USCCB: Too ‘Conservative’ for Rome

The Vatican restrains the U.S. bishops from taking too strong a stance

The Vatican has again stepped into the affairs of the USCCB in order to delay action with which Rome may not agree. Trusted Vatican watchers such as Edward Pentin and John Allen Jr over the years have portrayed Vatican officials as wary of what is seen as the American bishops’ too-conservative stances. Recall that a lengthy article in L’Osservatore Romano painted a significant faction of American Catholics — notably, pro-lifers and other activists — as allies of “hate”-driven Republicans and fundamentalist Christians. Despite rosy talk of “collegiality” or “shared authority,” it is clear the U.S. bishops are viewed by Rome as needful of intervention on certain hot-button topics.

In 2018, before the USCCB was to vote on abuse-crisis reform measures, the Vatican at the eleventh hour insisted that the new measures be delayed until after a special meeting called by Pope Francis for the following February. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, then president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, was left to tell his surprised brother bishops that they would not vote on two key proposals. A link to a Catholic World Report article, written by Ed Condon, on that topic can be found below.

Yesterday the Vatican — namely, CDF prefect Cardinal Luis Ladaria — weighed in on the U.S. bishops’ plan to draft a national policy regarding the reception of Communion, including (and especially) by prominent Catholic politicians who promote abortion and other culture-of-death causes. Ladaria urges the bishops to be cautious, and he calls for “extensive and serene dialogue,” as if this subject hasn’t been extensively debated for decades. A link to yesterday’s story, from Catholic World News, is below.

It is interesting to note that, over the decades, ex-cardinal McCarrick carried water for the “cautious” point of view on culture-of-death warriors receiving Communion. It is also notable that Cardinal Cupich of Chicago is a similar force in both controversies, ensuring that the U.S. bishops don’t take too strong a stance.

A link to yesterday’s story:

A link to the story on the 2018 affair:

Meanwhile, in the wealthy German sector of the Church, what is Rome saying to those boldly progressive German bishops?


Barbara E. Rose is Web Editor of the NOR.

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