Political discord among U.S. Catholic bishops?

Political pundit E.J. Dionne, a practicing Catholic, DISCERNS a progressive backlash against the prevailing right-wing bent among American bishops:

Until now, bishops who believed that their leadership was aligning the institutional church too closely with the political right had voiced their doubts internally. While the more moderate and liberal bishops kept their qualms out of public view, conservative bishops have been outspoken in condemning the Obama administration and pushing a “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign aimed at highlighting “threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad.”


Already, there are reports that some bishops will play down or largely ignore the Fortnight for Freedom campaign, scheduled for June 21 to July 4, in their own dioceses. These bishops fear that it has become enmeshed in Republican election-year politics and see many of its chief promoters, notably Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, as too strident.


For too long, the Catholic Church’s stance on public issues has been defined by the outspokenness of its most conservative bishops and the reticence of moderate and progressive prelates. Signs that this might finally be changing are encouraging for the church, and for American politics.



1 Comment

  1. Well, of course it isn’t surprising, Pat, you find greater outspokenness among “moderate and progressive” prelates in the Catholic Church encouraging. We all like to see our own thought held by people of high station.

    Sadly, progressive thought, as defined by this sitting president, is completely antithetical to Catholic theology and moral teaching. As someone who was fortunate to have a Catholic education in the heyday of that institution (as you did, I think), I boldly asked my Sophomore year homeroom teacher, Sr. Mary Michael, O.S.B., “Sister, why do the nuns all support democrats?” When she caught her breath, she said that it was the concern for the poor that democrats all claim, which corresponds with Catholic social teaching.

    We are hearing more and more from true voices in the black community (more whites than blacks receive welfare payments, but a higher percentage of blacks are recipients) that “welfare” as constructed by liberal politicians has destroyed the black family. How did providing a “safety net” for a limited time turn into a way of life for some, and a magnet for non-citizens from Mexico and elsewhere?

    I, for one, as a political conservative, am pleased and grateful to know that the Church, as represented by the bishops, has seen fit to refuse to comply with this First Amendment violation by the Obama Administration. Couldn’t come too soon for me! We’ll see if any bishops are able to articulate a stance friendly to progressive thought and Catholic teaching at the same time. I don’t think you can get there from here.

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