 21 ecumenical councils which have over the centuries determined the path of the Catholic Church, beginning with the Council of Nicea (325 CE). Vatican II represents a 180 degree turn away from the direction taken by the post-Reformation Council of Trent (1545-1563) and the First Vatican Council (1869-1870), both of which emphasized the hierarchical nature of the Church, papal authority, Catholicism as exclusive path to salvation, and absolute obedience of the laity. Among the most stunning declarations of Vatican II were the decrees on ecumenism (Unitatio redintegratio), religious freedom (Dignitatis humanae), and non-Christians (Nostra aetate). The latter states that "The Catholic Church rejects nothing which is true and holy in these religions" (Abbott, p. 662) and strongly repudiates at least a millennium of anti-Judaism: "[M]indful of her common patrimony with the Jews, and motivated by the gospel's spiritual love and by no political considerations, she deplores the hatred, persecutions, and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews at any time and from any source." (Ibid., pp. 666-667). It seems inconceivable that it took the cosmic crime of the Holocaust to serve as a belated wake-up call to our Church founded by Yeshua the Jew.

  4 Toward a Catholic Constitution, p. 29.

  5 Henri Fesquet, The Drama of Vatican II: The Ecumenical Council June,1962-December, 1965 (New York: Random House, 1967), pp. 21-22

  6 Ibid., p. 355

  7 Ibid.

  8 Walter S. Abbot, S.J., ed., The Documents of Vatican II  (New York: Herder and Herder, 1966) pp. 712-713.

  9 [#14-15]] (Pius X, September 8, 1907 Pascendi Dominici gregis, 28). The Vatican Council mentioned is the First Vatican Council (1869-1870) and culminated in the doctrine of the Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra on an issue of faith or morals.

  10 Andrew Greeley, No Bigger than Necessary (New York: New American Library, 1977) Greeley continues:

In the wake of Quadragesimo anno there was a flowering of Catholic social-action movements. in the United States. In the 1930s and 1940s there were Catholic labor schools, the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists, and in Chicago, the Catholic Council on Working Life. There were also groups such as the Catholic Interracial Council and the Catholic Conference on Religion and Race, the National Catholic Rural Life Conference-each of which tried to articulate concrete social policies that were derived from the theoretical perspectives laid down in Quadragesimo anno. In addition, activist groups such as the Young Christian Workers and the Young Students and the Christian Family Movement enjoyed considerable vigor in the years between the end of World War II and the Second Vatican Council. . . . In other countries there were parallel developments.

  11 Pope Pius IX: Syllabus of Errors, 8 December 1864 10.80 in Coleman J. Barry, O.S.B., ed., Readings in Church History Volume III (Westminster, Maryland: the Newman Press, 1965) pp. 70-74.

  12 Abbott, pp. 5-6.

  13 Pacem in terris, #143 (http://www.csn.net/advent/docs/jo23pt.htm).

  14 Ibid., #144

  15 No Bigger than Necessary, pp. 11-12.

  16 Libertas praesentissimum, #16.  As should be obvious by now, we can trace both notions that are opposed to a global ethic as envisioned by Küng and Swidler and ideas that support such an effort to the same pope at different times and/or in different pronouncements. Rerum novarum contains much of value to the development of a global ethic, but this does not soften Leo's authoritarian rigidity.

  17 Casti connubii, p. 7.

  18 Ibid., p. 21.


  20Paul VI, Populorum progressio (1967).

  21Paul VI, Octogesima adveniens (1971).

  22John Paul II to the Participants in the 6th Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, February 23, 2000.

Other voices

Another Voice

Questions From a Ewe

Challenges Facing Catholicism
(Bishop Geoffrey Robinson in converation with Dr Ingrid Shafer)

Ingrid H. Shafer, Ph.D.
e-mail address: ihs@ionet.net
Posted 6 May 2003
Last updated 6 May2003
Copyright © 2003 Ingrid H. Shafer
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