by Suzanne Eovaldi
Don’t expect to see any breakout sessions on the bumper sticker “You Can’t Be Both Catholic and Pro-Choice” at the meeting this week of the U.S. Roman Catholic bishops in Baltimore. And you probably won’t be allowed to take part in any discussions about clarity from the bishops regarding how Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Patrick Murphy can be both Catholic and pro-abortion.
The demoted Cardinal Raymond Burke, former St. Louis archbishop, is saying the church “is like a ship without a rudder” under Pope Francis. (1) The Illinois Catholic Conference of state church leaders called abortion and related issues of far greater moral weight than immigration and poverty at this same source. Yet if one considers what Pope Francis is asking the bishops to do, who is really listening more to the lay people? Clearly, the Pope’s recent emphasis on gaining more input from average Catholics has NOT appeared on the agenda at this week’s gathering. Rather, changes to the liturgy, a safe, non-threatening topic has taken center stage, followed by receiving the Sacraments for people with celiac disease and directives for health care services. (2)
Though one might object to the advance review of the left leaning, AOL News online report, perhaps AOL is correct when it says: “Bishops have been asserting themselves as the sole authorities in their dioceses and as the arbiters of what would be considered authentically Catholic.” (3) And AOL goes on to point out that U.S. bishops “have conducted an increasing amount of work behind closed doors in recent years. THE SESSIONS THEY OPENED TO THE PUBLIC FEATURED LITTLE DEBATE.”
As the de-briefing by political pundits winds down after the mid-term drubbing of all things Obama, just how much have the bishops heard from the people? Difficult to understand is the total silence emanating from well-appointed, diocesan quarters about the hypocrisy of the Biden, Pelosi, Murphy crowd of Democrat politicians who like trading off of Irish Catholic, Italian Catholic, traditionally safe surnames for gleaning the Catholic vote. Yet these politicos sustain no sanctions from bishops who are pleased to consider themselves “the arbiters of what would be considered authentically Catholic!”
The 2014 campaign in Florida’s US House of Representatives District 18 is a classic example of the silence expected from the Palm Beach Diocese in the successful candidacy of Patrick Murphy. Quoted by ballotpedia.org, Murphy claims to be a Catholic. Yet later in its outstanding analysis, ballotpedia reports that Murphy boldly favors “Abortion” calling it a woman’s unrestricted right. The 31 year old proceeds to strongly favor same-sex marriage as he “opposes human needs over animal rights.” Huh? The very revealing chart lists as “UNKNOWN” Murphy’s preference about “Keeping God in the public sphere.” So from his response, we learn that Murphy says he’s Catholic, says abortion is a woman’s unrestricted right, is quite comfortable with same-sex marriage, but isn’t all that sure that God should be kept in the public sphere! (4)
This political theatre has left me in a bit of a spiritual quandary as I walk into church each week. I had a tough time looking at a sincere parishioner’s bumper sticker about the hypocrisy of trying to be both Catholic and Pro-choice. I had an even tougher time wondering why we heard nothing from our church leaders about such hypocrisy. How can they remain quiet, yet still admonish us that the Right to Life trumps all other Rights? One friend suggested that the church must remain silent lest it risk the loss of tax exemptions as a religious entity.
But let’s look at what the bishops are really saying with their silence. They want us to do as they say. But they also want the government to permit them the collection of tax-free money every week. Tax free! Although abortion is anti-Catholic, tax free money is the real trump card here.
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