A Tea Partier for the Catholic Bishops?
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 05:51:23 PM EST
It is no secret that Richard Doerflinger - and by extension, his former boss, until recently the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Cardinal Timothy Dolan -- have been building bridges to the farther reaches of movement conservatism. Doerflinger went so far as to exhort Tea Party Republicans to engage in their recent shutdown of the federal government.
Doerflinger, Associate Director of Pro-Life Activities for the USCCB, is one of the most powerful Catholics in the United States. In 2010 Mother Jones magazine fairly described him as "The Man Who Almost Killed Health Care Reform."

Under Dolan's direction Richard Doerflinger was a very busy man. Mother Jones reported:  

Doerflinger has worked for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops for over a quarter-century. Bearded and balding, with large glasses, he doesn't fit the stereotype of a powerful Washington lobbyist. But he's extremely influential. A 2009 award citation noted that he has been "involved in almost every major pro-life initiative in Congress since 1980." In the health care fight, the bishops were "primarily relying on Mr. Doerflinger," says health law expert Tim Jost. Other sources, on and off the Hill, confirm Doerflinger's importance. In turn, his bosses exert great sway over Democrats who oppose abortion rights.

It was his co-authorship of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment that almost derailed the Affordable Health Care for America Act in the House of Representatives (a proposed amendment to prohibit the use of federal funds "to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion" except in cases of rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother; the amendment was dropped after President Obama promised an executive order along these lines).

Now it has come to light that Doerflinger - obviously with Cardinal Dolan's approval - colluded with Tea Party darling, Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) to continue the recent  shut-down of the federal government. Doerflinger's goal was to hold up the continuing resolution (CR) legislation until the birth control benefit in the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) was removed. As Adele Stan reported for RH Reality Check:

Earlier in the day [October 11, 2013], Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), presented a plan for a compromise deal (later rejected by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid) that would have funded the government through March, ending the current partial government shutdown, and delayed until January the showdown on the debt ceiling--which needs to be raised by October 17, according to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, in order to avert a financial crisis. Ryan, the Washington Post reported, was having none of it. One big reason: birth control. Specifically, the contraception benefit in the ACA to which the bishops object.

In a closed-door meeting with his fellow House Republicans, Ryan reportedly "riled" up his colleagues with a speech opposing the Collins compromise, finding no benefit in the extension of deadlines to alleviate the current crisis. As the Post's Paul Kane and Lori Montgomery wrote:

According to two Republicans familiar with the exchange, Ryan argued that the House would need those deadlines as "leverage" for delaying the health-care law's individual mandate and adding a "conscience clause"--allowing employers and insurers to opt out of birth-control coverage if they find it objectionable on moral or religious grounds--and mentioned tax and entitlement goals Ryan had focused on in a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

This is the kind of thing we have come to expect during Dolan's tenure as president. And its not just Doerflinger. Dolan's all out culture warring was on full display this past April, for example, when the cardinal hired Kim Daniels to be his personal spokeswoman on USCCB matters. As Commonweal Magazine's Grant Gallicho pointed out, "Daniels served as Sarah Palin's "personal domestic-policy czar" in 2009 (as part of SarahPAC)."

In recent months, I have focused primarily those in the Catholic Right who  advocate nullification and secession (Rachel Tabachnick and I delve deeper into this in a new article at Public Eye Magazine: Nullification, Neo-Confederates, and the Revenge of the Old Right). These are issues that feature prominently with many in the Tea Party movement.

But these Catholic neo-confederates are not far from the destabilizing views of Dolan, Doerflinger and their allies -- who are willing to disrupt our ability to govern ourselves in order to establish the orthodox Catholic position on issues such as birth control as the de facto law of the land. Such strategy will endanger both the country as well as the Church.

But, as Joshua J. McElwee recently reported in the National Catholic Reporter, Dolan's culture war activities during his recently completed three-year tenure as conference president, generated some disgruntlement among his fellow bishops.  

Sources in the bishops' conference tell NCR that a number of the prelates view Dolan's presidency as either a failure or a disappointment. They say a slim majority elected Dolan to uphold a more right-wing Catholic agenda, thinking [Bishop Gerald] Kicanas would be too conciliatory toward Catholics more in the mold of the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.

Dolan kept the bishops on the culture wars bandwagon, the sources say, but did little to build bridges among the different parties in the conference.

Kindling the fires of the culture wars -- which Pope Francis has made abundantly clear has been overplayed at the expense of such fundamental concerns as poverty and the environment. Yet Cardinal Dolan seemed to ignore this advice from above. Furthermore, with the election of Louisville, Kentucky's Archbishop Joseph Kurtz as Cardinal Dolan's replacement, it is likely that behind-the-scenes cultural war will continue.

Indeed, with regard to most matters of authority and policy Pope Francis has decided to move from a top-down vertical chain of command to a more horizontal Church. This gives greater freedom to local dioceses and lay movements. For our purposes, it means that the conservative elements in control of the USCCB have the latitude to continue their rightward trend - at least in the short term. That course can be altered if the Pontiff replaces retiring American bishops and cardinals with clerics of his outlook. Beyond that, this horizontal chain of command also allows for more moderate and liberal Catholics to speak out with without fear of retribution from the Vatican.  

This is an historic opportunity to weaken the culture warrior elements among American Catholic leadership and to open the doors to a more inclusive and far less conservative Church. But for now, the American Church still seems to belong to the likes of Doerflinger and Dolan.




Display:
As a liberal Protestant, I often "show up and hit my marks" for issues where the Catholic Church and we converge. That is NEVER around "pelvic politics". But I hold my tongue on most issues or give solid reasons why we disagree. I'm MOST collegial and kind on these differences though I and my organization do NOT back down. Reciprocity? You have to be kidding. During the fight for ACA, despite the Catholic hospitals and various groups such as NETWORK that supported health reform, the Church not only would NOT it dissed us for doing so. I am tired to the bone of the one-way street. Respect us for our MORAL stand on contraception, for our view of 'pro life' incorporating WOMEN, and agree to disagree if you like, but Catholic conservatives - Pope Francis told you to knock it off. Get with the NEW program - we can disagree and have seriously important conversations about it all, but stop acting as if NO one but bishops have morality. We do, we are, we will continue to pursue what we think our faith tells us to do, and if you don't agree, tough. I'm not walking away from my good Catholic friends, but I am no longer tolerating the narcissism of the church's position that it and only it has morality. So do we. Respect it.

by Churchlady on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 10:52:20 PM EST

Doerflinger doesn't care about those who are already here. The wingnuts won't give up without a fight. Churchlady, I am a cradle Catholic and I agree with you.

by khughes1963 on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 11:44:21 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (3 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (0 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (5 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (0 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (4 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (6 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (7 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (21 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/21/04356/9417 I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (4 comments)
Fear
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (6 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (6 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (8 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (3 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (4 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (3 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (2 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (13 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (7 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (2 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (2 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.