Chastened Catholic bishops told they have to reform themselves

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RNS photo by Gregory A. Shemitz

RNS photo by Gregory A. Shemitz

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BALTIMORE (RNS) In the wake of sweeping setbacks to the hierarchy’s agenda on Election Day, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Monday (Nov. 12) told his fellow bishops that they must now look at their own failings, confess their sins and reform themselves if they hope to affect the wider culture. By David Gibson.

  • Nick Alexander

    So the bishops want to maintain open channels of dialogue with the administration? But why should the president want to engage in substantive discussions with the bishops? Many of the most vocal members of the Catholic episcopate basically instructed their flocks that the only ‘moral’ vote in the election was for the Republicans. Were I the president I’d freeze the bishops out completely. They played heavy-handed politics (yet again), and they lost. In the final tally, overly simplistic, increasingly conservative, black/white solutions to the complexities of modern life will always be cast aside by the majority people.

  • Joseph Quigley

    The bishops come across like one-eyed supporters in the bleachers who not only think they would be better coaches of the team they support but that the other team is not good enough even to be in the same league.
    With regard to politics in a pluralist democratic free-enterprise society such as USA either the bishops don’t understand how realpolitik works or they do know and just can’t politik well enough to win.
    In faraway Australia I was gratified and reassured to see that money cannot yet buy the Presidency.

  • A. Anderson

    “Many individual bishops spoke out in especially stark terms about the duty of Catholics not to vote for Obama,”

    You mean like when Bishop David Ricken of the Diocese of Green Bay, WI. told his congregations the following:

    “Some candidates and one party have even chosen some of these as their party’s or their personal political platform. To vote for someone in favor of these positions means that you could be morally “complicit” with these choices which are intrinsically evil. This could put your own soul in jeopardy.”

    In plain English: Vote Republican or you might go to Hell. It’s interesting how this article tried to soften the edges of that howler.

    I’m sure that was an extremely convincing argument, given how many Roman Catholics voted the Obama/Biden ticket, use ‘artificial’ contraception, believe as JP2 did that justice requires universal health care, and generally otherwise completely ignore the RCC leadership’s dark age view of How The World Ought To Be, which just so happens to include the RCC being in charge of everything.

    The answer isn’t make more confessions and pray harder, the answer is stop throwing stones in that giant glass cathedral full of people covering up for child rapists, let the people who choose to follow your system of belief do so of their own free choice, and MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS otherwise.

  • Sabrina

    It seems to me that the reason why Catholics voted for President Obama is because it was their way of pushing back at a church that has pushed too far to the right. This has gone on for far too long. I sat in mass during the 1996 elections and heard the priest say from the pulpit that if a person votes Democrat they are not a true Catholic. I nearly walked out of mass right then and there. The church has no business telling people how to vote. Did God not give each one of us free will? The church does indeed need to clean up its act, and rid itself of the corruption within its ranks before telling others how to live.

  • Fr Eric

    The Catholic demographic has moved from the Northeast to the Southwest. Obama became the leader of the nations dissident Catholics when he won the first time and then took the “realm” when he spoke/preached at Notre Dame. There is no surprise that we have gone from the “pill” to same sex marriage. The majority of the Church hierarchy has been in bed with the Dems for decades, with Roe V Wade & the financially disastrous Great Society. Bishops who voted for Obama the first time are no different than a 14th Cent bishop who would rather eat with the king than preach the Gospel and directly help the poor. All of the Saints caused suspicion and fear among the prelates and princes when they dared to do this. St. Thomas Beckett dared to help the poor himself. St. Elizabeth of Hungary dared to DO something for the poor. Recently, a bishop actually said “I am really concerned about the direction of our president and life issues.” I was concerned 25 yrs ago!!

    GOP would have won with different candidates and a concrete plan for immigration reform and a a foreign policy.

    Here is a true story for you. A 20something Catholic girl told me that she felt good about going to Starbucks because of their “fair trade” and awareness of social justice in their coffee industry. I said “coffee is a racket.” She has good feelings for buying a $5 16oz coffee. So, I said “you are giving to charity at Starbucks.” She didn’t like that comment. I, on the other hand, pay $4 to $4.50 for a bag of specialty coffee at Aldi’s which will make a pot of coffee per morning for two weeks or more. The money I save enables me to help others. Good economics and social justice for me. I wonder, if she visits Starbucks 5x per week does she put $25 in the basket every week?

  • Bill K

    Nick Alexander, no Catholic can vote for or support any candidate or political party who advocates INTRINSIC evil. This includes: Abortion, Euthanasia, Sodomy (homo-sexual marriage), and denying religious freedom.

    Intrinsic evils can never be debated or supported.

    I hope the Bishops do their job and enforce Canon 915, or formally excommunicate Catholic heretics and Catholic schismatics.

    If you do not know what heretics or schimatics are, on the net search: ” What Catholics REALLY Believe SOURCE “.
    Check out the link including the comparison of the Democratic and Republican Platforms 2012.

  • Gary K.

    Truth is truth in any age or culture. The bishops who opposed the democratic platform, one which originally left out any mention of God and, when the chair at the democratic convention proposed a voice vote to include God most in attendance ‘booed’ the proposal, acted in accordance with the Bible. The administration promotes promiscuity, diminishes the family, persecutes Christians and God, etc. Why wouldn’t they be opposed. Why is the Cardinal even questioning their motives?

  • Mary

    Bill K,

    I understand where you are coming from but I am also very unhappy that the Bishops embrace Republicans. The way Republicans treat the poor in their legislative proposals is disgusting and against the teachings of Jesus. I would give a lot more credit to the Bishops if they spoke out more forcefully against the Republicans as well. Republcans show utter contempt for the poor and it’s unacceptable that they are embraced by the Bishops. The so called Pro Life Republican party is only a pro birth canal party because they want nothing to do with helping poor babies once they come out of the womb.