At the heart of most disagreement in the church today is the issue of dissent.
May a Catholic in some situations and in good conscience reject or contradict an authoritative teaching? Or must internal and external agreement be given to all?
This dilemma is the invisible elephant in the living room and the 800-lb. gorilla in the closet. Many Catholics are now convinced that turning away from any official teaching is sinful, even heretical -- as if salvation depends solely on obedience.
The new archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput put it this way a few days ago: The church is “no place for cafeteria Catholics,” he said. “If they don’t believe what the church teaches, they aren’t really Catholics.”
This oft repeated assumption is the main reason why there’s been such a stir recently over the more than 300 Austrian priests who declared publicly they will defy the hierarchy by giving communion to divorced Catholics who remarry without church permission, that they will allow women to preach at Mass, and that they support the ordination of women and married men.