USCCB statements on other political topics are harming the campaign for religious freedom

USCCB statements on other political topics are harming the campaign for religious freedom

In March the US bishops’ conference (USCCB) announced that “we will not rest” until Congress ensures that religious freedom is protected in the federal health-care reform program.

Unfortunately, since that time the bishops have lost their focus, and thus complicated things for the active Catholic laity. The USCCB has done what the USCCB always does: muddied the water, by issuing statements on a host of different political issues—including many of which good Catholics have differing opinions, and on which Catholic bishops have no special expertise.

In the past 10 week, the USCCB and its spokesmen have:

weighed in on the federal budget;
filed an amicus curiae brief against the Arizona immigration law;
called for US intervention to prevent new fighting in South Sudan;
supported a ban on landmines;
urged comprehensive immigration reform;
insisted that budget cuts must not harm programs for the poor;
recommended federal programs to expand affordable housing;
warned against invasion of Iran;
expressed their preferences on agricultural approprations;
called for an end to the embargo on Cuba;
decried budget cuts again;
discussed the merits of the H2-A visa program;
supported full funding for the food-stamp program;
affirmed the Child Tax Credit;
underlined the need to curb nuclear weaponry; and
repeated the call for immigration reform.

The USCCB has released a full listing of the legislative issues the bishops are tracking during this congressional session. The list includes not only the clearly germane moral questions that Catholics expect to discuss (such are religious freedom, immigration, and the defense of life and family) but also such far-flung questions as farm policy, health care, climate change, mining, copyrights, and digital television.

However, the USCCB statements on these issues do not come with disclaimers, saying that Issue A is not a high priority or Issue B does not involve a clear-cut moral imperative. On all these matters—some clear, some not at all clear; some matters of unbending principle, some of prudential judgment—the USCCB makes the same claim that the bishops are speaking as moral leaders. Regrettably, this approach squanders the very authority that the USCCB so frequently invokes.


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The proper response of Bishops to poverty, war, immigration, torture etc, should be like the response to abortion and euthanasia...A response that comes out of Catholic Tradition and Scripture, not a response that comes out of leftist or progressive ideology. Thus, the bread of socialism does not solve poverty, war is in some cases a justified response to tyranny and evil, immigration if it is legal and humanely managed, and capital punishment is just in some cases.
Seamless garment! Respect for ALL life. The bishops are being consistent. Christ is Lord of all of every detail of our lives. So, why should they but out on some?
Some Catholics would prefer a garment with only a collar (beginning of life) and a hem (end of life). The Sermon on the Mount is not applied to poverty, war, immigration, torture, execution.
Who's "Cafeteria" in that case?
But God bless you all. We are all still Catholic.
The USCCB is nothing more than an NGO (Non Governmental Agency), a Thinktank for "bishops" with a politial agenda. What a disgrace! Meanwhile the pillars of the Roman Catholic Church are crumbling around them: fallen church attendance; child molesters in the clergy; an erosion of tradition; liturgical abuses...and on an on. I wonder if any of them have a real backbone and cut the BS and get down business. And that is to defend tradition, unify the Church, discipline child molesters, and teach authentic Catholic doctrine boldly.