January 11, 2006

Loving Dissent

Fort Worth Weekly


At 72, with worn sneakers and rolled-up sleeves, sitting in his book-lined office at Southern Methodist University, he looks like the low-key thinking man and professor that he is.

And yet, as a Catholic priest and brilliant religious scholar, his actions were apparently so heinous that an archbishop once accused him of “sowing scandal” among the faithful. What he taught was so scary that the Catholic Church’s modern-day successor to the Inquisition barred him permanently from teaching at Catholic colleges. Before the ban, he was so well-liked and respected that the entire theology faculty at his former university once went on strike to help save his job.

What did Father Curran believe and teach that caused such uproar? Well, in large part, the kinds of things you might suspect would get someone in trouble with the Vatican — that the church was wrong to strictly ban all abortions, all premarital sex, all homosexual relationships, all forms of birth control except crossing your legs for part of the month; that the church should allow women and gays to be priests; that priests should be allowed to marry. And that the church has screwed up royally in its handling of the pedophilia crisis, with repercussions that have been felt everywhere from Fort Worth to the farthest reach of church territory (which is to say, the whole world).

Posted by kshaw at January 11, 2006 05:34 PM