By John G. Deedy
THE AMERICAN CATHOLIC church is a outstanding institu tion. Its humans worship in numbers that dwarf figures from in different places. It has the most bright of Cath olic university structures, might be the main bright. it really is traditionally an obedient church, a few might say docile controversies of modern years though. it's a church characterised by way of nice loyalty to the pope and by way of unstinting monetary generosity to Rome. nonetheless, the Ameri can church is a church in transition. there was ero sion in parts of church lifestyles. but extra is probably going. The vii viii PREFACE American Catholic church, in sum, is a ready-made sub ject for research and learn. while this publication venture on American Catholicism used to be first broached, no specific time urgency appeared to be concerned. lately, nuns and clergymen had ex ited the spiritual lifestyles by means of the millions, and their ranks weren't being refilled. Many seminaries and convents have been closed for loss of desire, then bought off to satisfy the monetary imperatives of the respective non secular com munities. The management of Catholic hospitals in different towns were grew to become over to put forums, and some Catholic faculties had close their gates. a few Catholic guides had disappeared from view, and in lots of Catholic parishes, focuses shifted, usually to ac tivities of apostolic inconsequence, as emphases tired clear of diocesan colleges, very lots of which had closed for good.
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The New York archdiocese's was one approach. More daring was that of the Trinitarian Fathers. They once advertised for vocations in Playboy magazine and claimed to receive back seven hundred bona-fide in- 16 CHAPTER 1 quiries. Very probably, they did, though their experiment did not exactly become practice in the field of vocations' recruitment. The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate tried another tack. " The pitch was a combination of spoof and seriousness. Now, people may legitimately debate approaches such as these.
But the ''reactionary elements'' of his ecclesiastical jurisdiction had a whole second agenda of complaints based on what they claimed were Hunthausen' s policies relating to sexual morality and other concerns of an ecclesiastical kind. The investigation proceeded under Archbishop James A. , Rome's apostolic visitor, 34 CHAPTER 1 and the findings were forwarded to Rome. ' ' 26 The story could have ended there, but of course it didn't. The admonishing of Hunthausen was made public 29 November 1985 by the papal pronuncio to the United States, Archbishop Pio Laghi.
But whatever the sum of the factors, there remains the influence of Vatican II' s Declaration on Religious Freedom. That influence is real, however little it may be credited the further one gets from the declaration's adoption over two decades ago, or for that matter, however little the declaration's influence may be consciously realized as the assertions of religious freedom and conscience pass in the postconciliar church from the isolated instance to the commonplace. Obviously, the church is caught in something of a bind in all of this, for the church could not exalt the notion of responsible freedom and proclaim further that, as far as CRISIS, NOT QUITE 27 religious freedom is concerned, everyone should be "immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, "22 then turn around and tell Catholics that none of this pertains to them in their intramural situation.