The editor-in-chief and director of the U.S. bishops’ official news service resigned Wednesday at the request of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference general secretary.
Tony Spence, who had worked for Catholic News Service since 2004, had publicly criticized religious freedom and bathroom privacy legislation on his Twitter feed.
The news comes mere days after the Lepanto Institute issued a report highlighting Spence’s controversial tweets, wherein he had called religious freedom laws “pro-discrimination” and “stupid.” LifeSiteNews ran an article on the report Tuesday.
“The far right blogsphere and their troops started coming after me again, and it was too much for the USCCB,” Spence told the National Catholic Reporter Thursday. “The secretary general [of the U.S. bishops’ conference] asked for my resignation, because the conference had lost confidence in my ability to lead CNS.”
NCR’s Dennis Coday writes:
Bloggers from websites of The Lepanto Institute, The Church Militant and LifeSiteNews.com posted stories in the last week that accused Spence of issuing “public statements decrying proposed legislation in several states that would protect religious freedom and deny men pretending to be women the ‘right’ to enter women’s bathrooms.”
According to the newspaper, following a meeting with Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, the general secretary of the bishops’ conference, “Spence was escorted from the conference office building without being allowed to speak to his newsroom staff.” Continue reading
It often seems to me that most Catholic clerics could care less about the ordinary Catholics they are supposed to be shepherds of. Case in point: mass immigration of Muslims. I wish I could say that Robert Spencer is wrong, but his observation of the feckless policy of the Catholic Church in this country regarding Muslim immigration is on target:
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is calling for the U.S. to take in 100,000 Syrian refugees this year alone.
The Conference shows no sign of knowing or caring that the Islamic State said last February that it would soon flood Europe with as many as 500,000 refugees. Or that an Islamic State operative recently boasted that, among the flood of refugees, 4,000 Islamic State jihadis had entered Europe. Or that the Lebanese education minister said there were 20,000 jihadis among the refugees in camps in his country.
Or that 80% of the migrants who claim to be fleeing the war in Syria aren’t actually from Syria at all, or that German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the Islamic State is sneaking into the country with the refugees and is active in the refugee camps. Why would these “refugees” think they had to present themselves to Europe, which has welcomed the refugees, with false pretenses unless they had nefarious intentions?
Meanwhile, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is, as Ann Corcoran of Refugee Resettlement Watch points out, “NOT advocating to save the persecuted Christians of Syria through this program.” Instead, bishops such as Robert McManus, Kevin Farrell, Jaime Soto, and others are moving to silence those who speak about the Muslim persecution of Christians, and about the Islamic doctrines mandating warfare against and subjugation of Christians. Continue reading
Last week Adam Shaw of Fox launched a blistering attack on Pope Francis.
Pope Francis is undergoing a popularity surge comparable to the way Barack Obama was greeted by the world in 2008. And just as President Obama has been a disappointment for America, Pope Francis will prove a disaster for the Catholic Church.
Much is being made of his ‘compassion’ and ‘humility,’ but kissing babies and hugging the sick is nothing new. Every pope in recent memory has done the same, yet only now are the media paying attention. Benedict XVI and John Paul II refused to kowtow to the liberal agenda, and so such displays of tenderness were under-covered.
Just like President Obama loved apologizing for America, Pope Francis likes to apologize for the Catholic Church, thinking that the Church is at its best when it is passive and not offending anyone’s sensibilities.
In his interviews with those in the left-wing media he seeks to impress, Francis has said that the Church needs to stop being ‘obsessed’ with abortion and gay marriage, and instead of seeking to convert people, “we need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us.”
This softly-softly approach of not making a fuss has been tried before, and failed. The Second Vatican Council of the 1960’s aimed to “open the windows” of the Church to the modern world by doing just this.
The result was the Catholic version of New Coke. Across the West where the effects were felt, seminaries and convents emptied, church attendance plummeted, and adherence to Church doctrine diminished.
Go here to read the rest. In addition to working for Fox, Shaw used to be a writer for Catholic News Service. PopeWatch says used to be, because he has been fired:
Tony Spence, editor in chief of the wire service commented on the firing:
“(W)hen he penned the recent piece on Pope Francis, comparing him to President Obama, and presenting it as an op/ed, he seriously compromised his credibility as an objective Catholic journalist for CNS. Had Adam merely reported on the pope’s apostolic exhortation, even citing unflattering sources, there would have been no problem. However, Adam’s caustic condemnation of the exhortation and of Francis himself, one of the key figures we cover daily with objectivity, fairness and certainly charity, left me little choice but to end his service with us.”
PopeWatch understands this firing. Catholic News Service is a financially independent arm of the USCCB, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As in any organization, if you publically criticize the boss you had better polish up your resume first. What PopeWatch cannot understand is why the USCCB has allowed Ralph McCloud to continue as head of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development even though, as head of that organization, he simultaneously served as campaign treasurer for pro-abort uber alles Wendy Davis when she first ran for her state senate seat in Texas. Go here to read all about it. Why the double standard? PopeWatch is puzzled! Continue reading
NB – this was originally posted at the Catholic Stand.
I would like to use this space to talk with you about an issue of the utmost moral importance. It’s an issue where no clear-thinking, righteous Catholic could possibly differ in judgment. Yes, it’s time that Catholics united and stood up for legislation that outlaws the use of incandescent light bulbs. Not only would such legislation help protect our environment, but it is actually mandated in the Bible. Are you not familiar with Mathew 25:35?
For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in:
If you’re wondering what this Scripture passage has to do with banning incandescent light bulbs, well, it’s as applicable to this issue as it is to the Senate’s attempts to pass an immigration reform bill. Yet our Vice President has cited this passage to shame Christians into supporting immigration reform.
You’ll pardon me for failing to see how this biblical injunction means that I must support a bill that allows those who have entered the country illegally to jump ahead of those who desire legal passage into this country.
Unfortunately it has become something of a game to misappropriate bible verses in order to justify either legislation or, in some circles, to actually defend behavior or attitudes that contradict most other Bible passages. How often have you read a blog post criticizing, say, Nancy Pelosi for defending abortion rights, only to see someone in the comments to said post utilize the “let he who is without sin cast the first stone?” non-argument? It’s not enough to just cite the passage, you actually have to demonstrate how the passage you’re citing actually links to the position you’re taking. Sure, not every Bible verse will literally match up and you do need to interpret according to the proper context, but there should be at least a reasonable nexus between the Scripture quotation and your position on a semi-related issue.
What’s also infuriating about Biden’s sudden adherence to biblical literalism is that he glosses over, say 1 Corinthians 6:9 when it comes to same-sex marriage, and that pesky 6th Commandment when it comes to abortion. Yet strained references to unrelated Bible passages are perfectly acceptable according to ole Joe when it’s a piece of legislation his boss and his party are really desperate to pass.
If only Joe Biden were the only Catholic stretching logic in order to justify Senate action. Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, the Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, authored this letter encouraging support for the Senate’s bill. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with the Bishops supporting immigration reform, it’s just that the arguments deployed in defense of the bill are, well, indefensible, starting with this:
Each day in our parishes, social service programs, hospitals, and schools we witness the human consequences of a broken immigration system. Families are separated, migrant workers are exploited, and our fellow human beings die in the desert.
This is a very unfortunate choice of words. Note the use of the passive voice: families are separated, migrant workers are exploited. What this passage does is essentially deny any agency in the migrant worker. In fact, the wording actually dehumanizes the worker in a certain sense because it takes away any moral culpability on his part. Those who have chosen to immigrate to the United States – legally or illegally – have largely not done so against their will (I will not discuss here those who have been forced to leave the country against their will thanks to our lack of effective border security). If families are separated, then that responsibility adheres to the individual or individuals who have knowingly entered the country illegally.
There is more:
We can continue on our current path, which employs an immigration system that does not serve the rule of law or the cause of human rights, or we can create a system which honors both principles.
I have admitted that the current immigration system could use improving, but this is complete hyperbole. Even if one grants – as I do – that the current system is overly restrictive, how does it not serve the rule of law? Is the system unjust? No. Moreover, Archbishop Gomez fails to recognize where the rule of law is not being respected. It’s the person who has entered the country illegally who has flouted the rule of law. If the system is broken, then perhaps we should point the fingers at those who have broken it by overrunning it.
We can maintain a system that fosters illegal behavior and undermines the law, or fashion one that provides incentives for legal behavior and is based upon fairness and opportunity.
Again, in trying to defend the migrant worker the good Archbishop is effectively dehumanizing him by suggesting that the person just has no other recourse than to break the law. Furthermore, the very bill that Archbishop Gomez and his fellow American Bishops are promoting creates dis-incentives for legal behavior. Those who are already here illegally will not be punished other than in the most minimal way, and most of the supposed restrictions being placed on them can easily be disregarded. In essence, they will have an opportunity to gain legal status ahead of those who have played by the rules. Where is the fairness in that? Where is the respect for the rule of law in that?
I am growing tired of those who misuse Scripture and who offer empty platitudes in an attempt to convince Catholics they are morally obligated to support certain public policies. Of course Jesus’s words and teaching should always be at the forefront of our minds as we’re formulating political opinions. What I find offensive are efforts to appropriate those teachings and infer a certain pre-determined end.
A fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal by economist Antony Davies and Catholic theologian Kristina Antolin:
Someone is twisting the Catholic Church’s teachings on caring for the poor, but it isn’t Paul Ryan. His controversial budgetary ideas demonstrate that he has a better grasp of Catholic social thought than do many of the American Catholic bishops.
The culmination of centuries of theological and philosophical thought, the church’s teachings cannot simply be satisfied by a government edict to “feed the poor.” Commanding “Let there be light!” works fine for God, but for mortal beings, edicts don’t carry the same punch.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has long supported government interference in the economy as a means to help the poor. But we suspect the bishops haven’t fully thought this through: If God really did favor a top-down approach to poverty reduction, why wouldn’t He establish a government with the power to wipe away poverty on demand instead of leaving things to chance and the possibility that someone like Mr. Ryan would come along and mess up His plans?
Perhaps we dehumanize the poor when we treat them as nothing more than problems to be solved, and we dehumanize the rich when we treat them as wallets to be picked.
Wealth and poverty are catalysts for bringing the rich and the poor together in community, and community is the hallmark of the church’s mission on Earth. Government is not community. Government is one of community’s tools, a coercive one we use when it is necessary to force people to behave in ways they would not otherwise behave voluntarily. Continue reading
“Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. Therefore, take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day and to stand in all things perfect” Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesian 6: 11-13
Mr. Voris is exactly right. The American bishops are asking for a fight after having failed to feed, train and arm their military. There is no way a single letter, as well intentioned and necessary as it is, read from the pulpit on a single Sunday, urging us to call our elected representatives, is going to save our freedoms and protect our right to practice the faith that Christ handed to us. It will not help catechize the silly young woman mentioned in the Real Catholic video, nor will it educate the nation as to why the Church teaches abortion, artificial contraception and sterilization are evils.
I hate to say this but in many ways the bishops almost deserve to be ignored. Truth be told, they have lost an immense amount of respect among the devout laity (the non-devout obviously having no respect for them). This is not a loss of respect for the position, but for the men and the way they hold it; weak and timidly. The result is a wasteland of liberalism and heresy that is to be found in so many parishes across our nation. Now, after having the President of the US attempt to force them into committing mortal sin, they want the help of those few who actually believe, practice and uphold the faith to come to the rescue. Continue reading
President Obama mocked Catholic bishops at a St. Louis fundraiser last night as he was touting the new Health & Human Services regulations that would require Catholic institutions to go against the teachings of Jesus.
“Darn right!” an audience member at the fundraiser shouted as Obama described the regulation.
“Darn tooting!” Obama said back.
The contempt that President Obama has shown towards Christians is almost palpable.
It is becoming imperative that President Obama needs to be voted out of office next year due to this incident and many other policies that he has implemented.
Father Scott Hurd serves as the liaison with the USCCB for the implementation of the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Cœtibus here in America. He has been looking at the options available to all Anglican groups in establishing a U.S. Anglican Ordinariate.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops created an ad hoc committee led by Donald Cardinal Wuerl last September that was charged with assisting the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in implementing the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Cœtibus.
Today Father Hurd concelebrated Mass at Our Lady of Walsingham (OLW) Anglican Use Church as part of his visit to Houston. After Mass there was a tiny reception outside the church which was followed by a short talk with a question and answer period for the parishioners of Our Lady of Walsingham.
Some major points that were learned today concerning the process as to where we are in possibly establishing a U.S. Anglican Ordinariate. Please note that none of this official.:
This weekend, February 7-10, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is sponsoring the “Catholic Social Gathering” where prominent anti-Catholic bigots and progressives speak about social justice issues.
All this being sponsored by the USCCB and advertised as a Catholic event.
Here are some highlights by PewSitter.com:
-Fr. Thomas Reese, who was forced to resign as editor of America Magazine by the Vatican for his refusal to stop publishing articles which question church orthodoxy on issues like contraception, human embryonic stem-cell research, same-sex marriage, homosexual priests, mandatory clerical celibacy, and whether Catholic politicians who support abortion rights should be given communion
–Diana Hayes, professor of systematic theology at Georgetown University and noted speaker for Call to Action, the “Catholic” dissident group. Hayes is a homosexuality activist who wrote a book espousing liberation theology, calls for women’s ordination and promotes same-sex “marriage.”
– Page six of the official “Catholic Social Gathering” program gives a schedule for the Catholic Labor Network Gathering. USCCB exec John Carr is scheduled to join Paul Booth on a panel discussion. Paul Booth and his wife Heather Booth (another prominent pro-abortion activist with ties to the National Organization for Women, who helped organize a group called “JANE” in 1965 which helped young women obtain illegal abortions) founded the Midwest Academy a training institute for progressive activists.
-Paul Booth and his wife have served as host committee members for the National Organization for Women‘s Intrepid Awards Gala.
-Currently Paul Booth is executive assistant to the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The AFSCME endorsed the pro-abortion March for Freedom of Choice, held in Washington, D.C. in 2004.
Michael Voris of RealCatholicTV.com has been doing yeoman’s work, uncovering and shining a bright spotlight on the many anti-Catholic activities and persons that are done inside the USCCB.
For more information on continuing developments in the growing scandals from the USCCB click here.
When Cardinal George requested that pro-life Republicans vote for the Stupak amendment to the health care bill, he was shaming conservative American legislators that they need to stand up for what they claim in public. Cardinal George discounted reasonable Republican objections that this was just a ploy by Nancy Pelosi to get pro-life Democrats on board knowing full well that all pro-life language would be stripped in the joint chambers conference committee.
Was Cardinal George this naive to fall for this parliamentary trick? Can we assume he isn’t this naive?
No, Cardinal George is not this naive because why would the Vatican choose him to lead a diocese? The Vatican certainly takes its time to make wise and knowledgeable decisions don’t they? The Holy Spirit guides them in their work, granted that this is done primarily through the teachings of the Church. Though we can be reasonable enough knowing that the Vatican wouldn’t choose someone who is incompetent to be a shepherd to his flock.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Pro-Life Secretariat just released a statement denouncing the defeat of the Pro-Life Nelson Amendment. In addition the USCCB will not support any health care bills that diminishes the Stupak Amendment that was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Here is their released statement in its entirety:
December 9, 2009
Bishops Call Vote a Grave Mistake and Serious Blow to Genuine Reform
Say the Senate Should Not Support Bill in its Current Form
Hope That House Provisions on Abortion Funding Prevail
BISHOPS DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED BY SENATE VOTE
TO TABLE NELSON-HATCH-CASEY AMENDMENT
WASHINGTON—“The Senate vote to table the Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment is a grave mistake and a serious blow to genuine health care reform,” said Cardinal Francis George, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “The Senate is ignoring the promise made by President Obama and the will of the American people in failing to incorporate longstanding prohibitions on federal funding for abortion and plans that include abortion.”
Bishop William Murphy, Chair of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said: “Congress needs to retain existing abortion funding restrictions and safeguard conscience protections because the nation urgently needs health care reform that protects the life, dignity, conscience and health of all. We will continue to work with Senators, Representatives and the Administration to achieve reform which meets these criteria. We hope the Senate will address the legislation’s fundamental flaw on abortion and remedy its serious problems related to conscience rights, affordability and treatment of immigrants.”
Daniel Cardinal DiNardo defended the Church’s involvement in removing abortion from the House version of the health care bill after a storm of criticism was leveled against the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) of “lobbying” concerning the last minute addition of the Stupak Amendment.
“We would say: If you call it lobbying, we’re lobbying on moral issues that relate to the public square and we feel we have, as religious leaders, a place in that debate with others,”
Cardinal DiNardo became chair of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities at the USCCB. He is also the ordinary of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. His Eminence represents a growing cadre of bishops that are leading their flocks out of the wilderness bravely in a fallen world.
All throughout 2009 many bishops have entered the national debate in regards to defending fundamental moral values and rectifying misinformation from wayward Catholics in political life. This year seems to be the year the bishops found their voice. Not since Francis Cardinal Spellman graced the New York Archdiocese have we seen the faithful being led with strong ecclesial leadership from all parts of the country.
Ed Stoddard of Reuters’ religion blog Faithworld carries a roundup of the skirmish between Congressman Patrick Kennedy, the son of the late Senator Edward Kennedy, has claimed that Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin.
In conclusion, Stoddard asks:
This leads to a question about the consistency of views in the U.S. Catholic Church leadership. The Church opposes abortion and therefore liberal politicians who support abortion rights risk being refused communion. The Church supports a healthcare overhaul that would make the system more equitable. So does a conservative Catholic politician who opposes this reform risk being denied communion for ignoring the Catholic social teaching that justifies it?
How about support for capital punishment, which the Vatican says is unjustified in almost all possible cases, or for war? In the build-up to the Iraq war, Pope John Paul was so opposed to the plan that he sent a personal envoy to Washington to argue against it. Did bishops threaten any measures against Catholic politicians who energetically supported that war despite Vatican opposition?
The author’s questions reveal an elementary ignorance concerning the moral issues in question and their relationship to varying levels of Church teaching. While I am disappointed by his answer (Faithworld is generally one of the better and more educational “religion blogs” in the secular media), it is understandable — as even many Catholics find themselves confused on this matter. Continue reading
Extremist Democrats and liberals are hailing Harry Reid’s Health Care bill as a victory for pro-abortion activists. Though the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has called it “completely unacceptable“.
…Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the bishops’ conference Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, said Reid’s “is actually the worst bill we’ve seen so far on the life issues.”
He called it “completely unacceptable,” adding that “to say this reflects current law is ridiculous.”
There is a coalition of Catholic organizations that have formed that will be pushing for a nationwide boycott of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) called REFORM The Catholic Campaign For Human Development with a website. The Sunday before Thanksgiving a collection is done by many parishes for CCHD. Instead of donating money to an organization that is diametrically opposed to many teachings of the Catholic Church, submit the coupon that is at the top of this posting.
You can also download a PDF file and print it out yourself here.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, otherwise known as the USCCB, is once again involved in another scandal. It doesn’t matter anymore if this is a real scandal or perceived as a scandal, the pattern of perversion of integrity, ineptitude, combined with poor judgment is so apparent that even “Joe Catholic” comes to the same conclusion. And that is that the USCCB is failing in its mission to evangelize as is called for by Lumen Gentium (21), and instead is involved in liberal pet projects that have nothing to do with their mission statement.
This time the USCCB has petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate free speech. As a member of the liberal So We Might See coalition, a letter and petition has been sent by said coalition to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski which the Catholic News Agency reported it as stating:
The letter and its related petition asked the FCC to open a “notice of inquiry into hate speech in the media” and to update a 1993 report on the role of telecommunications in hate crimes.
Hattip to reader Rick Lugari. The USCCB* has issued this statement of support for Bishop John D’Arcy, the Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend:
“The bishops of the United States express our appreciation and support for our brother bishop, the Most Reverend John D’Arcy. We affirm his pastoral concern for Notre Dame University, his solicitude for its Catholic identity, and his loving care for all those the Lord has given him to sanctify, to teach and to shepherd.”
* United States Conference of Catholic Bishops