The latest move by Pope Benedict XVI to reinstate four schismatic bishops of the St. Pius X Society—which rejects the liberalizing decrees of Vatican Council II (1962-65)—is shocking as it negatively highlights the millions of Catholics he apparently is not interested in reaching out to, including the millions deprived of the Eucharist because of the medieval law requiring that only celibate males can be priests.
Last spring the Pew Foundation found that there are currently 65 million American Catholics—and 30 million former American Catholics! These latter are not Vatican II rejectionists like the Traditionalists, but most likely are either Catholics who are deeply disappointed at the anti-Vatican II Restorationism of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, or never really learned about the Freedom Spirit of Vatican II in the parched years after the appointment of Cardinal Wotyla as Pope in late 1978.
We of the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church (ARCC, founded in 1980 in the wake of the Vatican repression of Catholic thinkers in 1979) welcome the reaching out to the few million Traditionalist Catholics.
We also cry out for a reaching out to the 30 million alienated former American Catholics! (How many more millions of former Catholics are there elsewhere in the world!?) We also look for a reaching out to the untold millions of the 65 million current American Catholics who are barely holding on to their church membership by their fingernails, threatening to swell the ranks of the 30 missing millions.
Personally, I also plead with my former colleague on the Catholic Theological Faculty of the University of Tübingen, Professor Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, to reach out not only to the right, but also to the left. Make our Church truly catholic, universal!
Professor Leonard Swidler, Ph.D., S.T.L.
President, Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ; Tel: 513-508-1935