Thursday, October 10, 2013

USCCB Takes On The Smell Of The Elephants

At least one elephant is credible as a balancing act.

One of the stories making the rounds this morning is the one about the USCCB sending a letter to certain GOP members of the House advising them to link reforming certain sections of the Affordable Care Act to the bill for continued funding of the Government.  This is a story that should make the rounds because it clearly shows that the USCCB is one of the guiding hands behind the Tea Party wing of the GOP.  They have not only taken on the smell of the elephant, they are one of the big bull elephants creating the biggest stink.  I don't know how the USCCB official spokesperson, Sr Mary Ann Walsh sleeps at night.  If I spent all my time writing double speak for my bosses, I'd probably need something more than Ambien to stop my mind from doing loop de loops.  Here is the official statement from the USCCB on the governemnt shutdown:

Time to Listen to the Bishops On The Shutdown

By Sister Mary Ann Walsh
As the government shutdown continues, it may be time to listen to another body – the U.S. bishops. Recent statements from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops offer significant points worth considering.

They are neither Democratic nor Republican positions. They are simply principled.  (HAHAHAHAHA  ROFL  LMAO )

Consider, for example, an October 1 letter from Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, Chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Migration, Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, California, chair of the Committee on Domestic Policy and Human Development, and Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace. The letter urged Congress to fulfill the role of government and meet the basic needs of people. The bishops told Congress that they “welcomed earlier bipartisan action which averted a federal government shutdown and the hardship that would have come with failure to reach agreement." (Note the date.  This letter comes after the shutdown began.)

They added that "The Catholic bishops of the United States stand ready to work with leaders of both parties for a budget that reduces future unsustainable deficits, protects poor and vulnerable people, advances the common good, and promotes human life and dignity."

The bishops noted that the Catechism of the Catholic Church says it is the proper role of government to "make accessible to each what is needed to lead a truly human life," including food, clothing, heath care, education and culture.

The Church is a voice for the poor. It’s often the only lobby for people in desperate need. In that regard, the church has argued for universal health care for about a century. (There are a couple of loop de loops in this paragraph. The USCCB is hardly the only voice lobbying for the poor.  They must not have meant 'universal' health care because they were willing to shutdown the government to prevent women from getting most reproductive health care.)

The church has also asked Congress to protect rights of conscience as a part of the same legislative process. A September 26 letter from Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, chair of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chair of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, called for respect for religious freedom. They did so as a January 1 deadline approaches for beginning to impose the HHS contraceptive/abortifacient mandate on many religious institutions that serve the needy. As the bishops’ October 1 letter pointed out, threats to conscience rights undermine access to needed health care by driving people of faith out of the system. (There are so many loop de loops in this paragraph, it's hard to read without engendering nausea.  First there's the oft repeated abortifacient lie, then there is the omission that the September 26th letter encouraged the linking of ACA with continued funding of the government thereby demonstrating the USCCB willingness to have the government shut down, and then final sentence which is really another threat.)

Some have falsely interpreted this as a call for the government shutdown or a default on our nation’s debts. The bishops have done nothing of the kind. The bishops have been urging Congress to enact legislation like the Health Care Conscience Rights Act for two and a half years. Since July 2012, the bishops have been asking that this protection be included in “must-pass” bills such as the appropriations bills funding the government, which have long been vehicles for a number of important federal policies on conscience rights. (But they are not asking only for the protection of their rights, they are demanding private employers be able to subject their employees to the employers religious views.  This is asking for the right to discriminate against the rights of other people on the basis of personal opinion--and calling it 'conscience rights.'  We have been down this road before and it wasn't pretty.)

The bishops offer principles that uphold rights for all people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. Good government protects its citizens. When it shuts down, it protects no one; and when it runs, it must be sure to respect their fundamental rights. The bishops have emphasized all of these concerns together. In this way, they offer a voice of reason. (This is just classic.  The USCCB now dares to pretend to castigate the House for doing exactly what they asked for.  Loop de loop de loop de loop.)


I'm way to dizzy to write much more here, but I encourage readers to check out Bill Lyndsey's post at Bilgrimage for his take and a whole bunch of links to other good articles on this latest USCCB attempt to create their own reality. 


  1. Do the bishops really think they have any moral authority left? Apparently they are the same as the local elites trying to hang onto their decaying power through the Tea Party. So much for following Jesus's example!

  2. This USCCB statement is a sick joke to any thinking, living, breathing human being who has eyes to see & ears to hear. We've been watching carefully & listening to the USCCB's anti-Christian, anti-human rights, anti-women, anti-health care, anti-Obama fascist drum roll and watched them march lock-step siding, aiding and abetting right along with the extreme rightwing T-Party reactionary Barabbas-type evangelical fanatics for many years now.

    They've been on the same sort of immoral course in our national politics as any right-wing supporters of Hitler that lived during the time of the end of the Weimar Republic. Right wingers still deny the Catholic's in leadership during that time in the Centre Party had anything to do with Hitler coming into power. Some to this day even deny the Holocaust occurred, such as the SSPX, that X-PBXVI brought back into the Church with welcome & open arms!! More the Bishops in the US have lost their credibility & moral authority.

    Even with all the evidence and witnesses they deny, deny, deny there was a holocaust! Just as Sister Mary Ann Walsh denies reality in her USCCB parrot statement. The Centre Party's leader in Germany was a priest, name escapes me, who became a politician & was a buddy to Pacelli who became the next Pope & they helped to establish Hitler's Party into leadership & gave them credibility. So too here, we have the USCCB giving credibility to extremists on the right.

    The USCCB needs to get out of politics. The USCCB clearly are delusional with this statement.

  3. "The bishops have been urging Congress to enact legislation like the Health Care Conscience Rights Act for two and a half years."

    The USCCB has been fighting on this instead of focusing on the Gospels & helping the poor.

    The USCCB is for their selfish & predatory conscience rights, which is not the conscience of the majority of women and steals & tramples on the human rights of others and denies their conscience rights.

    And while the USCCB has been promoting the conscience rights of the wealthiest in the health care insurance industry to profit from their anti-women stances the USCCB has not been addressing their own governing issues.

    Great blog, Colleen!

  4. This

    The Catholic bishops of the United States stand ready to work with leaders of both parties

    My response: Tax 'em. They want to play at politics, they need to pay the dues. They can pay taxes just like I do. I'm not arguing against their rights to congregate and speak as they please. But if they want to write legislation as an organization, they need to be paying for the privilege in TAXES. And I'm not singling them out - I feel the same about any group of people that enjoys certain protections from the law. And oh, they aren't writing the legislation? Well then just exactly what do they expect to hand over to the politicians? Voters with votes to cast? They are presuming too much here. They have no authority to tell or even to merely coach me how to cast my ballot. And it is getting pretty darn clear that I'm not the only lay Catholic who feel this way.

    I agree Colleen. Nausea and indigestion - right after a late lunch.

  5. Wow, you nailed it!

  6. Neither the bishops nor the "Nuns on the Bus" have any credibility except with those who are emotionally dependent on believing.
    Pathetic that adults need to believe something to get through their day.

  7. The "Nuns on the Bus" have a lot of credit in my book, but you could really sign me Doubting Thomas about catholic dogma. I think we all have our own myths. For some it is Religion, for others it is Star Trek or Star Wars, for some it is science and for a few is that myths are not a good thing at all.

  8. Which "Catholic Dogma"?
    See, that's the problem: both you and the "traddies" are obsessed with the idea that if you just get the right Pope/Bishop, you're church will become the perfect auxiliary/ideological motor to whatever political/economic project it is that you're peddling.
    Why should those of us in the non-religious group take what either group says seriously? It's all based on "Believe this or Jesus will cry!".

  9. Not at all obsessed George. I think it better that people pull away from the ordained priesthood and use only the priesthood of baptism. You can use the myths that you live by, I certainly am not stopping you.

  10. Moral authority from the Bishops?
    They lost the right to be our moral arbiters when they allowed children to be sexually abused by priests and did nothing. Nothing.

    Where does the IRS weigh in on this? The Catholic church is inserting itself in government debates.
    Fine if they want to do this, but why should tax payers continue to give them tax exempt status?

  11. I'm not a myth liver. In fact, I'd be hard pressed to think of the stories I liked to listen to as a kid.
    If "dialogue" means simply "You and I talk until you come to be enlightened enough to agree with me", then "dialogue" is conversion/missionary work by another name: no thanks. And I mean that for the Bishops who still miss Pius XII as well as those who want to make Joan Chittister pope. It's the idea of living without being to provide reasons for what you believe and trying to get other people to do what you want without having to provide reasons and then claiming "But I want dialogue and tolerance-can't you see that? Why are you being hateful and mean-spirited?"
    The self-congratulation of the "Progressives" is matched by the self-pity of the "Traddies"; you both deserve each other.