I write this as a Roman Catholic Christian, a Roman Catholic Priest, and a citizen of the Columbus, Lowndes County community. Also, may I say that to my recollection, I have never written a public letter of a critical or condemning nature. I do not brag about that, but state it so that you are aware that I have no ax to grind or agenda to advance.
It is with real sadness and disappointment that I read the article in the May 15 issue of The Commercial Dispatch entitled “Priestly Celibacy: A Self-Inflicted Wound.” Although I disagree with so much of what Ms. Jacoby said, I felt no real urge to respond because there is nothing new contained in her article. In fact, there are some active, practicing Catholics who love the church and feel similarly or agree with some of what is contained in the article.
I shared the article with a priest friend of mine and his response was, “Well, there”s nothing new there.” And indeed, much worse has been said and written about the church. My feeling after reading the article was that this is truly a lost, angry, and embittered soul, someone to be pitied and prayed for.
Then I read The Commercial Dispatch article of May 17 entitled “Is this the New Catholicism? Yes.” It was then that anger accompanied my feelings of sadness and disappointment. In a span of three days, two articles had been published in the local newspaper about the Church I love and serve, by obviously angry and disgruntled people who were unable to see anything past their own agendas. They have every right to their opinion and every right to express it. My question for you is why? Why in a community where so many people of different faith backgrounds work together to uphold the value and dignity of every human life, and seek real justice for people, why would you choose to publish such articles?
I have prayed about this and for the life of me, I cannot begin to understand why you would do such a thing. If the intent was to inform, surely there are more credible and balanced sources.
At a time in the history of our country when people are in such great need of comfort and hope and healing, why would you publish articles that are seemingly meant to engender anger, sadness, and division among good Christian people? It is certainly your right to publish whatever you wish in your newspaper, but what ever happened to any modicum of credibility and balance? “Why” is such an important moral question. It goes straight to what are our motives and intentions. Do we do things simply because we can?
At best, I believe an apology to the Catholic community is in order. At least, please answer the question why.
Father Robert Dore, Pastor
Annunciation Catholic Church
Editor”s reply: The controversy surrounding President Barack Obama”s graduation speech at Notre Dame University focused media attention on issues facing the Catholic Church. The columns in question offered commentary on priestly celibacy and intolerance among religious congregations, issues we believe to be relevant. It is far from our intent to “engender anger, sadness and division,” but rather to spur debate on issues we feel are important to our readers.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.