I have one more installment of the TIME magazine article from November 22, 1968 (“Catholic Freedom vs Heirarchy”; see here for Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four) to post which will consist of an “insert” box article called “The Anguish of Two Dissenters”, but in the mean time I have discovered that I left off the closing paragraph of the article in the last post. Here is how the article ends.
Nothing for Everything. Serious questions are raised by the Protestant-like diversity suggested for the church by some reformers. A certain monolithic uniformity in ritual and belief has been the unique glory of Catholicism–at times, even, its salvation as a definable entity. Even Protestants dissatisfied with what often seems to be the spiritless confusion of their own churches would contend that Catholicism should profit by the Reformation but not use it as an example. For better or worse, millions of Catholics like the church the way it is. They want to be told what to believe and how to act. And they share the suspicion of Cardinal O’Boyle, who told a group of his priests recently: “You new people, you want to tear down everything and put nothing in its place.”
Whether the “new people” turn out to be saintly reformers whom future Catholicism will revere or angry heresiarchs who will leave the fold in discouragement and dismay depends in large measure on the skill and sensitivity of Pope Paul. An accomplished ecclesiastical diplomat, he has successfully weathered one potential crisis by bringing Vatican II to a peaceful conclusion after the death of John XXIII. Some Catholic voices calling for reform he may rightly ignore as imprudent or irresponsible. Others he would probably do well to heed. If not, the “silent schism” of Catholicism may turn out to be very much noisier than it already is.