Priests were the officers in the Catholic Revolution. Their changes in attitude towards birth control, masturbation, and divorce occurred at the same time as the revolutionary effervescence which spread among the laity. Priesthood has paid a high price for its revolutionary leadership. Priests are also responsible for the emergence of beige Catholicism and the new authoritarian pragmatism. Large proportions of priests do not accept the official teachings of the Church about moral behaviors that are considered always wrong. American priests tend to value human sexuality, lay freedom, and the dignity of women. This chapter studies the divergence in the interpretations of values between the Vatican and the American priests. The American priests saw the wineskins bursting and rushed in to save the situation by counseling the laity of the need to base decisions on their own consciences. They thus reinforced and extended the effervescence of the revolutionary movement.
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