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Monday, April 23, 2012

Steinfels' cry of the heart (and mind) to the Bishops

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, surely one of America's most astute observers of religion and politics and a faithful lay Catholic, has written what is for now the best "cry of the heart" I have yet seen from the American Catholic Center to her Bishops. Do read the whole article here, but here is a portion of her piece:

Who does the USCCB’s fervor and intransigence actually represent? Is it the view only of the bishops at the forefront of the public protest, while the many dutifully stand back in the name of consensus? How can so many otherwise prudent and experienced bishops remain silent? Why has the conference been so implacable, even going so far as to move the goal posts by demanding that anybusiness owner be able to opt out on religious grounds?...
Indeed, this could have ended in a victory for the bishops on a teaching most adult Catholics don’t accept, even if they defend their bishops’ right to insist on it. The bishops might have kept their army intact if the mandate had been about abortion (it isn’t, despite the USCCB’s repeated claim that some contraceptives are abortifacients). But the bishops march on, seemingly oblivious to the damage they are doing to their already diminished authority, as well as to their credibility on matters that need a vigorous and rational voice: immigration, unemployment, poverty, the threat of war with Iran, and assisted suicide (on the ballot in Massachusetts).

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