Tuesday, May 30, 2006

And this is for the, "We want bishops who will lead us, not tell us how wonderful we are!" crowd.

As things stand right now, whenever a bishop takes any action whatsoever, he is attacked by the political side he is not acting for. So, if a bishop condemns a death sentence, or speaks out against the war, he is confronted with questions about why his statement doesn't mention the unborn or the threat of same sex marriage. If he speaks out against abortion or same sex marriage, he is asked why he doesn't speak out equally vociferously against the war or capital punishment.

So we end up with leaders who speak up as little as they think they can get away with. Yes, the bishops should be willing to face criticisms to speak the truth. But it's human nature not to engage in activities that are going to get you whacked in the head.

I can't help but wonder if those who "want their bishops to lead" would get what they want if they would just shut up and go along with the bishops, even if they think what the bishop is pushing on might not be the highest current priority.

Part of what got my thinking about this was this post. I'm sure Archbishop Hunthausen would be in the "bad" column for most "orthodox" Catholics. But there he was, witnessing in a hostile environment on behalf of the unborn.

The differences many of us have with the bishops are one of degree, rather than on first principles. It's not like we have bishops out there campaigning for pro-choice legislation or promoting abortionists. It's questions like whether pro-choice politicians should be denied communion, or who are appropriate speakers at Church events.

We can disagree on these issues, but if we fight over these issues to the point where we don't have the energy or will to confront the larger culture with which we have more pressing differences, then what good are we doing?

I am not saying we should let it slide if a bishop promotes something explicitly contrary to the faith. But if our objection is one of the bishop pressing one issue instead of our favorite issue, maybe we could let it slide. These guys are on our side, and can provide a courageous witness, if we don't beat that ability out of them first.
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