Roman Catholics: In the Cellar of Broken Heads

In Rome last week, Pope Paul VI opened a month-long synod of the Catholic bishops with a clear warning to walk, not run, toward further reform. "Immense dangers" confront Catholicism, he said, "insidious dangers, which even from within the church find utterance in the work of teachers and writers." After that keynote, following a concelebrated Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, the foregathered prelates knew that their role in the sessions ahead would at best be advisory and consultative.

The papal injunction was a gloomy beginning to a meeting that many Catholics regard...

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