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letters | reverberations in the catholic church

Revolution goes on in the good works of the faithful

RE “The church’s lost revolution” by James Carroll (Op-ed, Sept. 30): I am neither a theologian nor a historian. You could call me a born-again Catholic and an environmentalist.

In 1956 the Communist Party in China initiated a Hundred Flowers Campaign that, like the Second Vatican Council in 1962, was a response to modernism. In China what followed was the messy Cultural Revolution and today’s emphasis on economics.

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Carroll describes how a cultural revolution began to take root within the church as a result of Vatican II, how that revolution died, and the mess the church is in now. I concur with Carroll that one of the great reforms of our time has been environmental awareness. Yet, like environmentalists who view their movement in absolutist terms of saving the planet, Carroll sees the Vatican II revolution as lost.

Unlike China, where the success of its revolution may be measured in gross national product, the success of the church’s revolution can be seen in the uncounted numbers of those who continue to serve Jesus on the bread line. A loss of prominence is not a loss of importance, and if this world chooses to downgrade the church’s status to cult, so be it — I have people to serve.

Kenneth S. Charest

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