Skip to comments.The Bishops Who Speak... And Those Who Don't
Posted on 05/13/2009 6:33:25 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
A popular pastime among Catholic commentators lately could be called "counting the bishops." In the last election, we counted the bishops who spoke out regarding their document on voting, "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship," or on the qualifications of Barack Obama as a Catholic candidate. With the latest controversy over the upcoming Notre Dame commencement, another count is underway: 68 bishops have criticized the choice of President Obama to receive an honorary degree.
This is a noteworthy trend in the postconciliar Church that doesn't go back far: Between the late 1960s and the 1990s, it was very unusual for a bishop to address an issue (outside the collective voice of the bishops' conference) that had either national significance or tacitly challenged brother bishops to greater action.
The exceptions to this rule are few: John Cardinal O'Connor and Bernard Cardinal Law during the pro-life skirmishes of the 1980s; and from the left and right of the Church, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton and Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz. There were often consequences for bishops who ignored the code of collegiality -- isolation or, sadly, retribution.
The reticence of bishops to put aside collegiality started to diminish during the 2004 presidential campaign. Many prelates began going public to defend Archbishop Raymond Burke, then from St. Louis, who was being hotly criticized for his comments to the St. Louis Post Dispatch that presidential candidate John Kerry "should not present himself for communion." More than 20 bishops made statements that supported Archbishop Burke's position, and among them some familiar names: Chaput, Wenski, Aquila, Smith, Olmsted, Sheridan, Saltarelli, Harrington, Hughes, Boland, Finn, Gracida, Gossman, and Myers. (One significant preview of what lay ahead in 2004 was Bishop William Weigand's warning to Gov. Rick Davis in January 2003 not to receive communion.)
The bishops' growing willingness to speak individually has blunted the power of official statements issued by the USCCB. The commitment to collegiality had given greater authority to conference statements, but often at the cost of sending a forthright and prophetic message about the growing acceptance of abortion. The latest document, "Faithful Citizenship," is an example of how a "compromise statement," representing all the bishops, can contain language which is confusing at best and, at worst, subversive of pro-life aims.
Now that "counting the bishops" has become a factor in determining the direction of the Church, it will be necessary to count those who do not speak. Or, at least, it is important to consider the meaning in the silence of those bishops. The 2008 election did produce one episode that suggests what the silence means for some bishops.
The Sunday before the election, Mass was held by the bishop of a major Midwestern city, one of the key war zones between McCain's and Obama's Catholic supporters. (It is not necessary for me to reveal the name of the bishop.) After Mass, the bishop held a question-and-answer session, which became quite heated when he did not answer questions about the priority of life issues to the satisfaction of some present.
One of those dissatisfied waited to speak with the bishop after the session was over. She asked him why his comments sounded so out of line with the many bishops who had spoken publicly to underscore the importance of voting pro-life. The bishop replied testily, "Well, there are many of us who are not speaking out," then turned and walked away.
In other words, there were bishops in the 2008 election who purposely did not speak out, and who did not agree with those who did. Their silence implied consent to the way Catholic teaching was being construed by Obama supporters like Doug Kmiec and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.
What does this tell us about the silence of the remaining bishops on the upcoming commencement at Notre Dame? Certainly there are those who agree with the 68 who have gone on the record against his selection. Perhaps they think the issue has been sufficiently flogged, especially with the public statement by USCCB President Francis Cardinal George.
But how many simply disagree with those bishops and think Notre Dame is doing the right thing by honoring President Obama? Is this the meaning of their silence? Do the majority of U.S. bishops agree with Notre Dame? If so, that may well be one of the reasons Notre Dame's officials felt free to issue the invitation in the first place.
....In other words, there were bishops in the 2008 election who purposely did not speak out, and who did not agree with those who did. Their silence implied consent to the way Catholic teaching was being construed by Obama supporters like Doug Kmiec and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. What does this tell us about the silence of the remaining bishops on the upcoming commencement at Notre Dame?
I don’t see Archbishop Gregory on the list...does anyone know where he stands on this issue?
85 Bishops. Is that a large number? How about priests?
If the church is so vehemently against Obama’s visit, why don’t those 68 bishops get the Pope to attend the alternate service. That will send the message loud and clear.
My bishop, who is very outspoken on life issues, never speaks on these “political” issues. I think everyone knows where he stands but I wish he would add his voice to the other bishops speaking out against these politicians.
Yet another fruit of the “spirit of Vatican II.”
COWARD! Babies, innocent babies, are being killed. And you can't even say it is a bad thing?!
Politics is one’s spirituality demonstrated.
Those of us with 'silent' bishops can surmise their positions be it through their statements on issues important to them or through their voice in the diocesan newspapers. Here in Albany NY, there has been NO commentary on Notre Dame in the diocesan newspaper. If anything, the paper reflected support for the "new" president immediately following his election.
The countdown to this bishop's mandatory retirement is just under 5 years.
Ping to my comment at #10.
I understand that there is a vacancy in the Diocese of Mogadiscio (Somalia). Perhaps you folks could pray for Bishop Hubbard to receive a transfer to a place where he would truly be appreciated. (/snark)
Antarctica needs bishops too...
Many of these Bishops and Priests are big into the peace and social justice crowd...
This article may help you understand how and why, some of these bishops were appointed. It has helped me to grasp their agendas and recognize their failed missions.
There is one (Lynch) whose statement was ambiguous, but could be understood to approve the invitation.
The count of bishops who have unambiguously said, in public, that the Obama invitation is a good thing currently stands at zero.
If the bishop of your area is not on the list I will post in the next post, please contact them. Here is the contact information.
This is an old link.
The bishops who have so far expressed disapproval of Notre Dame's invitation to Obama (in alphabetical order) are:
Current count: 68 bishops
Bishop Joseph V. Adamec - Altoona-Johnstown, PA
Bishop John D'Arcy - Fort Wayne-South Bend, IN
LSN Report: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09032408.html
Bishop Samuel Aquila - Fargo, ND
Bishop Gregory Aymond - Austin, TX
Bishop Robert Baker - Birmingham, AL
Bishop Gerald Barbarito - Palm Beach, FL
Bishop Leonard Blair - Toledo, OH
Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua (Archbishop Emeritus) - Philadelphia, PA
Bishop Lawrence Brandt - Greensburg, PA
Archbishop Daniel Buechlein - Indianapolis, IN
Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz - Lincoln, NE
Archbishop Eusebius Beltran - Oklahoma City, OK
Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantú - San Antonio, TX
Archbishop Charles Chaput - Denver, CO
Bishop Paul Coakley - Salina, KS
Bishop Edward Cullen - Allentown, PA
Bishop Nicholas Di Marzio - Brooklyn, NY
Statement: http://thetablet.org/05092009/columns_bishop.html )
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo - Houston, TX
Archbishop Timothy Dolan - New York, NY
Bishop Thomas Doran - Rockford, IL
Auxiliary Bishop John Dougherty - Scranton, PA
Bishop Robert Finn - Kansas City-St. Joseph, MO
Bishop Joseph Galante - Camden, NJ
Bishop Victor Galeone - St. Augustine, FL
Cardinal Francis George - Chicago, IL; President, USCCB
Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger - Evansville, IN
Archbishop José Gomez - San Antonio, TX
Bishop Bernard Harrington - Winona, MN
Bishop Robert Hermann - St. Louis, MO
Bishop William Higi - Lafayette, IN
Archbishop Alfred Hughes - New Orleans, LA
Bishop Michael O. Jackels - Wichita, KS
Bishop James V. Johnston - Springfield-Cape Girardeau, MO
Bishop Peter Jugis - Charlotte, NC
Bishop Joseph Latino - Jackson, MS
Bishop John LeVoir - New Ulm, MN
Bishop Jerome Listecki - La Crosse, WI
Bishop William E. Lori - Bridgeport, CT
Bishop Paul Loverde - Arlington, VA
Bishop George Lucas - Springfield, IL
Bishop Robert Lynch - St. Petersburg, FL
Bishop Joseph Martino - Scranton, PA
Bishop John McCormack - Manchester, NH
Bishop Robert Morlino - Madison, WI
Bishop William Murphy - Rockville Centre, NY
Bishop George Murry - Youngstown, OH
Archbishop John J. Myers - Newark, NJ
Archbishop Joseph Naumann - Kansas City, KS
Bishop R. Walker Nickless - Sioux City, IA
Archbishop John C. Nienstedt - St. Paul-Minneapolis, MN
Archbishop Edwin O'Brien - Baltimore, MD
Bishop Thomas Olmsted - Phoenix, AZ
Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk - Cincinnati, OH
Bishop Reymundo Pena - Brownsville, TX
Bishop Glen Provost - Lake Charles, LA
Bishop David Ricken - Green Bay, WI
Cardinal Justin Rigali - Philadelphia, PA; Chairman, USCCB Pro-Life Committee
Bishop Kevin Rhoades - Harrisburg, PA
Bishop Alexander Sample - Marquette, MI
Bishop Edward J. Slattery - Tulsa, OK
Bishop Richard Stika - Knoxville, TN
Bishop Anthony Taylor - Little Rock, AR
Bishop George Thomas - Helena, MT
Bishop Robert Vasa - Baker, OR
Bishop Michael Warfel - Great Falls-Billings, MT
Bishop Thomas Wenski - Orlando, FL
Archbishop Donald Wuerl - Washington, D.C.
Bishop David Zubick - Pittsburgh, PA
For a list of contact information regarding the Notre Dame scandal, go to: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09032706.html
Not e to myself.
Current count: 71 bishops
“...Kaiser, who covered the Second Vatican Council for Time magazine and recently wrote a book, Clerical Error: A True Story, asserting, he was cuckolded by the late Malachi Martin, recently met Jadot in Belgium, and published the interview for The London Tablet, September 7, under the headline, “Where’s the Red Hat?””
That’s a very enlightening article. I heard Malachi Martin calling some of these bishops Apostates. He named Weakland, Mahoney, Hubbard and Clarke for sure... There’s a couple of his tapes on the net which are free:
In the 70’s these bishops and the snookered Mother General instructed all the younger nuns to attend (brainwashing) classes, (despite the fact that their Mother Superior didn’t approve - she was overruled), and not to share what they learned with the older nuns or their Mother Superior. Today this nun and many in her order are big libs (no new recruits either - they’re dying out and they don’t know why)...we’ve had many disagreements and for some time didn’t talk to me. They can’t have a discussion because it’s their way or the highway. One of the other nuns told me Mother Angelica was too “old fashioned” - this from an 70 yo nun - but I believe she was repeating the “old-fashioned” bit from her old days at the classes and not necessarily targeting M Angelica specifically but using her as an example.
” What does this tell us about the silence of the remaining bishops on the upcoming commencement at Notre Dame? Certainly there are those who agree with the 68 who have gone on the record against his selection. Perhaps they think the issue has been sufficiently flogged, especially with the public statement by USCCB President Francis Cardinal George.
But how many simply disagree with those bishops and think Notre Dame is doing the right thing by honoring President Obama? Is this the meaning of their silence? Do the majority of U.S. bishops agree with Notre Dame? If so, that may well be one of the reasons Notre Dame’s officials felt free to issue the invitation in the first place.”
There is also the possibility that the majority of Latin Rite bishops in America take the Ecumenical Council proclaimed canon against bishops meddling in the affairs of other bishops’ dioceses more seriously than those few who will violate any canon to advance a political agenda.
Well below half. If you count auxiliary bishops, probably about a third.
Why do you keep saying this? To support what the ordinary is doing is meddling?
“To support what the ordinary is doing is meddling.”
R, no Ordinary needs the “support” of other bishops in managing the affairs of his diocese. The Ordinary has decided what he will do within his own diocese as is completely appropriate. I have seen nowhere that the local Ordinary put out an SOS to other bishops. For a number of bishops to weigh in with condemnations of a priest under obedience to the local Ordinary or of the actions of an institution within that local Ordinary’s diocese is interference and meddling, whether that condemnation is denominated “support” or simply political showboating.
The priest in question is not under obedience to the bishop but to his “abbot” so to speak.
Dear Ms. xxxxx:
Thank you for your kindness in writing a letter sharing your concerns about the University of Notre Dames invitation to President Obama to speak at the commencement this month. As the Communications Director for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, I am responding to your message on behalf of Archbishop Gregory.
Archbishop Gregory has not made a public comment about the Notre Dame controversy, but has allowed Bishop John DArcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend to be the one to take the lead since Notre Dame is within his diocese. You are encouraged to contact Father John Jenkins, CSC, the President of the University of Notre Dame, to express your personal dismay at the invitation.
Grace and peace,
Patricia M. Chivers
Communications Director Archdiocese of Atlanta
I note that the illustrious Bishop Skylstad of the Diocese of Spokane, WA (and former President of the USCCB) is conspicuous by his absence from the list...
I know nothing of such a canon, teaching or tradition (no surprise there, since I'm not Catholic), but if it does exist, and the bishops are self-consciously observing it, I can see that as a legitimate excuse for a bishop's silence. But I seriously doubt that all of the silent bishops are doing so out of obedience to the canon.
“But I seriously doubt that all of the silent bishops are doing so out of obedience to the canon.”
I expect you are right.
I don’t know AnAmerican Mother, sounds like Bishop Gregory is coping out...but it really doesn’t surpise me.
The GOOD news is that this is obviously a form letter, so he has received enough mail about it to have to prepare one. This is good because he knows people are exercised about this. Maybe NEXT time he'll get up the guts to say something.
I have not seen my Archbishop, Favalora of Miami on the list either and wrote him to ask he sign the Cardinal Newman Petition. I received a reply that Archbishop Favalora has had numerous problems with Notre Dame in the past. When the University bestowed the Laetare Medal to Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1995, Archbishop Favalora recalled a priest on graduate studies there at the time.
I was told that sending a letter to Notre Dame where his position is well know, Favalora preferred to educate and speak out to his local Catholic Community via Peace Radio and an upcoming issue of The Florida Catholic.
I can only assume the diocese did not want to answer my specific request for the Bishop to sign the Cardinal Newman Society Petition or they did not know about it.