If American Catholics were to make a contemporary film about this phenomenon, we'd have to call it The Bishop's Life.
THAT'S PRETTY MUCH where the Catholic Church finds itself a couple of weeks before the 2008 presidential election, as Catholics (and everybody else) studiously ignore prelates' admonitions against voting for candidates who support intrinsic evil -- in other words, abortion rights -- without equally grave counterbalancing reason. Of course, it doesn't help that the candidate one might logically assume gets the bishes' blessing has his own "intrinsic evil" demerits and belongs to a political party which long has played pro-lifers for suckers.
Not that your average Catholic has much more than a 50-50 chance of actually being pro-life -- a fact that, in large part, may be traced back to the plot line of our mythical film.
And the plot line to our mythical film -- The Bishop's Life -- has everything to do with how (and why) American bishops will be playing host to all kinds of chickens coming home to roost. Which, of course, goes back to American bishops' complete loss of moral authority during the past half century. The last of it disappeared around 2002 in the clerical sex-abuse scandals, when the prelates who seek to tell you that voting for pro-abortion politicians is, depending on your motivation, either "formal cooperation" or "remote material cooperation" in evil were exposed as "formal" or "remote material" hypocrites.
Objectively, why should "Joe the Catholic" listen to a damn thing His Excellency has to say about, well . . . anything amid the ruins of a church where pulpit appeals for the diocesan annual appeal far outnumber any appeals for Catholics to uphold the sanctity of human life?
WHY SHOULD any of us give a damn what says this bench of bloated, bleating bishops when, as one invokes the fires of hell against pro-choice pols and the Catholics who love them, another dithers as parish staffs in his diocese stuff parish bulletins with "Catholic voter guides" produced by the George Soros-funded umbrella group Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, or at least groups affiliated with it?
It's just like what happens to your PC when you load it up with poorly written programs -- garbage in, garbage out.
Sunday evening, I found some garbage stuffed into my church bulletin. Produced by the NETWORK Education Program, a voter chart expanded upon every wonderful thing Barack Obama promises about ending the Iraq War, expanding health services and paid sick-child leave, but had this to say about the Democrat's position on abortion:
Opposes an abortion ban.IN CONSIDERING John McCain -- and note, please, that I can abide neither John McCain nor his sleazy campaign -- here's the NETWORK party line:
Supports an abortion ban with exceptions in cases of rape, incest and risk to the mother's life. In 2005, voted against expanding health services and education to reduce unintended pregnancy. Will seek ways to promote adoption as a first alternative to abortion.AFTER LOOKING at this disingenuous piece of goo -- a disingenuous piece of goo with catchphrases like "conscientious Catholics" and "consistent ethic of life" all over it -- I told my Republican wife that I, as an old-fashioned liberal Democrat, was offended. Liberal Democrats used to be a lot of things, but smarmy, devious and disingenuous were not among them.
A "religious" organization that takes money from George Soros (who also funds the pro-abortion, heterodox likes of Catholics for a Free Choice) has no moral right to even utter words such as "conscientious" or "consistent ethic of life." A parish bureaucracy that tries to put an imprimatur on partisan propaganda needs a clear message from the local bishop: Get your heads out of your ass, or find new jobs at Democratic headquarters.
Like THAT will happen. A blind eye can be turned upon any sort of heterodoxy, political shilling or liturgical abuse, it seems, so long as the annual appeal gets pushed hard enough from the pulpit.
After all, at least in Omaha, Feed My Sheep = Pimp My House. Maybe, though, this year's appeal can help add lots of coop space to the chancery and Archbishop Elden Curtiss' pending retirement digs. Maybe all the annual appeals across all of America's dioceses can be tapped to build hundreds . . . thousands . . . millions of coops on church properties all across the land.
All the better to house all those chickens coming home to roost.
ALL THOSE CHICKENS started their long journey when bishops forgot who they were and why they were here. When prelates forgot what they believed and why they should proclaim it, teach it . . . and live it.
Catholics' fowl journey got under way well and good when their leaders lost their faith and proclaimed themselves ever closer to a therapeutic deity. It gained fellow travelers when church bureaucrats decided it might be more "enlightened" to teach children crap and call it catechism.
Er . . . religious education.
Chickens are coming home to roost in a church where Catholics figure they not only don't have to believe any of that mess but don't have to pretend they do, either. In chanceries where, for too long, fat wallets have been equated with a healthy church. And where, for much too long, there has been an unwritten 11th commandment: Do as I say, not as I do.
Chickens are coming home to roost, boys. They will know their shepherds by the chickens*** on the chasubles.