The collaborative progressive catholic blog, Open Tabernacle, has now completed its first full week with resounding readership success.  Since each of the contributing bloggers brought their own following, there was a built in readership for this new blog of Catholic (catholic with a small “c”?) themes.

Here are the top five most popular progressive catholic postings from the first week. 

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) Needs Our Help.

For the last 21 years SNAP has been a voice for Catholics seeking answers and reform from the hierarchy on pedophilia. In that time it has bravely demanded an end to the shell game of moving predatory priests as well as the seemingly endless series of cover-ups of incidents of sexual abuse.

Frank Cocozzelli and Maggie Gallagher: The Voice(s) of American Catholicism.

On 20 April last year, Frank Cocozzelli published an interesting essay entitled “Who Speaks for American Catholics?” at Talk to Action’s website (here). Cocozzelli notes the wide diversity of viewpoints of American Catholics on social and political issues, including issues with connections to Catholic moral teaching. As he notes, American Catholics frequently disagree with each other (and with official church teaching) on issues such as stem-cell research, abortion, and gay and lesbian rights.

Many of us find the political and moral positions of our brothers and sisters of the Catholic right morally repugnant precisely because of our commitment to Catholic moral teaching about economic and social justice and war and peace. As Cocozzelli rightly notes, “A strong case can be made that these icons of the Catholic Right are using abortion and LGBT rights as wedge issues primarily to elect laissez-faire economic conservatives.”

The Canonization of Pope John Paul II: I Dissent

Vatican journalist Andrea Torniello has recently reported that the cause for the beatification of John Paul II has advanced. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has cleared the way for the previous pope to be declared “blessed,” the initial step on the path to sainthood.

Since reading this announcement, I’ve been giving thought to my reaction, which is, on the whole, strongly negative. As I think about it, I’m opposed to the canonization of John Paul II, and I’d like to think out loud here about my reasons for this opposition.

First, some provisos. I take it that Catholics may validly criticize popes. In fact, I take it that Catholics may have a strong obligation at certain points in history to stand against the actions, example, or even teachings of a given pope at a given time. Those of us who believe that this is the case have historical warrant for such actions: exemplary Catholics, including Catherine of Siena, a saint, have spoken out to call the pope to fidelity to the gospel, and to express concern when a pope seemed to be leading the church in a direction contrary to the gospel. And Paul stood in opposition to Peter when Peter wanted to make the gospel hinge on the purity laws of Judaism.

“Why the Church Must Change “

At the Belfast Telegraph, the columnist Sharon Owens has a heartfelt piece in which she describes all the things that she thinks are wrong with the Catholic Church, ranging from the insistence on Catholicism as the only valid route to salvation, through the incomprehensible difference in response to matters of abortion as compared to other offences, to the appalling record of the Irish church, on clerical abuse and on the treatment of women in the Magdelene laundries.

Catholic Remonstrance Now!

Lately, the Catholic Right has unabashedly sought to impose its will on society. From its recent advocacy against marriage equality in Maine; to the inquisition of American nuns who challenge Vatican hard-liners; and now the U.S Bishops who have threatened to sabotage health care reform unless they got their way on abortion policy in the House version of the legislation.

As a Catholic, I am beyond frustration with Church leaders and lay persons who seek to replace American pluralism with an ultra-orthodox form of Catholic morality. I say it is time for remonstrance from mainstream Catholics.