The bishop’s role in passing Obamacare

March 23, 2010

Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report/National Catholic Register has a post up looking at how we got to a point in this country where a huge democrat majority in Congress, along with the presidency, managed to cram an incredibly unpopular bill down the collective throats of the American people.  He gives the GOP a good share of the blame, which is very deserved.  But, he also points out the the bishops also have had a role to play in creating a situation where a disaster like this could become law.  What is that role?

The hard truth is that for years the Bishops have allied themselves with the pro-abort party in matters related to health-care, and now they claim 11th hour betrayal.

When you hang out with thieves, you shouldn’t be surprised when you get robbed.

Moreover, the Bishops silence for years in the face of pro-abortion Catholic politicians has given aid and comfort to those who seek the death of children. The Bishop’s unwillingness, with some obvious exceptions, to effectively address or discipline pro-abort Catholic politicians allowed for the Democrats to portray the Church as divided on the issue. They have also allowed a culture of dissent to flourish for decades that culminated in the shameful last minute endorsement by a group of radical nuns that seriously hurt the cause of life.

The bishops’ decades long collective silence on these issues allowed for this culture to develop and has resulted in the USCCB being understandably criticized as an extension of the Democrat party (the Democrat party at prayer they say).

I don’t want to take this too far.  I’m not blaming this on the bishops, but the cozy relationship between the DNC and many bishops and especially the USCCB bureaucracy has certainly gotten alot of politicians used to acting like catholycs, and not Catholics.  And, it’s conditioned the media to hearing some bishops say one thing, and some another, and dismissing those the media disagrees with.  This is what happened when the 55 nuns issued a press release stating that Obamacare was just so wonderful - we didn’t hear about CMSWR or the rebuttals from the USCCB or anything else in the media.

So, the USCCB has made some mistakes.  I’m sure alot of bishops feel more comfortable with a certain vision of the democrat party (a vision that hasn’t been accurate in decades, but a vision nonetheless) and have the same inherent distrust of the Republican party that so many Catholics share.  But, strategically, the close ties between the DNC and USCCB have got to be re-evaluated.  They were pretty embarrasing during alot of the run-up to this debate. 

This unfortunate strategic tendency to want to be close to the DNC encouraged the bishops to make a further tactical error - not opposing this bill on general principles until the 11th hour.  The USCCB did not finally come to the conclusion that this legislation was going to make abortion a permanent, and very large, part of American life, forever, until early November.  That was almost too late to do anything.  Once they finally did come to this realization, they acted nobly, and probably played a role in the House adding the Stupak language, but that language was always just a way of trying to buy off the bishops.  It was never going anywhere.   If the bishops had threatened very strongly to oppose all the bills being discussed back in August, when the Tea Party movement had struck fear into all the Congressmen, they could have been key in making sure abortion would have been completely pulled.  But in the interest of being congenial, being pals with their democrat buddies, they failed to do so, and we in the Pro-Life movement now face a task that is monumentally more difficult than it was a few days ago. 

Moreover, the credibility of the Church has been badly damaged.  It appears to the public that the bishops have no real authority, not over trade organizations, not over their religious, not over priests, not over laity, and sure as heck not over powerful politicians.  A Church without authority will descend into a failed version of protestantism.  I pray the bishops will realize this, and realize that the decades long experiment in collegiality and ‘pastoral’ leadership has been a failure.

Comments

9 Responses to “The bishop’s role in passing Obamacare”

  1. Grrr on March 24th, 2010 12:51 pm

    More anti-catholic statements in the name of Catholisism. People, listen. God is not a Republican, so do not get upset when God’s leaders do things that on which you do not agree.

  2. Chad Simpson on March 24th, 2010 3:37 pm

    Grrr,

    Do you disagree that the leadership of the Democratic Party in 2010 closely align themselves with groups that want to redefine marriage, promote abortions as a form of birth control, and remove religion from the public square? I am a Catholic, not a Republican or a Democrat, but I have to vote Republican in our two party system since the Democratic candidates typically leave me with no other options. Check out this link for more information on the Five Non-Negotiables:

    http://ecatholichub.net/si/catholic-teachings/non-negotiables

  3. Grrr on March 24th, 2010 7:34 pm

    Chad,

    I am fine with the non-negotiables. Not a problem. And, like you, I assign to myself no particular political party affiliation. I got so sick of a politicical conversation at one time I just blurted out, “Roman Catholic!” Followed by awkward silence.

    I mention this because we seem to never lead with charity. That is to say, we tend to use our dogma as cudgel and lace our conversation with words borrowed from political (usually Republican) parties. Our great bishop Farrell uses the phrase, “verbal fratricide,” when we obliquely throw out a different interpretations of what it means to be a Catholic.

    All of these political insertions sully the beautiful, mystical, renegade Christ; who came to earth (insert Nicene Creed here, please) to bring healing & salvation. These are very dramatic & spiritual truths. Listen with your heart to the message of Christ before you cut & paste Catechesis.

    How do we start? Has everyone forgot the corporal mercies?

  4. Chad Simpson on March 25th, 2010 8:06 am

    Grr,

    As a convert to the Catholic Church, and someone who was drawn to her due to her orthodoxy and as you referenced, the Creed, especially the four marks of the Church, I greatly fear we are slipping towards a “Protestant” mindset when we (the clergy and laity alike) allow people’s consciences (which are typically ill-formed) to guide them. When you don’t go to the Church for instruction on how to behave, as St. Paul instructs Timothy to do in 1 Timothy 3:15, we basically have a sola fide mindset don’t we?

  5. Kyle R. Cupp on March 25th, 2010 11:25 am

    I’m not fine with the “Five Non-Negotiables.” Three reasons, really. First, there are a heck of a lot more than just five. Second, the comparison and contrast made between non-negotiable issues and prudential judgments is a false and fallacious division: it divides a whole into parts that do not together make up the whole. We can divide and distinguish between those issues that are negotiable and those issues that are not, and we can divide and distinguish between those judgments that are prudential and those judgments that are not, but it’s fallacious to divide and distinguish issues and judgments. Issues and judgments are two different things. Third, talk about the “non-negotiables” often fails to distinguish means from ends. The fact is we can and do make prudential judgments about non-negotiable issues precisely because the means of addressing a non-negotiable issue (the end) are different than the issue itself. For Catholics, it is a non-negotiable issue that abortion should be outlawed, but Catholics are still free to make prudential judgments about the best means of making abortion illegal: some might emphasize overturning Roe, while others might focus more on crafting a Constitutional amendment. To give another example, poverty for Catholics is also a non-negotiable issue (YES!) because a Catholic may not favor poverty and, in truth, should seek to help the poor. Of course, Catholics are free to make prudential judgments about the best means of addressing poverty. Some might stress using the market, while others might insist on using government.

    I trust I make myself obscure.

  6. Grrr on March 25th, 2010 1:13 pm

    Chad,

    We must allow people to have a consious. I don’t think you really meant that if we “let” people think what they want to, it’ll be a disaster. What are we afraid of?

    As a practical matter, we have no control what other people think.

    Kyle,

    Um, when is the last time you volunteered for something?

  7. Kyle R. Cupp on March 25th, 2010 4:00 pm

    Today. Why?

  8. Grrr on March 25th, 2010 9:12 pm

    Kyle, just a small joke. It seem that you have a great deal of energy as exhibited in the above post. I’m thinking prison ministry.

  9. Charity in Truth and Justice on March 31st, 2010 2:15 am

    Thank you for this article. The actions of the USCCB Catholic Bishops are confusing and so was their messaging on Obamacare before its passage. I had written/emailed my Bishop several times of my different concerns in Obamacare other than abortions, but there was never any reply. Our parish even sent out a FAX to all the Bishops about our concerns, but to my knowledge only one Bishop responded. In fairness, I read some bishops speaking about the Church’s teaching on subsidiarity and the dangers of a government-run take over of our health care, but as a whole, they did not. With all the briberies, lies and lack of transparency involved before the passage of Obamacare, I would think this bill should have been avoided like the plague. The bishops could have done alot more to stop Obamacare. Their actions speak louder than the words. Now, the USCCB Catholic Bishops are pushing immigration. Do they want amnesty? I am not sure of all the ramifications of this with our struggling economy, exploding debt and high unemployment rate. Who is going to pay for all this entitlement? Charity without justice is a false charity. The redistribution of wealth is stealing.

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