The noise started back in June, with headlines like this:
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops – USCCB – had convened a three-day virtual conference in June where the 400+ members put their red-beanied heads together…
And because the Beanie Boys apparently had nothing else to talk about, some were loudly proclaiming that President Joe Biden, a Catholic, should be forbidden to take communion because he supports a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her reproductive health.
I remember thinking at the time, “Why don’t the Beanie Boys clean up their own backyard before they start talking about anyone else’s?”
By “their own backyard,” I meant stories like this, also in June:
And this, also from June:
And this, also from June:
The June conference ended and the noise eventually faded.
But then came USCCB conference time again: November 15-18 in Baltimore, and the boys – and the noise – were back:
And a couple of the Beanie Boys were especially noisy:
Isn’t it interesting that when Archbishop Cordileone was citing the “grave evils” of society – “human trafficking, racism, terrorism, climate change and a flawed immigration system” – it didn’t occur to him to include the global crisis of clergy sexual abuse?
Apparently the Beanie Boys in Baltimore were all working on a draft of what they call a “teaching document” that says, in part:
“Lay people who exercise some form of public authority have a special responsibility to embody Church teaching.”
I would suggest this edit to the teaching document:
Priests who exercise some form of public authority have a special responsibility to embody Church teaching.
Because who in the Catholic church, first and foremost, are the people who exercise public authority?
More than any other group in the church, priests are front and center in their parishes as authority figures representing the church: Priests conduct mass, hear confessions, grant absolution, perform marriages, baptize babies, and offer counsel and advice to countless church members.
Priests have a special responsibility to “embody Church teaching.”
Which brings us back around to my thought back in June:
Bishops, clean up your own backyard first.
I know you guys were busy at the conference, dithering about President Biden, but how about focusing on these recent headlines, from just the two weeks leading up to your conference:
There’s an awful sameness to all these stories.
Sickening, isn’t it?
Especially sickening when we go back to 2019, and this:
So, the Beanie Boys wrapped up their conference last Thursday, and that document some of the bishops were so worked up about – here’s what happened, according to CNN and other media outlets:
“The US Conference of Catholic Bishops voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to approve a document that fell far short of refusing Holy Communion to President Joe Biden or others who support abortion rights, something conservatives in the Church have pushed for in spite of guidance from Pope Francis.
“The document – which passed with 222 in favor, eight against and three abstentions – would need Vatican approval before any action is taken that would directly target any elected official.”
As for that “Vatican approval” – does this look like a pope who’s going to deny Biden communion?
Time for the Beanie Boys…
…to go home and address their mess.
Update to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:
Here’s a November 17 story that broke while you were dithering – you can add it to the list above: