Monday, November 03, 2008

There Goes the Sink

On the ballot for chair of the US bishops' Committee on Communications at next week's Baltimore plenary, Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn's morning warning to voters on a local radio show was just the first turn of an Election Eve spent on the airwaves.

By late afternoon -- as last-minute Missouri polls showed the last month's Democratic advantage had evaporated in the key swing state -- Finn did another call-in on KCMO talk radio before appearing on one of the conservative movement's national juggernauts, the California-based Hugh Hewitt show.

From the transcript:
[Hewitt]:... I have people come up to me in places like Ohio and Minnesota after I’ve done this last week when I was traveling around, tell me that their local priests are counseling them it’s okay to vote for Barack Obama, it’s okay to vote for a candidate who’s radically pro-choice because of other reasons. If such a priest if known to you in your diocese, do you discipline them.

[Finn]: Well, we certainly have to talk in a very serious way. I think priests are subject to many of the same limitations as other people. They may have grown up in a particular partisan household that favors a candidate regardless of their moral stance. They’re among those people who want to look for a way to rationalize their conscience. But yes, as a bishop, I have to try to hold my priests accountable for misleading people.

HH: And does that, do you communicate to their parishes that their priest is not to be listened to when you discover something like that?

RF: No, I mean I would not typically denounce the priest to his parish, because that’s not good for the unity of the flock, either. But it may mean that as the father of my priests, I have to have some heart to heart talks.
As a previous Hewitt guest -- Denver's Archbishop Charles Chaput OFM Cap. -- said in recent days that "a quieter approach" on the life issues on the part of the bishops "has not been effective" and the Democratic ticket's leading backer in the pews accused this season's outspoken prelates of having "indulged low partisanship," by day's end a Canadian outlet jumped into the fray.

In an editorial sent to US media, the Toronto-based Catholic Insight circulated an editorial opining that an Obama victory tomorrow would be a "disaster," including one partisan's observation along the way that the Illinois senator's election would "provide blood for the bloodthirsty" in light of his pro-choice stance.

Of course, in their (all of) three-page voter guide for last month's federal elections Up North, the Canadian bishops were significantly more circumspect... as was the 98% of the American bench that approved this cycle's Faithful Citizenship... at least, once upon a time.

PHOTO: Joe Cory/Catholic Key