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Politics And Our Paralyzed Prelates

December 1, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

Image result for prelates and politicsBy CHRISTOPHER MANION

Today America’s bishops confront their greatest challenge since Vatican II. Their aimless forays into politics, their meandering on magisterial moral teachings, and their endless scandals have caught up with them. As a body, they are handicapped more than anything else by their own malfeasance.
The Wanderer recently reported how the USCCB’s longtime Executive Director of Government Relations identifies a dominant group of bishops that “regards the Church as a platform for political interests.” This group enjoys the support of “key authorities in Rome,” he adds. The other dominant group, while composed of truly pastoral shepherds, is nonetheless often intimidated into silence and inaction.
That’s why the political bishops have dominated in the conference’s agenda for many years. In the decade just past, they have endorsed not only Obama but his domestic agenda as well. Then Obama lied to them about his bill’s coverage of abortion. Embarrassed by that betrayal, the bishops sought to revive the immigration issue, specifically amnesty for illegal aliens, as a unifying political theme to bring the divided faithful back together.
That effort has not been going well.
We recall how the now-disgraced Roger Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles led bishops to ignore unpopular moral issues to advocate “immigration reform,” a code word for legalizing tens of millions of new Americans coming from south of the border. And abortion? When Mahony was asked about abortion and the Obama health-care bill in 2009, he told reporters, “This is way beyond my field. My field is immigration.”
The bishops’ amnesty campaign faced considerable resistance from the pews, but the political prelates dug in. Then the pro-life Donald Trump was elected. Pro-amnesty prelates were enraged. In 2017, Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso lashed out at pro-life officials who opposed Obama’s DACA decree on illegal aliens. Seitz called them “Pharisees” and “hypocrites.” Meanwhile, he admitted to The Wanderer that he had never publicly criticized his Catholic congressman, the now-famous Beto O’Rourke, for his 100 percent pro-abortion record. In fact, no Texas bishop ever did.
In the face of increasing lay opposition to amnesty, bishops became increasingly strident, even angry. Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles envisioned a “Next America” in which superior Hispanic values would heal the decadent fruits of American individualism, industry, self-reliance, and independence. Archbishop Gomez and his brother bishops routinely condemned their critics who opposed amnesty as “xenophobes,” “nativists,” and “bigots.”
They were also “racists.”

Forty Years Of
Warmed-Over Propaganda

This year, having failed to unite Catholics around their amnesty agenda, the political bishops turned their attention to “racism,” updating their 1979 pastoral on the subject in the light of the events of the past forty years. They scheduled a vote on the new version for their meeting this November. In retrospect, in the chaos that prevailed in Baltimore, their approval of the new “racism pastoral” probably qualifies as that meeting’s crowning achievement.
Like our own day, 1979 was a troubled time. The USCCB was controlled by the radical left, supporting Communists in Central America and socialism at home. Humanae Vitae was a dead letter, and pro-life advocacy was deliberately ignored. In their pastoral of that year, the bishops identified an “unresolved racism that permeates our society’s structures and resides in the hearts of many among the majority.”
In perceiving racism only in whites, the bishops unwittingly embraced a racism of their own, articulated with a strong dose of Marxist vocabulary. Their newly discovered form of racism could be explained only in the language of class warfare — whites against everyone else — and Marx’s dialectical materialism: “Racism and economic oppression are distinct but interrelated forces which dehumanize our society.” The “collective consciousness of Americans” must be raised, our bishops demanded, in the terms of the Marxist dialectic.
And then they took a metaphysical U-Turn: racism is also a sin!
Well, that’s a relief. Now, instead of Marx’s Manifesto, we can consult the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which tells us that a sinful act must constitute a voluntary and deliberate breach of the moral law. Nowhere does the Catechism mention “subtle sin,” “social sin,” “structural sin,” or “collective consciousness.” The 1979 bishops had discovered a new category of sin. On what mountaintop did they find it? They do not say.
“The structures of our society are subtly racist,” they wrote. “The educational, legal, and financial systems . . . impede people’s progress and narrow their access because they are black, Hispanic, Native American or Asian.” And then, aware that they were on pretty thin ice, our shepherds suddenly made a stunning admission: “Perhaps no single individual is to blame.”
Wait, how can this be? The Catechism makes it clear that only the “single individual” can sin — and, when he does, he is indeed to blame: “The root of sin is in the heart of man, in his free will.” But the 1979 bishops disagree: “The sinfulness is often anonymous but nonetheless real. The sin is social in nature in that each of us, in varying degrees, is responsible. All of us in some measure are accomplices.”
Here our old friend, “collective guilt,” struts and frets her hour upon the stage. But not “all of us” — only “most” in the white majority.
And that includes poor whites. So much for the “preferential option for the poor”: White folk need not apply. We’re all sinning, all the time, whether we know it or not.
Orwell’s Thought Police couldn’t have said it better.

Stuck In A Hole?
Stop Digging

The 2018 Baltimore bishops were right: The 1979 pastoral desperately needed a rewrite. Had they finally come to their senses?
A lot had happened to encourage that prospect. In 2001 Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville became with great fanfare the first African-American to lead the U.S. bishops’ conference. In November 2008 Archbishop Gregory spoke with authority as he welcomed the election of the most radically pro-abortion president ever as “a great step forward for humanity and a sign that in the United States the problem of racial discrimination has been overcome.”
“Overcome”? Far from it. The 2018 pastoral will have none of that triumphalism. Donald Trump is president now, so nothing has changed. The Marxist moral anthropology of the 1979 pastoral remains: Whites are always the racists. To prove this, the bishops choose to focus on “the experience of Native-Americans, African-Americans, and Hispanic-Americans” (curiously, the “Asians” of the 1979 pastoral are gone — even though today they face blatant discrimination in college admissions and employment).
The bishops recount examples from decades and centuries long past to illustrate how these three groups suffered from racism. They conclude that “[t]hese examples from the experiences of Native, African, and Hispanic Americans demonstrate how, as a nation, we have never sufficiently contended with the impact of overt racism” (a term they never define). They then reprise the 1979 pastoral’s narrative that “racist attitudes…have been enshrined in our social, political, and economic structures.”
The “subtle sin” remains — “structures” now have “racist attitudes,” and the sin lies in our unwillingness to change them.
Right out of Karl Marx.
Oh, but wait — not all structures. Inner-city Democrat strongholds where Blacks and Hispanics suffer from poverty and lack of educational opportunities, all while they are targeted for abortion, do not merit a mention. Neither do the blatantly racist and widespread “Black Lives Matter” and Hispanic “La Raza” agitators celebrated by the bishops, as well as Obama their hero, who took every opportunity to fan the flames of the very real racism that encourages hatred of whites and of “racist America” herself.
The bishops’ condescension is breathtaking. Blacks are so discriminated against that they cannot be held to the same moral standards as whites. And whites are so dull and entrenched in hatred that only the bishops have the vision to perceive the depths of our “subtle” sin.
Remember, this is the 2018 Baltimore bishops, whose own National Review Board chair tells them that a third of them are guilty of covering up for abusers.
Rampant clerical condescension also infects the bishops’ shopworn responses to social violence. When blacks kill blacks by the thousands in inner cities, it’s “tragic.” When blacks kill whites, including police officers, it’s “gun violence.” When whites kill blacks, it’s “racism.” And Hispanics? Here again the condescending clerics can’t resist beating the amnesty drum. “Extreme nationalist ideologies are feeding the American public discourse with xenophobic rhetoric that instigates fear against foreigners, immigrants, and refugees,” they wail.
Blind to their own tired ideology, our beloved bishops steadfastly refuse to engage their critics rationally. Instead, they resort to hurling epithets and insults at the people in the pews — a psychological aberration which The Wanderer has identified as “The Seitz Syndrome.”
The bishops’ efforts to unite the faithful have failed. Divided against themselves, they have used political agendas to distract the faithful from the rot and corruption in their own ranks. Ironically, those shameful efforts have produced a felicitous result: The faithful are now united in outrage, demanding transparency, fortitude, justice, and truth from our wayward shepherds.
There’s only one way to make that happen. It’s time to shut down the USCCB. Bring the bishops home to face their sheep. Nothing else will work. They have lied too long, and covered up too much.

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