Fireworks at U.S. bishops’ meeting

Francis-appointed cardinals oppose permanent religious liberty committee, but lose vote 132 to 53

Cardinal Blase Cupich (Claire Chretien/LifeSiteNews)

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) voted 132 to 53 today to approve the establishment of a permanent Standing Committee for Religious Liberty.

Five bishops abstained from voting. 

The USCCB formed the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty for three years in September 2011. It was then extended for another three-year term. Today’s vote was on making this committee a permanent part of the USCCB, funded independently of the conference and thus not affecting its budget.

Religious liberty hadn’t been at the forefront of the USCCB’s spring 2017 meeting until this morning. Wednesday afternoon was dedicated to a presentation on the “Spirituality of Immigration” and a report from the Bishops’ Working Group on Immigration Issues.

Baltimore Archbishop William Lori, who chaired the Ad Hoc Committee, asked his brother bishops to make the Committee permanent. Lori said that while the HHS contraceptive mandate may be about to end, there are still other pressing threats to religious liberty.

Lori also noted that another threat to religious freedom is “HHS issued a transgender mandate that would require doctors in Catholic hospitals” to help “biological men transition to women and vice versa.”

Also, the Supreme Court’s imposition of same-sex “marriage” on the country “has raised a host of challenges,” said Lori.

Pope Francis-appointed Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago raised a red card in opposition to the vote during the debate. He didn’t explicitly argue against the committee, but called into question whether the Committee would have proper funding. If it didn’t have the proper funding, he asked, wouldn’t it need a two-thirds vote rather than a simple majority.

Washington’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl, New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, and Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz argued in favor of making the Committee permanent. Dolan and Kurtz are both former USCCB presidents.

It would be part of the “fabric of our conference,” Wuerl said.

Burlington, Vermont Bishop Christopher Coyne said he didn’t support making the Committee permanent because “money and funding can disappear for all kinds of reasons” and he was concerned about “optics.” He wondered if making the Committee permanent would be “sending out a message” that religious liberty is more of a priority for the bishops than immigration is, because its immigration committee is “evolving” into a “different place.”

He said he was “not in favor of the motion as it’s presented now.”

Another Pope Francis-appointed Cardinal, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, argued against the Committee. 

“I’d like to respectfully disagree with the proposition” to make the Committee permanent, said Tobin. “I agree with Bishop Coyne that the timing of this is very unfortunate.” 

“I’m not convinced that there is a need at this time to establish this committee,” concluded Tobin.

Toward the end of the debate, Cupich again brought up questions about whether it was acceptable for a majority to vote on the establishment of a permanent committee if there wasn’t a permanent funding commitment from the independent sources.

The parliamentarian responded that because the vote didn’t involve the budget, budget issues would have to be addressed later on if they arose.

Liberal San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy asked if the USCCB since its 2006-2008 reorganization had ever been presented with a proposal on a revenue-neutral permanent standing committee. (It appears this is the first time it has happened).

Full story at LifeSiteNews.



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  1. Father PMJ says:

    Good. I don’t trust anyone or anything from Pope Francis. He is a liberal nightmare.

    • I agree 100%!

    • Thomas Edward Miles says:

      If a so-called liberal made that comment with regard to Benedict you would be burning him at the stake, so, why are you allowing yourself to make that disparaging statement about our current Holy Father, Francis? If you as a priest can’t be loyal to the Holy Father whoever he is, its time you depart the priesthood, NOW!!

      • Rick Schmidt says:

        because it’s unfortunately TRUE !!

      • Ann Malley says:

        Loyalty is not the same as supporting whatever comes out of someone’s mouth, Thomas. True loyalty often requires resisting that which is not good for the benefit of the person and those who may otherwise be led astray by them.

      • Many priests and bishops agree with Fr. PMJ, but do not voice this publicly. Thank you Fr. for voicing what many of us are feeling. And by the way, Mr. Miles, who are you to call for any priest to leave his vocation? The Church has suffered from incapable or flawed pontiffs in the past. Loyalty and reality are two different things. Have you taken a look at the “reality” of the people Pope Francis has put on the Pontifical Academy? Now that’s scary!

  2. Does anyone outside of the hierarchy pay any attention to these USCCB meetings?

  3. Elizabeth M. says:

    The Pope Francis appointees are trying so hard to destroy Holy Mother Church. Of course they can’t but they’ve been making life miserable for the faithful.

  4. the national catholic reporter had a nasty write up of the meeting, snidely observing that the conservatives who won would be gone soon enough and that tobin and cupich were rome’s icebreakers who would eventually clear away the frozen immobility of retrograde conservative bishops so that the happy, warm currentsf could send hospital supplies to survivors in tundrarworld(america)

    • ‘r’ after tundra a typo, read ‘tundraworld’. hospital supplies a reference to the pope francis’ teaching that the church is a field hospital.

  5. The German diocese Trier, the oldest diocese in Germany, is closing 96% of the parishes; this is not a good sign of the benefits of V2. Also, the archdiocese of Munich has only one seminarian studying for the priesthood. So much for the springtime that was supposed to come. When God is put on the back burner, this is what happens.

  6. William Robert says:

    With Trump in power, concerns about religious liberty have diminished. A permanent standing committee is probably unnecessary.

    • Are you kidding, these things shift much too quickly. Trump is good for religious liberty, but too a point. He’s onboard philosophically with gay marriage, for one.

  7. Darlene Jimenez says:

    The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only standard Christians should follow. I am grateful to the Bishops who stand with the faithful who consider Religious Liberty of paramount importance.
    We have Federal laws that govern immigration. When did the church start promoting illegal immigration as a fundamental right.
    Prayerfully Darlene

  8. If Cupich is against it I am for it.

    I am very grateful that President Donald suspended the Lyndon Johnson amendment that limits religious speech, and so can you.

  9. According to the new Church, the only ones who ought to be able to practice religious liberty are the liberals. They are free to abort, contracept, commit adultery, practice sodomy, with no strings attached. But if you are a conservative, or a traditional Catholic, than you are practically forbidden to faithfully announce the truth. If you try to, then you are called vicious names by those in charge, such as homophobe, closed minded, mean spirited, etc. Unfortunately what is good for the goose is not good for the gander because since V2 faithful Catholics have been treated like outcasts by the heretical wolves in sheep’s clothing.

  10. Rick Schmidt says:

    Thomas Miles, your arguments are so illogical that hopefully most readers can see right through them … and ignore you once again.

  11. Innominato says:

    In response to Miles: HA VE YOU EVER MET CUPICH, MCELROY, ETC.? You should reserve judgment until then. Also check out their position on ABORTION, HOMOSEXUALITY, HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE,SODOMY, ETC. The smoke of Satan has entered the Bishopry/. Remember Cardinal Spellman of New York. There are several books written about his Homosexual escapades which contain quotes from Sailors which he brought up to his room.

    • Linda Maria says:

      Innominato, yes, the bishops you mentioned– McElroy, Cupich, etc, have all promoted gays, and have been poor at supporting pro-life– they all are liberals. None of them care who they give Communion to, either– abortionists, gays with lovers, cohabitators, divorced/remarried with no annulments– they don’t care! But Cardinal Spellman, who died in 1966– was conservative, orthodox, in his time– and always preached the true Catholic Faith! Regarding “being gay” — and being an UNCHASTE homosexual… that is far too serious a sin!!! Whether you like him or not– is this true, or a lie made up by anti-Catholic, jealous NYC liberals?????

  12. Linda Maria says:

    And I would like to know– are our liberal prelates….. “Snowflakes??” or…”Sissies??”– sorry– but are they?? Scared to death of controversy, scared to death of opposition to the Church, scared to death of objectively facing the Truth of Christ– and dealing with Christ’s Truth, in a mature, manly, objective, and realistic fashion– as their forefathers once did (including saints and martyrs, great and small!)???

  13. Jesusita says:

    It appears that what we are experiencing in the Catholic Church is the Arian heresy revisited, but on a much larger playing field. Just as most of the bishops were for the Arian belief, so today most bishops are modernist in their thinking. We must pray daily to St. Athanasius that we keep the true faith alive in our hearts, and that we never fall for the nonsense that is all around. Ave Maria Purrissima !

  14. From Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s “Syllabus of Errors” of Vatican II, #8:
    “An erroneous application of the principle of episcopal collegiality by means of the Episcopal Conferences on national and international levels, weakening thereby the Divinely established individual authority of teaching and governing of the diocesan bishop…”
    And this:
    And the problem with religious liberty:

  15. Linda Maria says:

    Or maybe– many of the liberal prelates are simply plain, old hypocrites, with little religious faith. I feel so badly for those trying to do wonderful works, for Christ, in our Church, such as the beautiful, holy religious order, the Little Sisters of the Poor– as they desperately need good Church leadership, to work for religious liberty, in America — or their excellent work for Christ may have to someday stop! We may lose them, and many others, someday!

  16. the real Herman says:

    Before Vatican II most bishops were Heroes; Up until recently, the majority of bishops were Zeros, Presently, practically all the bishops are Neros. The Church is self-destructing, and the pace increases daily.

  17. The Church will survive this very difficult in her history as the forces of hell will not prevail over her. The “spring time” in the Church after Vatican II did not materialize because the Curia blocked it and several Popes were risk averse. Bishop Schneider is welcomed to his opinions but he is not the Pope…yet!

  18. Linda Maria says:

    The American prelates desperately need to support religious freedom, in America! Otherwise, Catholic groups and institutions (schools, hospitals, charities, etc.)– and religious orders, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor— may end up having to stop their wonderful work for Christ, someday, in this country, due to attacks on religious freedoms!!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Jesus cannot come again until a great apostasy occurs.

    • Linda Maria says:

      Anonymous, Jesus can come anytime He wants! However, you are correct in that the prophecies about the Second Coming speak of a “Great Apostasy,” and terrible things happening, before the Second Coming of Christ occurs!

  20. Catholics must be allowed to practice and maintain their Catholic beliefs. They must not be told they have to support abortion, sodomy, adultery, or transgendered nonsense. How utterly insane it is for the Francis bishops to object to fundamental rights. It shows that these bishops are heretics, and the laity has no reason to trust or obey the rubbish that gushes forth from their mouths.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Linda Maria I beg pardon but the holy scriptures say he will only return once. He doesn’t contradict Himself. He is truth itself. Because He can doesn’t mean He would violate that truth.

    • Linda Maria says:

      Anonymous– It is a comfort to me– especially in times of great tragedy!—to know that Our Lord can do as He pleases! He certainly can come in an apparition, as He did many times, to St. Faustina, in Poland, with His Divine Mercy messages– right before World War II! These apparitions are Church-approved, and St. Faustina is a Saint! A great comfort to millions of Catholics enduring hardships, worldwide! And the Divine Mercy Feast Day is the first Sunday after Easter! Wonderful! Really, He has not left us, nor abandoned us, His little children, on Earth! And yes, of course, someday, we will have the Second Coming, just as He promised!

      • Linda Maria says:

        In Feb. of 1931, when St. Faustina first saw Jesus, and He asked her to have the famous Divine Mercy portrait made, the rays of light of Christ were so extremely strong, that they were visible to people across the street from St. Faustina’s convent! Miraculous! We never know– but God is very close to us, unseen from human eyes! Shocking– and all true! There He is, so familiar to St. Faustina– and to others, too! Unbelievable!!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Linda Maria. I very much believe in the divine mercy apparitions but no Catholic is required to believe private revelation. Public revelation however is binding and scripture says He’s coming back once at the end of time. You know that is what I referred to in my original statement. We are on the same side. God’s blessings to you.

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