Thursday, September 3, 2009

Nicholas Cafardi on the Republican Captivity of Anti-Obama Bishops

Nicholas Cafardi of Duquesne University's School of Law has an outstanding statement at National Catholic Reporter today, entitled "The Republican (Catholic Church) Captivity." Cafardi's analysis of the handful of U.S. Catholic bishops who are attacking health care reform parallels mine. He sees these bishops playing partisan politics that weakens the witness of the Catholic church in the public sector.

He cites one unnamed Catholic bishop who says he is so incensed at the new administration that he would close his diocese's Catholic hospital--if his diocese had such a hospital. (It doesn't.)

He notes that the attack on health care as a human right by Bishops Finn and Naumann of Kansas City recently is in direct contradiction to the teaching of Pope John XXIII in the encyclical Pacem in terris, who taught,

Man has the right to live. He has the right to bodily integrity and the means necessary for the proper development of life, particularly food, clothing, shelter, medical care, rest and, finally, the necessary social services. In consequence, he has the right to be looked after in the event of ill-health; disability stemming from his work; widowhood; old age.... (11)

Cafardi's conclusion:

Whether they realize it or not, these [partisan Republican] bishops in their purportedly “pastoral” statements are doing the work of the Republican Party. They are espousing political positions, not moral ones, and they are doing great harm to the body of bishops, not to mention the Body of Christ, in their transparent and patent political advocacy. What they wrote was neither theology nor catechetics nor spiritual direction. It was politics, pure and simple, politics that would warm Rush Limbaugh’s conservative Republican heart.