When I first started this blog three months ago, a colleague suggested that I keep posts to 200 words or less. Given the complexity of this topic, I may not be able to implement that suggestion in this post. However, I ask you to bear with it and follow along. The topic is crucial and calls for more than just a perfunctory treatment.
On page 7 of the December 17th issue of the Catholic Standard is a column by Archbishop Wuerl ("Believing What the Church Believes") speaking on the bishops and their authority. As I read the last four paragraphs of the article, I wonder if this article runs afoul of the canonical rights and responsibilities that are proper to the laity. The following is one quote that caused me to raise my eyebrows:
"Yet, when it comes to matters of faith and morals, when it comes to giving necessary practical prudential guidance, it is the responsibility of the bishops to lead. It is also the responsibility of the clergy and faithful to recognize that leadership." I've no problem whatsover when it comes to giving obedience to the bishops regarding faith and morals when they teach in union with the Holy Father; the Magisterium has always taught that. However, when it comes to matters of prudential matters, even the Magisterium recognizes that these are matters over which good Catholics can (and often do) disagree. There seems to be an overlooking of the rights of faithful laity to their legitimate opinions, particularly in matters regarded as secular - such as the health care debate being waged in Washington at this very moment.
In the last paragraph, His Excellency comments on the oath uttered by the newly-installed pastor to the Pope and College of Bishops, he states "so should every member of the faithful make the same profession. We are called to adhere with an internal acceptance to what the Church teaches because it is the Spirit guiding the teachers of the Church, the bishops, in their proclamation of the faith." Some care might be required here, lest there be confusion between the "College of Bishops" and the "United States Conference of Catholic Bishops". I don't know if these two terms are meant to be used interchangably, but if they are, the expectation of obedience of the laity to the USCCB is frought with many problems.
It has been demonstrated on this blog, by the writings of the Catholic Media Coalition and others that the USCCB's leadership has shown dangerous predelictions towards quasi-socialistic goals for society. Previous entries on this blog and those of like-minded blogs have documented quite extensively that the USCCB's so-called "charitable arm", the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, have funded dangerous socialistic, atheistic and pro-abortion "community-organizing" groups that have helped the most pro-abortion politiican in US history, Barack Hussein Obama, ascend to the White House.
Two excellent articles have been written on this topic and I'll now link to them. One, posted on the website of the Catholic Media Coalition, is entitled, "For Whom Does the USCCB Speak in the Health Care Reform Debate?" The other is entitled, "Subsidiarity: Where Justice and Freedom Coexist". Both are worthy of thoughtful study.
Both of these authors emphasize the need to understand the Catholic principle of subsidiarity. They point out correctly that those wielding power in the USCCB hold this fundamental principle in contempt. The first article quotes from 1 Samuel 8:10-18. I urge you to read it, as it states quite clearly God's displeasure with centralized government, as often that government usurps His role in society. Our Founding Fathers understood it. However, as we have rushed towards abandonmnet of God and of Christian morals (particularly in matters of life and sexual ethics), we have looked to the government to be our task-masters. We have become morally weak and flabby and crave a "nanny" to care for our needs in our laziness. As history tries to teach us, there will always be some smooth-talking tyrant who is all-too-willing to oblige such a deadly request.
The author of the second article states where a Catholic News Service (a branch of the USCCB) columnist twisted the principle of subsidiarty with this quote:"The Church’s teaching of subsidiarity insists that higher levels of government and social organizations must take action and do what individuals and smaller groups cannot do for themselves." Of course that's not true. I remember having an almost identical conversation with a staffer at the Maryland Catholic Conference, where he flat out pooh-poohed the principle of subsidiarity. He has since moved on to the USCCB; I don't know if he is still there. At any rate, have you noticed that "advocacy for the poor", at least in the eyes of these socialism-adoring "Catholic" agencies really means badgering the government to throw money at whatever the concern may be?
That's exactly what the USCCB is attempting to do with the Hell Bill - to take our money and throw it towards the government, ostensibly to solve a problem. In reality, they are turning a blind eye to the babies and to the elderly and other vulnerable individuals who will be killed outright or have their care rationed away from them.
I'll close this with anothe quote from the first article, which in turn is a quote from Democracy in America by Alexis De Tocqueville: “A man’s admiration for absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him.” That does sum up the USCCB's attitude towards us. They've even gone so far as to attack Rush Limbaugh for speaking out against liberal malfeasances (read my earlier post).
I think it's way past time to dismantle the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
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