Colleagues, it is time for us to take a stand. It has come to our attention that some of our members have come under attack from a group of right-wing Catholics who have no academic credentials: not a theological degree among them. As far as we can tell, none of them are even college graduates. They are all white (of course) and all male (of course). Some of them have produced texts that have been used against our fellow Catholic academics, often resulting in cries of heresy being raised by people who share their narrow, blinkered view of Catholicism. This is intolerable in the twenty-first century for brilliant scholars to be held to account by ignorant yahoos. We therefore ask you to append your names to the attached open letter and e-mail it back to us for future publication. United, we can prevail over this assault of anti-intellectualism masquerading as Catholicism!
We, the undersigned, are distressed by the efforts of a group of academically unqualified men who have sought to appoint themselves as judges of Catholic scholars, graduates of some of the most distinguished Catholic institutions of higher learning in our land. We reject this effort to reduce Catholicism to a body of rules, an effort motivated by fear and a rejection of both intellectual inquiry and the spirit of mercy that is the hallmark of Catholicism as stated by Pope Francis. We refuse to cede Catholicism to these men and their misguided followers. We therefore urge all Catholics to reject these men: Simon (who is called Peter), his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; and Simon the Zealot. There is also a Saul who goes under the alias of Paul. Too many Catholics read what these men have written, and, ignorant of the latest Catholic scholarship, attack Catholics who have given their lives to interpreting Catholicism for modern times. These attacks must stop or Catholicism will be reduced to a fundamentalism that Pope Francis has frequently warned about.