Marianne T. Duddy-Burke | Huffington Post | November 20, 2015
As the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) concludes its annual meeting this week, it reveals itself as grossly out of touch with both grassroots Catholicism and with Pope Francis. While there were certainly some who objected, the strong majority of US Bishops set forth an agenda that has little to do with the Gospel of Jesus, is opposed by the majority of US Catholics, and will squander Church resources, even as parishes, schools, and service programs continue to be shuttered due to decimated diocesan budgets.
USCCB members voted 210-21 (with a handful of abstentions) to promote a Voters’ Guide for Catholics that instructs Catholics to evaluate candidates based on their positions on abortion and same-sex marriage. In an even more lopsided vote (233-4), the bishops set their priorities through 2020 as:
• Family and marriage (including attempts to rollback same-sex marriage and support for government officials who refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples)
• Ending abortion and limiting access to contraception
• Vocations to priesthood
• Religious liberty
Wait a minute! Where is the emphasis on supporting immigration reform and assistance for refugees fleeing war and violence? As the gap between rich and poor continues to widen, and as resources continue to flow to the few, why is ending poverty not at the top of this list? Do US bishops not believe our Church should be on the forefront of efforts to end climate change and its devastating effect on our one God-given planet? Where do efforts to end structural racism, misogyny, human trafficking, or terrorism fit among their concerns?