The noise-to-signal ratio at the USCCB

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?

Again, no.

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.”

Write a comment …
Time to revisit the history of Constantine. Constantine had a vision of a Cross that said: "under this sign, you shall conquer. Our leaders needs to proclaim the Glory of God. Like the Saints says, "I come in the Name of the Lord." Where is the courage of our Leaders? When do we ever hear them say anything about God in their arguments against the evils that surrounds us today? What has changed? the only way to win this is in the Name of the Lord and not by secular arguments, constitutions, and … [More]
Holy Cannoli
The government is fleecing its citizens. Pure and simple, this is nothing more than theft of property/money and redistributing it to those whom the government believes will become even more dependent on government (read: lifelong Democrats).

Shouldn't the "Church" speak out about this injustice?

The Church should stick to what it (oustensibly) ought to be doing and that is protecting innocent life from the murderers within the Catholic ranks who have publicly, proudly and scandalously chosen … [More]
Funny, that when it comes to economic isues everything seems so moral, but it does not appear so for the murdering of babies, and for going against the Holy Trinity regarding Life by the use of contraceptives. I don't think many Catholics have read the part where Jesus says that whoever offends the Holy Spirit such offense will not be pardon on this life or the other.

I suppose people's conscious is fine and think they will have no sin against the Holy Spirit. Where is the head of Catholics … [More]
Taxes are one area where I think the Church actually would have the right to speak out, since it's an issue of justice... a MORAL issue, ultimately. If a government is fleecing it's people, taxing poor who can't even afford to survive, who are WELL below the poverty line... that is a moral issue. If governmental authorities are engaged in this kind of gross injustice against the individual who has a right, not only to survive, but to property as well, this is an issue which it seems to me that … [More]

By speaking so often, on such a wide variety of public issues, the American bishops are watering down their own teaching authority. If they issued public statements less frequently, and confined themselves to important issues on which they could speak with clarity and authority, they would have far more impact.

They got into this stuff back in the heyday of “peace and justice,” when they were praised by the left for bloviating … [More]