Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

If reality knocks, shall I say you're here?

How jarring is the following?


"The current abortion situation is unacceptable and unsustainable," wrote Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando, Fla., chairman of the bishops' Committee on Life Issues, in a July 17 letter to Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio. A copy of the letter was released July 18 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Kinda jarring, right? Sadly, it strikes us as jarring because it'd be so alien and out of character for the USCCB.

Instead, this is what Bp. Wenski wrote:


"The current situation in Iraq is unacceptable and unsustainable," wrote Bishop
Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando, Fla., chairman of the bishops' Committee on International Policy, in a July 17 letter to Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio. A copy of
the letter was released July 18 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The lovely and gracious Karen resides in the Diocese of Orlando, Florida and thus is particularly aggrieved by this. The Bishop of said Diocese is Thomas Wenski, formerly an assistant Bishop here in the Archdiocese of Miami. This has allowed me the vantage point of being familiar with Bp. Wenski's way of thinking for some time.

What strikes me as interesting is that Bp. Wenski's letter is addressed to Rep. Tim Ryan and, incidentally, references "Our shared moral tradition can guide this effort and inform our dialogue with other leaders as we seek a way to bring about a morally responsible end to the war in Iraq." Rep. Ryan, you see, is a Catholic.

Of course, you may wonder -- as cynics are wont to -- what sort of actions Rep. Ryan has taken based on this moral tradition which he shares with Bp. Wenski. Well, some of these actions are a remarkably, decidedly not pro-life cast. Hmm. Interesting. Rep. Ryan also signed a letter authored by the staffers of Catholic Democrats chastising the Pope for suggesting that politicians who vote in ways inconsistent with the culture of life place themselves in risk of excommunication.

Implicit in this mash-note is the message that politicians who are pro-life Catholics and in favor of military action in Iraq are not sharing the same moral tradition as Bp. Wenski. But set that aside for now.

So, you may well ask, why the USCCBB is getting into bed with people who have shown a rather intermittent and convenience-tinged adherence to Church teaching, and an intemperate tone in discussing the particulars thereof? Well, that's the $660,000,000.00 million-dollar question, innit?

For some reason, the USCCB doesn't mind cleaving to politicians whose votes on matters where Catholic doctrine is clear and unambiguous. Liberal Democrats certainly don't mind holding fast to the Bishops when they make a pronouncement which, although it's in an area where Church teaching isn't pellucidly clear, both suits their purposes and allows them to wear the mantle of Faithful Catholics...even if it's often a bit askew.

In sum: The rapid erosion of trust and respect for the episcopacy in this country continues unabated. Politicians who claim to be Catholics in good standing can expect "air cover" as long as their outright dissent doesn't otherwise disturb the ideological oases of the ivory cathedra...and the band plays on.

The problem, as I see it, with the Church in the USA is a crisis of episcopacy. Like the Holy Father said at CELAM: Bishops are supposed to be bishops. We can get weathervanes for less than this.

-J.

P.S. Next post will be more Sacramentum Caritatis, I promise.

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