Bishops in Politics: “Immense Damage”

Professor Nicholas Cafardi lays out some good questions for the USCCB leadership and their political pro-life operatives.

I am saddened that our sacred pastors, men whom I truly admire, allowed themselves to be led into a partisan cul-de-sac that they found impossible to exit. I know that they are wise enough to work their way out of this dead-end eventually, but meanwhile the damage to their credibility in being truly pro-life, and not merely pro-life for partisan purposes, is immense.

If I were to worry about episcopal credibility this issue may have nearly overtaken the bishops’ classic mismanagement of sex offenders. Here, they allowed themselves to be puppets of political pro-lifers who hitched their wagon to non-Obama. Even Archbishop Burke can’t save them by his tantrum against women religious.

I’d say this new crop of bishops is getting a little big-headed to think it can wade into the waters of politics, and escape treading on the lay apostolate just by claiming, “But we’re not elected officials! We’re just defending Republican pro-life talking points.”

It’s equally amazing that the USCCB leadership can be so sure and outspoken on a matter of political prudence. By doing so, they’ve locked into the roller coaster ride that is American politics:

How heady it must have felt for those staffers from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops who were present in the room with Rep. Bart Stupak when he was negotiating with Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the anti-abortion language in the House health care reform bill.But what the lords of this world give, they can take away. How bitter it must have been for these same staffers when Congressman Stupak worked out a reasonable compromise with the administration—an executive order clarifying the anti-abortion language of the Senate bill—so that the Congressman, acting as a pro-life Catholic layman, with a fully-informed conscience, could vote for the Senate version of the health care reform bill.

Heady and bitter indeed.

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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3 Responses to Bishops in Politics: “Immense Damage”

  1. smf says:

    It is not the first time this has happened, but is more or less the first time I can think of it happening with the bishops on this side. When the bishops went whole hog for immigration reform they were even less restrained, less nuanced, and far more transparent, and more forceful. However, since in that case they were on the side they are expected to be on by the chattering class the commentators and observers didn’t notice anything unusual about it.

  2. Bill Kurtz says:

    Tantrum is indeed the word for Raymond Burke’s latest. He is starting to remind me of Fr. Charles Coughlin.

  3. Sam Schmitt says:

    Am I missing something?

    Complaints about the bishops becoming too partisan seems a tad ironic since they long ago latched their wagon to the Democrats on a whole host of issues (immigration, welfare, nuclear freese, etc, etc). And besides the issues with abortion in the latest bill, they had no problem with the Democratic health care law.

    Archbishop Burke like Charles Coughlin. Sometimes I feel I’m living in parallel universe.

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