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Why are the US bishops taking a stand--any stand-- on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jan 21, 2014

Where do you stand on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement?

You don’t have a clue? Didn’t know that such an agreement had been proposed? Have no idea what it includes? Just hearing about it for the first time? Then you’re with me.

Maybe you’re familiar with the issue. Maybe you know what the agreement involves. Maybe you have strong opinions about it. Good for you. But I’m quite sure most American Catholics are with me: uninformed and undecided.

So why has the the US bishops’ conference entered the discussion with advice to Congress about the proposal? Certainly the bishops aren’t speaking for the Catholic people of the United States; the Catholic people, as a group, don’t have an opinion. It’s highly unlikely, in fact, that the Catholic bishops of the US have clear opinions; most of them, too, are undoubtedly unfamiliar with this issue.

So when two bishops sign a letter to Congress, who do they represent? It’s very difficult to explain any way in which they are speaking for anyone but themselves. And if they are only speaking for themselves, it’s very difficult to explain why the statement was released.

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  • Posted by: Columbo - Jan. 22, 2014 3:28 PM ET USA

    The letter from our Bishops certainly do represent our Catholic principles,and was a wonderful thumbnail summary of our core values on the pertinent issues prior to the politicians and bureaucrats final draft of any such treaty.

  • Posted by: Savonarola - Jan. 22, 2014 12:02 PM ET USA

    This letter is yet another emanation from the overstaffed USCCB which feels compelled to generate paper as to issues about which the bishops know little. Are the bishops familiar with the story of the boy who kept shouting "WOLF"? After a while nobody was paying attention.

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