By W.H. MARSHNER
December 5, 1974
On Monday, Nov. 18th, at the noon press conference, Bishop James Rausch made an excellent statement which deserves wider reporting than it is likely to receive. As General Secretary of the NCCB-USCC, Bishop Rausch was asked to comment on the concerns which are being expressed by Catholics today and the apparent fact that most of the groups petitioning the Bishops are voicing so-called conservative concerns (dogma, catechetics) rather than liberal ones (social action). Bishop Rausch replied that he rejects the “typecasting of concerns as Right-wing or Left-wing.” From The Wanderer’s point of view, this Bishop, who has received his share of knocks in our pages, could hardly have made a wiser or more timely point.
After all, it is meaningless to claim that there is “liberal” theology, or the opposite. There is only good or bad theology. Today, however, much theology is so bad that it can no longer be called Catholic. To perceive this fact, and to appeal persistently to the Bishops about it, is not a “conservative” attitude or the fruit of some Right-wing charism (else why is Malachy Martin the religion editor of National Review?). No, it is simply an expression of the sensus fidelium. Similarly, it is not “conservative” for parents to complain when their children are being taught distortions of the Faith. It is just Catholic. Frankly, we would hate to think that no parents are protesting the Sadlier-Benziger-Paulist axis except political Reaganites. That would mean that liberals don’t mind if their children are taught mush and goo, may even prefer it, which would be the most devastating thing we have ever had to say about liberals. And on the other side, it is not “liberal” to urge the hierarchy to act against social injustice or world hunger or abortion. It is just Catholic commitment, as it was in Lactantius, in Pius IX, and in G.K. Chesterton.
Bishop Rausch’s statement then, should serve as a corrective to those who misrepresent the motives of many Catholic parents as well as the position of The Wanderer, as though we were pushing something called “conservative Catholicism.” No thank you, our politics might be conservative, at least on key points, but our Catholicism it just plain Catholicism.