US Catholic Bishops Are Following the Path of Bob Jones University

By: Saturday June 21, 2014 9:09 am

When it comes to Supreme Court cases involving the freedom of religion, one of the biggest cases is Bob Jones University v US from 1983. The presenting political issue was the segregationist practices of the school, but the specific legal issue before the court was the school’s tax exempt status. Congress had passed laws that cut off federal education money from any school that practiced racial discrimination, and the school tried to claim that the first amendment gave them an exemption from such laws. SCOTUS laughed loudly. You can discriminate all you want in the way you run your school, said the justices, but you can’t expect society to subsidize it.

And now, in the wake of President Obama’s executive order granting LGBTs protection from discrimination by federal contractors, the USCCB is upset because without an exemption from this on religious grounds, they will not be able to engage in the kind of “just discrimination” to which they have become accustomed. I’d love to hear what happens when their attorneys read them the relevant parts of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bob Jones v US.

 

The Bishops v. Birth Control: It’s Not About the Money

By: Tuesday July 16, 2013 1:00 pm

In announcing its final rule concerning the Affordable Care Act’s guarantee of access to birth control without a co-pay for all American women—including the Catholics and non-Catholics who work in religiously sponsored schools, hospitals, and social service agencies—the Obama administration bent over backwards to accommodate the Church’s concerns.

Have the Pentagon Brass Learned From the Catholic Bishops?

By: Saturday May 18, 2013 9:00 am

In watching and listening to the unfolding stories over the last week of sexual assault in the military, I could not help but notice how similar the military’s mess is to the situation in the Roman Catholic church over child abuse carried out by priests. Trusted leaders misused their positions of power to gratify their own sexual desires, and even worse, the hierarchy all too often protected the abusers and failed the victims.

Here’s hoping that the brass at the Pentagon have learned a few things from the bishops about how NOT to deal with the perpetrators of sexual assault by those in authority.

Caring for the Poor Is Up for Debate in the Catholic Church?

By: Saturday May 11, 2013 9:05 am

Paul Ryan is the commencement speaker today at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. Given Ryan’s approach to budgeting, it’s hard to come up with a more un-Benedictine choice for speaker.

Maybe the college president is trying to show how radical the Benedictine approach to hospitality is.

Bishops Tap Veteran of Islamophobic, Homophobic Legal Shop as Top Flack

By: Wednesday May 8, 2013 8:30 am

Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan is part of a dangerous reframing of “religious liberty.” At a gathering of Catholics in his archdiocese last year, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, uttered a strategic point that would have done Machiavelli proud. The bishops, he said, are perhaps not the church’s best messengers.

The Bishops’ Lawsuit: A Colossal and Purposeful Drain on Public Funds

By: Tuesday April 30, 2013 2:00 pm

This week, the government filed an emergency motion in the New York Archdiocese’s lawsuit against the contraceptive coverage mandate, requesting that the court halt proceedings and dismiss the case. The emergency is that the government is hemorrhaging money defending a regulation it will never enforce against the Archdiocese.

Bishops Behaving Badly, Joliet Edition

By: Saturday March 23, 2013 10:40 am

Another week, another court-ordered document dump of records that detail the abuses covered up by bishops of the Roman Catholic Church. This time, it’s Joliet, Illinois.

While the bishop that comes off worst in these files is retired, another former bishop of Joliet is not only still active, but has been promoted and currently serves in several powerful roles with the USCCB: J. Peter Sartain of Portland.

For victims, this isn’t about simply getting their own abuse to stop anymore. It’s not about money for counseling, treatment, and other things. It’s about making visible the behavior of not only the priests but the bishops who protected them.

US Catholic Bishops Use Pope Francis’s Anti-Gay History to Promote NOM Rally

By: Wednesday March 20, 2013 6:40 am

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the political organ of the American Catholic hierarchy, is promoting National Organization for Marriage’s upcoming marriage discrimination rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court with a “five reasons” list.

Catholic Bishops Now Oppose Violence Against Women Act

By: Saturday March 9, 2013 9:00 am

Once upon a time, the USCCB produced a pastoral statement on domestic violence that opened with this sentence: “As pastors of the Catholic Church in the United States, we state as clearly and strongly as we can that violence against women, inside or outside the home, is never justified.” Among other things, the statement takes on those who would misuse scripture to justify domestic violence, and calls on the church to keep in mind three things: the safety of the victim (and any children in the home), accountability for the perpetrator, and either restoring the relationship or mourning its loss.

Once upon a time, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops supported the Violence Against Women Act. This is not that time. Not any more . . .

A Humble Suggestion for the College of Cardinals

By: Saturday February 23, 2013 9:00 am

Father James Martin, SJ, humbly proposed to the college of cardinals that they look beyond their own ranks for a new pope, and offered himself as an obvious choice. (Gotta love those Jesuits and their fine sense of humor!). But I think the good father didn’t go far enough.

Things are in a real tough place for the Roman Catholic church, from the scandal of bishops protecting priests who sexually abused children from the law to the non-transparency of the Vatican Bank that is putting their relationship with major EU banks in jeopardy to liturgical translation battles and other worship wars to . . . well, you get the idea. What is needed is something — someone — really outside the box. Someone that will capture the attention of the world. Someone whose selection will be so out-of-the-blue that it could only be seen as a miracle, an act of God. Someone like . . .

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