Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Whose dishonesty?

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Jun 03, 2004

You could write it off as just one more election-year gimmick, and maybe you'd be right to do so. But the tortured effort by Senator Dick Durbin to make Democrats look more "Catholic" than Republicans still deserves a comment.

To get the results he wants, Durbin ascribes equal importance to every political stand taken by the US bishops' conference: all 101 of them. So a lawmaker who votes against a bill on exposure to mercury, or a bill on ownership of media outlets, is marked down just as much as one who votes to protect abortionists who suction the brains out of babies.

A dishonest approach? Of course it is.

But who should be blamed for that dishonesty? Senator Durbin is acting like any partisan politician; he's seizing an opportunity that was made readily available to him. That opportunity was available because the US bishops' conference becomes involved in dozens of political controversies that do not involve clear-cut moral principles, thus distracting attention from those that do. If the bishops issued forthright statements in the first place, establishing a clear hierarchy of moral issues, Durbin could not have exploited them in this way.

So why don't they issue clear statements? Because they want to be exploited in this way.

If you have a better explanation, let me know....

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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