Dear Fr. Phil,

Not being Catholic, perhaps I shouldn't throw my two cents in here but there are advantages in being on the outside looking in. And what I see is-- there once was a time when the Catholic Church stood for something. The Catholic Church was a plumb line for morality, and everyone knew what she stood for. I remember as a child hearing my mother talking to a friend and saying, "Well, the Catholics don't approve of it." I learned early that the Catholic Church had a certain standard of morality and we could accept or deny it, but the Catholic Church wasn't going to change.

But guess what? Now it's anybody's guess as to what the Church stands for. Where's the standard that everyone knew? You've got orthodox and heterodox, schismatic and heretical-- all wrapped up under the Catholic standard. People have a sense of sin. They may cry out for leniency, but they really want a standard that tells them what's right, what's wrong and what's the difference. They don't want a priest that's tolerant; they want a priest that's merciful. Tolerance says "Anything goes." Mercy says, "You're wrong, you're broken, you're in sin-- but I will walk with you through this and we will overcome it together, because I love you. Because God loves you. You will fall, but I will always be here when you fall, to help you up and forgive you and heal you. I will be a 'Christ" to you, so that you may know Him and the overwhelming love he has for you."

Until seminaries and dioceses learn the difference between tolerance and mercy, there will be a shortage of priests. When God calls men to the priesthood, He doesn't call them to tolerance but to mercy.

In Him,
Ruth Dupre'

Women Priests?
Letter from Ruth on Women Priests.
How to solve the Priest Shortage.
Article on Confession of Sins.

For an article on the struggle between watered down Christianity (dissent) and its full-bodied version (orthodoxy) see my review of Flawed Expectations.