With income disparity on the rise, the safety net for the poor increasingly in shreds, and a void in serious policy debate, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are rising to the challenge before them by completely ignoring all of the above and focusing instead on marriage equality and women’s reproductive rights. Proving yet again that the Catholic bishops are basically Republicans in Roman collars, the bishops announced at their annual confab this week that they will be launching a new campaign on religious liberty–by which they mean, the liberty of everyone to practice the type of religion the bishops deem fit.
“We see in our culture a drive to neuter religion,” Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the bishops conference, said. Dolan added that “well-financed, well-oiled sectors”–and you know who you are–were trying “to push religion back into the sacristy.” Which begs the question of where it should be in a society dedicated to the separation of church and state.
Some of this is no doubt sour grapes on Dolan’s part because of his blessed ineptitude during the marriage equality battle in New York state. Also, losing high profile battles is no way to get a promotion from the Vatican, and Dolan would no doubt dearly like to get a cardinal’s red hat.
The bishops have formed a religious “liberty” committee, which sounds a little bit like a Tea Party event with incense burners, to promote their ideas. They even established a website to tell us why they only support mixed marriage (i.e., between a man and woman). As if we had to ask.
Of course, the bishops have picked issues with which their flock doesn’t agree with them. That doesn’t seem to faze them, though. And the bishops do acknowledge that there is an increased call for Church social services in these tough times. Too bad that evil gays are stopping poor people from getting the help they need. “The services which the Catholic Church and other denominations provide are more crucial than ever, but it is becoming more and more difficult for us to deliver these services in a manner that respects the very faith that impels us to provide them,” Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport told the Conference. In other words, the bishops will choose principle over charity every time, no matter who suffers as a result. Some principles are worth suffering for, particularly if you aren’t the one doing the suffering.
Photo via mkeusa