Reformation Revisited

To The Editor, and by default, Hal Crowther:

While Mr. Crowther's cover story of May 30th was brutally honest, moving, and thought-provoking-I must first defend the many good priests who want only to serve God and His people. I am acquainted with some whom I consider the very best, who are friends and counselors, and workers for peace and justice, and I count them among my friends and confidantes.

That said, I am wholly aware of the complicity of the Catholic Church, notably the American Catholic Church, its dioceses and archdioceses and bishops, to commit the unpardonable sins that have come to light over the last twenty years. Much like an episode of food poisoning to induce one to swear off hamburgers for life, I, a cradle Catholic, have found it morally impossible to attend Mass since the majority of the scandal came to light. There are many of us who are massing to defend the dignity of the Church and the good priests who serve it, and this is a testament to the strength, conviction, and faith of Catholics across the country. Some are struggling harder than others.

I am a Catholic, but I have free will. This is what God gave us. It is time for all the faithful to decide what they will and will not accept, and for this one, things have reached the point of unacceptability. My faith has been shaken to the core, my prayers die on my lips, and all I held dear is slipping away, until I find myself alone only with God and my relationship with him. This is all anyone has, in the end. No buildings, no pageantry, and no examination of conscience with the intent to confess is going to cure the feeling of abandonment, or utter loss, that the modern Catholic is coming to bear. I am reminded of the admonition that we must die to self-experience Christ; shall we die to all we hold dear, in order to come out alive on the other side? Sometimes this is necessary. This way we strip our faith to the bare foundation, in order to build a stronger one in time.

No scathing expose or media bombardment can change the fact that, ultimately, the individual-through honest discernment and gut feeling-is responsible for his or her complicity. This is a personal matter. This is between all the faithful and their God, one on one.

Respectfully yours,

Kimberly T. Kelly

Dear Ace:

Since the Protestant Reformation, Christianity has been in doctrinal and moral chaos. The latest figures reveal some 33,820 different denominations now in existence. This scandalous disunity cries out against the Reformation because couching at the door of the Reformer's rejection of authority was the ecclesiological anarchy which now seems without end. This is why Christ left us an infallible Church. He knew full well Scripture's inability to interpret itself, as well as the chaos no infallible authority would bring.

The false idea growing out of private biblical interpretation is that truth is what's true for me. In an age of degeneracy this incurs disasters like the fall of the American Church. While holding to the form of Catholicism, Catholics have done their damnedest to subvert papal authority.

When I read self-described outlaw-theologian, Hal Crowther's article on the Catholic sex-abuse scandal [cover, May 30], I couldn't help but think of some of the idiotic things Martin Luther wrote. Nor could I help but think of Lucifer's obiter dictum before his big expulsion-Non serviam, "I will not serve!" Crowther falls into this Ace tradition of hating authority. His anger is actually directed at Christ who built his Church upon Peter, the rock, because Crowther sees the cross as foolishness.

Yet, St. Paul says God uses the cross to destroy the wisdom of the wise, "for the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (I Cor 1:18).

Matthew Haltom


Hal Crowther in his article 'Into Temptation'
is disturbed by the Catholic Church's stance of sexual practice and morality.

He blames celibacy for pedophilia in the priesthood. However, pedophilia is higher among married men than in the celibate priesthood.

Should the Catholic Church also change the rule of monogamy to polygamy to lower pedophilia in married men?

The underlining reason for the attack on celibacy is due to what celibacy represents viz. holiness. It exposes the unholiness of those who practice or crave immoral sex.

If Crowther had it his way, the Catholic Church would not preach against homosexuality, fornication, masturbation, or non-procreative sexual activity. He uses the defense of helpless children and pretends to care about divine judgement while ridiculing the Church's strong stance against sexual crimes against God.

The pedophiles deserve the most severe punishment given by the law, but the whole Church doesn't deserve the blame. If he is going to blame someone other than the one who committed the crime why not blame it on God? He could have stopped it, right?

It's plain to see that he also has a problem with Jesus Himself. Crowther doesn't like Christ's metaphor of the sheep and shepherd. It means that he has to follow an authority other than himself.

The Church will not abandon celibacy for the sake of man's concupiscence. Christ commands us to obey the Church that we may be perfected in holiness.

Holiness demands obedience and Hal Crowther isn't interested is either one.

Steve Speray


It is certainly true that there are a great number of legitimate and honest priests in the Catholic Church. It's just as true that the failings and crimes of which many others are guilty apply as well to non-Catholic pastors and organizations (even the 6th Dalai Lama,1683-1706, was an inveterate booty chaser).

I am not anti-Catholic; however, to think that this is a new situation is to ignore the well documented history of the Church and the lives of many of the Popes, themselves. The truth is that any long-term human organization, whether a business corporation, a labor union, a government, or a church, eventually has as its primary goal its own continued existence and all other things become secondary.

I applaud Hal Crowther on wiping the scales from his eyes (or were they gouged out by an intrusive finger?). Supportive companionship is excellent for attitudinal maintenance but God requires no middlemen.

Nell Clipper


Dear Ace Weekly,

In the Spring 2002 Latin Mass magazine, author Donna Steichen tells of Napoleon Bonaparte's attempts to dominate the Catholic Church in France.

He often became infuriated over the Pope and the hierarchy's refusal to kowtow to his demands. As a consequence, Napolean once thundered to Cardinal Consalvi, Pope Pius VII's secretary of state, "I'll destroy your Church." After reassuring Napolean that no such thing was going to happen, Consalvi tells him that, "If all the bad popes and immoral priests and the thousands of sinners in the Church haven't been able to destroy her in 1900 years, you certainly can't do it in one lifetime."

If Napoleon's predictions of destroying the Catholic Faith came to naught, will the vacuous predictions of Catholic doom by the comparatively insignificant Hal Crowther fair any better? I don't think so.

Luke Vincent


Letters Policy: Ace LOVES to publish our mail (250 words or less please); please include name and daytime phone. No photocopies. No bulk mail. First come, first served. We may edit for space and grammar; we will limit frequency; and, on popular issues, we may print one or two letters to represent a segment of public opinion. Private correspondence should be labeled “NOT FOR PUBLICATION.”

Mail: 486 West Second St , Lexington, Ky 40507


Get up, stand up...
Lexington firefighters and police assembled last Thursday in the Cox Street parking lot at Rupp Arena, before ambling down to a Council meeting to respond to a 3 percent salary increase. The raise was not opposed, so much as the coincidental 20 percent increase in insurance costs. Many current firefighters and officers say they don't want to be forced to follow former colleagues who've left Lexington to serve in other counties that offer better pay and benefits.

History Channel
The History Channel Time Machine will be in Lexington from June 5 to June 9. The first stop will be at Lexington Legends and then Kentucky Horse Park from June 7-8 (during Festival of the Bluegrass.

This time next year
Earlier this week, Ernie Fletcher announced the formation of an "exploratory committee" to consider running for next May's gubernatorial Republican nomination. He fell short of announcing candidacy, but the exploratory phase of a campaign allows prospective candidates to raise up to $90,000.