Tuesday, November 11, 2008


A new Roman Catholic reform group on Monday called for Catholic parishioners nationwide to withhold church donations on Sunday to protest what it called the failure of religious leaders to protect children against clergy sexual abuse.

A leader of the organization Send the Bishops a Message said that holding back contributions would allow lay members to vent their frustration over a scandal that has cost the Roman Catholic Church in this country more than $2 billion in legal settlements....

Douglas said his group was encouraging parishioners to give their donations to other causes rather than hang onto the money. Parishioners also were being urged to withhold their donations once a month after Sunday's kickoff.

Nowhere is CCHD mentioned in the article, but a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles played the trump card in saying that the protest would harm the needy. Read the story here.

Meanwhile the bishops meeting in Baltimore are trying to figure out why the voter messages they issued were ignored.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, of New York City, said that chairmen of the bishops' national committees met privately Monday morning to begin looking at the issue. A public discussion was set for Tuesday afternoon, the final open session of the bishops' fall meeting.

DiMarzio oversaw drafting of the bishops' presidential election-year guide, "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship." The statement explained Catholic views on poverty, health care and other social issues, but also said that fighting abortion should be paramount.

Bishops posted the document on Web sites and circulated it in parishes. Church staff produced "Faithful Citizenship" podcasts and, for the first time, leaders wrote special election-eve prayers that touched on abortion and other issues.

Still, many church leaders were angered to see several prominent Catholics back Obama, citing a Democratic commitment to reduce abortion. Obama supporters said that GOP leaders had failed to reduce abortion rates and overturn Roe v. Wade.

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has released statistics which indicate the Catholic vote was partially responsible for Obama's election, according to Medical News Today.

According to the Pew analysis, 54% of Catholics voted for Obama, compared with 45% who voted for Republican nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.)....Obama received two-thirds of Hispanic Catholic votes but received fewer votes than McCain from white Catholics (47% to 52%).

The trend of white Catholic voters always voting for the winner was reversed by the Hispanic vote. Apparently Hispanics were not listening to their bishops. As Thomas J. Reese, S.J. puts it at the Religion Blog:

Did these bishops sway any voters? Was there a backlash against the bishops? Or were they simply ignored? Whatever the case, episcopal authority took a major hit during the election.

Uhm yeah. Was this a response from the laity to the way the bishops handled the sexual abuse scandal? It would seem that from the Hispanic community at least, the bishops were told to "go fly a kite". So much for "pray, pay and obey" among the immigrants. It's a wide divide between hierarchy and faithful. Bishops speaking with conflicting voices is not exactly acting to improve the situation. As Reese puts it:

Most bishops were silent or simply repeated what was in to their 2007 document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. The document said that abortion "is not just one issue among many," but it also said, "As Catholics we are not single-issue voters." This nuance was lost on partisan campaigners.

This division between the vocal, partisan bishops and the silent, nonpartisan bishops will be a major issue at the Baltimore meeting. The silent bishops are upset that the vocal bishops were perceived to be speaking for all of the bishops, while the vocal bishops blame the silent ones for the Democratic victory. This argument will take place behind closed doors lest the bishops scandalize the faithful with their divisions. It is not likely that this division, which has divided the bishops for years, will be resolved this week.

We have been warned about bishop opposing bishop. Now we see the prophecy coming true.

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