Bishops Begin Hugely Important Two-Day Meeting

By Dave Andrusko

Timothy Cardinal Dolan

Starting on Tuesday, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ administrative committee will hold a two-day meeting at which hugely important issues will be addressed. At the top of the list is the Obama Administration’s outrageous attack on religious liberties. Needless to say, the Bishops are getting a lot of outside advice.

In a column appeared Sunday, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, Jr. spoke for those Catholics who love Obama and who have persuaded themselves that the Catholic Bishops have “transformed a moment of exceptional Catholic unity into an occasion for recrimination and anger.” The Bishops will be practically selling their birthright if they don’t accept the phony baloney “accommodation,” a “compromise” that, in fact, still forces virtually all employers (religious, religiously-affiliated, or secular) to pay for services they regard as morally objectionable.

In Dionne’s circles, no doubt opposition to what he labels “extreme rhetoric is growing.” But the Bishops are far too smart to be snookered for an Obama apologist.

The only people who bought into Obama’s ersatz “accommodation” were those who were nervous that Obama had been too blatant the first pass. When he re-packed the mandate in some meaningless rhetorical bubble wrap, they announced all is well. Anyone and everyone who dared to disagree was a shill of “right-wingers” whose objective (to quote Dionne) is “to wage an election-year war against President Obama.”

Even as he traffics in his own extreme rhetoric, Dionne objects to “extreme rhetoric.” My guess is the Catholic Bishops have a much, MUCH  better handle on what has gone on, both behind the scenes and out front, than Dionne to be fooled.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, hit the nail on the head when he wrote

“Can a government bureau, in this case the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), define for us or any faith community what is ministry and how it can be exercised?  Can government also coerce the church to violate its conscience? …Pure and simple, it’s about religious freedom, the sacred right, protected by our Constitution, of any Church to define its own teaching and ministry.”

If the Catholic Bishops, or the leaders of other faith communities, or single-issue pro-lifers, or anyone else who understands that precedent that Obama is trying to establish stand down, we will have suffered an incalculable loss. Not likely.

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