Monday, September 26, 2005

As the visitation begins

This is an interesting article from The Des Moines Register. A lot of it is simply a recap of the visitation's mission and the reaction, accusing it of being a 'witch hunt'. The interesting part of the story is the reaction from parishioners at Pope Pius X in Urbandale:

Catholics interviewed after 11 a.m. Mass at Pope Pius X Catholic Church in Urbandale on Sunday said they approve of the policy change.

"I believe the Catholic Church teachings about homosexuality and the priesthood need to be made clear. I believe that after Vatican II homosexuals exploited loopholes (in church policy), and the fruits of that lax attitude are reflected in the abuses that have come to light," said John O'Connor of Des Moines.

Tanny Armstrong of Urbandale said: "I think it is a good thing if the church excludes homosexuals as candidates for the priesthood. I love homosexuals but I don't love what they stand for. I don't think they should be accepted as candidates for seminary."

Hanna Jones of Des Moines, a lifelong member of Pius X, is conflicted about barring gays from the priesthood.

"I guess it depends if you believe homosexuals choose the lifestyle or are born gay or not. It's kind of like being an alcoholic — is it a sickness or a choice? I'm thankful to God that I don't have to decide."

Read the complete article Vatican to review seminary operations from

Let's face it. While our good friends Fathers Reese and Fessio and others comment on the visitation and prognosticate, we have very little info on what on-the-ground Catholics are thinking about it. The last quote from Hanna Jones is instructive. It would seem though that suburbanites are generally positive on the visitation and do not interpret it as a witch hunt.

While you're thinking that Iowa suburbanites are not exactly representative of the whole, I'll provide a little background. Urbandale is a suburb of Des Moines. It and its fellow western suburbs along with other towns westward into Dallas County are among the fastest growing areas in Iowa and I think the nation (been awhile since I've seen those stats).

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