With increasing frequency Catholics-in-the-Pew are accusing the bishops of the United States of what amounts to dereliction of duty, malfeasance or worse. I suppose that there are many reasons for the growing level of criticism. Certainly the tremendous financial losses which the Church in the United States has suffered as a result of the settlements in the pedophilia cases gave impetus to criticism of the American hierarchy.

But the criticism does not have its roots only in financial losses of the Church. Long before the pedophilia scandal broke on the American scene, the chorus of voices critical of the American bishops had been growing louder over the lack of action by local bishops in fighting the battles to stop abortion-on-demand in the abortion clinics in each diocese.

It is true that the bishops as a body, through their national organization the NCCB/USCC, and now through the reorganized structure, the USCCB, have been eloquent and forceful in condemning pro-abortion and legislative activism. As a long-time member of the NCCB Pro-Life Activities Committee, I can testify to the concern and vigorous action by the Committee and the NCCB in denouncing any and all pro-abortion measures.

But the problem has always been that while the bishops would vote overwhelmingly at the General Meetings of their national organization in favor of statements, plans and programs proposed by their Pro-Life Activities Committee, there has consistently been a failure to follow through back in their own dioceses. A few Ordinaries, or heads of dioceses, distinguished themselves by their actions in defense of the sacredness of human life, especially the life of the unborn, it was the activity of a few Auxiliary Bishops, such as the late Bishop Austin Vaughn of New York, that demonstrated the validity of the maxim that actions speak louder than words.

The disillusionment of the laity who were engaged in the battle against abortion-on-demand increased following their failure to persuade their local bishops to take action against the scandal of pro-abortion Catholic office holders openly claiming to be ‘practicing Catholics’ while they received Holy Communion every time they participated in the celebration of the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Canon 915 controversy reached its nadir in the compromise of the bishops in their Denver Statement on the subject. It did not help the laity to discover that a strong memorandum from then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger calling for the enforcement of Canon 915’s prohibition against such politicians receiving Holy Communion had been withheld from all the bishops prior to their voting on their Statement by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was Chairman of the Committee charged with the responsibility of preparing the Statement.

Only God knows where all of this will end, but certainly it is disheartening to read indictments such as the one shown below.



By Eric Giunta and Eugene Cunningham
20 May 09

The Church’s enemies accuse of her of birthing, aiding, or abetting nearly every social evil that has afflicted the planet: slavery, anti-scientism, Nazism, Fascism, the Holocaust – you name it!

Will historians a hundred years from now accuse the Catholic Church of being equally “silent” with regard to America’s abortion holocaust, in word and especially in deed? It’s not as crazy as it sounds. What follows is an excerpt from an imaginary monograph: Obama’s Pope: How Mother Church Gave Birth to Abortion, by Anne T. Kathlik, to be published in the year C.E. 2100.

“Of course, the Roman Catholic Church of the last century brought America abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, human cloning, embryo-destructive stem cell harvesting, and all manner of Frankenstein-esque evils. The cup of evidence overfloweth.

“The typical American Catholic of the late 20th century voted for openly pro-abortion candidates – most of whom were themselves Catholics in good standing with their Church – time and again, and without any compunction.

“The litany of Catholic politicians who were fervently pro-abortion is endless: Joe Biden, Mario Cuomo, Christopher Dodd, Ted Kennedy (in fact, the entire Kennedy dynasty), Barbara Mikulski, Patty Murray, Patrick Leahy, and Mary Landrieu were just a few of the names in an endless catalogue, all of whom were continually elected and re-elected, in overwhelming numbers, by their Catholic constituents.

“As already noted, all these lawmakers were completely in good standing with their Church, and especially with the Vatican. A handful of bishops, an insignificant percentage, suggested that they ought to refrain from taking Communion at Mass, but most of the episcopal hierarchy decided not to impose any such sanction. A bishop might occasionally express his personal disagreement with the pro-abortion politician, but he felt no need to impose his personal views on the lawmaker. The view of the typical American bishop, and even of the reigning Popes, was essentially that of the pro-abortion politician: these bishops and Popes were personally opposed to a pro-abortion voting record, but their actions indicated that they believed a Catholic could in good conscience vote for and promote abortion and remain in unimpaired Christian fellowship.

“And their flocks got the message.

“The Catholic Church sent its high school students, by their thousands, to the “coronation” of America’s most pro-abortion President. Tens of millions of Catholics celebrated with equal fervor and ecstasy, side-by-side with secularists, making no distinction whatsoever between those “marked with the sign of faith” and those who militated against the culture of life.

“‘As Catholics we rejoice at Obama’s election,’ was what one Archbishop wrote in his weekly column in November of 2008.

“The late 20th century Catholic had abortions at the same rate as all others in America, and voted pro-abortion in the same proportions. No distinction was made between those “called out of the world,” those merely in the world, and those of it.

“President Barack Obama was awarded, by the Catholic Church, a platform and an honorary degree at the nation’s most prestigious Catholic university. A minority of bishops feebly published letters of protest, again expressing their personal opposition to the award, but the university in question, Notre Dame, received no sanction whatsoever. Before, during, and after the award, it remained a Catholic university in full communion with the Catholic Church, operated by a religious order of the same Church. Notre Dame’s bishop condemned the invite with his words, but with his actions showed that he did not consider Notre Dame’s actions to be so grave as to compromise its Catholic identity. He could have told Notre Dame to stop representing itself as a Church-sanctioned institution, but chose not to. He was ‘personally opposed, but . . .’

“The reader will note that, despite the publicity of this scandalous invite, the Pope in Rome raised not a finger, not a cough, in support of the unborn. Oh yes, the occasional morally platitudinous remark, but the actions of the Holy See spoke much louder than her words. France’s pro-abortion, thrice-married President, Nicolas Sarkozy, was named an honorary canon of the Lateran Basilica, the mother-church of Catholic Christendom. The Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, published three articles, within two weeks’ time, praising the policies and the philosophical orientation of President Barack Obama. The second of these even compared him to Joshua, the Biblical successor to Moses, the Great Prophet and Lawgiver.

“One Vatican archbishop, an American, threw a bone to ultraconservative fringe Catholic pro-lifers at the national prayer breakfast. This archbishop was head of the Apostolic Signatura, and did not indicate that any action was forthcoming against Notre Dame or the continuous run of Catholic pro-abortion politicians.

“Of course everyone knows the work done by very many Catholics, acting independently of their Church, to save the unborn and fight against the legalization of abortion. These Catholics wrote letters and signed petitions, begging their pastors to enforce the doctrine and discipline they were paid to teach. But to no avail. Their pleas fell on deaf ears, both from their local bishops, but especially from Rome. These independent Catholics, from Norma McCorvey and Randal Terry to Priests for Life and Lambs of Christ, deserve the heartfelt praise of all successive generations.

“Meanwhile, the silence and inaction from the ‘official’ Church was all the more damning. From his window, the man now known as Obama’s Pope could have put an end to the travesty of official (express or tacit) Catholic-sanctioned culture-of-death liberalism. He chose silence.”


Eric Giunta is a Juris Doctor Candidate at Florida State University College of Law, where he serves as President of that school’s chapter of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies. He has written for LifeSiteNews and the Florida Chapter of the Church Music Association of America, and maintains a blog, “Confessions of a Liberal Traditionalist,” at

Eugene Cunningham, is a former educator at two schools of the Miami Archdiocese. He is active in serving and promoting the Tridentine Mass in that diocese, and in the local pro-life movement.

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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