Loading
Fr. McBrien attacks pro-life bishops in syndicated column

.- In his syndicated column, Fr. Richard McBrien, professor of Theology at the University of Notre-Dame, issued a scathing attack on bishops holding a pro-life position, claiming that they negate the importance of other concerns such as capital punishment, just war, or social justice. McBrien criticism is delivered in a piece entitled “Consistent ethic of life approach withstands backlash,” where he defends the “seamless garment” approach to life-issues, which he presents as a theory which claims that all issues concerning the dignity of human life –abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, war, social justice (including issues like ‘minimum wage’) or human rights – carry equal moral weight, and thus should have equal influence on a Catholic voter’s decision.

McBrien writes that this approach is the one adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the statement “Faithful Citizenship,” published in October 2003, in the run-up to this year’s elections.

Following the position held by the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, McBrien explains three reasons for supporting the “seamless garment” approach. He says the first is that it is rooted in the Church’s “opposition to both abortion and war,” the second is that it unifies “a church involved in diverse ministries,” and third, “is unusually appealing to many people at various points along the political spectrum.”

McBrien, following Cardinal Bernardin, says that this approach “is emphatically not a strategy for downplaying the issue of abortion in the church or in society,” despite the criticisms of whom he calls “single-issue, anti-abortion Catholics.”

He then takes aim at a “significant minority in the bishops’ conference”, “some of whose number played a highly visible role in the recent U.S. election,” who –acording to him- say that “abortion is the only life-issue that matters --- to the point where it is said to ‘trump’ all others.”

McBrien also points out that the emerging backlash against the “seamless garment” theory is evident in the fact that “many bishops apparently broke with precedent last month and withheld their votes from Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane, Washington, one of ten candidates for Conference president.”

Bishop Skylstad, Fr. McBrien claims, had been vice president for the past three years and, by tradition, should have received 70-80 percent support on the first ballot. “Although he was elected on the first ballot, it was with only 52 percent of the votes cast.”

“A number of bishops apparently voted against him because he had explicitly promoted the consistent ethic of life approach during the recent political campaign,” McBrien adds.

Father Richard P. McBrien is the Crowley-O'Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame.

He has been writing his syndicated weekly column for some 33 years. Over that time, he appeared in as many as 40 diocesan newspapers. At last count, however, he is down to about 20 Catholic publications.

“The Tidings” of Los Angeles is one of them.

Papers that have dropped his column in the last years include that of his home Archdiocese of Hartford, Conn.

Bishop Thomas Daily of Brooklyn, shortly after he became bishop in 1991, told the editor of the diocesan newspaper, “The Tablet,” to drop McBrien's column.

Seven years ago, Bishop James Moynihan of Syracuse, N.Y., pulled McBrien from the diocesan newspaper, “The Catholic Sun,” and substituted one written by George Weigel.

In  1996 letters to Father Richard McBrien, Archbishop John R. Quinn, then chairman of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Doctrine and Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, acting chairman upon Archbishop Quinn's retirement, expressed disappointment that the then new edition of Father McBrien's book “Catholicism” did not sufficiently correct several deficiencies that the committee had identified in its examination of the first two editions of the book undertaken in the early '80s.

This examination culminated in a 1985 statement specifying a number of deficiencies that the committee hoped would be corrected in any future editions.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
19

Liturgical Calendar

April 19, 2014

Holy Saturday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:1-10

Gospel
Date
04/19/14
04/18/14
04/17/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Gen 1:1-2:2
Gospel:: Mt 28:1-10

Saint of the Day

Blessed James Oldo »

Saint
Date

Homily of the Day

Mt 28:1-10

Homily
Date
04/19/14
04/18/14
04/17/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: