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The Church as a Warm Fuzzy?

EDITORIAL

Recently, Margaret O’Brien Steinfels, Edi­tor of Commonweal, gave an important speech under the intriguing rubric, “The Unholy Al­liance Between the Right and the Left in the Catholic Church” (printed in the May 2nd America). Her thesis was that “the present and future vitality of the church is being put at risk by an unholy and usually unwitting alliance between Right and Left.” She made many tell­ing points, all the while offering a humble and stirring plea for unity, charity, and generosity of spirit, and for abatement of the factional, polemical spirit.

Of course, the New Oxford Review has for years been calling for a transcendence of Left/Right partisanship in the Church — and with uncertain success — and so we rejoice in this new-found company.

With deep appreciation for what Steinfels has said — and bravely so, given her theologi­cally liberal milieu — we would nevertheless suggest that she still has a ways to go. More directly, we would say: Don’t just get your toes wet. Come on in; the water’s fine.

Steinfels appealed for unity, but could not specify the basis for that unity — and was candid enough to admit that what she was saying “may seem vague and inchoate.”

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