Nothing riles us more than to see self-righteous anger directed at our religion by professed experts from some other religion. Such was the case recently when Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite attempted to tie the renewed interest to the Latin Mass to the sex abuse scandal that has marked the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Thistlethwaite is president of the Chicago Theological Seminary, a United Church of Christ institution.
“At a time when the Catholic Church in the U.S. needs to be working on becoming more open and more accountable to its laity to prevent more child sexual abuse,” writes Thistlethwaite, “the reintroduction of the Latin Mass signals that the Catholic Church as a whole is moving in a reactionary direction, becoming more closed rather than more open.” She continued by saying, “This is a worship practice where the ordinary people could not understand the language and the clergy become remote figures, conducting mysteries in secret on the altar.” In conclusion, she charges that “the Catholic Church is once again circling the wagons, rejecting necessary reforms and consolidating its power in the hierarchy.”
Bill Donohue couldn’t stomach listening to this rant and so he wrote Thistlethwaite a stinging rebuke. The fact that she never answered him is testimony to her inability to defend her demagoguery. His letter is reprinted here.