Michael Brendan Dougherty penned a provocative article in The Week about how various factions within the Church are interpreting reports coming from the Vatican about, for example, the status of divorced and remarried Catholics. I think Dougherty is an astute observer and gets a lot right. He has conservative instincts, but there are some major gaps, for instance, over the true meaning of the sensus fidelium. He also seems to think that it is possible for a pope to change Church teaching on matters pertaining to faith and morals. Of course, he cannot. Absent from Dougherty’s thinking and analysis is a simple trust in the Holy Spirit’s protection over the governance of the Church. For that, of course, you need faith.

That said, one passage in particular struck me for its accuracy.

Catholic parishes teach their catechumens that people must be absolved from their mortal sins in sacramental confession before presenting themselves for Holy Communion, yet priests serve communion to packed churches just hours after tiny lines for confession. They say one thing, but act another way. Catholics teach that the Holy Eucharist becomes the body and blood of their Lord, yet the ad-hoc nature of their revised liturgy, the disappearance of genuflection as a Catholic gesture (it’s now Tebowing!), and the behavior of priests and extraordinary ministers says that we are as unmoved by consecrated host as Pentecostal

Traditional Catholics have been appalled and even scandalized by this sad reality for a long time. Dougherty may not get the complete picture, but for calling out this glaring discrepancy, he deserves major credit.