USCCB

Feeling Good vs. Doing Good

How do you explain the fact that so many people support disastrous public policies? According to polls, a majority of young people want Bernie Sanders to be the next president. Yet socialist policies of the type advocated by Sanders reliably lead to basket-case economies such as in Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea. Likewise, the welcoming [...]

The Biggest News Story Never Told

What’s the biggest news story of our time? What has been the biggest story for the last decade and one-half? Answer: the resurgence of Islam, and, in particular, the rapid spread of Islamic jihad. But, with a few exceptions, you would never know it from reading the Catholic press. If you look through the list [...]

An Assessment of the New USCCB Document Faithful Citizenship

The U.S. bishops recently issued an updated version of their 2007 document on the political obligations of Catholics, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (FCFC). While an in-depth analysis of it cannot be undertaken in a short column, I offer some thoughts and an assessment of its main points and try to put it into the [...]

Holy Days of Obligation: A Defense

With the approach of the Solemn Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, American Catholics can breathe a sigh of relief thanks to the work of the USCCB. For this year, the Assumption, a holy day of obligation, falls on a Saturday. Ordinarily, this would mean—horrors!—that the faithful must attend Mass on the [...]

Faith-Based Negotiations with Faith-Based Fanatics

When Church leaders comment on international events they show a remarkable propensity for explaining those events in more or less the same way that secular liberals do. The flip side of this penchant is a tendency to ignore what their own theological training might tell them about important issues. Take the recent Vatican endorsement of [...]

Parental Guidance and Offensive Movie Favorites

“I shall not today attempt further to define [hard-core pornography], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it.”  ~ Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart “How about we go see the new Mad Max movie,” I suggested to my almost-twenty son, Ben. It hit a nerve. “I haven’t even [...]

The Reception of Holy Communion in the United States

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council. Pope Francis has decided to mark the occasion with the “Year of Mercy.” Despite much happy-talk and positive papal press, it is a time of foreboding in the Church. The anxiety over the coming Synod on the Family is substantial and growing, [...]

The Bishops’ Fateful Decision Respecting the Unborn

In 1973 the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion. It was projected that the decision would not just replace illegal abortions with legal ones, but that the total number of abortions would dramatically increase (it turned out by approximately a million a year). It was clear that there were only two remedies: the [...]

Bishops, Bigots, and Ben Affleck

An exchange about Islam that took place recently on Real Time with Bill Maher helps to crystallize what’s wrong with many discussions about Islam and terrorism. Maher and fellow atheist Sam Harris took one side of the debate. Actor Ben Affleck, columnist Nicholas Kristof, and former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele took the other. [...]

Telling the Truth About Islam

Why has it become so maddeningly difficult to make judgments about other people? About the actions especially of people who want to kill us? Indeed, whose stated aim is to bring the Great Satan (i.e., America) to its knees, and then to cut off its collective head? Is it too much of a stretch to [...]

The Downside of Dialogue

Dialoguers say the darndest things. The conclusion to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ document, Revelation: Catholic and Muslim Perspectives, contains the following: “Both Jesus and Muhammad loved and cared for all whom they met, especially the poor and oppressed.” Would that include the seven hundred men of the Qurayza tribe who were beheaded [...]

Islamophobia-phobia and the Rotherham Rapes

“Prelate rues rising Islamophobia in wake of Islamic State atrocities.” The headline caught my eye. It seems that Auxiliary Bishop Denis Madden, who chairs the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, has expressed concern that “Islamophobia in America is on the rise” in the wake of atrocities committed by [...]

Hobby Lobby and Employment Discrimination

Editor's note: The following statement was issued by the USCCB and published on its blog July 17, 2014. In the image above, President Obama signs executive orders July 21, 2014 meant to protect homosexual employees from federal workplace discrimination. (Photo Credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images) The Washington Post reported July 8 that the American Civil Liberties [...]

Intelligence Failure

U.S. government officials were caught off guard by the recent rapid rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and its plan to establish a sharia-ruled caliphate state. Either they weren’t getting enough intelligence from their agents in the field, or else they lacked the framework for processing the information. Since the American Embassy in Baghdad [...]

Christianity and Islam: A Common Heritage?

Recently two prominent American bishops joined two leading Shiite Muslim scholars in Iran in issuing a statement on weapons of mass destruction. According to the statement, “Christianity and Islam cherish a common heritage that emphasizes, above all, love and respect for the life dignity, and welfare of all members of the human community.” It went [...]

Consider Gun Ownership for Family Protection

The American Constitution guarantees citizens the right to bear arms. According to the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision, District of Columbia vs Heller, this right extends not only to the military and law enforcement officials, but also to private citizens who wish to own firearms for lawful purposes. Guns play a significant role in American history [...]

Vatican Publicly Rebukes Dissenting Nuns

Like recalcitrant teenagers, taunting their teachers with their latest refusal to submit to authority, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious—an organization that represents more than 80 percent of the more than 50,000 Catholic women religious in the United States—has finally been publicly rebuked by the Vatican.  After several decades of trying to persuade the intractable [...]

Buying Catholic Support for the Common Core

A day after the New York Times reported that a group of more than 100 Catholic scholars had asked the nation’s Catholic bishops to repudiate the Common Core guidelines, the Cardinal Newman Society reported that the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA)—a Washington, DC lobbying group for Catholic education—had accepted more than $100,000 from the Bill [...]

How Obamacare Offends Human Dignity

The Catholic Church’s social teaching is erected on the belief in the basic dignity of the human person. The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church is replete with references to human dignity with regard to social, political, and economic life. The encyclical Pacem in Terris by Pope John XXIII provided a catalog of [...]

Reassessing Recent USCCB Statements on Public Policy

Many faithful Catholics know that for decades the U.S. bishops conference and its bureaucratic arm have often been criticized for their statements about public questions and issues. The statements have at times seemed to line up too readily with politically liberal positions, been overly specific, too focused on public policy solutions, and unduly restrictive of [...]

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