Thomas Reese: Political priorities of US bishops may surprise you

(NCR Online) Progressive Catholics and many in the media accuse the American bishops of caring only about abortion, gay marriage and “religious freedom,” and not speaking out on issues of justice and peace. I have argued that such accusations require more nuance. In fact, the bishops often speak out on other issues, but for some reason they do not get the press attention that bishops get when they talk about abortion and religious freedom.

To test this theory, I went through press releases that were issued by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops since the first of the year to see how often the bishops actually speak on different topics. The review of almost seven months of press releases is revealing. (I acknowledge that a review of the press releases in 2016 might present different results, but I leave that to others.)

The bishops issued only seven press releases that were devoted solely to abortion, four of them in January when there was a major pro-life march in Washington, D.C. Two of the releases called for prayer, marches and advocacy. Another January release applauded the reestablishment of the Mexico City policy of denying government funds to overseas organizations that sponsor abortions. The other January release welcomed the passage of H.R. U.S. House of Representatives bill 7, “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017,” and hoped the Senate would take it up. [More]

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