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April 26th, 2005
White Smoke
Interview: James Carroll

April 26, 2005: Bestselling author and National Book Award winner James Carroll discusses the Catholic Church with anchor Bill Moyers.

BILL MOYERS: Thank you very much, James Carroll, for joining us on WIDE ANGLE. Give me your sense of what the figure of the pope means to Catholics around the world.

JAMES CARROLL: We love the pope. When I was a child, there was on our table a magazine called The Pope Speaks. A portrait of the pope on the wall of the house. Catholics everywhere understand the unity of the Church to be tied up with this figure. I love the pope, Bill, because he’s a figure of the humanness of the Church, going right back to Saint Peter who’s remembered as the first pope. What was great about Peter wasn’t his infallibility, it was the fact that he kept getting it wrong. And that was the tension between him and Jesus. Every pope since Peter has been a human being first and foremost. And the humanness of the Church is the wonder of it, in my view. So we Catholics see the pope as a kind of reflection of who we are.

BILL MOYERS: But since there are so many Catholics, one billion and more, with so many different expectations and experiences and hopes and ideals — can any one pope unify Catholics around the world?

JAMES CARROLL: No, that’s the other thing that’s great about the pope, is that the pope is a person who appears in succession down through the centuries. And that succession touches all aspects of Catholic life. So in one period you have a tyrannical pope. In another period, you have a benevolent, gentle pope. You have a pope who’s a dictator. You have a pope who’s checked by the power of the bishops. It’s the whole arc of the papacy that we love. And this past week, what I think the world has seen is the way in which the Vatican, the papacy itself, breaks through the boundaries of time. That’s why I think so many people who are outside the Catholic Church still responded to this event. It’s a celebration of continuity across centuries. And we live in a sound bite age where we’re skeptical of continuity. I think we’re hungry for it. And Roman Catholicism is continuous, and that’s one of the things about it that’s great.

BILL MOYERS: Yet you can have John XXIII unleash these incredible energies for reform, for liberalization of the Vatican. And then you can have a soon-to-be successor — John Paul — come along and put the brakes on many of those reforms. How do you explain — is that the influence of personality? Is that the politics of the institution? What is it?

JAMES CARROLL: Well, don’t forget that popes are figureheads of a community of people. John XXIII established the reform of the Church with the Second Vatican Council in response to experiences the whole Catholic people had been having. So for example, he himself identified the arrival of women demanding their rights, as he put it, in the personal sphere and the public sphere, as a sign of the times to which he was responding.

Popes, even though there’s this sense we have that popes are the last command rulers, the last dictators, if you will, actually the church is the people most powerfully. And that’s at play today. Pope Benedict arrives with a reputation for having his conservative agenda. But the first thing he has to confront is the fact that already the Catholic people have on the table ideas, movements, impulses, demands that are not going away just because they don’t measure up to a particular pope’s agenda.

So there’s, in other words, a tension, a relationship. A back and forth between the leadership and the people. In our day, so much emphasis has been given to the leadership — I would say too much — that it’s easily forgotten that the Church is first, as the Second Vatican Council called it, the people of God. And I think you’ll see that. You’ll see the people exerting pressure even on this very conservative new pope we have.

BILL MOYERS: You’ve often talked of the church as a conversation.

JAMES CARROLL: Yes.

BILL MOYERS: But when the leaders or powers that be don’t listen, what do you do?

JAMES CARROLL: Well, we’ve had that experience.

BILL MOYERS: I know you have.

JAMES CARROLL: There have been popes who haven’t listened. There’ve been ways in which John Paul II, for all his greatness, didn’t listen. Didn’t listen to the experience of women. Didn’t listen to the experience of gay people. Didn’t listen even to the experience of young people who’d been abused by priests.

What you do in that situation is you keep talking and in some cases you keep demanding. And that’s happening. Women are not going to go away. Women are not going to lose their voice in the Catholic Church just because certain people in the hierarchy wish they would be silent. It’s not going to happen. The Catholic Church is not going to be the only institution in the world immune from the pressures of change brought about by feminism.

Again, John XXIII recognized what we call feminism as a sign of hope. And that’s true across a number of these issues. The clerical culture of Roman Catholicism will not stand up to what was revealed by the terrible scandal of the abuse of children. And remember that that was a two-part scandal. A small minority of priests abusing children; a large minority of bishops, including in the Vatican, protecting the priests instead of children. The Catholic people are living in the truth of that scandal. That’s a phrase from Vaclav Havel. And as with the Soviet Union, once the people begin to live in the truth, change must follow.

BILL MOYERS: But this pope, while he was cardinal, had a record of cracking down on dissenters. Of threatening excommunication. Of silencing them. Of driving them from the seminaries, from the classrooms. How can you have a dialogue, how can you have dissent, how can you even hold an institution accountable when the people in charge do not want to hear voices to the contrary?

JAMES CARROLL: Well, again, the voices don’t fall silent just because they’re told to. Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, was a key part of the determination to get Catholics to stop even talking about the ordination of women. Well, for all of their efforts, Catholics are still talking about it. It’s one of the issues that’s been talked about this week.

BILL MOYERS: But many of the priests, or some of the teachers who spoke up in that regard, have been exiled, in effect?

JAMES CARROLL: It’s true. And one of the scandals of today’s Roman Catholicism are the great people who’ve been condemned to a kind of internal exile. Some of our most precious theologians. Some of the most important thinkers among us, men and women both, have been pushed to the edge of the official Church. But they still — I promise you — they still live vividly in the experience of the broader Church. Hans KŸng, a very important example.

BILL MOYERS: The German theologian?

JAMES CARROLL: A Swiss theologian who was one of the most important prophets of the Vatican II Council. Who had his Catholic teaching credentials removed — in large part, I think, by Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict. But Hans KŸng has not been silent. Hans KŸng is still a vivid part of the Catholic experience. And the list goes on. The truth is, Bill, that the Catholic Church is a long, traditional argument with itself. It goes back to St. Thomas Aquinas arguing with St. Bonaventure. It even goes back to St. Peter arguing with St. James. If there’s something magnificent about this tradition — I believe there is — it is that that’s the meaning of Catholicity after all. It includes within itself its own principles of self-criticism.

And that’s true today. And it’s been true age in and age out through the past. The Catholic community is a diverse, pluralistic, lively community of multiple points of view. Even on the great questions. And that’s true since the New Testament, forward.

BILL MOYERS: If this debate on dogma and doctrine were merely or exclusively an internal dialogue between all of you Catholics who disagree, it would be one thing. But it has impact on those of us who are not Catholic, right?

JAMES CARROLL: Indeed it does. Let’s take, for example, the relationship of the United States of America to Roman Catholicism. In the 19th century, the Catholic Church, led by the reactionary Pope Pius IX, set its face against what we call modernism — the principles of democracy, effectively. Through the 20th century, the experience of Catholics in America first impacted powerfully on the Catholic Church. So primacy of conscience, separation of church and state, pluralism, respect for people who believe differently — these things that we take for granted in America, although some of them may be at risk in America in a new way, these things that we take for granted in America were brought into the Catholic experience. That’s one way of reading the history of the Second Vatican Council. A triumph of Americanism, even though Americanism had been condemned as a heresy at the very beginning of the 20th century.

Today, religion in America is also at a point of crisis. That the culture war, so-called, that’s going on in the United States of America has this profound religious aspect. Roman Catholicism has a role to play in that, as it has to play in the crisis across the world. Religious intolerance as a source of violence. Let me just sum it up by saying the world is desperately in need of a reformed, rational Roman Catholic Church. Not a fundamentalist, not a triumphalist. Not a church that contributes to the tradition of contempt for the other. That’s why this argument the Church has with itself is so important, even for the broader world.

BILL MOYERS: Just this morning on National Public Radio, in one of their lead pieces I heard the pastor of a large evangelical church in this country say, with approval, and I’m looking at the quote, I wrote it down, that, “The new pope will be an important force in moving American politics further to the right.” What do you make of that?

JAMES CARROLL: It may be true. It’s important not to prejudge Pope Benedict. There are certain things in his history as Cardinal Ratzinger that are cause for concern. His own movement of the Roman Catholic Church to the right. With trying to transcend the traditional right/left stereotyping, it’s important to understand that as cardinal, this pope has reiterated some of the most negative parts of our tradition. But he’s now the pope of the Roman Catholic Church. And the Roman Catholic Church is centrally committed to the idea that theology, faith is rational. Which means there’s always room within it for doubt. That’s part of the rational experience. There’s always room within it for change. And there’s always room within it for respect for those who differ with you.

The argument that is going on in the United States of America is an argument against doubt. And it’s an argument against those who differ. And it’s even an argument against those who would change. I, as a Catholic, recognize in my tradition a powerful way of standing against that movement, against that trend in our country.

BILL MOYERS: By speaking out? By writing?

JAMES CARROLL: Well, yes. But also by claiming my Catholic history. The claiming to be part of the debate in the United States of America as we look to really reiterate the great traditions of our society. The freedom of conscience, primarily. Always protected by a separation of church and state. The reason that’s precious to us is because we know that once the state favors any religious impulse, the conscience of those who are not part of that impulse is inevitably oppressed. So separation of church and state. A regard for those who disagree and who believe differently or who don’t believe at all. Not just to treat them respectfully as individuals — I mean, that should go without saying — but to treat their movements, their organizations, their faith traditions as worthy of equal respect to our own.

So you get into this basic question of what’s the truth and who owns it. And one of the ways to talk about this right/left divide is to think about the truth. And those who say there’s only one truth and we possess it and all others are somehow inferior — you see that on the right of Protestant traditions and you see it on the right of Catholic traditions. And that must be balanced by those who understand that the truth is elusive. We’re all on the way to it. And no one of us owns it completely.

BILL MOYERS: This pope, though, as cardinal really exalted that view, advanced that view that-

JAMES CARROLL: He did, yes.

BILL MOYERS: -that the Church is the only truth. And he cracked down on one of the priests in the film who had been, in effect, silenced by the pope because he spoke up for more dialogue with Buddhists.

JAMES CARROLL: Right. One of the things we’ll learn now is what Pope Benedict means by this phrase, ‘dictatorship of relativism.’

BILL MOYERS: What do you make of it?

JAMES CARROLL: Well, I confess it’s a bit of a mystery to me. If what we’re really saying is that all other religions are inferior to Roman Catholicism, and that’s what relativism is, I would say that flies in the face of the powerful reform movement that’s taken place in the Roman Catholic Church. We used to say, “No salvation outside the Church.” It was an American, by the way, who repudiated that with power. Cardinal Cushing, who excommunicated a priest named Feeney for preaching that. It’s not an accident that that was an American.

But if by relativism Pope Benedict means the idea that we have no notion of an absolute truth — while there’s something to be listened to in what he’s saying there — I myself would say with St. Thomas Aquinas, that there is an absolute truth, that we human beings are on the way toward it. We don’t possess it. Thomas Aquinas said we perceive the absolute truth, but we perceive it relatively. So there’s an in-built relativism to the human experience. But I think we’re all looking for those powerful ways of speaking about the absolute in a way that we can be clear that there are some things that we’re headed for that are true no matter what.

BILL MOYERS: As we saw in the film, there were a lot of people in the square who are conservative. They seem — and some of them were young — to welcome the pope’s exultation of traditional doctrine as a wall against the chaos of the world. I mean, you yourself understand the value of tradition as anchoring people in something when the world around them is shifting.

JAMES CARROLL: Absolutely. And that’s why we value tradition. That’s why I’m a Catholic still.

BILL MOYERS: I was going to ask you — why are you still a Catholic?

JAMES CARROLL: Well, because this is my home. But this is also my way of looking at the world. It’s my way of looking at human experience. And the genius, for me, of Catholicism, Christianity, the Biblical tradition generally, is that this is a tradition that includes, as I say, its principles of its own self-criticism. And it requires change.

It’s mythical, it’s an illusion to think we can live on the earth without changing. And because change is so upsetting to us and so threatening to us, it’s understandable why we’re tempted to wish away change. And so we sometimes flock to someone who promises that we don’t ever have to change a thought in our heads.

BILL MOYERS: An unchanging creed becomes a life raft?

JAMES CARROLL: Indeed it is. And if you’re in a storm tossed sea, you need a life raft. And certainly to live in the world in this century feels like a storm tossed sea at times. The challenge — and I believe that this is what the real courage to which our tradition calls us means — the challenge is to live in the storm tossed sea, if you will, swimming. Human beings have the ability to swim in the sea. And I’d say that that’s true, even when it’s as tossed as it is now. I don’t want to get lost in the metaphor. But what I’m saying here is to change is to be human. And what we want is a faith that supports us in that. Not that convinces us that it’s not necessary.

BILL MOYERS: What do you think the new pope would make of the CNN/USA Today Gallup poll a few days ago in which three quarters of American Catholics say they’re more likely to follow their own conscience on, quote, “difficult moral questions,” rather than the teachings of Pope Benedict?

JAMES CARROLL: Well, Pope Benedict probably would say that poll suggests one of the things that’s wrong with American Catholicism. But I would say the opposite. American Catholicism has been a source for the Catholic Church as a whole of the discovery of the primacy of conscience. Every human being owes ultimate allegiance to his or her conscience. We also owe responsibly. We owe to the broader community the process of testing our conscience against what the broader community says. But finally, there can be no doubt that we have to do as our inner voice tells us. Now that — that’s a tradition that’s powerfully out of the Protestant, American culture.

BILL MOYERS: Yes. The priesthood of the believer is what I was taught growing up.

JAMES CARROLL: Yes, it’s true.

BILL MOYERS: That each of us has our own conscience that we honor, no matter what authority says.

JAMES CARROLL: It’s true. And it’s a principle that was embraced by the Second Vatican Council in its doctrine — its document on the dignity of the human person.

BILL MOYERS: But history can be taken back, and that’s what we’re seeing happening. Isn’t it?

JAMES CARROLL: Well, I think what you’re seeing is the Church in an argument with itself on this question. And that’s, again, why I think the American experience is so important here. Especially the experience of American women. So many of these issues come down to the question of attitude toward women. Whether you’re talking about priestly celibacy, birth control, abortion, the ordination of women, what you find — an inch behind each one of those questions — is a denigration of the human person who is female. And that’s why all of those questions, they’re not matters of mere discipline. That’s why all of those questions go to the core of what this tradition is, and why, in this area, this tradition must change. It must change, I would say, or it will die.

BILL MOYERS: But can it?

JAMES CARROLL: This is the crucial question ahead of us.

BILL MOYERS: But can it change when the Church is devoted — and I ask this as a journalist — can it change when the Church hierarchy is devoted to a fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible, when the original apostles were all male and it carries that tradition right on to today? To the point at which on the first dinner of his first day of his election, the new pope and the cardinals were served a meal by twenty nuns who had prepared it.

JAMES CARROLL: Yes. Well, it won’t change easily. And it won’t change from the levers pulled by the people who are in charge of the Church today, that’s for sure.

But the experience of the Catholic people is not going to go away on this, Bill. And the experience of Catholic women is not going to go away on this either. I would go so far as to say that the Church’s ability to deal more directly with the demand of women for equality, full and complete equality in the Church, is the great moral question facing the Church today. And everything else is secondary to it. And all of those issues around it will be engaged, will be brought to a new kind of significance, depending on how the question of justice for women is addressed.

BILL MOYERS: I’ve often said — as a journalist, as a layman, a Protestant layman — that if the Catholic Church welcomed the service of married men, and ordained women, it would be an unstoppable force in the world.

JAMES CARROLL: Well, the Catholic Church has a tradition of seeking and demanding justice that is crucial now. One of the great turns in the Church’s story is its repudiation, firm and almost complete, of violence, for example. And in the 21st century, that’s hugely important.

BILL MOYERS: And most people forget the late pope, and I assume this cardinal because he was part of that hierarchy, opposed the war in Iraq.

JAMES CARROLL: The Vatican has opposed every instance of Americans dispatching bombers and troops abroad since 1989 when it condemned the invasion of Panama. And there have been six or seven acts of war engaged in by the United States since then, and the Vatican’s been opposed to all of them. And there’s no reason to think that Pope Benedict will change that tradition. In fact, he took the name Benedict, harkening back to a pope who powerfully spoke out against World War I.

BILL MOYERS: One prominent conservative Catholic in this country, Michael Novak, says the new pope is going to declare, “If you say you’re a Catholic, be a Catholic.” How do you interpret that?

JAMES CARROLL: Well, perhaps differently than Mr. Novak would.

BILL MOYERS: (LAUGH) I’m sure.

JAMES CARROLL: But I would go right back to the New Testament. There are four gospels, not one, each with a slant. The New Testament community understood the necessity of diversity. And that’s why, in the New Testament, you have a ferocious argument — James, Paul, Peter, each taking a slightly or significantly different position on large questions. This is the tradition of the Church.

Pope John Paul II reiterated as powerfully as he could a very narrow notion of Catholic theology, and it did not take. Catholic theology is vital, alive, full of growth, full of ferment today. Pope Benedict is going to have to engage with a moral framework and a theological renewal that’s already at work in this Church. And just wishing it away is not going to change that.

BILL MOYERS: But what do you say to the people who are listening in who continue to struggle with this question? How can the Church self-correct, as you want it to, if it stifles dissent? If it holds itself incapable of mistakes in matters of faith and morals? If it drives out priests, some of whom you have mentioned, who question dogma? It’s not a democracy. And a democracy’s genius is that it has this self-correcting faculty. But can an institution that is so beholden to infallible doctrine really be expected to change course?

JAMES CARROLL: Well, I think the emphasis on infallibility is mistaken. It’s a myth. There’s a way in which it doesn’t have traction for Catholic people. The truth is, Bill, the Catholic Church has self-corrected in very important and powerful ways. The most obvious one is in its uprooting of its own traditions of contempt for the Jewish people. We saw that powerfully under John Paul II, and before him under John XXIII.

BILL MOYERS: As your book, Constantine’s Sword, points out, the Church was at the very center of the anti-Semitism that was spread across the-

JAMES CARROLL: It’s true. And anti-Semitism is a broad Christian tradition–

BILL MOYERS: Absolutely. Absolutely.

JAMES CARROLL: And the Roman Catholic Church has made major strides in uprooting the sources of anti-Semitism from its own tradition. If it can begin to correct itself on this very core tradition of contempt, there’s no reason not to see that it’s capable of correcting itself in other large ways.

Let me just give you one small example. Today the Catholic Church honors the permanence of the covenant God has made with Israel as a full and permanent relationship between the Jewish people and God. That is a principle of pluralistic respect for another religion that is the opening through which a new pluralistic respect for other religions can happen in the church.

So people who know the history of this church, who understand that there’s more to it than the ferocious and powerfully asserted authority of a 19th, 20th century Vatican, pope-centered Catholicism, understand that that’s a fairly new phenomenon. People who know the longer history, when popes had to be in dialogue with councils and with the broad traditions of people electing their own bishops and regional churches having autonomy from the center — we understand that the possibilities of change even under a conservative pope are still lively. And I would say inevitable.

BILL MOYERS: The faithful in the square were waiting for the white smoke and the bells. What are you going to be looking for and listening to in terms of this pope and his policies? What are some things you’ll be watching for?

JAMES CARROLL: Well, I used to hope for a new Pope John XXIII, (LAUGH) a liberal pope. But now I’m hoping for, frankly, a Mikhail Gorbachev. I want a leader of the Church who’s going to do for Catholicism what Gorbachev did for communism — facing the truth of the end of an old story that has outrun its time. He presided over an orderly, relatively orderly, marvelous dismantling of the structure from within. And that’s what Pope Benedict has to do. If not him, his successor, or his successor. The time of Constantinian Roman Catholicism, patriarchal, male-dominated, power from above, triumphalist in its attitude toward others, the time of that Church is over.

And we need a leader of the Church who can, number one, help the Catholic people face the truth of that. Listen to the Catholic people when they face him with the truth of that. And then get serious about dismantling the structure of male-dominant clericalism, ordering a new way of exercising authority. Recognizing democracy in the life of the Church. Regionalizing the way in which decisions are made across the globe. And with special emphasis, making sure that there are equal places for women in this Church.

BILL MOYERS: You know, we heard criticism in the square of this new pope, and we’re hearing it all over the country today and all over the world. I mean, the battle has been joined. The dialogue has really intensified with his election. What are the concerns you have about what happens now?

JAMES CARROLL: Well, first let me just say that you also see this fantastic goodwill toward Catholicism and toward the office of the papacy. The papacy is a signal of the triumph over time and place, across centuries and around the globe. And that’s why we love it. Going forward, the great questions confronting this man are picking up the stream, the thread of reform within the Church. Making sure that the Church’s face to the world outside includes a real receptiveness to Muslims, to Islam, to people of other faiths, and to people of no faith. To make sure that we don’t fall back into the old Catholic triumphalism — no salvation outside the Church, no salvation outside Jesus. Claims like that.

And then in a more particular way, as the great challenge of the 21st century unfolds, will religion generally be a source of intolerance and violence. And to make sure that Roman Catholicism maintains its tradition of rational faith, which always implies a place for doubt. Always implies a suspicion of fundamentalism. And always implies a readiness to change. That’s the Catholic tradition.

BILL MOYERS: This pope believes abortion is a grave sin. He opposes contraception. He’s denounced homosexuality as an intrinsic moral evil. He felt the social and economic movements of Latin America — so-called liberation theology — were Marxist inspired. I mean, this makes him immensely popular with conservative Protestants and Catholics in this country. But what does it say to people like you who are reform-minded Catholics?

JAMES CARROLL: Well, the litany of problems you just referred to require a-

BILL MOYERS: Positions. They’re positions.

JAMES CARROLL: They are positions, yes.

BILL MOYERS: It’s doctrine.

JAMES CARROLL: And there are great questions before all of us.

BILL MOYERS: But he’s very adamant about this.

JAMES CARROLL: And his adamancy may be an issue. But take abortion — that most difficult of questions on which, in this country, we’re so divided. In my view, one of the problems we have as a people is that the division is structured along extremes. And as long as this is an argument between extremes, the crucial middle ground will never be open. And it’s in the middle ground that the decline of abortions, which I think we all want, is going to be achieved.

BILL MOYERS: But just like a lot of my Protestant brethren, he’s placed himself on the far end of that spectrum.

JAMES CARROLL: It’s true. And that’s one of the things to be concerned about. If Pope Benedict is someone who exacerbates the irrational and ad hominem argument that’s unfolding in this country and elsewhere around questions like abortion, then that will be a victory for the very culture of death that he warns us against. What we need is new levels of understanding on this painful question. We also need, within Roman Catholicism, much more subtlety about our moral teaching.

One of the things that undercuts his positions and the positions of others like him is the effective equation of abortion as a moral problem, with birth control as a moral problem. I mean, the effect of that of course is to promulgate abortions. The Church’s teaching on birth control has been a pit into which the Church fell a generation ago. It’s undercut its capacity to teach on grave moral questions. We human beings are faced with very difficult choices about the end of life, as well as the beginning of life. And alas, the Catholic Church has taken itself out of the moral discourse for many, many people because of its intolerant and rigid insistence on a very narrow set of principles.

BILL MOYERS: So do you see much hope for finding middle ground when the Church says abortion is a grave sin and homosexuality is a moral evil? Is there any room for compromise there?

JAMES CARROLL: Well, I think no, there won’t be compromise on those questions. I don’t see it coming. But that doesn’t mean that the questions that those of us who have a different position- I’m a Catholic and I’m opposed to abortion myself. But the complications of that make it impossible for me to identify myself as pro-choice or pro-life. Those extremes I’m talking about. But the point is that we’re all obliged to speak our consciences in this important conversation. Every person. Within the church, every Catholic. Within America, every citizen. We all have an obligation to be part of this. Because the truth is, nobody can tell us the answer to these difficult, difficult questions.

BILL MOYERS: But with all due respect, Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, thought he could tell you Catholics — he wasn’t speaking to me because I’m not a Catholic.

JAMES CARROLL: It’s true. It’s true.

BILL MOYERS: But he was telling you, right?

JAMES CARROLL: It’s true.

BILL MOYERS: And he told the priests that he exiled-

JAMES CARROLL: It’s true. Cardinal Ratzinger has told people to sit down and be quiet. But you’ll notice that people have not simply sat down and been quiet on these questions. The discussion, even the argument, goes on. Gay people, gay Catholics, have not left the Church, even as the hierarchy of the Church has denigrated them. Women. Women who demand a full place in the Church have not left, even as the hierarchy has been deaf to their demands. And people who have what I would call an appreciation of the post-enlightenment tradition of liberal doubt — we haven’t left the Church either. The Church needs the tradition of those of us who understand that doubt is part of truth seeking, as well as powerful assertion.

BILL MOYERS: So the argument goes on?

JAMES CARROLL: Absolutely.

BILL MOYERS: Even with a new hard line pope?

JAMES CARROLL: Absolutely. And that’s the tradition of this Church. A Church in argument with itself. And a Church that has room for people who agree, disagree. We discover each other as members of the same community.

BILL MOYERS: James Carroll, author of Constantine’s Sword, now making a film based on the book. Thank you very much for joining us on WIDE ANGLE.

JAMES CARROLL: Thank you, Bill.

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