Every year at election time we hear the calls from Catholic religious leaders who make news for denying certain politicians communion for being unfaithful to the doctrines of the religion. Well, this time there is a new revolt, and it’s the Catholic leaders themselves being examined — by the most ardent “faithful” bloggers.
Via the New York Times:
Pressure is on to change the Roman Catholic Church in America, but it’s not coming from the usual liberal suspects. A new breed of theological conservatives has taken to blogs and YouTube to say the church isn’t Catholic enough.
Enraged by dissent that they believe has gone unchecked for decades, and unafraid to say so in the starkest language, these activists are naming names and unsettling the church.
— In the Archdiocese of Boston, parishioners are dissecting the work of a top adviser to the cardinal for any hint of Marxist influence.
— Bloggers are combing through campaign finance records to expose staff of Catholic agencies who donate to politicians who support abortion rights.
— RealCatholicTV.com, working from studios in suburban Detroit, is hunting for “traitorous” nuns, priests or bishops throughout the American church.
“We’re no more engaged in a witch hunt than a doctor excising a cancer is engaged in a witch hunt,” said Michael Voris of RealCatholicTV.com and St. Michael’s Media. “We’re just shining a spotlight on people who are Catholics who do not live the faith.”
The work of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is another frequent target.
Activists and bloggers, including Bellarmine Veritas Ministry of Texas, have been investigating the bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development, a national grantmaking program created in the 1970s to support community organizing and economic development.
The activists concluded that some of the grantees back same-sex marriage, artificial contraception or abortion rights. As part of the push, activists accused the director of the bishops’ national social justice office of serving on the board of a nonprofit while it advocated for gay marriage and abortion. The claims against him were shown to be unfounded.
It’s ironic to me that one of the targets of not being “Catholic enough” is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. This is the group that banded together to ensure that healthcare reform would die if any measure that even remotely looked like support for abortion was allowed in. Now, having successfully advocated for a watered-down reform that no one is pleased with and will be forced to undergo legal challenge after legal challenge, they have regrouped to attempt to remove any coverage for contraceptives from care, claiming that preventing pregnancy isn’t “preventative medicine” at all.
While deciding who is or isn’t sufficiently Catholic enough, these zealots are focusing on the very social issues that have been dividing the country, while completely ignoring the ideas of charity and compassion that originally was the basis of their faith.
Perhaps someone needs to remember to “remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”