An Embarrassing History Lesson

Sr. Walsh went on to say that the Hyde Amendment “saves taxpayers from the ignominy of seeing their tax money used to end innocent lives.”

If only that were true! The bishops of all people should have known that Hyde is little more than an invitation to employ accounting trickery as taxpayer funded abortion was, and still is, taking place in the very shadow of USCCB headquarters in Washington, D.C. and numerous other Hyde-complaint states.

As it was, however, the Conference was so determined to see the socialist healthcare model become a fact of life in the United States that the overwhelming majority of bishops not only failed to teach the fullness of Catholic social doctrine, they also seemed to have forgotten who they were dealing with; namely, a man so Hell bent on promoting the culture of death that he voted against the “Illinois Born Alive Act” while still a state senator, a president whose first official act in office was rescinding the Mexico City Policy thereby freeing up Federal funds for overseas abortions, and an Administration that exhibits absolutely no moral compunction whatsoever in speaking of fetal mutilation as a matter of “reproductive health.”

Trusting that Obamacare would ever result in anything other than an exponential increase in assaults against innocent human life, in spite of whatever assurances may be given to the contrary, was clearly a fool’s bet from day one. And yet, so blinded by a predisposition for promoting big government social programs, the USCCB actually called on Congress (in the same 2009 letter mentioned above) to meet “President Obama’s challenge of barring the use of federal dollars for abortion and maintaining current conscience laws.”

“President Obama’s challenge?” Are you kidding me! This is nothing short of humiliating, at least it should be given the fact that Obama (to borrow the immortal words of Dennis Green) is who we thought he was. In other words, the president didn’t hoodwink the bishops; he arrived on Pennsylvania Avenue an unrepentant death merchant and he’s never given anyone a plausible reason to believe otherwise.

Strong medicine though this trip down Memory Lane may be, we need it for the simple reason that we must never forget what happens when a bishops’ conference loses its way; behaving more like a political action committee intent on pushing pet policy initiatives than as a body of Apostles determined to carry out the Divinely instituted mission of teaching the fullness of the faith, sanctifying the people of God and governing His Church.

All is not doom and gloom, however, as it appears as though the Conference may be taking steps to avoid the mistakes of the past.

For example, the USCCB website now states, “Bishops form their positions based on principles — here, religious liberty for all, and the life and dignity of every human person — not polls, personalities, or political parties.”

This statement suggests a marked improvement from the approach taken in 2009 when the bishops issued a press release saying, “A nationwide survey commissioned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has found widespread public opposition to including abortion in health care reform and majority support for conscience rights protection — views shared by those who favor efforts to pass health care reform.”

One cannot help but marvel at the fact that the bishops were so determined to play in the inside-the-beltway sandbox that they simply announced to the world, without any hint of shame whatsoever, that they had just wasted God only knows how much of the faithful’s hard-earned money in the midst of an economic crisis on a meaningless public opinion poll, as though the faith that comes from the Apostles isn’t quite enough to defend the truth.

What if the polling data had shown that the majority of Americans stood against Divine truth, then what?

Well, I suppose we’re about to find out since recent data suggests that most self-described “Catholics” are happy to accept Obama’s free contraceptives. In fact, this may be precisely what brought about the Conference’s newfound awareness that public opinion polls are utterly irrelevant to their apostolic mission.

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Louie Verrecchio is a Catholic speaker and the author of Harvesting the Fruit of Vatican II; an internationally acclaimed adult faith formation tool, endorsed by George Cardinal Pell, that explores the documents of the Second Vatican Council. For more information please visit: You can follow him on Facebook at

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