Monday, April 05, 2010

Let's Just Dump the USCCB

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has a long history. Only the first part of it (when it was called the National Catholic Welfare Conference) was positive.

But ever since Bp. Bernardin--a Chicago kinda guy--morphed the NCWC into the USCCB, the organization has degenerated into a cesspool of bureaucrats whose worship of Democrat politics and politicians arguably outweighs their worship of God on Sundays.

First of all, the USCCB has no authority. Each Bishop is solely responsible for teaching, ruling, and sanctifying his Diocese, in communion with the Pope. While USCCB serves as a handy clearinghouse, it is no more than that. So why a marble palace in DC with dozens or hundreds of staffers? Does the word "confusion" come to mind?

How about "Pass the buck"?

Following the spectacular FAIL of USCCB's little sister, Catholic Charities, we have another spectacular fail from USCCB: ObamaCare.

...that body has also loudly, repeatedly, and consistently taken positions on several other matters of public controversy... in a fashion that has likely led many Catholics to think – quite mistakenly – that said positions are binding on Catholics and of equal weight with opposition to abortion. And that in turn has likely helped to generate a false impression that where opposition to abortion and the pursuit of some other political end come into conflict, a Stupak-like “trade off” can be justified.

Which conclusion is wrong, in many ways.

...the health care bill vote, the USCCB urged Congress either to alter the bill to prevent federal funding of abortion or to vote the bill down. (The USCCB also objected to the bill’s failure to extend coverage to illegal immigrants.) But the letter in which this request was made also emphasized that “for decades, the United States Catholic bishops have supported universal health care,” that “the Catholic Church teaches that health care is a basic human right, essential for human life and dignity,” and that it is only “with deep regret” that the bishops must oppose passage of the bill “unless these fundamental flaws are remedied” (emphasis added).

Needless to say, the impression these words leave the reader with – whether the bishops intended this or not – is that, were abortion (and coverage of illegal immigrants) not at issue, the moral teaching of the Catholic Church would require the passage of the health care bill in question, or something like it. In fact the teaching of the Church requires no such thing.

It's useful to examine how the USCCB mangles Catholic teachings to arrive at its erroneous conclusion about "healthcare."

To be sure, in line with statements made by popes John XXIII and John Paul II, the Catechism of the Catholic Church does indeed speak of a “right to medical care” as among those the “political community” has a duty to uphold (2211). But does this entail that universal health care must be funded by and/or administered by the federal government, or indeed by any government? No, it doesn’t. Consider first that the same documents that affirm a “right” to medical care also affirm “rights” to “food, clothing, [and] shelter” (John XXIII, Pacem in Terris 8) and “to private property, to free enterprise, [and] to obtain work and housing” (the Catechism again). But no one claims that the Church teaches that governments have a duty to provide everyone with a government job, or free food, clothing, shelter, or other kinds of property at taxpayer expense, or a guarantee of entrepreneurial opportunities.

Why not? Because the term “right” is simply not used in Catholic moral theology in the crude manner in which modern American liberal politicians like to use it, viz. as expressing a legally enforceable demand on the part of an individual that he be provided with some benefit by government...


The point for present purposes is to emphasize that noting that a magisterial document speaks of a “right” to something by itself does nothing to show that government must provide it. All it shows is that people have a claim of some sort against others – how strong a claim, how that claim is to be respected, whether and to what extent government has a role in ensuring that it is respected, etc. are all further issues requiring careful analysis. This is especially so of something like a “right to medical care,” which, unlike such negative rights as the right of an innocent person not to be killed, involves a positive claim against others that a certain service be provided.

The author lambastes USCCB for its implicit (and explicit) facilitation of the passage of ObamaCare. That is simply an embarrassment to Catholics who think carefully--and will be even more an embarrassment when this misbegotten piece of garbage is repealed.

Meantime, let's simply disband USCCB. Leave standing a small Office of Legal Affairs and a VERY tightly-controlled lobbying group.

As to the rest, let them find jobs in the private sector. See if all those "rights" help them.


Joe of St. Thérèse said...

I agree, let's disband the USCCB, dissolve, whatever...I think the Bishops would be stronger on their own, collectively, they're weak

Al said...

The USCCB has morphed into a equivalent of how the Federal Government operates these days, it stretches far beyond the limitted boundries that canon law appoints to it. & it has ignored every attempt to reign it in by the Vatican. Despite the Vatican making it very clear that None of its "teachings" have any authority unless they are approved by Rome or 100% of the Bishops they still try & pass them off as authoritative teachings. & when a Bishop like retired Bishop Martino speaks up to remind them of that he gets blasted.

Anonymous said...

How do you explain this case away, DaddyZero?

Vatican covered up abuse in Minnesota, lawyers say

(CNN) -- Vatican officials failed to take action against a priest accused of sexually abusing two teenage girls in Minnesota despite repeated warnings from a local bishop starting in 2005, attorneys for one of the alleged victims said Monday.

The Vatican's failure occurred despite the establishment of safeguards established four years earlier to deal with the growing abuse scandal inside the Catholic Church, they said.

The priest -- Father Joseph Pavanivel Jeyapaul of Ootacamund, India -- served in a diocese in Crookston, Minnesota, for a little more than a year in 2004 and 2005, according to church documents unearthed in a lawsuit related to the case. Complaint letters from Crookston Bishop Victor Balke to Rome were acknowledged by Vatican officials, but no disciplinary action was taken, the documents show.

Jeyapaul is now the head of a church education commission in Ootacamund, giving him continued access to children, lawyers said.

"This is systematic. All roads ... lead to Rome and the top officials there," said Jeff Anderson, a St. Paul, Minnesota, attorney representing the alleged victim.

"As horrific as the rape of children by Jeyapaul is ... the coverup of it is every bit as horrific and criminal."

Father Louis Rag, bishop secretary of the Ootacamund Diocese, confirmed Monday that Jeyapaul is still in Ootacamund. He refused to comment further, except to note that he had heard about the charges against Jeyapaul through media reports.

Anonymous said...

Here's the rest of the story:

Anderson revealed the church documents at a news conference in St. Paul. The county attorney's office for Roseau County, Minnesota, is trying to extradite Jeyapaul from India.

The Crookston Diocese first received reports of "inappropriate behavior" on the part of Jeyapaul in September 2005, according to a letter Balke sent four months later to Cardinal William Levada, head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, a body established to deal with cases of alleged abuse.

Pope Benedict XVI headed the congregation before being chosen to lead the Roman Catholic Church.

Balke wrote that according to an internal investigation, Jeyapaul took a teenage girl to his rectory in the summer of 2005, where "he proceeded to kiss her repeatedly, pulling her on top of him and at one point touching her beneath her clothing."

The bishop went on to warn the Vatican that it is "impossible to say that Father Jeyapaul does not at present pose a risk to minors."

"I cannot in good conscience allow this matter to be passed over" simply because Jeyapaul has now returned to India, Balke said. "In my mind, that would be a shameful act of betrayal towards the women and girls in India to whom Fr. Jeyapaul could at present pose a serious risk."

A representative for Levada responded to Balke's letter in May 2006, acknowledging his complaint and writing that the Vatican had requested to church officials in India that "Father Jeyapaul's priestly life be monitored so that he does not constitute a risk to minors and does not create a scandal among the faithful."

Six months later, Balke relayed a new series of allegations about Jeyapaul to Levada. Balke wrote that he had received reports "of similar behavior having taken place between Fr. Jeyapaul and a second girl."

In both instances, Balke wrote, Jeyapaul had been counseling the girls about their religious lives.

Church officials once again acknowledged Balke's letter but took no disciplinary or other action against Jeyapaul, the documents show.

Anderson accused Vatican officials Monday of being more concerned with preserving their own reputations than with protecting children.

"We are sad because so many kids have been wounded and hurt because Catholic officials -- top Catholic officials from the Vatican on down ... don't get it and remain in denial," he said.

"They have a problem. ... They fail to do what is necessary to protect children across the globe."

Anonymous said...

These kids are on their own once they enter the fallopian tube.