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(RNS) U.S. Catholic bishops have publicly rebuked conservative critics of Catholic Relief Services, flatly denying charges that the group has wavered in its commitment to church teachings on contraception and abortion.


  1. Naturally the bishops are going to rebuke those who challenge them about inflicting their notions of faith and morals onto others who have a right to use the hospitals or other “Catholic Charities” facilities managed by the church but paid for with public dollars. It’s long past the time when those services should no longer be referred to as “Catholic Charities” because they are neither Catholic nor charitable–no more so, for instance, than any other hospitals or orphanages that also exist because of public support.

    Even “Catholic” food pantries obtain lots of public funding to support their operations. It’s the traditional arrogance of the Catholic Church to presume it can force everyone to think, believe, and act according to its strictures. One must ask, in what enterprises would the church involve itself if it could not use those enterprises for forceful evangelization? The Catholic Church still has not outgrown its monarchical attitude when it ruled Europe, led crusades against the Muslims, and conducted the tyrannical Inquisitions against its own people.

    Francis! Where are you when we need you so desperately. Make your rulings, call another council, and then get out of the way and let national groups of bishops, dioceses, and parishes manage their own affairs.

  2. While the Catholic bishops and other Catholic groups fight over aspects of faith, morals, and practices among themselves, again, it is important for all these groups to recognize that the so-called “extraordinary witness to the Gospel of life” they claim to represent is not a witness to life when they ignore known and proper preventions of the spread of AIDS or other STDs even if that prevention means contraception to avoid the death, illness, or harm to life of sexual partners–married or unmarried.

    The U.S. Catholic bishops and their suppliant groups act as if the bishops hold a royal status and all others owe and are obliged to pay obeisance to that status. These “fights,” of course, are caused by different interpretations of values and practices. Bishops do not deserve to have their episcopal rings kissed by anyone. That is outmoded royalty, and bishops are not royal. We have no royalty–except possibly the Koch brothers and their ilk.

    Saddest of all is that neither the bishops nor any of these Catholic groups who are fighting over their differeing interpretations of faith, morals, or practices are really performing their so-called “Gospel of life” on their own dime. They could not even exist, much less do what they are doing without the money of others. That includes government money, big time.

    All this shows so clearly the can of worms that has been historically suffered every single time religion and politics, church and government, sleep in the same bed. The framers of our Constitution recognized that. They knew their history. And the very first clause of their very first amendment to their constitutional work was to require the separation of church and state.

    Now, we must still convince all the radical, uncaring parts of the present Republican Party that separation is absolutely valuable and seriously helping those in genuine need is a value that deserves representation in our laws and budgets–but, without mingling religion and government. It is good for individuals and for the whole body politic no matter how religious or non-religious anyone may be.