Gene Lyons explains how some Catholic bishops are trying to subvert the first amendment in his column, “A Partisan Power Play Won’t Redeem Bishops:”
In a bankruptcy proceeding last week, the diocese of Milwaukee listed 8000 claims of sexual abuse among its liabilities. I’m with Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce, who writes that the great contraceptive kerfuffle with the Obama administration represents a fairly obvious power play by “the institutional American church to regain the power and influence in the secular government that it lost when it was exposed to be a multigenerational conspiracy to obstruct justice.”
If the reader detects bitterness, that’s an error of tone. The best priest I know is prone to remind his parishioners that the church is not God; rather, it’s a human institution, prone to sin and error. Recently watching him bless four little girls who carried alms to the altar, I was moved to think how humble, hard-working priests like him are also victims of the church hierarchy’s grave moral failure.
So you’d think they’d be a bit more modest in their rhetoric, the bishops. Particularly in anything touching upon human sexuality. This may be the place to say that I speak for nobody but myself. Not for Irish Catholics, Catholics in the South, Catholics Who Raise Fleckvieh Simmental Cows, nor even for my wife.
Her issue is how easily rich people are granted marriage annulments. The late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s marriage was declared null and void after 24 years and three children because—get this—he’d entered it with reservations. Specifically, he never intended to quit “dating.” (Evidently a family tradition.) Never mind that Kennedy’s ex-wife Joan agreed. Mine found it sickening, a patent end-run around the church’s unwillingness to countenance divorce.