Timidity is our middle name

Timidity is our middle name

The lawyers for the US bishops’ conference are advising dioceses and parishes not to use the Catholic Answers’ voters guide. The apologetics organization has put out a 10-page voter’s guide called “Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics.” In it, they list the five non-negotiable issues for Catholics: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and gay marriage. They are non-negotiable because it is a sin to endorse or promote any of them.

Sounds like standard Catholic moral teaching. It falls right in line with the Vatican’s document last year, “Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life.” But apparently it makes the US bishops’ lawyers queasy. The lawyers told bishops who asked that they would prefer if they would had out only the USCCB guide, “Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility.” That product of liberal groupthink has been mired in controversy since it came out because it puts paramount issues, like abortion, on the same level playing field with social justice and global solidarity. It’s not to say that those aren’t important issues, but wages for coffee growers in South America is hardly as important as the slaughter of millions of babies each year.

  • It’s pretty sad when lawyers dictate the Faith and spokes’people’ speak for bishops.

    There’s something here… why don’t the spokes’people’ just speak for the lawyers and cut out the too many ceremonial only office holders. Or something like that.

  • Well itCatholic lawyers so worried about the #*@$% IRS rules when for years I have seen Jesse Jackson, Bill Clinton, Al Gore etc. speaking, SPEAKING, at protestant churches.  I don’t understand this.  If the Bishops are afraid to speak against abortion and other life issues because of the church’s tax exempt status, then to hell with it.  If that hurts the Church financially, so be it (although I’m sure God will provide), at least more souls will be saved. 

  • I don’t see what the problem is.  It doesn’t name any politicians or any political parties.  It notes 5 issues on which there is no compromise in the Church. 

    And this runs afoul of the law how?  If anybody tried to prosecute on that, freedom of religion would absolutely rule here.  There are clear statements in Catholic teaching on these subjects, and the state has no right to tell us not to teach that. 

    It’s not a legal problem.  It’s a political problem for the USCCB.  They don’t want to “offend” those who are squishy on these non-negotiables.  Poor choice, I think.  It’s not like those likely to be offended are the types that will hang around with the Church for the long run anyway.

  • How do we abolish the USCCB?

    It’s a cover for hundreds of Democratic Party apparatchiks.

    It’s a huge waste of parishioners’ money.

    It’s done more to stifle transmission of authentic Catholic doctrine than Protestantism.

    It’s become an “anti-Magisterium” in the sense that there were anti-Popes; the USCCB has set itself up as an alternative to the authentic teaching office of the Church.

    Seriously, how do we go about abolishing it?

  • Fr. Jim, I stopped giving to second collections a long time ago – but took the money and use it to support other worthy Catholic causes – EWTN being a favorite along with the FSSP in Nebraska. I ASSume a part of the regular parish collection goes to the usccb? Even if it’s only 1%, that’s pretty big dollars.

    I think the only way to get rid of the usccb is to cut off the money supply. However, I think most Catholics don’t even know the usccb exists and they couldn’t care less anyway. Which is why they can run amok.

  • Seriously, how do we go about abolishing it?

    Let’s blow it up.  The first target could be the statue of Jesus hailing a cab, which is out in front of the posh headquarters.  But seriously, what is an apparatchik?

  • The USCC imposes a tax on each Diocese, which in turn imposes a tax on each parish.

    Thus, operating funds for USCC are not a matter of discretion for Catholics who make contributions to parishes.

    And Joe—not only are the LAWYERS for USCC irrelevant—so is the USCC, in general.

  • I have read both voters’ guides, and have ordered copies [at my own expense, not the parish’s expense] from Catholic Answers.  I will make them available to my parishioners.  In fairness, I will also publish in the bulletin the address of the USCCB, so if parishioners are inclined, they can order one from the USCCB as well.  In light of the observation by “ninenot,” if the USCCB wants Catholics to read their voters’ guide, they can provide it free and mail it to them.  I, for one, will not send them a single penny more if I can help it.

  • This kinda stuff just drives me crazy. When are we gonna stop tip-toeing around these issues and say, “HEY, we’re ripping babies apart in their mother’s womb, and the Democratic party thinks this is just fine and dandy.”
    I am starting to have no sympathy for those who think it is unseemly to show people pictures of aborted babies. I think we need to do this to shock people into the reality of the violence being committed.

  • We got the ‘wages for coffee growers’ bit in our Editor’s notes in the Messenger from the Belleville diocese last issue. Take it for what it’s worth, but evidently the prez of the USCCB is the publisher of The Messenger…

  • These are not good days in which to be an old conservative—I feel like one of my blood vessels is going to explode when I read how our Church leaders are destroying our Church and the U.S.

  • “IRS rules insist that non-profits may not engage in active campaigning for specific candidates or political parties.”

    This is pathetic.  Why are the Catholic lawyers so worried about the #*@$% IRS rules when for years I have seen Jesse Jackson, Bill Clinton, Al Gore etc. speaking, SPEAKING, at protestant churches.  I don’t understand this.  If the Bishops are afraid to speak against abortion and other life issues because of the church’s tax exempt status, then to hell with it.  If that hurts the Church financially, so be it (although I’m sure God will provide), at least more souls will be saved. 

  • BC, you’re right on the mark. They speak/spoke at the churches that are absolutely untouchable. The irs would never investigate a protestant church of color: the speakers know it and the federales know it.

    The bulk of the Bishops in the US are flat out cowards. They are a spineless and gutless group of handwringers and ninny’s that will shirk any stand that will make them appear ‘out of the loop’, uncool or otherwise. Their cowardice shines as bright as the crosses and croziers they wear and carry in public. The few that dare swim against the tide are ‘pastorally’ castigated by the majority. This is an attack on the Church and they – the majority of Bishops and their attorneys – don’t have the stones to stand like a man, or men, and defend the Truth. Do what’s right and encourage others to do the same.

  • This type of stuff appears weekly in the Worcester Diocesean newspaper, The Catholic Free Press. I mean, the articles are downright ambiguous. The only clarity comes in the letters to the editors written by parishioners and priests.

    It’s time for doctrinal clarity.

  • I’ve asked “The Catholic Telegraph” of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to stop sending me their newspaper. 

    When they aren’t publishing an essay by a dissenting Jesuit from Xavier University, they feature columnists who either ambiguously or unenthusiastically present the Faith.  A “can’t we all get along” piece about Canon 915 is a prime example.

    I finally pulled the trigger on dropping the paper because my two oldest children can now read.  It’s sad that a diocesan publication is dangerous to a Catholic child’s catechesis.

  • Am I the only one who’s beginning to think that losing the tax-exempt status might be one of the best things to happen to the Church in America?  There would be less money, certainly.  But if the Irish were able to keep their faith when the priests celebrated mass on rocks in the middle of bogs, where soldiers could have come and murdered them at any moment, then I think American Catholics can manage with a bit less money.

    I would hope that that would make the bishops more inclined to teach authentic Catholicism.  This of course works from the premise that these bishops are faithful men who are simply scared and greedy.  If they truly are heretics who couldn’t care less about babies being shredded, then nothing will compel them to teach the Faith properly.

    The only trouble here is that then the Church would be funding the government.  That is a situation I don’t like one bit.  In fact, I think that churches should have tax exempt status, regardless of whether they endorse a political candidate.  If the liberals are so into “seperation of Church and State” shouldn’t they want to keep the Church free?  Or does it not work that way?

    Honestly, however, I think that if O’Malley or Ratzinger excommunicates Kerry, then the church loses tax exempt status…also, it loses a lot of pro-abortion “Catholics” and other assorted dissenters.  I hate to say that anyone should leave the Church, but perhaps if we were shed of people claiming to be Catholic while ignoring Catholic teaching we could more effectively re-evangelize them and evangelize others.

    (by the way, all my comments about bishops in the above are meant for heterodox bishops, like many who seem to be involved in the USCCB.  No offense is intended to good bishops who teach the Faith)

  • Yes, it is time for clarity.  We need to sideline the USCCB somehow because that mechanism is the source of a lot of the crap we have thrust at us.

    I refuse to take pablum for the real thing,  but I think a lot of Catholics are afraid to discard nonsense for what it is.  And I honestly think some laypeople have been fed meaningless bullcrap (the kind you see in the bulletin inserts, etc) for so long they think that’s what the faith consists of.

  • We are seeing the emergence of some bishops with courage enough to teach instead of kowtow to the party line.  Bravo to them.

    The USCCB must be sidelined in favor of genuine authority which is consonant with the perennial teaching of the Church, scripture and tradition.