The Republican Party loves the Catholic bishops when they join their battle against contraception coverage for women in private employment. But let the bishops inveigh against Republican disregard for the historic and fundamental church teaching on social justice and, sorry, the most reverents aren’t so revered.

House Speaker John Boehner wants the Conference of Catholic Bishops to rethink its stinging critique of the Republican budget, which it said “fails to meet … moral criteria,” of protecting human dignity, prioritizing the needs of the hungry and homeless and promoting the common good.

I don’t think the bishops are buying. Again from Talking Points Memo:


The Bishops, an influential interest group on Capitol Hill, aren’t reading Republican priorities incorrectly, or failing to see the bigger picture, as Boehner suggested. And their warnings provide fodder for Democrats, who hope to break the GOP of its anti-tax absolutism.

“Just solutions,” the Bishops say in an official statement, “must require shared sacrifice by all, including raising adequate revenues, eliminating unnecessary military and other spending, and fairly addressing the long-term costs of health insurance and retirement programs.”

More here on the good Catholic agenda beyond denial of birth control pill coverage.

ARCHBISHOP SARTAIN: Former Arkansas bishop meets priests resistance on opposition to same-sex marriage.

  • ARCHBISHOP SARTAIN: Former Arkansas bishop meets priests’ resistance on his opposition to same-sex marriage.

AND SPEAKING OF CATHOLICS: Good and bad news here. Archbishop Peter Sartain, former bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock and now in Seattle, is the bad news. Sartain has called on Catholics to join a petition drive to block implementation of a law allowing same-sex marriage in Washington. The good news is that at least six priests in the diocese have shunned the petition campaign, with one getting a standing ovation from church members when he announced his decision.

“I am happy to report that Our Lady of the Lake parishoners have been overwhelmingly and, thus far, unanimously supportive of the decision I made NOT to gather signatures in support of this Referendum,” [Rev. Tim] Clark wrote in response to an e-mail.

“The standing ovation experienced during one of the Masses says less about me and much more about the health of this parish. I only wished the archbishop could have experienced the sustained applause — the ‘sensus fidelium’ — of the people. He needs to listen to this ‘voice.’ That is my prayer.”

Sartain at least is giving priests this leeway. The article notes a different tone struck by the archbishop in Minnesota. This article further reports Sartain’s understanding about priests who’ve been unwilling to join the petition drive he supports.


UPDATE: Sartain has also been installed by the Vatican to boss a Catholic women’s group, a move that has already stirred the beginnings of controversy.