Losing My Religion
our CCD-Confraternity of Christian Doctrine--class
in Sister Anna Marie’s piano room in the
convent of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
I knew it well. The brown-and-white checkered
linoleum floor, the kind that was all
over schools in the 50s and 60s, the kind
often found now to contain asbestos. The
50s green vinyl couch with peg legs, the
kind you stuck to when your legs got sweaty.
The walls barren except, of course, for
the omnipresent 3-D crucifix. No sleek
modern symbols here. This was the body
of Christ, nailed in twisted, contorted
pain onto the cross. The room reeked with
the stench of Lysol or some other disinfectant
that novice nuns regularly swabbed all
over the convent.
But the most outstanding piece in Sister
Anna Marie’s room was the piano itself.
Plastic wrap-a.k.a. Cellophane-covered
the entire upright except for the keys.
That way Sister Anna Marie could protect
it from the grubby fingerprints of her
I took lessons
from Sister Anna Marie from the third
grade through the eighth, or 1968 through
1972. She looked ancient to me then, though
she was probably only in her 70s. She
was tall and lean. Bits of gray hair poked
through the white underbonnet of the habit
that framed her face. Vatican II (the
liberalizing document freeing Catholics
from the mysteries of Latin and black
cloth among others) had occurred in the
early 60s and nuns were free to doff the
head-to-toe black garb. But not Sister
Anna Marie. She was too old, I suppose,
to change her habits. So she remained
with the starched white material pinched
about her face.
Marie had a reputation as a dictatorial
terror, hovering over the metronome that
clicked, clicked, clicked away the nanoseconds
of children’s half hour lessons. If you
failed to tinkle the ivories to the beat,
her hands would clap in your face, her
foot would stomp on the linoleum until
your heartbeat, the metronome, the clapping,
and the chords melted into one monstrous
at kids on the asphalt playground and
warned girls what the public school boys
would do when we made that treacherous
move from Catholic school to the den of
secularism just one block away. Once,
she told me, she had taken off her shoe
and flung it at one of those public school
boys who had been “harassing a Catholic
girl” outside the convent.
“I hit him,” she said with glee. “He ran
she had done some girl a life-saving service,
been a pioneer of the women’s self-defense
movement. Perhaps she had hit someone’s
boyfriend on the head with the heel of
her big, black shoe.
a cluster of warts on her tongue. During
my lesson, she sucked on ice cubes she
kept in a glass near the piano. One day
the ice was down to three well-sucked
cubes, now oval in their melting state.
I guess I was having trouble keeping up
with the metronome that day or was otherwise
lackluster. She asked me what was wrong,
and I made the mistake of telling her
I had a sore throat.
she said handing me her glass, “suck on
I took the
plain glass in my hand, everything of
course being plain and utilitarian in
the convent, and looked long and hard
at those wilted slivers. Then I titled
the glass, slid those ice cubes into my
mouth and sucked on them, just as Sister
Anna Marie had ordered.
she took to the bench herself. She would
throw back the wide sleeves of her habit
to her elbows. I can’t remember exactly
what she had under those sleeves. Sometimes
I see tight white cloth covering her forearms
to her wrists. Other times I see strong
bare arms, almost man arms. Then she’d
play Beethoven or Mozart or Bach. She’d
play them the way they should be played,
sometimes with wild abandon, sometimes
with a haunting, quiet grace. She would
take over a piece the way someone who
is a brilliant musician would grab an
instrument from someone who has been torturing
it for hours to show you how it’s really
done. At those moments, I thought Sister
Anna Marie the finest pianist I had ever
Who is this woman? I would wonder. How
did she get here hiding beneath voluminous
black, with three-foot-long rosary beads
for a belt and a wedding ring that marked
her as a bride of Christ? How did she
go from promising pianist to coerced teacher
trapped in a smelly, cement-walled convent
pestered by children she obviously disdained?
the nuns, questioning their choice of
such a strange existence, I see now as
the first seeds of my doubt.
After an eight-year-stint in Catholic
school, I did make the risky move in 1973
to the public domain. Sister Anna Marie
offered to keep me on as a student. But
I declined, choosing instead to pursue
activities like the student newspaper
and cheerleading in my new world free
of mysterious black-clad apparitions gliding
and swishing through hallways, rulers
in hand, ready to crack wandering students
back into place.
why, at 14, I was now at CCD, the classes
for those no longer receiving religious
instruction on a daily basis. Sister Peter
Damien and Sister Luke presided. They
were the hip nuns, the post-Vatican II
nuns. Instead of the black habits they
wore plaid, itchy wool suits or jumpers.
They also took men’s names. This was somehow
supposed to be a sign of liberation. Previously,
all the nuns had women’s names: Sister
Mary Catherine, Sister Alma, Sister Mary
Ida, Sister Mary Faith, Sister Rose Gertrude,
Sister Paulette, Sister Cecelia. Today,
they get to keep their own names unless
they’re heathen names like Tiffany, Amber
We all sat there,
stuffed into Sister Anna Marie’s piano
room, and Sister Peter Damien, a small,
twentysomething nun with a pretty, delicate
face and short black hair cut somewhat
fashionably, at least for our small western
Pennsylvania steel-mill town, said:
you kids want to talk about today? Really,”
she encouraged, “you set the agenda. Ask
anything you want.”
Twenty teenagers, ranging in age from
about 13 to 16, stared at the brown-and-white
checkered linoleum floor, at the crucifix,
at the plastic-wrapped piano.
Sister Peter Damien coaxed. She was pretty
and thus a novelty for kids who were used
to the scarier, more mystical authority
of the black-clad ruler bearers. Her good
cheekbones and flawless complexion loosened
me up. I volunteered.
really a God?” I asked.
gasped. She swayed to the side, the motion
of someone receiving some incomprehensible
bad news. “We can’t talk about that! That’s
not a point of discussion. Of course there
is a God!”
the protestations, the cover-ups, the
silencing, doubt existed then as surely
as it does now. I have followed its long
fault line ever since I uttered those
words in a convent so many years ago.
Yet something about expressing doubt remains
a don’t-ask, don’t-tell notion, a deep,
dark secret better not discussed.
I gravitate toward it.
To steal a line from
the Catholic theology of probabilism:
ubi dubium, ibi libertas. Where there
is doubt, there is freedom.
voicing that question-Is there a God?-in
Sister Anna Marie’s piano room, I had
been a devout elementary school student.
“Let the little children come to me, and
do not hinder them, for the kingdom of
God belongs to such as these.” (Luke 18:16)
to Him I did. Like every second grader
in Sister Cecilia’s class, I raised my
arm eagerly every time we were asked:
“Who wants to be a nun or a priest when
they grow up?”
“I do, I
do!” we all shouted.
that year I announced proudly before the
class that when I grew up, I wanted to
be either “a nun or a cat burglar.”
I was such an obedient, unquestioning
soul in those days that when I was in
6th grade, 11 years old, I opened the
door to the confessional, knelt down on
the red pad of the kneeler, clasped my
hands together and said: “Bless me father,
for I have sinned. I have committed adultery.”
I had no idea what adultery was, but that
previous Sunday, Father had urged those
who had wandered to go to confession and
seek forgiveness for the sin of adultery.
And so I did.
Father now sat on the other side of the
confessional in silence, stunned I’m sure.
He finally responded: “In thought, word
really threw me. Not knowing what adultery
was, I could hardly tell if I did it in
thought, word or deed. But thought seemed
the safest bet.
I said after a moment.
could hear the relief in his voice. “Say
six Hail Marys and don’t do it again.”
true moment with the church was on New
Year’s Day, 1973, the day after my idol
Roberto Clemente-a famous baseball player
who played right field for the Pittsburgh
Pirates-died in a plane crash. I had witnessed
his 3,000th hit, his last hit, a few months
prior on September 30th. My older sister,
now a practicing Catholic, had wanted
to defect to Big Boy’s restaurant for
a bear-claw pastry instead of going to
church. Usually, I would have jumped at
the opportunity. But still in shock and
grief, I felt a powerful need to connect
with others and pray for our fallen hero.
I then entered that long, self-absorbed
span of teenage years. My friends and
I went to church begrudgingly, preferring
instead to sleep in. We begged, pleaded,
stonewalled, bargained, lied-anything-to
avoid the CCD classes that doubled the
amount of time we had to give up on a
attitude disappointed my father, I’m sure.
He loved the Catholic Church. He wanted
us to move to another house, a less attractive
house in every way, solely so we could
be within walking distance of our church-Blessed
Sacrament. He counted priests and nuns
among his best friends, and they sometimes
came over to our house for Sunday dinner.
After Vatican II liberalized church rules,
the parish priests selected him to be
one of the laymen who administered communion.
His hands shook violently when he dispensed
the host. My friends would ask me what
was wrong with him. On the one hand, I
felt mortified; on the other, protective.
Even then I knew that his shaking was
a sign of his belief in the awesomeness
of the task he conducted. He literally
trembled before what he believed to be
the presence of God.
I was astounded
at those moments by his vulnerability,
the depth of his faith, and the enormous
gap I saw growing between us.
died of a heart attack when I was 21.
Shortly before his death, he developed
a nervous habit of praying obsessively.
His lips moved constantly, his head bowing
up and down at the dinner table, in the
car, while watching TV. Those memories
haunt me. I see him in a corner, alone,
praying. I would like to go back and put
my arms around him. Though I have no idea
what I would say.
Sins of the Fathers
A year and
a half after my father’s death, I was
married in Heinz Chapel, on the campus
of the University of Pittsburgh. I had
asked the head priest of our hometown
parish-Father Walter Benz-to officiate
at the ceremony. He and my father had
been close. Father Benz was one of the
clergy who visited our house. A tall,
imposing figure, he looked more like George
C. Scott playing a corporate CEO than
any priest we had seen in our small town.
He drove new, expensive model cars. I
want to say Cadillac or Lincoln Town Car,
but perhaps it was only a large Buick.
The rumor mill declared him an only child
from a rich family. Either because of
his last name or the fancy cars he drove,
we imagined him the heir to the Mercedes-Benz
fortune. To us, the townsfolk, he seemed
an elegant, sophisticated presence amidst
a largely undereducated population heavy
on second and third generation Italians,
Poles, Irish, and Czechs.
over my father’s funeral and gave a moving
eulogy. But when I asked him a year later
to officiate at my wedding, he declined.
I was being married in a chapel, and he
didn’t do chapels. Church rules didn’t
prohibit a priest from performing a wedding
at a chapel, but he personally was against
I was disappointed
and somewhat miffed because my father
had donated many hours of service to the
church, but I accepted his decision. He
was a man of principle, I told myself,
and he couldn’t compromise.
1998, front-page newspaper stories in
the Pittsburgh Post Gazette zapped the
man-of-principle theory forever. The article
reported that Father Walter Benz “was
accused” and “allegedly admitted stealing
$1,000 a week for 20 years at two suburban
churches-Our Lady of the Most Blessed
Sacrament and St. Mary of the Assumption
Church.” According to subsequent articles,
he used the money “for gambling trips
with a church secretary. Authorities also
seized antiques, a gun collection and
other items-including a Buddha statue-from
the home the two shared.”
he was terminally ill, the police decided
story spread like wildfire throughout
the community anyway-classmates and neighbors
who hadn’t talked in years picked up the
phone to say, “Can you believe what Father
was largely personal. A friend told me
that her mother, who was dying of cancer,
had requested a favorite non-religious
song for her funeral. Father Benz denied
that request, saying it wasn’t the “protocol.”
I remembered layed-off steel-mill workers
and my mother and father with five children,
four in college, giving scarce dollars
to the Church only to have a significant
portion wind up in the pockets of Father
But I realized
that something else bothered me, something
larger than the human failings of greed
and hypocrisy, something more than the
juicy scandal of a liar revealed.
ways of Father Benz crystallized a concern
that had been growing and seething inside
me for years-that those who interpret
God and religion for the rest of us are
in fact human, and thus fallible; and
that those who interpret God and religion
for the rest of us have been limited until
very recently to those who are male.
these men? These priests? I wondered.
As a child, I had questioned the nuns,
those who were merely servants in the
house of the Church. As an adult, I began
to question the priests --those considered
the emissaries of God on earth.
In the years I went to church, 1959 to
1980, I heard many priests rail against
birth control and abortion, yet never
once in my estimated 1,100 attendances
at mass (we went on Fridays in Catholic
school as well as Sundays) did I hear
a priest condemn or even mention rape
or sexual abuse. I heard rants against
“whores” and “painted ladies in short
shorts,” but I never once heard a condemnation
of prostitution as an exploitation of
the destitute and disenfranchised. I heard
many a sermon about the role of women
in the home, but I never once heard a
priest mention domestic violence or wife
beating as it was called in those days.
In the 80s
and 90s, my anger spread from the source
of my experience-the Catholic Church-to
other religions that degrade and negate
women: religions, or sects of religions,
that today don’t allow women to initiate
a divorce, speak in church, seek custody
of children, get an education, file charges
against an abusive husband or even hang
on to their genitalia, to name a few.
The more I looked, the more examples of
female exclusion and marginalization,
big and small, I found.
my sister attended pre-Cana (wedding preparation)
classes in the early 80s. She and her
fiancé sat down at school desks with the
rest of the class. A man, part of the
lay couple teaching the course, stood
up and wrote in large capital letters
on the blackboard: KISS THE PENIS. After
the laughter died down, the couple went
on to promote this as an alternative to
intercourse when the stars weren’t right
for natural birth control. “Remember ladies,
kiss the penis,” was the rallying cry
for the day. Not only did he give my brother-in-law
a one-liner to employ for the rest of
his life, but he also failed to mention
the reciprocal act.
a one-way street.
my burgeoning feminist perspectives, however,
after my father died in 1981, I considered
returning to the Church he loved. “Inactive
Catholics Rediscover Your Faith” read
the banners flying from many a church.
to start at the beginning. I bought a
Bible. I thought if I’m going to rediscover
Christianity, I better read the instructions.
However, despite my best intentions, I
didn’t get far. Lot stopped me cold.
they had gone to bed, all the men from
every part of the city of Sodom-both young
and old-surrounded the house. They called
to Lot, “Where are the men who came to
you tonight? Bring them out to us so that
we can have sex with them.” Lot went outside
to meet them and shut the door behind
him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do
this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters
who have never slept with a man. Let me
bring them out to you, and you can do
what you like with them. But don’t do
anything to these men, for they have come
under the protection of my roof.” Genesis
on here? I thought. Lot, the supposed
good guy, the moral center in this story,
is offering up his daughters to be gang
raped? Further investigation revealed
this as one of those passages most likely
to be used against gays and lesbians.
The general evangelical Christian interpretation
is, as I understand it, that the “sin”
of homosexuality is deemed greater than
that of raping girls or giving up one’s
daughters to be raped.
on the Lot passage in the NIV (New International
Version) Study Bible, proffer another
theory for Lot’s behavior: “Ancient hospitality
obliged a host to protect his guests in
daughters’ lives run a distant third not
only to beliefs about the “sins of homosexuality”
but also to issues of hospitality?
the theology behind Lot, I came upon Judges
19:22-29, a story eerily familiar. This
time it’s a generic “old man” and not
Lot who is asked to deliver his male guest
to some lurking rapists. He offers his
virgin daughter and concubine instead:
I will bring them out
to you now, and you can use them and
do to them whatever you wish. But to
this man don’t do such a disgraceful
thing. But the men would not listen
to him. So the man took his concubine
and sent her outside to them, and they
raped her and abused her throughout
the night, and at dawn they let her
go. At daybreak, the woman went back
to the house where her master was staying,
fell down at the door and lay there
until daylight. When her master got
up in the morning and opened the door
of the house and stepped out to continue
on his way, there lay his concubine,
fallen in the doorway of the house,
with her hands on the threshold. He
said to her, ‘Get up; let’s go.’ But
there was no answer. Then the man put
her on his donkey and set out for home.
When he reached home, he took a knife
and cut up his concubine, limb by limb,
into twelve parts and sent them into
all the areas of Israel.
What could possibly be the moral of this
story? The NIV Study Bible is not helpful.
The footnotes on the passage say: “Dismembering
the concubine’s body and sending parts
to each of the 12 tribes was intended
to awaken Israel from its moral lethargy…”
It does go on to say that it is “ironic”
that such a moral wakeup call was issued
by someone so “selfish and insensitive.”
Desperately Seeking Something
I had both
my children baptized in the Catholic Church.
Neither my husband nor I “believed” at
that point, but two things made me do
it: family politics and fear. Eight years
in Catholic School had left its mark,
visions of limbo, purgatory and hell danced
in my head. Just in case I was wrong,
I wanted my children to have that insurance
policy. Truth be known, I even baptized
them myself in the powder room of our
split-level house when they were each
just three or four days old. You’re only
supposed to resort to that in emergencies,
but post-partum hormones and old time
religion are a potent mix.
as opposed to a mere priest, baptized
my eldest daughter. This impressed the
devout in the crowd. I was pleased as
well, and I liked him. I had decided to
keep my birth name when I married, and
we gave my daughter my last name as her
middle name. Some other family members
weren’t keen on either idea. It had caused
a lot of grumbling. But the monsignor
made a point of publicly saying how nice
it was to add the mother’s last name to
I was shocked in 1992 when I opened the
paper to discover that this same monsignor
had committed suicide after a charge of
sexual molestation had been leveled against
him. Child molesters are consistently
at the top of my mental “hit” list. Yet
I had liked him. He seemed like such a
decent person. Maybe in most of the moments
of his life he was. I don’t know. Nothing
made sense anymore. Even my instincts
I could no longer trust.
felt driven to give my children at least
an education in religious matters. I called
upon the Methodists, Episcopalians (whom
I’m told are similar to Catholics without
the Pope), Quakers and Buddhists (the
woman on the phone laughed at me when
I asked her if she could sum up Buddhism
in a nutshell). I ended up with the Unitarian
Universalists. This is the self-described
“church of the open mind.” Which means
it has no dogma. Which means it’s not
officially a religion, more of an ethical
my children a book: “What Is God?” It
said things like, “Maybe God is what you
feel when you stand on a very high mountain.”
“Maybe God is an eternal mystery.” “If
everything is God, Then I am God, You
are God, All of us are God!”
I actually agree with much of this. But
those thoughts are too abstract for children
to understand. For a while, my daughter
talked to trees thinking they were God.
another book, “Heart Talks with Mother
God,” by Regina Oliver and Bridget Meehan,
a pastoral associate who has written much
on the feminine divine. According to this
book, the Bible uses “feminine images”
to describe God’s love. For instance,
the authors present the following interpretations:
“God is like a nurturing mother feeding
her suckling infant at her breast (Isa
49:15; 66:11-13).” “God is like a mother
eagle who teaches her young eaglets to
fly (Deut 32:11-12).” “God is like a grandmother
who shares traditions and family secrets
with her grandchildren (Ps 128:5).”
God as both
man and woman? Why had I never heard this
I thought modern man had created God in
his image alone. A bit of megalomania
unrivaled in the universe.
Now, I felt inspired by these new revelations.
At my niece’s baptism, I stood near the
altar of the beautiful, historic St. Mary’s
Church in Alexandria, Virginia. I had
been asked to be the godmother but the
pastor nixed me (no Unitarians, he said).
I stood before a statue of Mary, one of
my favorite representations of her. She
is alone, which is rare, usually she is
cradling Jesus. She stands with her arms
spread out, her palms upturned. She is
standing on top of the world.
God could be represented as both mother
and father, I could get into this.
God is not. Maybe some day.
the Roman Catholic bishops of the United
States approved for liturgical use the
New Revised Standard Version of the Bible,
which uses language that “includes” women
by rejecting the use of masculine-gender
nouns such as “man,” when used in a generic
sense to mean everybody. But the Pope
rejected it. The bishops appealed the
decision and the case is pending.
In 1992, the Church of England voted to
allow the ordination of women as priests.
The Episcopalians followed suit in 1997.
Also that year, the Catholic Theological
Society of America unanimously resolved
that the Vatican was not infallible in
its ruling excluding women as priests
and called for further study of the subject.
Due to a shortage of priests and growing
pressure from progressive segments in
the church, many believe that in several
generations women will be ordained as
But by that point, I’ll be dead. So to
my list of vices-doubter, rebel, traitor-I
add another: impatient.
kept for many years a Catholic Elementary
School primer, which I loved. It had a
passage that said, to the best of my recollection:
“What is electricity? No one knows. God
made electricity. God is a mystery.”
If asked today to give a quick scientific
summary of electricity, I couldn’t. So
I can see the appeal of returning to the
mystery: I don’t know. God made electricity.
being out there without a dogma to hang
have pinned in my purse a St. Christopher's
Medal; it says, "I am a Catholic,
in case of accident notify a priest."
I still have my father's worn wooden rosary
beads, the lacy Spanich silver rosary
beads I received for my Confirmation,
my Limoges Communion dish given to me
by my godmother, my scapular, the religious
cards marking the deaths of my closest
relatives, a 2" x 3" plastic
folder pocketbook with the blessing of
St. Francis, and a 2-inch silver cross
pendant with a small crystal circle in
the center, which when you peer inside
reveals The Lord'd Prayer in the tiniest
these objects. They comfort me. But I
can’t fool myself. They aren’t holy relics
anymore, but the souvenirs of my childhood.
I no longer
have the faith of my father. But does
that mean I no longer have faith?
mystical sense of the sublime I used to
get from light streaming in through the
stained-glass windows of a cathedral,
I now get from light streaming in through
the bare branches of trees in the woods.
When I look
at my daughters--as babies sleeping in
my arms, as children rolling in the leaves,
as teenagers dressing for the dance--I
get a glimpse into that abstract slogan,
God is love.
When I see
an ambulance parked outside the school--lights
flashing, paramedics running with a stretcher--and
I know my daughter is one of a handful
of students inside practicing gymnastic
stunts, I am instantly snared in that
age-old web of fear and God.
Who wouldn’t I strike a bargain with at
such a moment?
for me, the oceans of doubt and faith
will forever churn together. But that’s
I have always
loved islands. I love to stand on the
edge of the water and imagine myself adrift
in a big, blue sea. At those moments,
I don’t feel that nihilistic, existential
terror of “I am but a speck in the universe”
and “food for the worms.” I feel an excitement,
an all-encompassing almost electrical
connection. And I am open to that electricity,
to that mystery, which I am told is God.
--Associated Press, “Priest, accused of
taking church collections, dies,” Houston
Chronicle, Sept. 6, 1998.
--Atheist Polls, American Atheists Inc.,
--Bishop, George, “What Americans Really
Believe and Why Faith Isn’t As Universal
As They Think,” Free Inquiry Magazine,
Volume 19, Number 3.
--Bombardieri, Marcella, “Many Young Adult
Catholics Straying, National Study Finds,”
Boston Globe, November 9, 1999.
--Boritzer, Etan. What Is God? Willowdale,
Ontario, Canada: Firefly Books Ltd., 1990.
--Burns, Gene. The Frontiers of Catholicism:
The politics of Ideology in a Liberal
World. Berkeley, CA: University of California
--Catholic Theological Society of America,
“Tradition and the Ordination of Women:
--Clifford, S.J., Richard J., “The Bishops,
the Bible and Liturgical Language,” America,
May 27, 1995.
--Ehmann, Christa, “The Age Factor in
Religious Attitudes and Behavior,”http://www.gallup.com
The Gallup Organization, July 14, 1999.
--Ferraro, Barbara; Hussey, Patricia,
with Jane O’Reilly. No Turning Back: Two
Nuns’ Battle with the Vatican over Women’s
Right to Choose. New York: Poseidon Press.
--Foy, Felician, and Rose Avato, editors.
1998 Catholic Almanac. Huntington, IN:
Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division,
--Hastings, Selina, stories retold by.
The Children’s Illustrated Bible. New
York: Dorling Kindersley, 1994.
--Loose, Cindy. “2nd Man Accuses Monsignor,”
Washington Post, September 12, 1992.
--McClory, Robert, “Reality Confirms forecast
of priest shortage,” National Catholic
Reporter, July 17, 1998.
--McNamara, Jo Ann Kay. Sisters in Arms:
Catholic Nuns Through Two Millennia. Cambridge,
MA: Harvard University Press, 1996.
--Meehan, Bridget Mary, “Feminine Images
of God,” Washington Post, July 14, 1993.
--Meehan, Bridget Mary and Regina Madonna
Oliver. Heart Talks with Mother God. Collegeville,
MN: The Liturgical Press, 1995.
--Newsom, Carol and Sharon Ringe, editors.
The Woman’s Bible Commentary. Louisville,
KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1992.
--The NIV (New International Version)
Study Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: The Zondervan
(Ordination of Women) 1992, A Measure
passed by the General Synod of the Church
of England, www.ely.anglican.org
--Rodgers-Melnick, Ann, “From shepherd
to suspect: Rev. Walter Benz,” Post-Gazette,
August 30, 1998.
--Rough Gil, “Homosexuality: A Biblical
--Spolar, Christine, “Aftermath of a Priest’s
Suicide: Anguish and an Accusation of
Abuse,” Washington Post, August 30, 1992.
--Stanton, Elizabeth Cady. The Woman’s
Bible. Boston, MA: Northeastern University
--Wall Street Journal, May 11, 1999.
--Wrenn, Msgr. Michael J. and Kenneth
Whitehead, “The Inclusive-language Battle