From ................ National Catholic Reporter

January 17, 1997

page 25

- Reflecting on the current decline in vocations (NCR, Dec. 13), Fr Drinan poses a question that lays bare one of the greatest problems facing Catholicism: " ... did the country become so pervasively secular that religious institutions and especially vocations to the priesthood came to be perceived as almost irrelevant ?"

The problem, of course is "dualism," defined by Elizabeth Dreyer as that which "sees the church as a place of goodness and grace, and the world as a place of evil and sin." She goes on to say that "dualism is one obvious aspect of our spiritual inheritance that no longer still works for us." By 'us," she must be referring to the people of God, for it is quite obvious that dualism still works like a charm for the hierarchy.

Born of pride and arrogance, dualism has been indispensable in two particular areas. By creating artificial barriers between the "religious" and the "laity," it serves to elevate the one and denigrate the other, thereby perpetuating its most valued tradition the royal hierarchy.

Secondly, by denouncing the world as "evil" and the church as "good," dualists provide themselves with a most convenient cop-out, allowing them to attach any imperfections that might exist within the church to their favorite scapegoat, the "secular world."

With this single dastardly doctrine, then, the hierarchy is left free to assume all of the power and none of the responsibility, thereby eliminating the necessity to ever acknowledge or confront our problems with any honesty, integrity, or compassion.

And they wonder why there are so few vocations!

POLLY GOLDBERG ............ West Lafayette, Ind.