URGENT! Make a gift that will be doubled. We have $9,931 left to match by December 1st.
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

"Our shared moral tradition..."

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jul 19, 2007

Leaders of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops have agreed to meet with a group of 14 Democratic lawmakers to discuss how they might work together to end US military involvement in Iraq. In fact the USCCB has already done its little bit by issuing a press release to call attention to the Democratic legislators' cause.

Who are these Democratic politicians, who find such a ready audience at the USCCB? They're Catholic members of the House of Representatives. And half of them-- including Rep. Tim Ryan, who is leading the charge on Iraq-- also signed a May public statement scolding Pope Benedict XVI for daring to say that Catholic politicians should oppose the legalized killing of unborn children.

The Pope's comments on the political responsibilities of Catholic legislators, these Catholic legislators said in May, "offend the very nature of the American experiment." But now they're soliciting the political involvement of the American bishops.

A practical politician might have told these 14 Democrats that if they don't want to hear from the Catholic Church about abortion, they shouldn't look to hear from the Church about the war in Iraq. A concerned pastor might have told them that if they disregard the Church's teaching on a clear issue of moral teaching, they should not be so hypocritical as to invoke Church teaching on an issue that is not nearly so clear-- an issue on which loyal Catholics can and do differ. But the USCCB leaders didn't choose those options. Instead the USCCB implicitly accepted the lawmakers' claim that they are the moral champions of Catholic teaching.

No, wait; it wasn't an implicit acceptance; it was quite explicit. Bishop Thomas Wenski concluded his letter to Congressman Ryan by saying: "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."

Back in May, 7 of these same politicians argued, in their highly public rebuke to the Pope: "Advancing respect for life and for the dignity of every human being is, as our Church has taught us, our own life's mission." Thus they claimed that their political views-- including their support for legal abortion-- are formed by their Catholic faith. When Bishop Wenski writes to them about "Our shared moral tradition," he reinforces that claim.

There are plenty of reasons to work for peace in Iraq; that's not the issue here. But responsible public leaders of the Catholic Church should not claim to share a moral tradition with politicians who support the slaughter of the unborn.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($63,989 to go):
$150,000.00 $86,011.12
43% 57%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 31 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Jul. 23, 2007 10:18 AM ET USA

    EX COP: Right on, re stances. Then follow with not only “Respect Life” (RL) but also w newer “Respect God’s Rights” (RGR) which includes RL but puts both sides to the test – NOT for how much each loves God but for how much he/she will RESPECT God’s PERSONAL OWNERSHIP Rights ABOVE constituents’ PRESUMED rights. That campaign discussion will be a watershed for 21st century elections. Bishops were asked for 2 white-papers for THIS August: on RGR & “proportionate reasons” explaining LEVELS of evils.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 23, 2007 10:13 AM ET USA

    I'm not asking the bishops to become Republicans here. I just wish they would get their heads out of the sand and preach more about life issues like abortion, euthanasia, and traditional marriage rather than obsess about mere political issues. The "seamless garment" is a joke and it needs to be ripped apart so we can prevent the unborn from being ripped apart in utero.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 22, 2007 11:12 PM ET USA

    Here in Orlando we call him Politician Wenski.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 22, 2007 10:27 PM ET USA

    How about instead of "silence" in 2008 if both major candidates are pro-choice the Bishops condemn the stance of both? Oh, that would require some risk taking and the potential alienation of their democratic party buddies. So, not likely to happen. Or, they will justify a position because one of the candidates will be more anti-war, more pro illegal immigration and more social justice minded. It's a shame most leaders today, including Bishops, are politically correct above all else.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 22, 2007 12:27 AM ET USA

    USCCB aids Dems 2 ways:1) adding COMPLEXITY to J.W. criteria NOT in Catechism - “Comparative Justice: while there may be rights and wrongs on all sides of a conflict, to override the presumption against the use of force the injustice suffered by one party must significantly outweigh that suffered by the other” Dems GUARANTEE no prob.of success! 2) Arch Chaput suggests USCCB may choose SILENCE in 2008 if both pres. contenders ‘prochoice’ http://www.vindy.com/content/religion/361098842802500.php

  • Posted by: - Jul. 21, 2007 9:40 AM ET USA

    There are several hundred US Bishops. The Committee on International Policy is apparently a grouping that represents a pacifistic element withing the Church. Problem is, it seems to me, there are either no common sense controls on their activity, or the controlling element is in agreement. So, where are the others, such as Edwin O'Brien of Baltimore. Agreeing with these pols is to mess directly in a topic which the Church has conceded to the judgment of elected officials. They offend me deeply.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 20, 2007 8:57 PM ET USA

    This solidifies my sense that the USCCB is the Democratic Party at prayer.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 20, 2007 2:20 PM ET USA

    Nothing that the USCCB does surprises me anymore and I consder this a continuation of what is going on in China where "Catholics in Beijing selected Father Li Shan to be the next bishop of the Chinese capital" Maybe the Dems, as "Catholics in Washington DC," can pick out the next Archbishop of DC (their choice wouldn't be much worse than Rome's last choice).

  • Posted by: - Jul. 20, 2007 10:04 AM ET USA

    When it comes to public political interface, this is where the laity should step up and shine. Where are the leaders of the KofC, Catholics United for the Faith, etc.? They're the ones who should be addressing Congress. Unfortunately, when Vatican II encouraged the laity to be more involved, they ran into the sanctuary--when they should have run up to Capitol Hill! Now the bishops are running up to Capitol Hill, when they should stay in their Chanceries and run their dioceses properly.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2007 11:16 PM ET USA

    If you folks are so disenchanted with the USCCB, why not do something about it? Go to your parish priest and tell him that you refuse to put money in the basket unless he guarantees that none of it will go to the bishop. Of course, he won't do that. Then write letters, many letters, to the bishops expressing your outrage. If they doesn't answer, write to the nuncio and to the Holy See and demand an answer as to why the conference is consorting with notorious sinners and dissenters in your name.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2007 9:31 PM ET USA

    Ditto, Laity. My first thought was they may share a moral tradition but it's not the Church's. If Bp W thinks that our withdrawal is going to lead to peace, he's not looking at the situation. "Shattered Iraqi communities and civilians driven from their homes" are not going to be resolved just because we aren't there. And what about the Christian and Catholic communities? Their situation is horrible and won't be improved by withdrawal. Being there may not be the answer but absence isn't either.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2007 8:58 PM ET USA

    Recent items: 1 Bishop lauds Vatican carbon 0 footprint 2 De-frocked Bishop runs for President of Paraguay 3 Bishops do not correct pro-abort politician's criticism of Pope 4 Bishops meet and ally with pro aborts, connive against President's War plans 5 Bishop offers absurd economic plan 6 Bishop settles for $660 B & the record may be a grave scandal 7 Homo Bishops resign 8 Bishops don't support Pope on Mass 9 Etc. The heck with subtlety , we need a strong Pope and loyal Bishops.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2007 8:18 PM ET USA

    I recently was with a group of priests and religioius. They were all "proud" Democrats. I asked if they had voted for Kennedy and Kerry in spite of their stand on slaughtering the innocent. The Clergy said it was "as important" to work for minimum wage, education, labor unions etc as it was to "worry and become obsessed about abortion". God help our Church; we need it.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2007 7:47 PM ET USA

    Oh well, I am sure their heavenly "Boss" will address their behavior all in good time. He, THE ONE WHO SUSTAINS LIFE, is waiting patiently for their conversions and repentance.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2007 7:14 PM ET USA

    Fred S. Berlin was also an expert who testified for the defense of serial murderer Jeffrey Dahmer. http://www.jhu.edu/~jhumag/1194web/dietz.html

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2007 6:51 PM ET USA

    The key word is "our". I do believe that Wenski and these 14 may have a shared moral tradition. THEIR tradition is not OUR tradition or that of Mother Church. I cannot believe that Wenski speaks for all bishops.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2007 5:42 PM ET USA

    If our bishops cared as much for the souls of all as they do for public posturing, the Church in this country would be in much better shape and there wouldn't be a vocations crisis. When they truly want to "share moral tradition", they will instruct these politicians on properly formed consciences and the definition of murder--abortion and euthenasia. Likewise, these dolts we've elected should restrict their posturing to running this country and forget criticizing the Pope. Pray for all

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2007 5:39 PM ET USA

    I hope the first thing their eminences do is demand a retraction of the May manifesto. Second order of business should be that the congresspersons sign a commitment to promote pro-life legislation and to decry the politics of death promoted by their former lobby/financial masters - Planned Parenthood, NOW, and NARAL. Third order would be individual confession and public repentance for past promotion of the culture of death. If anyone is left, then discuss Iraq.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2007 5:13 PM ET USA

    The bishops and Democrats are advocating a course of action that will lead to civil disorder in Iraq and, most probably, thousands of civilian deaths. The bishops should stick to teaching the laity the moral principles in public issues, rather than acting as political "movers and shakers". They have no expertise in political matters, and no credibility with the laity as they advocate political positions.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2007 4:27 PM ET USA

    Lamentably, conferences of Catholic Bishops are mandated in every region of the world. These folks actually do some occasional good work. Too bad they don't think all the time before they talk.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2007 2:26 PM ET USA

    This is a wonderful opportunity for the bishops to address these poliitians and help in providing for the killing of 39,000,000 babies. The Holy Ghost is truly looking after the Church.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2007 1:55 PM ET USA

    This is not news. At the risk of repeating myself---over and over and over again---the USCCB is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party. Anybody who doesn't know that hasn't been paying attention. (Not to me: to events. To the USCCB.)

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2007 1:55 PM ET USA

    “This is outrageous and immoral behavior on the part of these bishops.” It may also be illegal too, considering the tax exempt status of the organization. I’m writing a letter to the IRS asking that they look into it. Anyone care to join me?

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2007 1:13 PM ET USA

    I could not think of any group that would be less knowledgable on this subject than the USCCB (unless you include Congress). I guess if you are looking for moral backing, flatter a group like this into thinking that their opinion is important. The vain will always follow, wanting to be at the forefront of whatever cause seems popular. Ignore the real moral outrage in lieu of favorable public opinion. This will bring the Catholics back in the pews!-----right.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2007 1:13 PM ET USA

    I believe our friends at the USCCB fall collectively under the designation "useful idiots". Wasn't the term coined by another very clever lawmaker of an earlier time and another place?

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2007 12:06 PM ET USA

    This organization is such a parasitic blot on the Church in America. It is completely useless except as a tool for liberal politicians and an embarrassment and money-wasting bureaucracy to the Church. Wonder if any of them ever look in the mirror and discover there is no longer a reflection?

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2007 12:06 PM ET USA

    Pope Saint Pius X's Encyclical defining the high principles which should guide the Catholic engaged in politics: "In all circumtances he must be, and must show himself to be, truly Catholic; he must assume and exercise his public responsibilities with the firm and constant resolve to promote, as much as he can, the social and economic good of his country and particularly of the people, following the principles of avowedly Christian civlization, and at the same time defending the supreme interests of the Church, which are also the interests of religion and justice."

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2007 11:33 AM ET USA

    This is outrageous and immoral behavior on the part of these bishops. There are over 40,000,000 unborn infants (and rising) who have been murdered through largely--but not entirely--the dedicated efforts and posturing of Democratic Party politicians from two Presidents to legions of Senators and Congressmen. The fact is one of toadying again on the part of some bishops who, if they lived in the 16th Century, would be bending their knees before Henry VIII.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2007 11:33 AM ET USA

    The UCCB has agreed to meet with a group of Catholic legislators. Among the group is Mrs. Stanley Greenberg, aka Rosa DeLauro, (Sociialist from New Haven). Rosa is a rabid supporter of abortion and other causes that are directly contrary to the church. Meeting with her and her ilk is pure political theater and adds unwarrented credibility to her. I'm sure the net result of this meeting will be a big picture of Rosa with the bishops plainly displayed in her office!

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2007 11:32 AM ET USA

    Yes,Could not agree more.You are 100% correct ,sir God bless you

  • Posted by: - Jul. 19, 2007 10:48 AM ET USA

    One of the most useless organizations in the country is the USCCB. I get sick to my stomach just thinking about it. They have a beautiful building (I've been in it) and primarily waste money. The people of the Church would be better served by dissolving the USCCB and using the money for something more worthwhile than serving the bishops.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Art and theology, beauty and truth, work together in the New Evangelization November 21
Anatomy of Conversion November 21
Anatomy of Conversion November 21
It is a failure of mercy to deny sin November 20
Yesterday's news, tomorrow November 20

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days