A reader writes:
There is an American Catholic tradition that for decades has stood athwart dumb churchly authoritarianism, yelling "stop, and go forward!" The shorthand term for this tradition is "Commonweal Catholicism", and I was raised in it.
My parents were devout enough to ensure that the family attended mass every Sunday, and had meatless Fridays. They made sure that the kids attended the parish schools, and grew into all of the sacraments in mandated order. They took the Diocesan newspaper, but also subscribed to Commonweal, The Catholic Worker, and America.
When my father got a job teaching at NYU, we lived in Montclair, New Jersey, and went to church and school in the parish that Stephen Colbert now attends.
It gave my parents great pleasure to meet the father of my classmate John Skillin, since the father edited Commonweal. You might say that Ed Skillin WAS the magazine. He arrived a decade after its 1924 founding, and served as assistant editor, editor, publisher, part-owner, and I'm not sure what other capacities, until his death in 2000.
Commonweal Catholicism is a great tradition, and it's been on the 'right' side of most social and political issues for as long as I can remember. And it drives the current crop of John-Paul retrogrades nuts, because it beats with an original American pulse, and is deaf to authoritarian drums. So if you take a slice in history and compare Commonweal's position and the Bishops' position, you'll find that the average modern American Catholic is way closer to what the Commonweal said than what the Bishops said, way back then. Except for that (seems all too brief) period, in the afterglow of Vatican II.
Do you know that the church filed an Amicus brief in Loving v. Virginia? In support of the Lovings.