Don’t it always seem to go…

For the Paradise or Parking Lot folder I picked up this comment from CMR:

Boy, am I missing Bishop Joseph Martino. Does anybody think that Senator Bob Casey [D-PA] would be able to fly under the radar as he has if Bishop Martino were still Casey’s bishop?

Bishop Martino, Emeritus of Scranton, PA, resigned for reasons of health and out of concern that he couldn’t administer the diocese well.

Some claimed that he was forced out because he was too outspoken about "Catholic" politicians who do not act like Catholics in the public square.  I doubt it, but that could have been a factor.

Now that the bishops are getting more interested in precisely what "health care" legislation will fund, I wonder if the US bishops are missing his voice … now,

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18 Responses to Don’t it always seem to go…

  1. EXCHIEF says:

    Bp Martino set a good example for other Bishops to follow. Those other Bishops certainly can not have forgotten the stance he took. If they have any interest at all in being good Bishops they don’t need his voice. They need to develop voices of their own. Some are, most are not yet. You would think that having been played like a violin and lied to repeatedly would get the Bishops’ attention. We’ll see, as there are many battles to be fought and none of those battles will go away easily.

  2. john 654 says:

    How about Clare McCaskill [D-MO] I haven’t heard boo from Bp. Finn who isn’t afraid to mix it up and call a spade a spade. McCaskill says private money should be able to fund private abortions the problem is that private money is mixed with public money. We can tell these pro-abortion politicians they are wrong 100 times from Sunday or even tell them they should stop taking communion but its not going to mean a thing until they get publically ex-communicated. They won’t listen and they will continue to call themselves good “Catholics” until that happens and even then I’m not sure they will repent but it sure would stop the scandal.

  3. jfk03 says:

    Too bad he did not have the stamina of Bishop Ambrose!

  4. Central Valley says:

    Look at all the “catholic” legislators from the state of California. What has any California bishop done?

  5. amsjj1002 says:

    I miss him as well. I was thinking of him the other day. He inspired me, though he was nowhere nearby. I’m in Southern California, waiting… hoping for new bishops/cardinals that will lead and inspire.

  6. William says:

    To Bishop Martino: Vivat, Vivat Pastor Bonus! Dear, good Bishop Martino, take Summorum Pontificum to heart and officiate only according to the Extraordinary Latin formula. Traditional Catholics all over the country will happily, lovingly welcome you. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be asked to head an ordinariate or prelature. Put the gloves back on and get back into the ring–we need you like never before!

  7. The CMR piece strikes me as unduly harsh, to say the least.

    More generally, there seems to be an almost wilful disregard for a basic fact: Catholic politicians have a peculiar part to play in the political process (and please, let no one – NO ONE – take this even remotely suggest, let alone imply or entail, that I would by this line of reasoning excuse the heinous offenses against life, truth and basic bona fides, of which Vice President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, et al). are so painfully guilty).

    Catholic politicians need room to operate, they need to build and keep legislative alliances, and they need – NEED – to choose their battles.

    I have disagreed with Sen. Casey’s stances on a few more or less important points in these regards, though I have never doubted his good faith, and if we lose the ability constructively to criticize our Catholic brothers and sisters in public office, then we will have seen our own capacity for citizenship and faithful witness gravely and indeed, intolerably diminished.

    Perhaps readers will be interested to know that Senator Casey is one of the architects and co-sponsors of the Nelson-Hatch amendment.

    Incidentally, the USCCB is calling it the Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment.

    Best to all.

    C.

    Below is the full text of the pertinent Release from the USCCB Press Office:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    U.S. BISHOPS URGE SENATORS TO SUPPORT NELSON-HATCH-CASEY AMENDMENT ON HEALTH CARE REFORM; URGE CONSTITUENTS TO BACK IT

    Amendment precludes use of federal dollars for elective abortion coverage
    Bishops want Stupak-style House amendment included in Senate bill
    Oppose making people pay for other people’s abortions

    WASHINGTON—The U.S. bishops have voiced support for the Nelson-Hatch-Casey Amendment to the Senate health reform bill and have asked voters to back it.
    The bishops took the position in a Dec. 7 letter to all U.S. senators, after Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE), Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Robert Casey (D-PA) proposed an amendment to prevent the health reform bill from using federal funds to pay for health plans that include elective abortions. The ban would be similar to the Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976, to ban federal funds in the Health and Human Services’ appropriations bill from paying for coverage that includes most abortions.
    Similar bans are part of other federal programs, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, and included in the House-passed “Affordable Health Care for America Act.”
    “We urgently ask you to support an essential amendment to be offered by Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE), Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Robert Casey (D-PA) to keep in place the longstanding and widely supported federal policy against government funding of health coverage that includes elective abortions,” the letter said.
    The bishops also sent to the senators two fact sheets: Abortion and Conscience Problems in the Senate Health Care Reform: http://www.usccb.org/healthcare/hatch-nelson120409.pdf and and one on What the Nelson-Hatch-Casey Amendment Does: http://www.usccb.org/healthcare/nelsondo.pdf
    The letter was signed by Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, chair of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Daniel Cardinal DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chair of the bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City, chair of the bishops’ Committee on Migration.
    “This amendment will have the same effect as the Stupak-Smith-Ellsworth-Kaptur-Dahlkemper-Pitts Amendment already accepted in the House by an overwhelming bipartisan majority,” the letter said. “Like that amendment, it does not change the current situation in our country: Abortion is legal and available, but no federal dollars can be used to pay for elective abortions or plans that include elective abortions. This amendment does not restrict abortion, or prevent people from buying insurance covering abortion with their own funds. It simply ensures that where federal funds are involved, people are not required to pay for other people’s abortions.”
    The letter said that the bill currently before the Senate “allows the HHS Secretary to mandate abortion coverage throughout the government-run ‘community health insurance option.’ It also provides funding for other plans that cover unlimited abortions, and creates an unprecedented mandatory ‘abortion surcharge’ in such plans that will require pro-life purchasers to pay directly and explicitly for other people’s abortions. The bill does not maintain essential nondiscrimination protections for providers who decline involvement in abortion. The Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment simply corrects these grave departures from current federal policy.”
    “We urge the Senate to support the Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment keeping the health care bill abortion-neutral. As other amendments are offered to the bill that address our priorities on affordability and fair treatment of immigrants, we will continue to communicate our positions on these issues to the Senate,” the bishops said.
    In supporting the amendment the bishops urged Catholics to work for passage by contacting their senators. One vehicle to do this is through http://www.usccb.org/action.
    The entire letter follows.

    December 7, 2009

    United States Senate
    Washington, DC 20510

    Dear Senator:

    On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), we strongly urge the Senate to adopt essential changes to the health care reform bill to ensure that needed health care reform legislation truly protects the life, dignity, consciences and health of all.

    Therefore we urgently ask you to support an essential amendment to be offered by Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE), Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Robert Casey (D-PA) to keep in place the longstanding and widely supported federal policy against government funding of health coverage that includes elective abortions.

    Sadly, the current Senate bill fails to keep in place the longstanding federal policy against the use of federal funds for elective abortions or health plans that include elective abortions — a policy upheld in all health programs covered by the Hyde Amendment, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program — and now in the House-passed “Affordable Health Care for America Act.” We believe legislation that violates this moral principle is not true health care reform and must be amended to reflect the Hyde restrictions. If that fails, the current legislation should be opposed.

    This amendment will have the same effect as the Stupak-Pitts-Ellsworth-Kaptur-Dahlkemper-Smith-Lipinski Amendment already accepted in the House by an overwhelming bipartisan majority (see attached fact sheet). Like that amendment, it does not change the current situation in our country: Abortion is legal and available, but no federal dollars can be used to pay for elective abortions or plans that include elective abortions. This amendment does not restrict abortion, or prevent people from buying insurance covering abortion with their own funds. It simply ensures that where federal funds are involved, people are not required to pay for other people’s abortions.

    The bill currently before the Senate allows the HHS Secretary to mandate abortion coverage throughout the government-run “community health insurance option.” It also provides funding for other plans that cover unlimited abortions, and creates an unprecedented mandatory “abortion surcharge” in such plans that will require pro-life purchasers to pay directly and explicitly for other people’s abortions. The bill does not maintain essential nondiscrimination protections for providers who decline involvement in abortion. The Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment simply corrects these grave departures from current federal policy.

    We urge the Senate to support the Nelson–Hatch-Casey amendment. As other amendments are offered to the bill that address our priorities on conscience protection, affordability and fair treatment of immigrants, we will continue to communicate our positions on these issues to the Senate.

    The Catholic bishops have long supported adequate and affordable health care for all. As pastors and teachers, we believe genuine health care reform must protect human life and dignity, not threaten them, especially for the most voiceless and vulnerable. We believe health care legislation must respect the consciences of providers, taxpayers, and others, not violate them. We believe universal coverage should be truly universal, not deny health care to those in need because of their condition, age, where they come from or when they arrive here. Providing affordable and accessible health care that clearly reflects these fundamental principles is a public good, moral imperative and urgent national priority.

    Sincerely,
    Most Reverend William F. Murphy
    Bishop of Rockville Centre
    Chairman
    Committee on Domestic Justice
    and Human Development

    Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
    Archbishop of Galveston-Houston
    Chairman
    Committee on Pro-life Activities

    Most Reverend John Wester
    Bishop of Salt Lake City
    Chairman
    Committee on Migration

  8. kenoshacath says:

    William:

    “Dear, good Bishop Martino, take Summorum Pontificum to heart and officiate only according to the Extraordinary Latin formula. Traditional Catholics all over the country will happily, lovingly welcome you.”

    I second this motion.

  9. irishgirl says:

    I third that, William and kenoshacath!

  10. eewanco says:

    Hmmm. I see three people who are asserting that to be in conformance with the spirit of Summorum Pontificum, bishops should never celebrate the Ordinary Form. And, if they follow this, “Traditional Catholics” will “welcome you”.

    Reading S.P. I see nothing whatsoever in letter or spirit that would suggest that anyone never celebrate the Ordinary Form. It is called the “Ordinary Form” for a reason — it is the primary, ordinary, and chief liturgy to be celebrated in the Roman Rite. How is this compatible with asserting that clerics “officiat[e] only according to the Extraordinary Latin formula”?

    My understanding about Bishop Martino was that there were good reasons for his resignation quite apart from health, orthopraxy, or fidelity to the faith. Someone mentioned that he had problems governing the diocese, and this matches what I heard.

  11. bookworm says:

    Chris Alteri makes a good point. I personally believe that excommunication or refusing Communion to a Catholic politician should NEVER be done on the basis of just one vote, but on the basis of consistent and “contumacious” defiance of Church law and teaching over a long period.

    I think it needs to be done for those politicians who have gone out of their way to court the endorsement of pro-abortion groups like NARAL or Personal PAC, who have consistently voted against ANY regulation of abortion whatsoever, and who insist that the “right” to abortion is an essential part of our liberties that cannot be limited in any fashion.

    We can all probably think of some “Catholic” politicians who fall into this category of never having met an abortion they didn’t like or couldn’t justify, and whom we all know will vote for a pro-abortion healthcare plan no matter how many calls, letters, e-mails, etc. they get in protest. They are the ones who truly cause scandal and need to be excommunicated.

    However, I would NOT recommend moving this way against those who may not be perfectly pro-life but do at least hold the line when it comes to things like taxpayer funding, parental notification, partial birth, etc. There will be times (like now) when their votes are urgently needed to keep bad legislation from becoming much worse, and we cannot afford to alienate them.

  12. kenoshacath says:

    eewanco:

    I wonder if Bishop Martino refused to become a victim of collegiality.

    Please don’t take offense. We just wanted to invite the Bishop, and any other priests for that matter, to the most beautiful thing this side of heaven. The Tridentine Mass is called the Extraordinary Form for a reason – it just happens to be E-X-T-R-A-O-R-D-I-N-A-R-Y!

    Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception!

  13. eewanco says:

    Kenoshacath,

    Have you ever paid a visit to a Byzantine or Maronite liturgy?

  14. Supertradmom says:

    Why, why, why do the bishops not excommunicate publicly those lay persons in politics who support abortion?

  15. eewanco says:

    Supertradmom,

    Why don’t they excommunicate pro-aborts? Very simple: There is no clear canonical grounds for it (as far as I know). As much as we’d like that, it’s a bit more complicated than we’d wish.

    That’s not to say that there aren’t canonical grounds for denying them communion, and why they don’t is certainly a valid question. Even that, though, is poorly charted canonical ground. I believe all the pieces are there, though.

    Another question is whether it will backfire. You and I want the heads of the pro-aborts, but what will the reaction be of the other 99.99% of the population? Will it, in the end, serve our cause best by doing this? What is our motivation — to change the hearts of the pro-aborts or to be super-righteous? (Do you really think we’re going to convert a pro-abort by denying them communion — or will we merely give our enemies ammunition to use against us?)

    It’s a question of prudence and strategy.

  16. MichaelJ says:

    eewanco,

    You seem to view Excommunication as a purely punitive measure (e.g. “we want their heads”). To the best of my understanding though, it is not. Instead, it is first and foremost a remedial act whose intent is to encourage repentence of those who are excommunicated; any punitive aspects are simply a means.

    Additionally, Excommunication serves to help prevent others from being led astray. Given that, I fail to see how the question of “will it backfire” even enters into the picture. Would you have the same concerns about a parent insisting that their children get vaccinated despite the fact that the kids won’t like it?

  17. eewanco says:

    Michael,

    You are quite correct; excommunication is medicinal, not punitive. But again, will they respond to it, or use it to make themselves martyrs and boost their political capital?

    Not leading others astray is certainly an important element of it. Keep in mind, I’m not asserting that excommunication is not a good idea, I’m merely offering possible reasons why the bishops might think it isn’t. People know the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion. It’s all over the media. They don’t need an excommunication to know that. With respect to your example, some vaccines have a threat of harm associated with them. It’s reasonable to refuse a vaccine if that balances out the threat of harm.

    My point is not, again, that they should not be excommunicated but that there may be a subtle calculus involved.

  18. kenoshacath says:

    eewanco:

    Yes, our family attended the Byzantine liturgy for a year a while back. We loved it! Their traditions have been preserved in this Rite. However, we clearly understood their reasons for standing during Communion and the active participation of the faithful, such as frequent bowing, prostrations, moving about the church to pray in front of icons, etc. The fasting laws are very strict, but quite beneficial to the soul. We felt very comfortable there. I have a great appreciation for the Rite that remained unchanged during the Roman Rite Revolution.