May 02, 2006

In Massachusetts, Catholics torn by hierarchy, politics

The Christian Science Monitor

By Sara Miller Llana | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. As a dutiful Roman Catholic, Mildred Feloney drives to Saint Peter Parish here for 8 a.m. mass every morning.

But emblazoned on her bumper is an unmistakable token of dissent: "Keep the Faith, Change the Church."

The commute is old. The sticker on her Camry is new. It's a provocation that signals a profound stir among Catholics in Massachusetts.

Four years ago, the scandal of clergy sexually abusing children rocked this heavily Catholic state and drove a wedge between the hierarchy and laity. Today, that rift over trust has widened into a gulf over values. The reason? Tension between the state's liberalism and the church's conservatism, long compartmentalized by Catholics here, has been pushed into conflict by a series of high-profile issues pitting church and state against each other.

Posted by kshaw at May 2, 2006 06:15 PM