Catholic Bishops Clueless or incompetent?

The second day of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops annual fall meeting began with various speakers addressing the abortion issue. Sadly this very personal and complex issue was treated only on a very cosmetic level.  The very serious about women choice was never considered.  Reasonable people can only view the bishops in a clueless light when it comes to animated life beyond pregnancy.The Conference leadership under Archbishop Dolan seems to reflect a mentality that is locked in a mindset of panic, and under siege. This mindset reflects a constipated governing model and one that is increasingly based on paranoia. One of the reasons the Bishops are being dismissed as irrelevant both in society, and within the confines of the Church is their unreasonableness when it comes to the civil rights of both women and gays/lesbians.

They do not appear to have the audacity to respond to our present economic conditions as did previous Conferences. The 1983 letter “The Challenge of Peace” and its follow-up, entitled “The Harvest of Justice Is Sown in Peace” are documents that would resonate with the “Occupy Wall Street”, and indeed with Catholics in the pew.

The Rainbow Sash Movement believes that the Bishops are unable to tell the Catholic story in a way that represents the vast silent majority of Catholics in the pew. Joe Murray, Executive Director of the Rainbow Sash Movement warned Archbishop Dolan and the Bishops who want independence from the “Sense of the Faithful” that they are less fully Catholic when they emphasize their authority over  the authority of the Sense of the Faithful. Only when there is harmony between the Teaching Magisterium and the Sense of the Faithful will unity be return to the Church.

Murray further said he is calling for national listening sessions in the spirit of the Council of Trent in each Archdiocese and Diocese. I recognize that everyone in the Catholic Communion is interrelated; the focus cannot and should not be on the Bishops it should be on Jesus Christ. The purpose of these listening sessions should be focused on mutual accountability in promoting the Gospel value of love. It should be the moral responsibility of both the bishops and the Sense of the Faithful gathered around Christ to seek the truth together. Such Catholic Action will boldly tell our story not only to society at large, but also to increasingly divided Catholic Community.

The issues of Gay Marriage and Abortion cannot be dismissed from our Catholic Conversation by engaging in name calling, myths and stereotypes. Many in the Church use various forms of family planning techniques and technologies. That reality cannot simply be dismissed by clerical pronouncements.

Gay Marriage is about love; therefore if Gay Marriage is wrong love must be at fault. It is time for the Bishops to engage these issues not from the ivory tower of dogma, but rather from the lived experience of the laity.

Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland heads up the U.S. bishops’ “defense of marriage” initiative and he seems to buying into the Devil is promoting gay marriage attitude. As long as we have a homophobic Bishop leading the USCCB effort there can be no reasonable discussion of the matter, and no peace for the Bishops.

The controversy that USCCB advisor Daniel Avila ignited when he wrote an article for the Boston Catholic archdiocesan newspaper The Pilot suggesting a genetic connection between gay human beings and the Devil had its source in Mr. Cordileone’s baggage.

For too long the Bishops have been silent about the mindless sexism that roams the Church like a hungry predator. Without women we would have no Church, it is time that the issues and concerns of women are addressed not by men, but by women. The Rainbow Sash Movement is calling the US Bishops Conference to call for a National Synod of women that will listen to the many voice s of women within the Church concerning the complex issues they face in addition to abortion.

We believe it is wrong when women are denied the Primacy of Conscience when it comes to their bodies, and robbed of their spiritual call to the priesthood in the name of biology.

It is time for the Bishops to rekindle the vision of Blessed Pope John XXIII, and Vatican II to open the windows wide so fresh air might come into the Church in order to better understand the signs of the times.

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