As a Catholic, I'd like to commend The Times for its coverage (Nov. 11-14) of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and, in particular, for its reports on the case of Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen of Seattle, who was deprived of a substantial part of his pastoral charge by Pope John Paul II.
Your editorial (Nov. 13), "Tensions in the Church," points out (correctly, I think) that "the fundamental issue" involved in this case "is authority." More precisely it is the possible abuse of authority, for, if Hunthausen is to be believed, the proceedings in Rome, which restricted his pastoral activities, were secret and did not allow him to respond to the charges against him.
The Times reported (Nov. 11) that Bishop James W. Malone, the outgoing president of the conference, proposed that a delegation of American prelates request a meeting in Rome with the Pope to discuss the Hunthausen case and the undesirable effects it might have on the morale of American Catholics.
Judging from The Times of Nov. 13, this suggestion was ignored and the bishops of the conference, through the same Bishop Malone, simply affirmed their loyalty to the Pope while at the same time expressing their brotherly concern for Hunthausen.