Defending Fr. McBrien


I am responding to Deacon Frank Angoli’s guest opinion column from the Sept. 23 issue of The Catholic Messenger. 

Deacon Angoli states that Father Richard McBrien and the New York Times erroneously linked the ordination of women with the other infractions listed in the Vatican’s document. What error is Deacon Angoli speaking of? The document lists together these actions as “the most serious infractions of Church law.” That certainly sounds like a link to me. 

Referring to the Vatican document, I have the highest respect for the holy Eucharist but I do not believe that desecration of the host is as morally repugnant as the sexual abuse of a child. Which crime hurts more people? I wonder what Jesus would say about this…

As for the “the Catholic Church’s scandalously negative attitude toward women” one need only look to the above-mentioned document and the Vatican’s investigation into the U.S. congregations of Sisters for confirmation. 


Deacon Angoli states that Fr. McBrien misleads his readers and “panders to the worst in us” by suggesting that those in charge of the Church are “inherently untrustworthy and driven by the most negative of possible motives.” The examples of Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston and the many other members of the hierarchy who covered up and enabled the crimes of pedophile priests certainly do not inspire a great deal of trust. 

With respect, it must be said that just because Deacon Angoli wishes the Roman Church to be a certain way does not make it so. 

Cullin Schooley

Des Moines 

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