Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What is a camel?

(Another installment in the occasional "Catholics Are Stupid" series.)

A horse designed by a committee.

The point of the joke is to illustrate what happens when people stop thinking for themselves, and spend most of their time wondering what the guy next to them thinks. If you've ever watched an annual meeting of the American bishops, you've got the idea.

Rich Leonardi wonders out loud about their sense of priorities:

In 2004, a full two decades after Mario Cuomo taught pro-abortion Catholic politicians how to use Catholic universities as campaign props, the bishops' conference issued a statement criticizing the practice.

In 2006, almost a decade and a half after Pope John Paul II promulgated the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the bishops released the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults.

In 2007, less than two weeks after a stacked UN panel circulated an excerpt from an unreleased report on global warming, the bishops urged Congress to take action.

It's reassuring to know they can "act with urgency" when the occasion requires it.

That's the way Rich sees it. But let's step back for a moment...

Years ago, I had press privileges for the bishops' conference. There was one year when Bishop Bruskewitz of Lincoln was making his unique presence known. Members of the press would obviously not be allowed in the meetings, and they did not get to watch closed sessions on the viewscreen. But we'd see them leave, and go about from one part of the hotel to another. Several of them walked by one evening; Bruskewitz in front, and three or four others behind him, ribbing him mercilessly, if only in fun, about whatever it was he said in that room. Something no one else would have had the nerve to say out loud.

They say the priesthood can be a lonely way of life. If it is, being a bishop can be even lonelier. All the more reason to get along by going along. Even where the rest of us are concerned, consider the difficulty of agreeing on something once enough people get involved. Consider also how (getting back to them again) many of these guys don't get where they are by being too sharp, so much as offending the least number of people. Now, consider the need, not just to do something, but to assure the rest of the world -- including Rome -- that something is being done. It's not hard for the lot of them to agree that global warming is bad. Then again, how to translate the Mass into English, how to teach the hard parts of the Faith, how to think for your damn self...

But it's getting easier, with one bishop after another drawing the line where it hurts. Politicians who favor "abortion rights" are starting to feel the pinch. A dramatic transformation won't happen overnight, not with a few of the old status quo still in control, but it will happen.

Otherwise, Rich would still be waiting for the above. So would the rest of us. Including Rome.

[FOOTNOTE: For the purpose of this series, Rich is the smart one. That would leave...]


Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

Politicians who favor "abortion rights" are starting to feel the pinch.

Can you cite an example of this for me? It would really be appreciated.

David L Alexander said...

The reference was to those bishops (in Lincoln, St Louis, Milwaukee, to name three) who have announced that such public officials should be denied Communion. I never said those officials were losing sleep over it.

A pinch. Not a boot to the head.

Dad29 said...

David, I think you are confusing LaCrosse (WI) with Milwaukee (WI.)

And Bp. Burke was in both StLouis and LaCrosse...

However, Bp. Bruskewitz has "graduated" two fellows who are also now Bishops--Vasa of Oregon and another whose name I forget, located in the Rockies (not Denver.)

Bp Morlino of Madison was VERY strong in his denunciation of the Same Sex Marriage idea.

Were Abp Dolan of Milwaukee to issue a pointed letter, he has a target-rich environment--but he hasn't yet.

David L Alexander said...


You know you've been away from the Midwest too long when you miss details like this. I should have known 'cuz I've written about Milwaukee and that St Joan's, the one where they should just dynamite the place, and put it out of its misery.

Good call on Vasa, too. With 25 bishops heading for retirement by the end of next year, you would think there's gotta be a change in the wind somewhere. Stay tuned...