Why You Can Disagree and Remain a Faithful Catholic

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Why You Can Disagree and Remain a Faithful Catholic

This bestseller tackles controversial issues in the Church and considers how conscience and infallibility relate to a devoted practice of faith. Phillip S. Kaufman argues for the validity of discussion and dissent on issues of great importance to Christianity and the world.

Philip S. Kaufman approaches the divisive questions that have challenged the Church and brings research and wisdom to the debate that has torn many away from Catholicism. Kaufman, a Benedictine monk for more than 50 years, examines birth control, abortion, divorce and remarriage, and democracy in the Church and supplements the official teachings with a profound understanding of history from which they emerge.

Full of references that illuminate the development of what seems to be immovable dogma, Kaufman presents a reasoned perspective on the relationship between our duty to our personal moral beliefs and the infallible and non-infallible teachings of the Church.

Reviews and endorsements

“Philip Kaufman makes a convincing case for conscientious dissent from official teaching—a happy combination of in-depth research and reasoning which insists on the right of the People of God to know.”
Edward S. Skillin, Commonweal

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“Philip S. Kaufman’s Why You Can Disagree and Remain a Faithful Catholic is an education in discrimination. With abundant historical examples he shows that not everything that is taught is infallibly taught. There are degrees of teaching, nuances. A Roman Catholic is definitively committed only to that to which the Church has definitively committed herself. The ‘hierarchy of truths’ of which the Second Vatican Council speaks has always to be kept in mind. Dom Philip focuses on three questions: the ban on birth-control, which he says is ‘a non-received’ teaching; the possibility of looking again at divorce and remarriage in the light of the practice of the Orthodox Churches; the need for bishops to be elected according to the practice of the first millennium. Although most Catholic bishops are today appointed by the Pope, this is a very modern development. The classic statement is that of Pope Leo the Great in the fifth century: ‘He who governs all should be elected by all.’ ”
Peter Hebblethwaite, London Times Literary Supplement

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"Richard A. McCormick, S.J., introduces this little book by a Benedictine who evidently shares the problem many Catholics have today: how to be true to the church when it creates crises in faith . . . Central doctrines are not at stake . . . There is no effort here to promote individualist dissidence, or arrogant, narcissistic ‘going of one’s own way.’ This is for people of deep faith and alert conscience who find good reasons to disagree with the church; Kaufman also sees good reasons for them to stay in it.”
The Christian Century

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“I can hardly think of a book more needed today. It is well-researched, to the point, clear, up-to-date, and helpful for the many Catholics today who are confused, on the edge, marginal, or suffering . . . I just wish that there were some way of getting it to every Catholic. In our pastoral work today, your book is a great help.”
Father Henry Fehren, U.S. Catholic

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"An important book for Catholics who take their faith seriously."
Cross Currents


“Fr. Kaufman’s book is a carefully reasoned and balanced presentation
of a subtle and complex argument. His position on controversial issues in the church is one with which many laity already agree completely and which the clergy and the hierarchy cannot afford to ignore. The book demands careful and serious reading.”
Andrew Greeley

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“Father Philip Kaufman is no disloyal rabble-rouser. He speaks as one would expect of a Benedictine monk—peacefully and serenely, meanwhile showing his deep pastoral concern for so many Catholics who have either left the Church or are finding it hard to remain. His concerns are for those ‘bruised reeds and smouldering wicks’ among Catholics, who are confused when some bishops and priests lump all Catholic teaching together as if everything they teach is infallible and unchangeable . . . Catholics disheartened when discussion of non-infallible and changing issues is closed off.”
Walter Principe, Toronto School of Theology

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“This is a plea for Catholics to use their conscience . . . The book is not about ‘doing your own thing,’ but about ‘the elusiveness of infallible teaching.’ It is about the ‘right to know moral options, not the “right” to reject moral teachings.’ I’m convinced that he has made a most successful presentation.”
Richard Weber, Spirituality Today

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"This well-written and honest book will be a great help to many Catholics."
James and Evelyn Eaton Whitehead

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“It is excellent: well-written, interesting, and sound. I hope it enjoys a wide distribution.”
John M. Huels, O.S.M., associate professor of canon law, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago

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9780824514723
Paperback / 240 pages
Dimensions: 6 x 9
CROSSROAD, 1995