MUST READ: Carl Olsen on the #USCCB17 Pro-Life committee vote!

Today’s must fulfill assignment is to go to Catholic World Report and to read thoroughly Carl Olsen’s piece about lib aspirations for the USCCB election of the Pro-Life committee chair and their subsequent spittle-flecked nutty.

Olsen brings in the analysis of several other writers, such as George Weigel, Sam Gregg and Rusty Reno.

You might want to make popcorn and crack a brewski for your perusal of observations about the catholic Left, including The Coyote and Beans (which sounds like an 80’s sitcom).

For example:

Not surprisingly, [Fishwrap’s] Winters—who brings to Catholic punditry all the gifts and talents that Dan Brown brings to “thrillers” starring symbiologists—goes simplistic after going apoplectic

Olsen has a pretty extensive examination of the lib aspiration that Card. Cupich of Chicago was really the man for the job.  He also looks at the claim that the same prelate was/is in harmony with the “consistent life ethic” advanced by their long-lamented dream-boat, the late Card. Bernardin, also of Chicago.  That part is particularly stinging, I must say.

Olsen wraps up:

Harsh? Yes. Unfair? I don’t think so. And it helps explain a few things about the Naumann-Cupich election. And, in doing so, I suggest what transpired today was a step in the right direction.

Weigel’s piece at NRO is also to be read.  He goes into the catholic Left’s golden calf, the fabled “Francis Effect”.

Good reading!  There’s a great deal to mull today.


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  1. acardnal says:

    My impression of Cupich is he, like others, wants to turn the emphasis away from abortion and toward eliminating the death penalty. But I would draw his attention to the fact that in 2016 twenty prisoners were executed under capital punishment laws in the USA. Contrast that number with the 2000 – 3000 innocent babies who are aborted DAILY in the USA! In light of those statistics, where should the Church’s emphasis be focused, Cdl. Cupich?

  2. Mike says:

    Has anyone seen a roll call for the Pro-Life committee chair vote? Catholics are entitled to know who is committed to the carrying forth of authentic witness guided by the perpetual Magisterium, and who is more interested in the promotion of a politically correct agenda that (further) compromises such witness. Such indications can be cobbled together from other sources, but this vote would seem to be a good barometer.

  3. Aquinas Gal says:

    Reno’s article at the link is excellent–a great analysis of what’s wrong with the Francis papacy.
    It explains why this pontificate and its advisors is making a peace treaty with the sexual revolution and other things favored by the social elites. Bingo! In that light, Fr James Martin’s campaign for homosexuality approval is all part of it.

  4. AveMariaGratiaPlena says:

    I will read it. Also, re: the election — phew!!!

  5. Fr. W says:

    Concerning the question regarding a “roll call” vote. The vote of each bishop is secret. While normally the votes are taken electronically there is no “linking” of the vote and the bishop who cast it. When paper ballots are used they too are secret and do not include the name of the bishop.

  6. So why on earth would 34 Bishops abstain from voting?

  7. iamlucky13 says:

    Mr. Olson echoes something another commenter here and I both noticed yesterday:

    “So, was the vote a slap at Pope Francis? I think that is a political reading of a vote that was not very political. In other words, folks (such as Winters) who see everything in terms of politics are always ascribing political motivations while insisting they are above politics.”

    That and the comments about actual synodality were the parts I appreciated most.

    To be honest, I don’t know enough about Cardinal Cupich to have an opinion whether or not he would also have been a good choice. Based on Mr. Olson said, it doesn’t sound like many other people know of reasons why he would have been a good choice either. Skill in political discussions can be useful, but absent an ability and willingness to effectively teach and explain the Catholic beliefs related to the protection of human life, it doesn’t seem sufficient for the role.

    I don’t imagine the bishops themselves want to wade into the heated discussion, but if any of those who favored him were to explain why they felt Cardinal Cupich was the best choice and had more reason than that he seemed unlikely to stir up political unrest, I’d be interested to read their arguments.

  8. Suburbanbanshee says:

    The vote was done by secret ballot (or rather, secret computer tablet touching — they used secret ballots whenever the computers weren’t working). The percentages were announced, but there’s no way of knowing who voted for what.

  9. Fr. W says:

    Don’t know why bishops would abstain from voting for Chairmanships but it is not unusual. 184 total votes for Secretary, 199 for Chair of Religious Liberty, 186 for Chair of Communications,189 for Chair of National Collections, 179 for Chair of Cultural Diversity, 205 for Chair of Doctrine. Votes for these positions tend to go this way. Action items tend to have greater participation but even then some bishops do not vote. Not going to guess why.

  10. TonyO says:

    had more reason than that he seemed unlikely to stir up political unrest,

    Huh? The legal status quo in this country, and every country in the west, is legal abortion. Millions upon millions of murders every year. To my mind, “unlikely to stir up political unrest” is effectively a recipe for “keep the status quo”, i.e. “be totally ineffective in the job.” How could that be a reason to vote for him?

  11. stephen c says:

    Suburbanbanshee – I understand what you are saying. That being said, I am fortunate enough to live in a diocese where there is little doubt as to who our wonderful and kind Bishop did not vote for as the Pro-Life committee chair (I could be wrong, of course). Sorry you live somewhere where there is more doubt. Well, both the winner and the loser need our prayers. I, for one, would not wish on my worst enemy the difficult challenges of being a bishop in a country with tens of millions of elective abortions for every generation, hundreds or thousands every day, even on Sundays. Lots of those abortions – actually all of them – involve the denial of one more day of life to some potentially wonderfully beautiful soul. How hard it must be to achieve peace of heart as a bishop in such a wicked country! Well, as Saint John Paul said, direct abortion is not just “interruption of pregnancy”, as some clever but sad souls among our bishops like to call it. How sad we live in a world with so little love and so much cleverness. Imagine growing old as a bishop and thinking Saint John Paul cared too much about those days of life that are denied so often to so many of us, to so many young people with still perfect souls! Why grow old that way, thinking John Paul was too outspokenly pro-life? It is very sad.

  12. iamlucky13 says:

    @ TonyO – quite a few people are concerned that being too confrontational may be counterproductive, which is potentially worse than ineffectual, especially in a society where an ad hominem of “he’s just an angry old white man who wants control over women,” is widely considered to comprehensively discredit all other arguments.

    I don’t agree with that as a reason to pass up a strong and knowledgeable appointee in favor of the politically correct option, but I definitely feel uncertain myself about the best approach to arguing in defense of life with those who support abortion. Recognizing my own meekness, it would not surprise me if some bishops are tempted to go with the…let’s say “more comfortable” option.

  13. TonyO says:

    Iamlucky13, I daresay you are probably right, that IS just the sort of thinking that a lot of bishops have. As, witness, the current state of the Church in America. Ugh. How to get more of the same results: push more of the same “solutions”.

    Such an attitude is, of course, a guarantee of long-term failure. “Don’t rock the boat” is fine for when you are in the lead, things already going well; not so much when you are already behind and things are headed toward worse. It amounts to “taking counsel of your fears”, and is really part of cowardice. It can slow down an ultimate complete failure, but it cannot turn things around toward the good.

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