…In past election years, a compromise like Faithful Citizenship would have been enough to maintain the public peace among American prelates. But this year the arguments among the bishops have been open and obvious. Bishop Zavala May not have intended a direct rebuttal to Archbishop Chaput, but that was the undeniable effect of his remarks.
Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton outdid Archbishop Chaput when he arrived unexpectedly at a recent parish forum and rebuked the organizers for allowing speakers to misrepresent Church teaching. Abortion cannot be considered as just one among many important political issues, the bishop said: “No social issue has caused the death of 50 million people.”
But Bishop Martino did not stop with his insistence on the importance of abortion. He also chided the organizers of the parish forum for handing out copies of Faithful Citizenship while ignoring his own powerful pastoral letter on the urgency of the abortion issue.
Whereas Bishop Zavala tried to advance a particular interpretation of the USCCB document, Bishop Martino distanced himself from Faithful Citizenship. “No USCCB document is relevant in this diocese,” he said. “The only relevant document… is my letter.”
It seems reasonable to conclude that Bishop Martino is not terribly fond of Faithful Citizenship: not terribly fond of a document that can be cited by both sides in a heated debate; not terribly fond of a statement that leaves the central issue unresolved. For years the US bishops have sidestepped public disputes on political issues by crafting statements that will barely satisfy both sides. Now that compromise is breaking down. (Source)
Right on. Right on. Right on.
Admittedly, if a faithful bishop is to do his job, it is becoming increasingly apparent that he must oppose what the national conferences are peddling. By necessity, since the strong conservative bishops are only a minority, they would otherwise have to accept a waterdowned version of the truth. And to do that in the times that we live in is really inviting scandal.
I predict we will see a lot more of the dirty laundry being aired as the years go by. There’s only so much a good bishop can take without calling out the elephant in the room.
When I read that red highlighted sentence above, I nearly soiled myself with glee.