I don't know about you, but when I think about a person who has the moral standing to call out the Catholic Church for a lack of moral conviction, I think of abortion-on-demand advocate Karen Finney. Okay, not really, but apparently MSNBC does.
On the February 28 edition of The Cycle, the former DNC communications director and current NARAL Pro-Choice America board member explained her thoughts as a "Berkeley Catholic" who wants to see the Church do more for the poor and downtrodden, while piping down when it comes to teaching biblical sexual ethics and opposing abortion (emphasis mine):
ALEX WAGNER: There seems to be a real push for some kind of changes here to the orthodoxy.
KAREN FINNEY: Well, and also I think at the heart of it, and I do think this holds up with your analogy. I consider myself a Berkeley Catholic, which was much more about the social doctrine and our values and a lot less about birth control and some of those other things, but, you know, how do you live your life -- how do you care for those, you know, less fortunate?
But you see the Church particularly I think in the West, in the aftermath of these scandals, increasingly people feeling like the Church is not relevant to their lives, and it's not preaching, the theology is not relevant to the challenges that people are facing, to the reality of how people are living their lives. As you were saying with regard to birth control, it's sort of like a wink-wink that like 98 percent of Catholic women in America have used birth control, consider themselves Catholic, but, hey, shhh, we're just not going to talk about it.
So I think those statistics point out that, you know, the faithful, the nature of the faithful is changing, and what we need and want from the Church is changing, and I don't, I think the problem is that the people who are, it's the same people, so how can the same voices and faces make that change?
Completely lacking on the panel was any conservative Catholic voice who would disagree with Finney and Wagner and point out that, yes, the Church speaks to "the reality of how people are living their lives," it's just that a lot of folks don't want to hear that the way they are living their lives is sinful and needs to be reformed.
What's more, while it is true that the face of the Church is changing, as host Alex Wagner noted earlier in the segment, the Catholic Church was declining in membership in Europe but growing in South America and booming in sub-Saharan Africa. As such, the church is growing in more theologically conservative and poorer areas of the globe but stagnating in more liberal, secularist parts of the world. Yes, the face of the Church is changing, but the vast bulk of the laity of the church is increasingly from parts of the world which are less materialistic, more religious and more conservative than Europe and North America.
If the church is increasingly conservative and racially diverse, shouldn't the folks at the Lean Forward network be excited about, well, moving forward, rather than wishing for the Church to cater to the dwindling minority of its population in the secular West?