The noise-to-signal ratio at the USCCB
During the past several weeks the US bishops have been engaged in a critical political battle over the HHS contraceptive mandate, and the USCCB has issued a series of strong statements on that subject. Good.
During those same weeks, however, the USCCB has also issued statements on tax cuts and unemployment benefits
, the consumer bill of rights
, US policy in the Middle East
, nuclear weapons
, and now agricultural policy
Here I am including only statements released by the episcopal conference. Individual bishops have added their own opinions on public-policy matters ranging from immigration to climate change.
It is not obvious why the bishops feel obliged to speak on all those subjects. Is there a clear “Catholic” position on agricultural policy?
Are American Catholics united in their views on agricultural policy?
Do bishops have any special teaching authority regarding agricultural policy?
But because the USCCB keeps cranking out policy recommendations, politicians can tune in and tune out, listening to the bishops whenever it suits their own partisan interests.
A legislator can tell his bishop: “I might have disappointed you on the contraception mandate, but remember, I was with you on unemployment benefits and on the consumer’s bill of rights.
So I was with you more often than I was against you.”CatholicCulture.org