Reader’s Retrospective: Paul Schubert

This story appears in the Reader's Retrospective feature series. View the full series.

by Julie Gunter

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Editor's note: Introducing NCRonline's blog series "Reader's Retrospective": A special project that commemorates NCR's 50th anniversary by telling the stories of readers who have been faithfully subscribing to the National Catholic Reporter since its beginning. ​Read about the project's origins here.​​​​​​

Paul Schubert has stirred up his share of friction and debate over the years, but he insists that it's only because he has committed to speaking the truth even when certain conversational partners, especially those in the hierarchy, haven't cared to hear what he has to say.

Schubert seldom backs down from an argument, even when his insistence on expressing his views has resulted in bans from certain forms of ministry. According to Schubert, he was dropped from the diaconate after enrolling in six months of classes. More recently, he said, he was not allowed to serve as a lector at his home parish of 33 years, Queen of Peace in Aurora, Colo., because he refuses to refer to God as "he" or "him" when reading psalms from the Old Testament. (He's substituted the Lord or God instead and is adamant that describing God as male is heresy and the Scripture used is a bad translation).

Still able to serve as a eucharistic minister, Schubert is a daily Massgoer who often walks home after the service in order to continue "praying, and talking to God." He believes that his mother, along with the women religious who were his teachers, gave him a solid religious foundation, one that spending two difficult years at St. Mary's Seminary in Houston challenged but didn't break.

"I always wanted to be a priest, even now, but the church discriminates against people who are married," he said. He is equally certain that marrying his wife, Mary Margaret, was the best decision he's ever made.

Since his retirement 15 years ago, Schubert has had ample time to study theology, philosophy and psychology, in addition to three master's degrees in theology he earned decades before. Even during his time in the U.S. Air Force from 1962 to 1982, as well as 18 years with the U.S. Postal Service, he spent countless hours reading up on every religious subject he could find.

Women's theology convinced him that the Catholic church has it wrong when it comes to feminism, marriage and sexuality. As a result, Schubert stopped tithing years ago and instead donates to five religious women's organizations. He is also a lifetime member of the National Organization for Women.

One person Schubert never argues with is his beloved 4-year-old granddaughter, his "Princess Madison Rose." He also continues to faithfully read NCR -- every article, he says.

A version of this story appeared in the Sept 25-Oct 8, 2015 print issue under the headline: NCR a reader’s retrospective: Paul Schubert.

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