Faithful Dissenters (the book)

Is anyone familiar with the book Faithful Dissenters by Robert McClory published by Orbis Books? Is it historically accurate and is its take on these so-called dissenters legitimate? What do you know about the author? It seems to me to promote the idea that the laity are a better source of truth that the papacy and the Magisterium.

The blog Mirror of Justice, which the administration of CAF considers a generally reliable source, gives it a thumbs up.

Steve Bainbridge asks, in his posting below: “To what extent is it proper for a Catholic to dissent from non-infallible but presumably magisterial teaching? We are not Protestants, after all.”

No, but neither are we mindless. As John Noonan said, “the record is replete with mistakes–the faithful can’t just accept everything that comes from Rome as though God had authorized it.” What mistakes, you ask? Well, you may want to begin here: Robert McClory, Faithful Dissenters: Stories of Men and Women Who Loved and Changed the Church (2000).

For those who, like Steve, want to think about this issue, Father Bernard Hoose’s writings are a good place to begin: Bernard Hoose, “Authority in the Church,” 63 Theological Studies 1207 (2002); Bernard Hoose, Authority in Roman Catholicism (2002). See also this collection, edited by Father Hoose: Authority in the Roman Catholic Church (2002).

On the other hand, the book review in Commonweal was favorable. And I think that magazine is held in low esteem by many members of CAF for not being orthodox.

And Robert McClory is the editor of Call to Action News, the news letter of the heterodox organization which is in low repute here.
(note: the link I just listed is a google cache so the formatting is a bit off)

To: Dale M
Thank you for your reply. I found it very helpful. The person who recommended the book to me used the premise of the book to justify his disagreement with Church teaching on euthanasia.

Segarbe, you are welcome. Five or ten years ago I probably would have eagerly bought Faithful Dissenters. But I think the book downplays the role of the Holy Spirit in guiding the Church and its teachings.

On the other hand, we have the example of Franz Jägerstätter, who is set for beatification on Oct. 27th. An ordinary German, he stayed out of politics and was not a pacificist. Yet when the German army drafted him during World War II, he refused to go because he saw the war as unjust and the Nazis evil.

Jägerstätter’s resolution not to obey men, in the case of military service, won him the opposition of priests. They, and even a bishop, told him that as a husband and father, he should not risk execution. He was told that in serving in the Nazi army he would be obeying orders from the constituted government and, thus, would not be morally culpable if the war were unjust. Jägerstätter, however, said, “I believe God asks me to live by my conscience.” He understood the threat to his family (his eldest daughter was only six years old), but he thought it better for them to have a dead father who was a martyr than a living one who was a Nazi.

He was executed for his refusal to serve.

I think his example shows that there are situations when it is right to defy the apparent teaching of the Church in order to avoid cooperating with evil. The Holy Spirit was leading him at a time when local Church leaders were confused by the extraordinary circumstances of the Nazi government.

But extraordinary circumstances, by definition, are rare. Death is not uncommon and the issue of euthanasia has had the attention of the entire Church, not just a few local representatives.

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