I saw the press release of Archbishop Dolan’s congratulations to the president. Gracious, yet firm, and striking for one point:
We pray, too, that you will help restore a sense of civility to the public order, so our public conversations may be imbued with respect and charity toward everyone.
Does this mean the USCCB Prez plans to sit on Bishop Jenky and others who have been, say, less respectful and charitable in their public pronouncements.
The bishops placed their bets on the cards they were dealt. Doubtless they saw hope in what lay in front of them: electoral gains by the Tea Party and GOP in 2010, dismay over the HHS mandate in liberal circles, and a weakened president dogged by a stubborn economy. But practically everyone sees them as big losers today. It didn’t need to be so. But when you play politics, you will win some and lose some. Some losses will hurt deeply. And doubtless, many of my conservative brothers and sisters in America took this loss very hard.
… the outcome is a bitter setback for Church leadership even so, considering that a number of bishops made pre-election statements saying or strongly implying that a Catholic could not vote in conscience for a pro-abortion candidate like Obama.
Yes indeed. The president blundered badly on the HHS mandate. That Mr Shaw can’t get his head around the rhetoric (If you’re not for us, you’re against us) suggests that the whole political dilemma on abortion has been tragically misdiagnosed by anti-abortion Catholics.
Along which much else, the result also is a blow to the bishops’ religious liberty campaign, which was launched last year with the aim of focusing attention on threats to the First Amendment rights of religious institutions as well as the right of the Church to have a voice on matters of public policy.
This too. Except when Americans ponder the forced exodus of Christians from the Middle East, and Christian suffering in Nigeria or China or Vietnam, and consider that enlightened Muslims like Malala Yousafzai get shot for advocating for something as basic as education, somehow being sucked into a vortex of insurance sin over sex seems like a very Felix Unger kind of thing. Over a century ago the Knights of Columbus allowed Catholic men life insurance and did much good to marshal the resources of an immigrant community. You can’t tell me that between them, Catholic hospitals, and Catholic doctors and nurses in private practice they couldn’t come up with an expanded health care system done the way we’d want it. And why not: invite anybody else in who needed it.
The campaign presumably will continue, but the Church’s ability to withstand a re-energized secularist assault on its institutions by a newly re-elected president and his administration and allies appears in doubt.
Have the bishops painted themselves into a corner? The president may be generous in offering mercy on the mandate. And then it becomes very FOCA-like. The bishops will seem even more like Chicken Littles. And the whole effort could cave in. Is this what Mr Shaw is suggesting? Retreat, surrender, and concession?
Among the lessons of 2012 is that election year statements by bishops that seem to favor one candidate over another probably don’t do much good and may in fact do harm to the Church’s interests by alienating people.
Well, doh. The bishops didn’t have a lot of political capital among their own anyway. I already saw criticisms of Maine and Maryland Catholics that their bishops and clergy didn’t do enough to stem the tide of millions of same-sex people who want to take over the bedrooms of America. I’m sure that politicos opposing the Church’s stances on various items were praying the bishops took part. “Please oppose us,” some had to be begging.
What’s needed instead appears to be a long-term, well prepared, continuing program of education and public information, carried out under Church auspices and focusing on the content of Catholic moral teaching and its application to public life.
As always, the meme turns to who’s smart and who’s stupid. Not only are the 50% immoral, but they’re ignorant as well. Education and information will save the day. Like that hasn’t been tried already.
I’ll clue in the conservatives: the fifty percent might just be more concerned with virtues like compassion, hope, or even love:
If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. (1 Cor 13:1-2)
I think many fine Catholics have comprehension of much knowledge. And knowledge–don’t get me wrong–is a good thing. But many of our bishops and conservative Catholic leaders have lost their chips and have nothing. It’s time to consider Cardinal Dolan’s urging for more civility, and for conservatives to start widening their discussions to others for fresh ideas and new approaches. They seem too disheartened to go this alone.