And the bell sounds!
Fr. Neuhaus, a backer of the Administration on the Iraq War, questioned the initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to 'forge a bipartisan agreement to end the war in Iraq.' He sent his letter to Bp. Wenski of Orlando, FL., the chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Policy.
My, my--International Policy, no less.
At any rate, Fr. Neuhaus raises this point in his response to Bp. Wenski:
...when the bishops present their prudential judgments as the teaching of the Catholic Church, they are exceeding their competence (meaning authority). This is a matter of much greater gravity. The bishops can likely have slight influence one way or another in “forging,” to use Bishop Wenski’s term, U.S. policy in Iraq.
At the same time, however, Fr. Neuhaus conceded:
Differences over American policy in Iraq are in the realm of prudential judgment. There are indeed moral questions involved in any policy of consequence.
Indeed, Father. There ARE moral questions, which include the questions raised by the President in declaring (several timesin the last 3 years) that the Iraqi military is 'becoming ready for the task' of maintaining order. There ARE moral questions about the abysmal "training" given the utterly corrupt Iraqi National Police Force--which our own people now admit "should be disbanded." There ARE moral questions about the Sunni/Shia sectarian war which is becoming far more important than the terrorism of Al Quaeda in Iraq. And there ARE moral questions about what to do with the Catholic population which is fleeing (reportedly at the rate of 100,000/month) the Muslim jihad--whether perpetrated by AlQuaeda, Shiites, or Sunnis.
Neuhaus complains, rightly, I think, that the Bishops' original letter to Congress was a very convenient document for political purposes:
It expresses unhappiness with current policies and says that the bishops “share your deep concern for the dangerous and deteriorating situation in Iraq.” He told the Democrats that “our nation must have the moral courage to change course in Iraq and to break the policy and political stalemate in Washington.” He did not, as in his posting here, speak merely of a “responsible transition” but stated that the goal is “to bring an end to the war in Iraq” and, at another point, “to end U.S. military engagement in Iraq.”
And Fr Neuhaus is correct--that the Bishops do not have competence to determine the actual military situation in Iraq.
But the Bishops DO have competence to preach the Church's moral positions with the thought that Congress and the President will abide by clear moral dictates in settling the questions posed above, as well as the moral implications in leaving Iraq--no matter the timetable.
Fr. Neuhaus, on the other hand, is competent to serve the Archdiocese of New York as a priest.
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Isn't it amazing that Jesus and the Disciples never preached with as many syllables and obfuscated words as their successors.
Truth doesn't require dancing around.
Fr. Neuhaus presents another kind of "cafeteria Catholic"
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