1He said to His disciples, "It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! 2"It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.3"Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.4"And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' forgive him."
5The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"6And the Lord said, "If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted in the sea'; and it would obey you.
7"Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come immediately and sit down to eat'? 8"But will he not say to him, 'Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink'? 9"He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? 10"So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'"(Luke 7:1-10)
The USCCB is trying to make news again. They've drawn a Line In The Sand. Aren't you excited? This conglomeration of American bishops is usually just a criminally sinful waste of scarce Catholic resources, but this time!.... well, yeah, nothing has really changed.
Remember how strongly the USCCB came out against honoring Barack Obama at Notre Dame?
You don't remember that?
Of course you don't - the USCCB was absolutely silent on the matter until well after the event took place, even though Fr. Jenkins, the president of the institution, clearly violated the USCCB mandate not to honor pro-abort politicians.
True, several dozen individual bishops made various levels of protests, just as several dozen had individually protested voting for Barack. And why not? There was clearly a groundswell of Catholic lay support for a protest against Notre Dame. It gave bishops a chance to look good. For a bishop of a certain attitude, it certainly made a good show for the orthodox Catholic laity without actually requiring him to do orthodox things in his own diocese.
So, the episcopal protest was a win-win all around. Bishops got to look good, Obama got his honors, Fr. Jenkins got a raise (in prestige, if not in dollars), Notre Dame met it's fund-raising goals early, and several major Catholic websites got their mailing lists increased by several tens of thousands of protester signatures. It was easily the most successful marketing event of the last ten years.
Today, we are supposed to get all excited because the USCCB's Pro-Life Office is saying abortion must be explicitly forbidden in the new ObamaCare health plan. Gosh, Aunty-Em, are we still in Kansas anymore?
Well, yes, we are.
Consider the realities:
1) Does anyone really think Barack Hussein Obama is going to ignore his own science advisor, listen instead to the USCCB Pro-Life Office and strip abortion out of his health care plan? Really? And if you do actually think this, do you have a medical release to smoke that stuff?
2) Alright, granted, the USCCB Pro-Life Office is "insisting" on explicitly removing abortion. Great. Where is the groundswell of dozens of individual bishops all loudly protesting ObamaCare's implicit support of abortion? Remember the dozens of bishops who spoke out about electing politicians like this? Remember the eighty or so bishops that were out in force over the Notre Dame thing? So, where are you guys? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?
But isn't this where the rubber hits the road?
Individual bishops protested his possible election, individual bishops protested him being honored, but now that his policies are actually on the fast track to becoming law, now that he will start using our dollars to kill actual children... hey, where'd all those individual bishops go? Guys???
3) The whole "we are opposed, Mr. Obama!" mantra just smells pro-forma at this point. Nobody got chastised when Obama got elected, nobody got chastised when he got honored, why the heck should we think "opposition" from a single USCCB office is going to make any difference at all? Especially given the number of Catholic Senators and Reps who have merrily promoted legal abortion all these years without a whimper of public chastisement from the bishops? What on earth would stop these men and women from merrily supporting Obama this fall? The USCCB Pro-Life Office? Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh, snort.
But here's the real kicker:
4) So our brave bishops charge the Pro-Life Office with opposing abortion. Fine. When will that office, or any branch or member of the USCCB for that matter, insist that ObamaCare not fund contraception?
Oooohhhh.... listen for the crickets...
Here's a soundbite that long-time readers of this blog may remember:
“No, there is no ‘lobbying to ban abortions for everyone’ as that too has been precluded by the Supreme Court, for the time being,” USCCB Pro-Life Spokesperson Cathy Cleaver Ruse wrote in reply, “rather, there are efforts directed toward achievable goals…” She then went on to list a few of the USCCB goals: “the partial-birth abortion ban, [work] against mandating inclusion of contraception in health benefits packages; against making its acceptance a condition for providing other kinds of developmental assistance; protecting parents' rights in the case of minors, [etc.]” -Let's stop playing around.
Contraception causes abortion.
Until we get rid of contraception, we will not get rid of abortion.
Every Catholic bishop knows it, or should know it.
NOT ONE active Catholic bishop in North America has publicly spoken out on the subject of federal funding for contraception in forty years. Joseph Califano knows why.
Indeed, as you can see above, as recently as 2004, I was specifically told by the USCCB Pro-life spokesperson, Cathy Cleaver Ruse, that the Catholic bishops had no intention of upholding Catholic teaching either in reference to abortion or contraception. In fact, the bishops not only didn't punish pro-abortion politicians, they actually appointed pro-abortion politicians to stand as judges over the actions of US bishops.
So, today, the USCCB office protests abortion.
Who really cares?
What are we supposed to say?
"OOHH-LA-LA! Edith, call the newspapers! The USCCB Pro-Life Office is actually insisting on one point of Catholic doctrine! Who would of thunk it? "
If the bishops actually had any faith in the Catholic position, they would hold to all of it and promulgate all of it. Instead, we get not even half-measures, but half of half measures. No mention of contraception. Empty words thrown against abortion when it is politically safe to do so, with no actions to back it up. We get nothing but the flaccid excuse that the culture isn't ready to see punishments against pro-abortion politicians or hear how bad contraception really is.
Alright, I'll grant them the points.
Yes, it's probably true.
The culture isn't ready.
And that's relevant HOW exactly?
The culture also wasn't ready to hear that a man rose from the dead, or that God took on human flesh, or that we eat the flesh of God every Sunday, but that didn't stop bishops in the first century from pointing out the facts.
Over at Catholic Culture, Phil Lawler and Diogenes feels it is necessary to debunk the "nasty rumor" that Catholic bishops are ready to sell out the unborn in exchange for $100 million for Catholic Charities from Barack Hussein Obama. "Some people need to be rebuked for spreading this nasty rumor."
Let's just take a look at the history of the USCCB's opposition to contraception and its fruit.
If anyone can point out to me where the USCCB or, indeed, any group of American bishops, have publicly spoken out against federal funding for contraception or publicly chastised or punished any Catholic politician for their public support of legal abortion, then I will agree that Diogenes is correct and heads should roll. But if this evidence cannot be found, then only one question really remains:
Is it really a rumor?