Bishops punishing bishops?
Many pro-life Catholics have been encouraged by the number of bishops who have spoken up forthrightly about the abortion issue in political discussions over the last year.
One of the more forthright bishops said mildly in a taped interview that it was necessary to speak out, because the more subtle efforts at education haven’t worked.
But here’s a note of caution.
“As I have been covering the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops off and on since 1986, I’ve learned there are small ways of learning who is in and who is out, who is rising in status and who is losing power. One thing reporters have learned to look for is who wins or loses yearly elections as chairman of a variety of USCCB committees. I have noticed, strangely, that the most outspoken bishops on the pro-life issue always lose these elections.”
It’s an interesting observation, made by Julia Duin, the religion editor of “The Washington Times” in her blog recently. She gave details of who lost what committee leadership election and concludes
“Thus, the days are getting more desperate and bishops may need to be more outspoken than ever. But when they are, their own confreres punish them for it.”
It’s probably a good reminder for pro-life Catholics to express appreciation if their bishop is one of the outspoken ones, because, if Duin’s observation is accurate, the affirmation given by people of the diocese to their outspoken bishops may be the only support those bishops are getting.
Write your thank-you note today. If you can’t honestly write it to your own bishop, then write it to one who so richly deserves the compliment.