John Dearie Sr. writes:
“I write mainly about your rejection of the faith. I would remind you that only the ancient creeds contain dogma: that which is central and must be accepted. All the rest is only doctrine, a significantly lower level of importance, like the Church’s position on contraception, and discipline, like mandatory celibacy for priests.
“Do you reject Christian dogma? If not, you can be a proud “cafeteria Catholic” like me and most thinking Catholics these days, accepting the great news of the free gift of salvation, participating in beautiful liturgies and the many good works the Church does, and sharing in the wonderful fellowship of believers.
“Though I have issues with some Church doctrines and certainly with the way it has handled sexual abuse, I am doing something about it. The Church remains a rich and priceless part of my life. Think about it.”
Of course, I do think about it. And I appreciate the distinction between dogma and doctrine. If, however, the church remains so wayward on doctrine — to say nothing of its abominable complicity in sex scandals — one wonders what the church is needed for, as one can hew to the dogma without it.
But then another way to look at it is this: by rejecting the arch-conservative, anti-modern doctrine, Roman Catholics are giving a big, defiant raspberry to the backward clergy while embracing their faith. The sort of legion well worth joining.