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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Tom Reese SJ on the US Bishops

With every new day bringing another new condemnation of Obama by conservative Catholics (Obama = Hitler?), it was refreshing to read Jesuit Thomas Reese's latest post at On Faith. Here's a little of it ....


Memo to Bishops: Most Catholics Aren't Listening

During the 2008 presidential campaign, there was a steady drumbeat of opposition to Barack Obama from some U.S. Catholic bishops, which only increased after his election. But despite the attention these attacks received in the media and on Internet blogs, polls show that the Catholic people are not listening .....

Nor are Catholics listening to those bishops who have condemned Notre Dame University for inviting the President to speak at its commencement this month .... What is wrong? Why are the bishops not being listened to? ....

I think part of the problem is that the bishops stopped listening and teaching and started ordering and condemning. With an educated laity it no longer works to simply say, "it is the teaching of the church." This is the equivalent of a parent shouting, "Because I said so."

The bishops must persuade and convince with arguments not by turning up the volume. When they resort to commanding and threatening punishments, people are turned off. Banning speakers, denying Communion, silencing theologians is a sign of weakness not strength. Censorship and violations of academic freedom come across as admissions that their arguments are not convincing and therefore the opposition must be silenced ....

The bishops are being egged on by Republican activists whose presidential candidate lost the election. There is clearly a conservative conspiracy to do whatever is possible (including lying about ambassadorial candidates) to create conflict between the Catholic Church and the Obama administration. They want the Catholic Church to be the Republican Party at prayer. Some bishops are falling for this. But the Vatican is not falling into this trap. It clearly wants to have a positive relationship with Obama ....

The bishops who oppose the President's presence at Notre Dame are going to be embarrassed by the warm welcome he receives from the commencement audience. Every round of applause will be a repudiation of their condemnations.

The bishops will also be embarrassed when Pope Benedict welcomes President Obama at the Vatican, or are all these people going to tell the Pope that he cannot talk to a pro-choice President?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crystal, STOP IT!!!! You keep posting the greatest things. I am afraid to not check your blog every 15 minutes. If our Church were you and Reese, the end times might come!!!

BTW, the best analysis on Pius 12 was by a relative(I think)of one of your regulars. I hope he doesn't see this. Jack. I have to use "annonymous" because my computer keeps saying "sign out" after my name.

12:13 PM  
Blogger crystal said...


You may be the only one reading my blog :)

Yes, I seem to remember posting about Pius before but I looked and couldn't find my old post.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Mike L said...

Right on Crystal.

No, Jack is not the only one ready your blog :).

From what bishop Martino has said, even the Pope would not be an acceptable speaker at a Catholic college since he has met with and honored pro-choice politicians.

Jack, my computer also says "sign out" after my name. I think that all it means is that I am signed in. Do you have that choice of identity checked? If not you will have trouble :)

5:47 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Mike,

hey, I finally learned how to download an audio book from the library :) First I had to download a program called Overdrive Media Consol (for macs), then I could download and burn the CDs - The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Now I have more of an appreciation for how much time and effort you went to to make those CDs for me - thanks!

6:31 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Oops - i meant overdrive media console

6:34 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

I read your blog, I just never have anything intelligent to say about what I read. But I enjoy it very much.

9:17 AM  
Blogger crystal said...


Thanks for the comment! :)

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Richard said...

Yikes! I didn't know our comments had to be intelligent.

I did find Fr. Reese's essay heartening even though many of the subsequent comments were disturbing. Did you see some of those? Entrenched, rigid, hostile. Did I feel that way about Bush...maybe.

3:19 PM  
Blogger crystal said...


Yes, I apply a rigurous intelligence filter to all comments :)

I've never looked at the comments to Fr. Reese's posts. Why does it seem like mainly conservative people comments on stuff like that? He was replaced as the editor of America magazine, some say because he had the irritating habit of giving both sides of a subject :)

3:59 PM  

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