"doubt belief"

2009/04/12

Catholic Bishops Should Be Discreet

Catholic bishops should be discreet in attempts to influence politicians, judges, and others in public policy positions, especially in the use of withholding communion or excommunication. You do not communicate privately or publicly what happens in the confessional; you should not say publicly when you advise a politician that their stand on a public policy issue is against Catholic doctrine. Your public declarations about a politician's public policy positions evokes from me an almost automatic closer examination of a Catholic politicians statements and votes.

I remember several years ago when one of the New York City bishops made statements about politicians who did not follow the Catholic, many Catholic politicians, left and right, Democrats and Republicans, said in essence, shut up. I believe that Catholic bishops now should shut up in public; although I allow that they may express their disapproval in private. My rabbi, a personal friend, gives me his opinion of my opinions in private. I am not a politician, even in an appointive position. He would have the right to criticize me in public. He definitely would not criticize a Jewish politician in public; he does firmly advise them in private. He does it vigorously. That is what I am saying to the Catholic bishops. I don't want the image that the Bishop of Rome dictates our public policy, especially in public.

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