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An Ecumenical Ministry in St. Patrick's Catholic Parish

Monday, March 22, 2021

Predicting how US bishops' conference will treat Biden

Predicting how US bishops' conference will treat Biden, based on their criticism of Obama and Trump

Two Creighton University professors, Daniel R. DiLeo and Sabrina Danielsen, along with Creighton University senior Emily E. Burke read through thousands of columns and statements by U.S. Catholic bishops to determine how they discussed Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama in order to predict how the bishops would treat President Joe Biden.

Specifically, the researchers read 12,077 columns written by every ordinary U.S. Catholic bishop between June 2014 and June 2019 in the official publications for 171 of the 178 U.S. Catholic dioceses. At the national level, they compiled the 1,004 bishops' conference news releases from the same time period as the dataset of bishops' diocesan columns.

"What we found is that while individual bishops at the diocesan level were not less willing to criticize Trump than Obama by name (or conversely less willing to praise Obama than Trump by name), the converse was true at the national level," the researchers write in a commentary for NCR. "The U.S. bishops' conference was less willing to criticize Trump by name than Obama by name, it was less likely to praise Obama by name than Trump by name, and it had a higher percentage of unnamed criticism for Trump than Obama."

You can read more of the commentary here.

In a weary America, pandemic stress lingers

Kelly McClatchy, an eighth grader at St. Patrick School in Malvern, Pennsylvania, is so done with the virus.

While she can spend socially distanced time outside with her friends, she loves to talk to them face-to-face, and she just can't do that right now, said Kelly. Nor can she see her large extended family.

"I do feel anxious, a lot, not able to go to them for everything, to lean on them for problems I'm having, or hanging out when I need things," she said. "I'm very anxious to get out of this situation and to be able to hang out with them more and have parties like we used to. But we're trying to find ways to have fun as it is."

Americans of all ages are experiencing a pandemic of stress-induced anxieties, potentially lasting longer than the viral one, say experts. That's in large part due to the sadness, isolation and uncertainty of a year battling a national (and international) outbreak of COVID-19. A recent poll by the American Psychological Association, presented in a report called "Stress in America," called the experience a "collective trauma."

Assessing the effects of the pandemic, in which he included "despair," Pope Francis himself said that the world is "seriously ill."

You can read more of the story here.

More background:

  • All of NCR's coverage of one year into the coronavirus pandemic can be read here.

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