In his March 12 column, Washington Post writer E. J. Dionne Jr. attempts some fraternal intimidation of the Catholic bishops of the United States prior to the meeting of the bishops’ conference administrative committee on Tuesday and Wednesday. The argument, such as it is, doubtless reflects certain currents of thought within the Church in the United States — those currents that are deeply uncomfortable with the bishops’ emphasis in recent years on a robust assertion of Catholic identity. But that is about as much as can be said for it; as a matter of theological or political reasoning, it’s pluperfect nonsense.
Dionne warns the bishops that, if they do not back off from their strong defense of religious freedom and find some way to reach agreement with an administration he insists is trying to accommodate their concerns, they risk becoming a church that no longer stands for both life and social justice. Worse, they risk becoming “the Tea Party at prayer.”
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