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The pope, Catholicism, and Father Callan

Reader feedback 5.11.05 


In his interview ("Truth to Power in the Church," April 27), Jim Callan never mentioned the primary responsibilities of Pope Benedict XVI: convincing the world that practicing the Roman Catholic faith is the most effective means for achieving the salvation of souls. You may not see Pope Benedict take part in pagan ceremonies or kiss the Koran as John Paul II did. Based on his writings while he was a Cardinal, it appears that Pope Benedict is more attuned to maintaining what Catholicism has consistently taught, as handed down from Christ and his apostles. But it remains to be seen.

Rev. Callan decided of his own volition (while on Bishop Clark's sympathetic watch) which rules of the church he was bound to and which ones he would protest against. With his ordination, Callan had taken an oath of obedience before God to his superior. When he refused to obey his bishop's order to cease practices that were in opposition to those established by the Majesterium, he severed himself from the Catholic church. This is what Martin Luther (who, like Callan, was also a priest) and many others did. Today we do not refer to any of them as Catholic, no matter how nice they were.

Jim Callan had a history of protesting church rules. He rebelled in the seminary, on his first assignment, and during his tenure at Corpus Christi. Some protestations were only pastoral, but the theological ones did him in.

Although Protestants have many theological disagreements with each other, they all share the opinion that the theology of Catholicism is in some way erroneous. Is Jim Callan ashamed of fitting the textbook definition of a Protestant? He needn't be, if he is true to his convictions on ecumenism.

My impression of Callan is that he is a kind but confused person. Nothing exemplifies his confusion more than one of his statements: "To be true to our mission as a church, we have to break the rules." No, James, that is what you do to leave the church.

Antonio M. La Pietra, Lakeshore Boulevard, Irondequoit


It was lovely to see in the same issue your article about the restoration of old churches and an interview with Jim Callan ("Old but not Forgotten" and "Truth to Power in the Church," April 27) --- thus, two articles about rebuilding the church.

It's great when our church buildings are beautiful, but the real beauty is in the people who are themselves the church. I'd rather worship in a warehouse with people who are on fire with love for God and each other and the poor than in a beautiful building with no loving community in it. That kind of life doesn't just happen. Inspired leaders, willing to put love for God and the people above maintaining the status quo, and inspired people, willing to let the light in their hearts lead them wherever it might go, even at the price of exclusion from the institutional church: That's where life and growth and new energy happen.

It seems to me that in many churches the community is like straw, waiting to catch fire, but the institutional church has wet matches. The only way I know to dry those matches is to stop worrying about the rules and start being radically open to the Spirit of God --- the Spirit that never seems to be worried about the status quo, only about the life and growth of the people of God.

And the kind of trouble you get into when that Spirit starts moving is going to be a lot easier to deal with if you've got a vibrant and loving community, like Spiritus Christi. Chava Redonnet, Middlesex Road, Rochester (Redonnet is the author of "Standing in the Light," about the events of 1998 at Corpus Christi and the formation of Spiritus Christi.)


On March 30, 1867, Secretary of State William H. Seward agreed to purchase Alaska from Russia for $7 million. So why is it that these "natural resources" are going to Bush and his rich greedy friends?

Doesn't the oil belong to all of us? And doesn't that apply to Texas and all states? I want my fair share! I'm tired of supporting the rich.

David Kaspersin, Rochester


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