USCCB comments on Catholic Dems, but no one noticed

USCCB comments on Catholic Dems, but no one noticed

The USCCB has responded to the 18 Catholic Democrats who told the Pope last week to mind his own business and not tell them how to go about being Catholics. This was in response to (erroneous) media reports that the Pope said Catholic lawmakers who are pro-abortion should be excommunicated. (What he really said was a bit more nuanced.)

But as Phil Lawler points out in his commentary accompanying today’s Catholic World News headlines, you’d be hard-pressed to find any other media outlet reporting the official US bishops’ response, as tepid and wishy-washy as it is.

It’s not that CWN jumped on the story quickly, I’m sorry to say. The statement from the bishops’ conference is dated last Friday, May 18. When I discovered it this morning I was embarrassed that it had escaped my notice for so long. But even now it seems that nobody else— and I mean nobody else— has noticed it.

Other statements from the US bishops can certainly draw media attention. Why did this one pass without notice? I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

I have some theories, but one of them is that no one at the USCCB made any effort to push it out there. After all, the USCCB often goes to these very same Catholic Democrats whenever they’re lobbying to push the legislative efforts on immigration or welfare or the like.

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  • 1. It’s a weak statement. It posits premises, but no conclusions.
    2. It was attributed to a communications department underling, not even their top communications person.
    3. It really should have been attributed to a bishop.
    4. The fact that a bishop would not want to go on record with even a weak statement says more than the statement itself.

  • To be fair, it should be pointed out that the new communications head does not start her job until August and the president of the USCCB is presently attending the CELAM meetings in Brazil (at least he was last I checked).

  • no one noticed

    No one was supposed to.  Don’t you think the point of the response is CYA?  The real target of the message isn’t dissenting Catholic politicians; it’s faithful Catholics calling for episcopal clarity, courage, and leadership.  In their eyes it’s we, not the politicians who’re the enemy, because it’s we, not they, who disturb the bishops’ serenity.  With this statement, the bishops can claim to have “done something about it”, the better to move on to lunch with an easy conscience.

  • I grant your first point but not the second. He still could have authorized the statement for his attribution. Or they could have asked my archbishop (Burke the Great) to make a statement on behalf of the USCCB … and watch the firestorm begin!