George W. Bush reportedly asked the Vatican for help in nudging the US bishops to speak out more on cultural issues. John Allen, for the National Catholic Reporter, wrote that Bush said, “Not all the American bishops are with me” on issues like same-sex marriage and stem-cell research and other issues and that he hoped for some nudging from the Vatican. He’ll have a long time to wait. The Vatican has a difficult enough time nudging the bishops to make sure the Mass is celebrated correctly. Of course, some criticism could be leveled back at Bush, as some people say he hasn’t been out front on the gay marriage issue enough either.
I think the typical liberal response is absurd, however. Call to Action (surprisingly and accurately labeled as liberal by the New York Times/i>) and Americans United for Separation of Church and State both claimed that Bush was asking the Vatican to help him get elected, which is ridiculous on its face. He was asking for help on a matter of principle. And since these guys’ principles depend on whatever will gain them the most power, it’s understandable how they could get confused.
What’s interesting is that here you have a Methodist president asking the leadership of the Catholic Church to advance cultural issues that his Catholic opponent sets himself against. What a bizarre world.