Consider the source

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Feb 16, 2005

The US bishops have sent an open letter to Congress, questioning the spending policies of the federal government.

The letter is signed by Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane, the president of the bishops' conference.

Now if Congress is feeling feisty, the Speaker of the House could send a reply to the American hierarchy, questioning the spending policies of the Spokane diocese-- which, unlike the federal government, is now in bankruptcy.

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.

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  • Posted by: - Feb. 21, 2005 11:04 PM ET USA

    "Pat": Most priests rarely (if ever) discuss contraception and abortion; however, these same priests are very FAST to discuss socioeconomic issues. It is much more "politically correct" to say "feed the hungry" than it is to say that artificial means of contraception are wrong. Most priests do not have the guts to talk about contraception so they take the easy road and talk about "poverty". Wake up and smell the coffee! Spiritual poverty is what is killing this country.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 19, 2005 8:18 PM ET USA

    I feel a little like I did when a nurse in the parish said to me one day: "I wish you priests would shut up about contraception and abortion." Now we are censured for talking about fasting. cf Is 58 v6-9

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Feb. 18, 2005 10:11 PM ET USA

    I guess the Bishop's feel better about themselves for sending that letter. Funny they speak of the common good and the least of society, and name everything but abortion. They talk of funding education but what about school vouchers for parents, who have the responsiblity to educate their young (not primarily the govn't). Just curious: any open letters sent during previous administrations re: federal funding of abortion here and overseas? same 'ole same 'ole.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 18, 2005 10:02 PM ET USA

    Pat, Jesus didn't tell the apostles to start a letter writing campaign demanding that Pilate and Herod feed the 5000. He told them to do it themselves. So, if you want to be charitable, do it yourself; stop foistering it onto the taxpayers to do it for you. Don't forget the original poverty pest was Judas "that money should be given to the poor" Iscariot.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 18, 2005 4:17 PM ET USA

    Gentlemen: Pat like the good Bishops is a Socialist. Maybe he and the good Bishops could show us where in Holy Scripture it says, that Caesar can confiscate the workers money and distribute it to others, that it does not belong to. Every where I look in the teachings of Jesus, it says that we provide the charity and take care of the poor. Government obstructs us from fulfilling our obligations by over taxation.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 18, 2005 12:06 AM ET USA

    Pat, let the bishops first ensure that we don't have to play a guessing game as to which Sunday Mass in our city of nearly 100,000 will have the least liturgical abuses, that there are reasonable opportunities for confession, that the hospital priests come when asked for, that our seminaries are straight, that we hear our Faith taught rather than cheeze-whiz homilies, that we hear about charity rather than social work, sin rather than mistakes etc. Then they can worry about govt. spending.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 17, 2005 6:42 PM ET USA

    Pat, to which church do you belong? Roman Catholic bishops are not always 100% on the mark. (One of their fellow "apostles" was Judas.) I think that the people here are making some very valid points in their criticisms of the current brand of "liberal" bishop. The Church has too many bishops who are preoccupied with social action / economics but not about abortion, euthanasia, homosexual activity, premarital sex, same-sex marriage, etc These men should preach Natural Law and Church doctrine.

  • Posted by: shrink - Feb. 17, 2005 6:02 PM ET USA

    Pat says that it must be the Holy Spirit at work. It is more likely the fruits of the New York Times.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Feb. 17, 2005 12:28 PM ET USA

    And may God have mercy on the bishops who elected Bp. Skylstad to lead them & the USCCB. And may we pray that the bishops who oppose the Holy Father & oppose Church Teaching will either have the moral courage & integrity to "retire for health reasons" or be removed from their See. If I, as a lowly priest in the home missions, know the traitors by what they write & what they publicly say, then surely such bishops are known by their peers who need to challenge their traitorous brother bishops.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 17, 2005 10:16 AM ET USA

    Eagle, the bishops explained why they spoke. In January, Pope John Paul II reminded us of our obligation to the common good: "Each person, in some way, is called to work for the common good, constantly looking out for the good of others as if it were his own. This responsibility belongs in a particular way to political authorities at every level, since they are called to create that sum of social conditions which permit and foster in human beings the integral development of their person."

  • Posted by: - Feb. 17, 2005 9:56 AM ET USA

    Let's agree to differ on that.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 17, 2005 9:45 AM ET USA

    I know where the Bishops can start saving money and then give this money to the Poor in our Nation and send some to other countries. First of all they can dismantel the "US bishops organization" they do not need this organization. the US Conference of Bishops really have"No real Power"(some people are fooled and think they do).They should be listening to the Holy Father, but they do not. The Bishops have a big staff and have their meetings in Expensive Hotels. Useless meetings after meetings.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 17, 2005 9:18 AM ET USA

    It seems a sacrilege to blame the actions of the USCCB on the Holy Spirit.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 17, 2005 7:52 AM ET USA

    Definitely not. It is the Holy Spirit who sees to it that the work of the Church continue. I have often observed how people, especially priests and bishops, inspired by God, continued to bear witness to the truth despite failure and/or criticism. I list it among the motivations that led me to become a priest. It is when they are weak that these people are strong. Paraphrasing St. Paul, Speak the word, rebuke, entreat, correct, both when the time is right and when the time is wrong.

  • Posted by: Eagle - Feb. 17, 2005 6:58 AM ET USA

    I'm a lawyer. If I give an opinion on Roe v. Wade, that opinion merits consideration. But, if I given an opinion about lung disease, it's chat. If American Bishops give an opinion on the morality of abortion, infanticide, and the sanctity of marriage, citing Scripture and the Magisterium, the opinion merits consideration. If the bishops given an opinion regarding the Federal Budget, its chat. Perhaps the USCCB should remember that Congress, and the People, get enought "chat" elsewhere.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 17, 2005 12:15 AM ET USA

    If the leader of Congress were feeling feisty he'd ask what percentage of the diocesan collection plates are being used to fund settlements and hush money versus the percentage of federal funds being used for the same purpose. We are an Easter people.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 16, 2005 10:06 PM ET USA

    Pat-that was tongue in cheek right?

  • Posted by: opraem - Feb. 16, 2005 9:28 PM ET USA

    in light of the bishops' failures during the abuse crisis, they could have saved the paper and postage. nobody is going to listen to a bunch of pedophile enablers. their own flocks certainly don't treat the pronouncements as coin of the realm.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 16, 2005 2:57 PM ET USA

    Thankfully, our Bishops continue to do their job despite the experience of failure and criticism. It has to be the Holy Spirit at work.