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Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:02 PM

Is There a Political Plan B for the Bishops? - From Jesuit Priest and Georgetown Professor




by Fr. Thomas J. Reese (Jesuit) | Nov. 11, 2012


Viewpoint

"As the bishops gather in Baltimore this week for their annual meeting, they, like everyone else in the country, will be talking about last week's election. The U.S. Catholic bishops took a beating at the polls. Not only was President Barack Obama re-elected despite their attacks on him, the bishops also lost on state referendums on same-sex marriage.

"Like all Americans, the bishops have a constitutional right to participate in the political process. They can debate the issues, criticize candidates and publicly express their views. They can even endorse candidates as long as they don't do it on church property and don't use church funds in supporting a candidate or party. In fact, they can even run for president, as did the Rev. Pat Robertson and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. The U.S. Constitution does not forbid this; Roman Catholic canon law forbids it.

"But what is constitutional is not always effective or prudent. Clearly, the political strategy of the bishops is not working. A majority of Catholics voted for Obama, and gay activists won every referendum. The Missouri and Indiana Republican senatorial candidates, who took the toughest positions on abortion, were also defeated when the Republicans were expected to win these races.

"So where do the bishops go from here? Some of the bishops will blame Catholic pro-abortion-rights politicians and urge excluding them from Communion. The nuns, priests and theologians who urged voters to consider a wide range of justice issues will also be blamed. These bishops will see no need for a change in political strategy. "The bishops need to be tougher; dissidents need to be punished; full speed ahead!"

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"The bishops also need to put aside tactics that are counterproductive. Using excessive rhetoric, like comparing the president to Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin or accusing the administration of waging war on religion, makes it difficult to form coalitions to reach achievable goals.

"Banning pro-abortion-rights Catholic politicians or Catholic voters from Communion is counterproductive. Such banning is not the official position of the church, but enough bishops are doing it (and few bishops are criticizing the practice) that many see it as church policy. Any time you have to use power rather than persuasion in a political debate, you have lost. It also reinforces seeing abortion as a Catholic issue based on faith rather than a human rights issue based on reason."



http://ncronline.org/news/politics/there-political-plan-b-bishops

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Reply Is There a Political Plan B for the Bishops? - From Jesuit Priest and Georgetown Professor (Original post)
powergirl Nov 2012 OP
yellowcanine Nov 2012 #1
geek tragedy Nov 2012 #2
EC Nov 2012 #3

Response to powergirl (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:50 PM

1. "The U.S. Catholic bishops took a beating at the polls."

If that statement doesn't worry the bishops, it should. They have ceased being pastors and are now seen as politicians. That should worry the Vatican even if it doesn't bother the U.S. bishops.

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Response to yellowcanine (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 01:35 PM

2. Catholic hierarchy suffers same delusions as the Fox News bubble dwellers

They only care about what Rome says, not what the planet's 1+billion Catholics say.

Their model is authoritarianism from a central source, and that will be their response.

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Response to powergirl (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 01:39 PM

3. I don't know, the truck says to vote godly values.

It seems to me we did.

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