Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More from Martinoville... and Beyond

As a follow-up to last week's sudden intervention by its bishop at a parish forum on the elections, the diocese of Scranton has released a strongly-worded video slamming the claims of Democratic-friendly lay lobbies to "authentic church teaching" -- concentrating its focus, as one would expect, on a single issue.

What's more, a bolded notice on the front page of the current diocesan weekly blares that while "certain groups and individuals have used their own erroneous interpretations of church documents, particularly the U.S. Bishops’ statement on Faithful Citizenship, to justify their political positions and to contradict the Church’s actual teaching on the centrality of abortion, euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research... individuals who make statements about Catholic teaching do not speak with the same authority or authenticity as their bishop."

Both the video and print notice explicitly (and repeatedly) call out both Catholics United and Catholics for the Common Good, which -- like every other lay-partisan group, irrespective of faction -- are not sanctioned by competent ecclesiastical authority.

Meanwhile, in the pews, GOP surrogates have already taken to blaming the likelihood of a Democratic win on "abuse" of the Faithful Citizenship text, as -- speaking of Blue-leaning lay groups -- the National Catholic Reporter asks whether "a conscientious Catholic" could "vote for McCain."

And lest the church elsewhere wasn't already aware that the rift on these shores extends beyond the nave, the following lede from the Stateside shop's lone official in-house agency has now gone global:
As the presidential election campaign was drawing to a close, some US bishops urged Catholics not to base their votes on one issue alone, while others said no combination of issues could trump a candidate's stand on what Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan called the "premier civil rights issue of our day" -- abortion.
Bottom line: with all this as backdrop for the marquee agenda-item awaiting them in Baltimore just 13 days hence, the American hierarchy is heading toward its most significant plenary since Dallas.

As if things weren't surreal enough already.

One week to go... at least, 'til the election.