letter to the editor

Ostracizing dissenters no way to move forward


To The Editor:

Bully for this paper's decision to publish the notice of VOTF'S annual meeting in Providence. And bully for the Voice of the Faithful forchoosing as its conference site this Roger Williams "shelter for distressed consciences." To my mind, mellow in its antiquity, there was no good reason not to publish the newsworthy piece.

Letter-writer Robert Aciero thought otherwise. (R.I. Catholic, October 11, 2007). He thought wrongly. Not only about the faithful Voice which we would like to silence but also about theologian Father Richard McBrien for being a dangerous teacher-writer and "a major dissenter of (meaning "from") church doctrine and teaching" for which, in the writer's opinion, he ought to be ostracized.

We do no service to the church by pillorying respected Catholic scholars who question certain teachings that divide church members in the light of advanced knowledge and changed circumstances (e.g.,the state of matrimony).

Some of the most holy and sound thinkers in church history-many of whom are duly canonized-were at once dissenters and builders of God's kingdom on earth "as it is in heaven." And most VOTF members are absolute pillars of today's driven church; we know them as parish leaders, eucharistic ministers, lectors, and benefactors. The Robert Arcieros of our omnium-fatherum would do well to hear these voices, engage them in discourse, question any discordant notes, and listen some more. It could be an edifying experience for the Peters and Pauls, the Marthas and Marys, the disciples, dissemblers, and dissenters in our motley mist.

No, I am not a member of VOTF but I believe they deserve our attention. They should not be a voice in the wilderness. Nor castigated as dissenters. If this be dissension, I too dissent.

William McNamara

East Greenwich