Action Alert!

Rebuking Biden, the USCCB pulls its punch

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Oct 12, 2012

The US bishops’ conference has called Joe Biden to account for a grossly inaccurate statement the Vice President made during last night’s debate. That’s good.

But in correcting the record, the USCCB curiously avoids mentioning Biden’s name. The USCCB statement says that “the following statement was made”--without identifying the man who made it—and then goes on to set things straight. Objectively speaking, the USCCB statement is a rebuke to Biden. Yet since the culprit is never identified, the rebuke seems a bit half-hearted.

Was the USCCB deliberately pulling its punch, to avoid complaints of partisanship? Or was this odd statement just one more illustration of the pervasive political ineptitude of the bishops’ conference? Your guess is as good as mine.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

Sound Off! 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 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: polish.pinecone4371 - Oct. 15, 2012 8:34 AM ET USA

    This isn't hard to figure out -- USCCB says, "Vice President Joe Biden said...." That afternoon, Anthony Picarello, USCCB General Counsel, gets a call from the Justice Department or the IRS: "Mr. Picarello, we have a few questions for you about this press release that went out this morning. Would you care to come down to our office, please?" Maybe, just maybe, they're leaving it to his bishop to rebuke him in private, where it belongs. Let's not assume incompetence all the time.

  • Posted by: jackist7902 - Oct. 12, 2012 6:27 PM ET USA

    It's possible that they did not mention VP Biden's name in order to clearly be in compliance with campaign finance / tax exemption requirements.

  • Posted by: shrink - Oct. 12, 2012 5:25 PM ET USA

    I don't think that the current USCCB remains politically inept as much as it remains an arm of the Democrat party. The latter is a cause of the former.

  • Posted by: michaelwilmes - Oct. 12, 2012 3:25 PM ET USA

    What's to guess, Phil? The USCCB (in spite of recent improvement) has been run by liberal partisans for years. I'm 48 years old. As long as I can remember, Joe Biden has been in the US Senate. And throughout that entire time, I NEVER heard a prominent member of the episcopacy challenge his disgusting toying of Catholicism.