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Hope in laity, theologians.

* I had just finished reading Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening by Diana Butler Bass when I watched the different nations parade into the Olympic Stadium in London, joyfully celebrating human diversity in unity, not uniformity.

So I understood the hope described in Loretto Sr. Jeannine Gramick's review of the book (NCR, Aug. 3-16). The book also left me "somewhat apprehensive," as Gramick said, about the survival of what is distinctly Catholic Christianity.

Bass documents the global move from belief-based religious practice to experiential spirituality and outlines the predictable reactionary response of those professing to guard orthodox doctrinal faith and those terrified by the loss of a perceived secure past.

My own apprehension arises from the concern that doctrine will be tossed before it is understood. Sixty years ago, Jesuit Fr. Karl Rahner offered that doctrine must be both an end and a beginning. How can one expect doctrinal interpretation that satisfied a fifth-century Christian to translate to doctrine that can be really, personally and genuinely accepted by someone who has seen Hubble photos?

It is our Catholic theologians who will carry the distinctly Catholic Christian revelation of a Trinitarian mystery, an enfleshed God so deeply engaged in the human condition, a God closer to us than our breath, into the future--not our bishops.

AUDREY SMITH ROGERS

Baltimore

* Diana Bass's contention that Catholics could be spiritual but not religiously connected to an organized church may be true. It is also possible for Catholics to remain spiritual and remain in the church even though they have lost faith in the hierarchy.

For many, the pronouncements of the Vatican and the bishops have become irrelevant to their daily lives. The hypocrisy, corruption and backward-thinking of the hierarchy's obvious "good ol' boy" politics have forced the Catholic laity to develop its own spirituality based on compassion, conscience and reason--elements seemingly lacking in the church's upper echelon.

Sadly, many disaffected Catholics have left the church. It would be better if disgruntled Catholics remained in the church to become the faithful but firm opposition to the errors of the leadership. Instead of abandoning the church to those who are mismanaging it, perhaps we should compete with them for control of the institution before they destroy it.

RICHARD ZALUD

Phoenix
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Title Annotation:LETTERS
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Aug 31, 2012
Words:383
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