More positive on the pope
For those who want a more positive spin about the pope's letter of explanation regarding the SSPX than my post (for which I feel I have been unjustly called a know-it-all responsible for all the problems in the church!), you might like former America magazine edtior Jesuit Tom Reese's commentary from Newsweek. Reese's piece is chock full of good points, and he cuts the pope a lot more slack than David Gibson of Beliefnet or I did, which is especially charitable since it was Joseph Ratzinger who got Tom fired from America! One especially important action that Reese highlights is the pope's decision to demote Ecclesia Dei, the commission charged with dealing with the SSPX and groups like it, from relative independence, subordinating it to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
I'd still like to draw attention to one of Reese's central points, which he shares with Gibson and me: "The one criticism that the pope does not answer in his letter is from those who feel he reaches out to dissenters on the right but not on the left. Could we take the same conciliatory language and apply it to those who reject the church's teaching on birth control, married clergy and women priests? Can there be another commission whose responsibility is to reach out and negotiate with these factions in the church? "Can we simply exclude them, as representatives of a radical fringe, from our pursuit of reconciliation and unity?"
To those issues, we might add the use of condoms to prevent the spead of HIV, about which the pope spoke on his current trip to Africa, which drew this response from a guest columnist at the Washington Post's On Faith blog. Not for the faint of heart! People think I'm bad...