Skip to comments.The Noise-to-Signal Ratio at the USCCB
Posted on 03/07/2012 1:57:51 PM PST by marshmallow
During the past several weeks the US bishops have been engaged in a critical political battle over the HHS contraceptive mandate, and the USCCB has issued a series of strong statements on that subject. Good.
During those same weeks, however, the USCCB has also issued statements on tax cuts and unemployment benefits, the consumer bill of rights, US policy in the Middle East, nuclear weapons, and now agricultural policy. Here I am including only statements released by the episcopal conference. Individual bishops have added their own opinions on public-policy matters ranging from immigration to climate change.
It is not obvious why the bishops feel obliged to speak on all those subjects. Is there a clear Catholic position on agricultural policy? No. Are American Catholics united in their views on agricultural policy? No. Do bishops have any special teaching authority regarding agricultural policy? Again, no.
But because the USCCB keeps cranking out policy recommendations, politicians can tune in and tune out, listening to the bishops whenever it suits their own partisan interests. A legislator can tell his bishop: I might have disappointed you on the contraception mandate, but remember, I was with you on unemployment benefits and on the consumers bill of rights. So I was with you more often than I was against you.
The bishops Faithful Citizenship guidelines compound the problem by encouraging both politicians and voters to consider a broad range of issuessome absolutely critical, others relatively minor; some clear moral imperatives, others questions of prudential judgment. Someone who reads the bishops statements carefully, honestly looking for guidance, will recognize that some questions take precedence.
(Excerpt) Read more at catholicculture.org ...
I think Phil's onto something, here.
They got into this stuff back in the heyday of “peace and justice,” when they were praised by the left for bloviating about nuclear war and parroting leftist social positions. Meanwhile, terrible things were happening in their dioceses and in the Church as a whole because they had failed to teach - or had even taught falsely - on matters of faith and morals and Church doctrine, which is where their teaching authority lies.
Many of the old crop of lefty bishops have passed on to their reward, and the newer ones are better, but there’s still enough of the old guard remaining who remember their glory days as the best friend of the left.
Interesting choice of words “Noise to Signal ratio”
I always saw that phrase as “Signal to Noise ratio” (as in RF or Audio signals, I have an understand of that)
But I guess I always assumed the Signal was larger than the Noise. Today that may no longer be true, at least as far as politics is concerned.
I agree. Also the distinction between teachings which are binding upon the faithful and those in which there is leeway to exercise prudential judgment is lost. For example though the question of health care is subject to our scrutiny based on Catholic teaching the way in which we exercise that teaching may rightfully vary depending on our own well trained judgment and conscience. I may be opposed to Obama Care what I can not do is claim that the poor should not have health care.
Yes, I tend to agree here.
IIRC, the pope spoke on Catholics and politics and listed the non-negotiable areas and issues.
I believe they were: Marriage, sanctity of life, and parents control of children’s education.
If the USCCB limited itself to expressing the Church’s teaching on these political issues, I think that might be a good guideline.
Lawler is the best. I have thought so for many years.