This is a courageous topic to write about, and I applaud Kaufman for tackling it. I'm always amazed by the Catholics who are deeply threatened by the fact that a person may inform her conscience and end up with a response that is different from what the Church teaches(when I say "Church" in this case I mean the magisterium, as there is no question that the people of God are also the Church, a fact that Vatican II made joyfully clear). Some Catholics -- including, apparently, many reviewers of this book -- would have you believe that the Church has never modifed its teaching on any issue, that the "Truth" is complete and unwavering, and that the Church has possessed the Truth since the very first day. I suppose you can believe that if you can overlook slavery, Galileo, usury, the fact that the Church no longer teaches (as it once did!) that married sex is sinful for older people whose reproductive years have passed, etc. With a careful look at Church history, though, it becomes clear that over the years the Church has come closer to the fullness of God's truth in many different areas of morality and human behavior. Growing scientific knowledge and the witness of informed Catholics (sensus fidelium) is a key part of this process. That is why Kaufman's book is so critical. It recognizes that our informed consciences and our lived experience are key parts of our faith, and that we have a responsibility to be thoughtful in our approach to that faith. After all, "catholic" means "universal, wide-reaching." Some dictionaries define it as "broad-minded." If the Catholic Church is going to truly live up to its name, it needs to recognize the witness of informed consciences and to actively listen to its people. And yes -- I do love the Church. That's why I am writing this.
I AM A GOOD CATHOLIC
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 23 years ago
Kaufmann does a tremendous job of enlightening the history behind the decisions and "other information" all catholics should have. He compels us to examine the basis behind the dogmas, doctrines and encyclicals. A must have for any catholic living with todays social and moral struggles. I can disagree and still be a good catholic.......I was ready to leave the church til I read this book!
True Faith requires dissent
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 23 years ago
Think about it: Jesus dissented - strongly - from the religious authorities of his time. Many of the reviews here sound like they come from people who have not even read the book, and are merely bashing Kaufman to satisfy their jerking knees. This is a truly prophetic voice, speaking out against the unjust abuse of the power of chruch leadership. The institutional church has a responsibility to the reflect the conscience of the members of the body of Christ. The voice of the people of God must count, as well as the voice of the Roman Curia. WE are the church!
A book to be read by every Catholic
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 24 years ago
This book needs to be in the hands of every Catholic, even those that would find it odious. It is a well reasoned work that thoughtfully presents the grounds for a reasoned conscientious dissent from stated official curial positions. Kaufman's discussion on contraception was particularly enlightening. As a married Catholic, I do not appreciate the moral judgement of the quality of my married life to be made from a political view necessary to preserve "authority." Overall, a fine book that provoked further study and reflection.
A challenge to Catholic conscience and to Church hierarchy
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 25 years ago
Despite its rather confrontational title, this book is a scholarly examination of the development of "official" Roman Catholic Church teachings on three controversial subjects: birth control, divorce and remarriage, and abortion. It also examines the development of the doctrine of infallability, and how it applies to very few Church teachings, including none of those mentioned above. The book concludes with a discussion of "democracy" in the Church. I found the book inspirational, not because of the author's dissents from official teaching on the three subjects (on only a very narrow point when it comes to abortion), but because of his exposition of the critical importance of the individual conscience in matters of faith. Although the author does not confront Pope John Paul II directly, the book implicitly is very critical of the current Pope, and, particularly, his leadership towards a more dogmatic approach to the Roman Catholic faithful, and his squelching of open dialogue on issues which, the authors persuasively argues, are matters for individual conscience. Regardless of one's view of "the Church", or its teachings on these topics, I recommend the book for its scholarship and its thought-provoking nature.
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