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The better part of valour

By Diogenes (articles ) | Nov 25, 2003

In his November Public Square essay, Fr. Neuhaus relates the following account of the notorious Interfaith Amity Brunch which allowed bishops a close-up view of orthodox Catholics:

In the September meeting, several participants pressed the bishops on why they do not address the scandal of prominent Catholics, notably politicians, who publicly and persistently oppose the Church's teaching on abortion and yet, to all appearances, remain in untroubled communion with the Church. A bishop responded by citing an instance in which another bishop publicly criticized such a politician, thus winning sympathy for him and he won the election. A prominent business leader who was at the meeting and is active in politics told me, "My heart sank as I listened to him. Here was a bishop telling us that speaking the truth is politically counterproductive, so he will not speak the truth. His job is to be a teacher and shepherd of the flock, damn it, not to be a political tactician. Let him do his job and we'll take care of the politics. That's our job as lay people."

Well put. Of course we're all convinced that the bishops really want the anti-family candidates to lose.

Aren't we?

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  • Posted by: News Hound - Nov. 29, 2003 10:48 AM ET USA

    Re Diogenes' quote from the First Things "Public Square" essay, Fr. Neuhaus has a way of getting lots of things right, beginning with his switch from Lutheranism to Catholicism. Neuhaus is where he belongs: needling clergymen when they are wrong and supporting them when they are right.

  • Posted by: Freedom - Nov. 29, 2003 8:43 AM ET USA

    Rome fell from within. Looks like the same is happening in Christ's Church beginning with "politically correct Bishops" who care more about pleasing the secular city than defending the Church and leading the laity to victory in the fight for the unborn and other matters. Very sad. cst

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Nov. 26, 2003 6:38 PM ET USA

    I think the dear Bishop missed the point. We don't want to "criticize" them, we want them "excommunicated." Let them stay in politics if they must..., but as pagans.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 26, 2003 5:19 PM ET USA

    is complicity something that Jesus would tolerate from one of his apostles? would Jesus not say anything to one of his "followers" if that person encouraged murder? "if I say to a wicked man:you are to die, and you do not warn him; if you do not speak and warn him to renounce his evil ways and so live, then he shall die for his sin, but I will hold you responsible for his death." ezech 3:18. Has the Lord changed His mind? geno

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Nov. 26, 2003 12:38 PM ET USA

    The point is to let the offending CINO political know, not only to avoid scandal but for the sake of that politicians soul: you are risking damnation for legislatively enabling the sin of abortion. As to the inhibitions of the bishops, they fear retaliation from the pols, and mockery from the media.

  • Posted by: frjimc - Nov. 26, 2003 10:14 AM ET USA

    Dear Donny -- we're not interested in forcing others to accept our beliefs; we're merely saying that you are not one of us when you publicly disagree with our precepts. The 'forcing' is being done by the politicians who force the Church to confront them. You can't be a 'driver' if you act upon the belief that running into other cars is acceptable; you can't be an 'employee" if you refuse to work. You can't be a 'Catholic' if you promote or vote for abortion or same-sex marriage. QED

  • Posted by: - Nov. 25, 2003 10:09 PM ET USA

    Prudence might convince bishops that formal excommunication of pro-abortion persons is not what needs to be done. But why not simply say publicly, e.g., "Senator Barbara Mikulski no longer holds to the Catholic Faith and therefore, like all non-Catholics, she is not entitled to receive the Eucharist. She has excluded herself from the Faith"? Canon Law says this is so. Just say it publicly in reference to a public person.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 25, 2003 7:32 PM ET USA

    I truly believe that when Catholics realize using force or forcing others to accept their beliefs or as we like to think of it "the truth", is evil in itself as is communism or nazism or anything that has to do with forcing others to accept your own beliefs, that being said, catholics will then be able to concentrate on living the Gospel. Christ never said you will force others to accept me. His message was love. If you are so blind that you cannot see that, I would not call you Christian.

  • Posted by: shrink - Nov. 25, 2003 1:34 PM ET USA

    Our judges are completely committed to the principles of moral libertarianism and the audacity of their commitment carries with it a potent authority that paralyzes the political opposition. Our Bishops, having lost the courage of their convictions, collapse into a political posture which strengthens the resolve of their opponents who recognize (better than the bishops) that the office of religious authority is an office that is political neither by nature nor disposition.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Nov. 25, 2003 11:19 AM ET USA

    Got that folks? Don't raise a stink about pro-abortion candidates, or they might win. Of course, if they're winning already, Bishop Augustine of Hippo, mentioned above, seems to be vexed for an answer. Vae Victus.

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