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Father Greeley on Catholic Doctrine

September 02, 1993

* Father Andrew Greeley (Commentary, Aug. 22) wants to stop hearing from non-Catholics on the subject of Catholicism, but sometimes distance does in fact lend perspective.

The thrust of his column on Catholicism and marital sex is that violating church doctrine does not result in excommunication, so everyone should just calm down and stop thinking this is a big problem. This misses the mark by a mile. The problem is not that Catholics who have deviated from church teaching on contraception fear excommunication. It is that millions of them live in torment because the church has given them the message that they are not "good Catholics."

Father Greeley is right in one respect. As a non-Catholic it is not for me to say what the solution to this problem should be. It makes me terribly sad, however, that the Catholics who suffer the most torment over this issue do so because they are among the church's most devout followers, except on this one issue. It seems to me that these people are exactly the ones that should be counted among the church's good Catholics.


Santa Monica

* Father Greeley may be the most articulate, knowledgeable, humorous, entertaining and thoroughly convincing person who has ever written a column for The Times. Were I a Catholic, I would be so very proud to have him as my spiritual leader. He certainly gave me an insight into the problems facing the diverse Catholic Church, and yet "once a Catholic, always a Catholic." I am sending this column to all my friends, Christians and Jews. What Father Greeley says would work for all of us.


Los Angeles

* We got a big charge out of Andy Greeley's little romp through Catholic Church history and teachings. He's a fun guy, the type who'd be running after St. Athanasius' hide along with the Arian pack in the 4th Century. Greeley left the Catholic faith about the time he penned his first hot little "bestseller." He is a "steamy" third-rate novelist now living "the good life." His understanding of the Catholic faith as compared with Pope John Paul II's is like Madonna's compared with Mother Teresa's.



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