For those of you who are not aware, Michael Coren, often a guest of Catholic Answers and other shows, left the Catholic Church for Anglicanism over homosexuality and gay marriage.
He was heavily criticized by folks like Karl Keating, for example, in this CA blog post, for not having been more up front about his leaving the Catholic Church even though he had privately left it over a year ago. Here is Karl’s point:
If, a year ago, Coren had announced publicly his change of religion, resigning his columns and offering to cancel scheduled speeches, there would have been disappointment but probably not anger. Catholics who used to follow him would have thought, “He’s making a tremendous mistake, but he’s got to go where his conscience leads him, even if it’s leading him the wrong way. I hope he wises up and comes back.”
Coren didn’t handle it that way. He continued to accept honoraria from Catholic publications and groups. He didn’t volunteer to them that he had left the Church. He says he was “outed” by a third party: it wasn’t on his schedule. How long did he intend to keep up the charade? Did he expect to keep it up indefinitely?
I’m going to preface my comments by saying I love CA and its apostate, and have supported it in the past and will continue to support it in the future. But I’m wondering if we are holding a double standard here with Michael that we wouldn’t hold people to who are coming to the Catholic Church? For example, I have viewed many Coming Home episodes with Marcus Grody discussing the conversion storied of pastors who made the very difficult transition from protestant full time ministry to Catholicism at huge personal and financial expense. And some who continued in ministry for more than a year even though they were personally convinced of the truth of the Catholic faith for very practical reasons.
Should we not have extended Michael the same consideration?
Some of his other points against “the church of nasty” are also not entirely untrue, in my opinion. There is a terrible amount of fear and anxiety in our church over the evils of today, such as abortion, contraception, euthanasia, legalizing the sex trade, legalizing marijuana use, and so on.** Are we letting this fear and anxiety kill our ability to love our neighbours who don’t see it the way we do? **
Again, I am a committed Catholic, I have six kids, and am in no way questioning our moral stance. Its more of a reflection on what happened with Michael and a questioning about how we might have done things better.
Perhaps we need a CA tract on what to do and how to behave when someone leaves the church…