Cardinal Timothy Dolan has done an outstanding job leading the Catholic resistance to the HHS mandate. Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), an advisor to Benedict XVI, he has a well-deserved reputation as a spiritual leader. However, during the past few weeks much has been written concerning the controversy created by Cardinal Dolan’s invitation to President Obama to attend the annual Alfred E. Smith Dinner. Much of what the cardinal and other bishops have written has been an attempt to justify that invitation. Much of that written by Catholic organizations and national writers has been extremely critical, depicting Cardinal Dolan as naïve or stupid or much worse.
During his administration, President Obama has done everything in his power to undermine the teachings of the Catholic Church. He is implementing programs and policies that may soon require the Church to repudiate its basic beliefs or close down all of its charitable and educational organizations. His support of the intrinsic evils of abortion and same-sex “marriage” is without precedent in any other administration.
When Cardinal Dolan is seen hosting both candidates for president at the Al Smith Dinner, it will be made very clear that a vote for either candidate is acceptable to the hierarchy and does not violate Catholic teaching. And is this not exactly the impression Cardinal Dolan wishes to leave with his flock? After all, does not the USCCB transmit this idea by republishing its spineless document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship”? This 40-page document is nothing more than an excuse for “Catholics” to vote for a supporter of an Intrinsic Evil as long as that candidate is on the side of social justice. The majority of Catholic bishops as well as the majority of Catholics (54 percent) voted for Obama (the most pro-abortion politician in American history) during the last election.
Another statement from Cardinal Dolan regarding the Democratic Party further presents his insight: “Do you not think it’s a cause for celebration in the Catholic community in the United States of America that the two vice-presidential candidates are Catholic? Did you ever think it would come to this? We’ve got two men who—and you can disagree with one of them or both of them—say they take their faith seriously, who don’t try to hide it, and who say, ‘Hey, my Catholic upbringing and my Catholic formation influences the way I think.’ Not bad. Not bad.” With all due respect, how can Joe Biden—abortion supporter, same-sex marriage cheerleader—ever be thought of or seen as a SERIOUS Catholic? Joe Biden has made a mockery of Catholicism. In every opportunity to cast a vote to end the lives of unborn children, he has done so. How can Cardinal Dolan say Joe Biden is a SERIOUS Catholic? Maybe because “good old Joe” supports “social justice”?
Cardinal Dolan is in lock-step with the majority (but not all) of the Catholic bishops who do everything possible to aid Obama’s re-election. None of our bishops spoke out against those speakers at the Democratic Convention, including Joe Biden, who proclaimed to be Catholic while affirming their undying support for abortion, contraception, Planned Parenthood and same-sex marriage. No, not one word from any Catholic bishop anywhere in the country. Where is the condemnation from the USCCB for politicians who falsely assume the mantle of Catholicism? Where is the concern and care for the souls of millions of people watching the Democratic Convention led to believe by the deafening silence from Catholic bishops coast-to-coast that these politicians are legitimate Catholics espousing legitimate Catholic positions?
With the lone exception of the HHS protest, nearly every action in the political realm by the nation’s Catholic bishops has very likely ensured an Obama victory this year.
For the past three years the bishops have been in high-volume support of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and they overwhelmingly support government-sponsored national health insurance in spite of the fact that at least 10 of our popes have come out condemning socialization of any type, let alone socialized medicine. It is the single issue of being forced to pay out money for their employees’ contraception they oppose on the grounds of religious liberty.
The USCCB presides over departments such as the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) overseeing organizations including Catholic Relief Services where millions of dollars are given or funneled to various “social justice” groups who advance the culture of death. They deny this, issuing statements indicating this has all been cleaned up. The bishops have been lying about this for 40 years.
Also to the bishops’ credit was the savaging of the Paul Ryan budget proposal by modernist heterodox Catholic academics without one word of serious defense, with the lone exception of one bishop. Ryan’s point was rather simple, “If we don’t get this debt under control . . . the poor are going to REALLY suffer in the coming economic meltdown.” But it seems bishops from coast to coast were once again content to let the liberals chastise Ryan in the national secular media. Not one word came out of the USCCB headquarters saying anything like, “Ryan might have a point.”
The USCCB political efforts have the net effect of greatly helping the Democratic Party take America down the road to moral and financial ruin. And from the bishops has come an absolute refusal, a roar of deafening silence, to chastise or openly condemn their Democratic friends who parade their phony Catholicism in front of millions, who desecrate the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ by receiving Communion. This sacrilege is allowed to go on unaddressed by large numbers of bishops who are disobedient to the Church by ignoring canon 915. They have been told time and time again by the Vatican to be obedient.
This financial support for the culture of death and its political parties has gone on for years and years, all under some misguided and nefarious support for “fighting poverty.” Meanwhile, for all their supposed efforts the poverty rate now stands higher than when they began. The picture is clear. The aspirations of the bishops are largely aligned with the policies of the Democratic Party with the exception of abortion and same-sex marriage. And even there, when Catholic Democratic politicians stand up and express their undying support for these evils, the vast number of bishops do nothing, refusing to deny them Holy Communion and refusing to publicly announce the excommunication these politicians have already incurred themselves. The bishops are supporting and helping to stay in power a party dedicated to the culture of death, all in the name of supposedly prudential policy judgments proven absolutely ineffective in their stated goal of fighting poverty.
Occasionally, we hear a nice, Catholic-sounding speech from a prelate. We see an interview in which past sins are admitted, but nothing is suggested or done to fix the problems resulting from those sins. Instead, what we see are campaigns designed to whip up the faithful to support an American constitutional principle while the underlying intrinsic moral evil is completely ignored. It is as if the concern is more for jurisprudence than the salvation of souls. In fact, one might conclude the salvation of souls isn’t even on the table anymore. It is as if none of the leaders, or very few of them, really believe in Hell anymore. At some point reasonable people have to start wondering.
Cardinal Dolan and the bishops of the Church have convinced us by their actions and lack of action over the last several months that the future of the Catholic Church in America is hanging in the balance. It looks like we will see another repeat of the Cristeros here in America before our bishops wake up. Inviting the Baby Killer in Chief to dinner and a night of humor and congeniality is not how we will save our Church.
Jim Fritz is from Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, and is one of the founders and the executive director of Defenders of the Faith. DOTF publishes a newsletter (The Defender) twice a year defending the faith. It also has a website at www.thedefender.org, which contains all back issues. In addition, Jim is the founder of a Catholic radio station broadcasting in the Berkeley Springs, Hancock, Maryland area and parts of Pennsylvania. Jim is also one of the founders and an officer of Catholic Media Coalition—an organization of nationally known Catholic writers. He is an avid pro-lifer, has done sidewalk counseling for many years, and is a chapter leader of Morgan Count West Virginians for Life.