The above link will take you to a news item discussing the fact that the diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska is the "most conservative" in the country of the United States. I wanted to make a comment on the following excerpt:
"Karla Jensen, a communications professor at Nebraska Wesleyan who grew up in Scottsbluff, in the Grand Island Diocese, tried attending several Lincoln Catholic churches and felt “the voice of the liberal Catholic” was lacking. “It just didn’t seem like a place for open dialogue. I didn’t feel I would be free to ask questions or openly challenge anything.” Jensen doesn’t attend a Catholic church in Lincoln, but goes to Mass when she is home in Scottsbluff."
She didn't feel free to "ask questions" or "openly challenge anything." Poor thing.
That said I think it is important to make several distinctions in response to this. When "asking a question" the right attitude has be had of both the person asking and the person answering. It is true there have been times and places, I have told, when people were sometimes scaried to ask any questions about the faith for fear of receiving a response such as "don't you know that?" or "how dare you ask such a thing." It is a mentality and so on the one hand people who answer questions must have the right attitude. I would put it to you that any priest who truly loves and is filled with the faith will be overjoyed to answer someone's question and see it as a chance to share that faith they love. (This applies to all Catholics but a strong emphasis in this article is on the priests that serve in Lincoln.)
Now, when it comes to a person asking the question they also have to have the right disposition and this is where, sadly, I suspect Karla Jensen comes up short and the fact she quite obviously identifes herself as a "liberal" Catholic doesn't give me much confidence.
The "I dont' feel like I can ask questions" card is a "liberal" favourite and ignores the fact that there are two ways to ask a question: Zacharyian style or Marian style. People familiar with the Gospel of Luke will know what this refers to. In a very short space we there come across two very different attitudes in questioning an angel. Zechary is a skeptic. He isn't really asking so much as doubting even if what he says is cast as a question. Mary on the other hand has total faith but wants to know how God will fulfill what the angel has told her. She isn't doubting God's ability.
As in all things the Mother of God is the model to follow.