In light of Pope Francis' frequent talk of a need for greater empathy in our modern culture, NCR political columnist Michael Sean Winters tries his hand at defending the culture warrior bishops in the U.S. bishops' conference.
It isn't always easy to do so, he writes, such as when certain bishops had a public aversion to government-ordered restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19.
"Still, there is no denying that at a time when spread-eagle capitalism and libertarian mores have led many to espouse a new version of social Darwinism, Francis' call to empathy should be heeded," Winters writes, especially as the U.S. bishops head into their June virtual meeting where they will discuss the issue of denying Communion to pro-choice politicans.
"Every bishop in America agrees that abortion is a great evil and that no human person should be denied the equal protection of the law," Winters says. "All agree with Francis that abortion is evidence of the 'throwaway culture' at its most evil. All are frustrated that these moral truths have been obscured even among many Catholics. But not all agree that the way to vindicate these moral concerns is to begin denying communion to politicians who, for whatever reasons, oppose criminalizing abortion."
Click this link to find all of NCR's coverage of the U.S. bishops' debate on denying Communion to pro-choice politicians such as President Joe Biden.
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When Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy, a retired Polish prelate, was sanctioned by the Vatican in late May for mishandling sexual abuse by his clergy, it was just the latest blow to the once-unsullied image of the country's Catholic Church.
In recent days, there have been reports that the Polish bishops have been specially summoned to Rome in the fall by Pope Francis because of a spate of sexual abuse cases that have rocked the country's church. Although officials have denied the accuracy of the reports, they nonetheless signal the deep unease now afflicting religious life in Europe's most Catholic country.
"It's been a kind of shock therapy for everyone," said Marcin Przeciszewski, director of Poland's Catholic Information Agency, KAI. "But even if we lose more bishops, we should also see it as something positive — a cleansing process for our church, and a learning curve for those who've been inclined to ignore or cover up negative phenomena."
The Vatican said March 29 that it is punishing a retired Polish archbishop and a bishop for their alleged roles in covering up sexual abuse committed by other clergymen.
The Vatican report on disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has special resonance in Poland because of the involvement of Pope John Paul II and other Polish prelates in his career and abuse cover-ups.
At EarthBeat, read about three dozen church groups in Panama that have issued a statement protesting a new mining concession in a forested area near Indigenous communities, calling for the government to protect the rights and ensure the participation of communities affected by development projects.
ICYMI: A June 7 U.S. Supreme Court decision ruled that hundreds of thousands of immigrants with a temporary immigration status cannot apply for a more permanent way to remain in the country if they first entered without authority to do so.