Abp Lori Denies Partisan Agenda

by Michael Sean Winters

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On the NCR homepage we have an article by Dennis Sadowski in which Baltimore's Archbishop William Lori says that the USCCB's religious liberty campaign is not intended to "throw" the election. Ya know, when you get to the point that you have to deny you are trying to throw an election, maybe it is time to ask yourself why such a denial is necessary.

Further on, Lori states that "It's not a Republican or Democratic issue. It's not a Catholic issue. It's a freedom issue." I know what Abp Lori is trying to say, but, not to put too fine a point on it, if a prelate concedes that a given subject is "not a Catholic issue" he needs to ask himself why he is addressing it. Apostolic authority is rooted in being a witness to the Risen Lord - and not in any claims to expertise about U.S. constitutional theory because you have chatted with Robbie George recently. St. Paul had apostolic authority because he witnessed the Risen Lord, not because he was the best tentmaker in Israel. (Poor St. Paul - if only he had lived two thousand years later, he, too, could have enjoyed the constitutional insights of George Weigel, Robbie George, Michael Novak, Carl Anderson and others who have worked for or with Republican administrations.)

I actually believe that most bishops do not wish to pursue a partisan agenda. I believe a large number of bishops, perhaps even a majority, worry when they pursue a non-partisan agenda that has partisan consequences. But, if tey want to know why they have such worries, they need look no further than to the chairman of their ad hoc committee on religious liberty.

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