Luke Coppen highlights a fascinatng article in two parts by James Hitchcock: The Failure of Liberal Catholicism which mainly deals with the US but is relevant to us.
Why discontented liberals remain in a Church that continuously frustrates them is not easy to understand; it is not because of a belief in the Church’s divine character. They sometimes cite the Eucharist as their reason for staying, but logically their principles require them to believe that Protestant eucharists are equally valid.
Being a Catholic is reduced to the lowest common denominator, as by an NCR reader who explains it thus—“Relationships that I simply could not continue in a practical way with the hundreds of people over all of these years,” an explanation that could apply equally to professional organizations, alumni clubs, or groups of hobbyists. Another reader attends a “progressive” parish, “not because I need Catholicism to grow spiritually, but because this inclusive community nourishes me in ways I have not found elsewhere.”
A feminist declares that “women don’t need the Vatican. We don’t need the bishops. That is the real threat.” But in fact they do, because their identity is forged in obsessive rebellion against Church authority.
The repeated charge that those within the hierarchy are power-hungry is to a great extent an expression of the liberals’ own obsession with power, which is a major reason why they remain in the Church. A woman recounted in the NCR that she had not attended church for a long time, until another feminist “helped me see the power in greeting people before Mass.”