Religion: A New Model from Detroit

As a young coadjutor bishop in Pittsburgh, Archbishop John F. Dearden of Detroit earned the nickname "Iron John" for his firm administrative style. Last week Iron John Dearden, one of four new American cardinals chosen by the Pope, proved that he is a man of much more flexible steel. He approved a long list of recommendations, put forward by a lay-dominated synod, that makes Detroit a model of democratically guided reform in the post-Vatican II church.

The changes range from diocesan government to such unusual subjects as the responsibility of individual Catholics to form their own attitudes on the morality of war....