Baltimore, MD – They met in one of this city’s swankiest hotels. It’s a Marriott, located on the waterfront, just east of Harborplace, where the per diem rates begin at $260. I just can’t imagine Jesus and the Apostles hanging out at a place like that discussing their soul-awakening agenda. But, there they were–the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, all 220, in their expensive silk suits–holding their annual confab. I think they like the digs, since they were there last year, too. In a way, it is an appropriate site, since they are so much a part of the Establishment. A few of them enjoyed a $55 bottle of wine at a nearby eatery. In closing their proceedings, on Nov. 14, 2007, the clerics issued a few statements. However, there wasn’t one word of criticism that they directed specifically at the evil that is the Bush-Cheney Gang! 
The Bishops mildly panned the Washington, D.C.-based warmongers, (without naming them), by saying that they had failed to recognize the “reality and failures” of U.S. policies in Iraq. Not a single line about the serial lies of the Gang, that took our country into the conflict.  Then, the Bishops quickly balanced that one out by insisting that those who are against the war aren’t acting responsibly. How can that be, you might ask, since Jesus called his followers to be “peacemakers?” Well, the clerics responded, some of those who want this bloodbath ended have advocated an “a very rapid withdrawal,” which doesn’t take into consideration the “human consequences” involved in such an objective. This is a crock! No recognized leader in the Peace Movement has argued for a withdrawal that doesn’t take into question the safety of the U.S. troops and paying reparations to the Iraqis. After setting up that dubious Straw Party, the clerics added this silly zinger: “These two forms of denial have added to the partisan paralysis.”
Bottom line: For the Bishops, it’s all about that so-called “intrinsic evil” of abortion! How myopic of them? Today, our planet looks like this: "Three billion of the world’s people (one-half) live in ‘poverty’ (living on less than $2 per day). 1.3 billion people live in ‘absolute’ or ‘extreme poverty’ (living on less than $1 per day). 800 million people lack access to basic healthcare. 17 million people, including 11 million children, die every year from easily preventable diseases and malnutrition. 800 million people are hungry or malnourished. Nearly 160 million children are malnourished worldwide. 11 million people die every year from hunger and malnutrition…”  One must ask: How will stopping abortion help cure any of these endemic and horrific ills?
On top of all that, an estimated 1.2 million Iraqis are dead, 3867 U.S. troops are in their grave, over 27,000 have been seriously wounded, 4.2 million Iraqis have been displaced and the taxpayers are stuck with a bill for the war that may exceed $3.5 trillion. Nevertheless, the U.S. Bishops whine: Abortion is the prime enemy of Mankind! Of course, the Bishops’ statement referred to the baleful consequences of the Iraq War, but where is their emphasis? It’s on abortion. They also tossed in euthanasia for good measure, but they left the Bush-Cheney Gang off the hook!
The truth is that the Bishops are pro-fetus and not really pro-life! If they were truly pro-life, they would have been against this illegal and immoral war in Iraq from the very beginning–in the streets–from the pulpits. But, they weren’t. They have documents stating that they opposed the war, but that didn’t translate into a genuine opposition from the top down to the laity, like it does on the abortion issue. Besides, the Bishops have been in bed–politically–with the Bush-Cheney Gang. I suspect, but I can’t prove, that they made a deal with the White House to get two pro-fetus jurists on the U.S. Supreme Court.  As part of that unholy bargain, the Bishops have, in effect, looked the other way, while the Bush-Cheney Gang is driving our Republic into an early grave.
Here is just one example of how flawed the Bishops’ thinking is. They’ve instructed the Catholic laity not to vote for anyone who supports abortion rights! (1) So, in 2008, you could have V.P. Dick Cheney, who opposes abortion, running for president on a Republican ticket. And, let’s just say by way of a hypothetical, that his opponent is someone in the mold of a Thomas Jefferson, who is pro-choice. The Catholic would be required to vote for Cheney–a warmonger and pro-waterboarder!  Now, how is that good for America? I submit that this latest manifesto from the Bishops is another nail in America’s coffin. They should have condemned the Bush-Cheney Gang for their outrageous abuses of power and directed the laity to let their conscience be their guide on election day. I’m afraid that Catholics who love this country, will wake up one day and see how the Bishops have lead them astray. By then, however, it may be too late to do anything about it.
In her book, “The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Patriot,” Naomi Wolf exposed a “fantasy,” which I think is also implicit in the Bishops’ manifesto. It is the idea that things will change for the better in America, when politicians can rise above partisanship. This idea is part of a mistaken belief that “the pendulum always swings back.” Well, it’s not going to happen, unless people wake up and fight now for their liberties. And, Wolf tell us why. In addition, to having shown the presence of the ten indicators of a fascist state now existing under the Bush-Cheney Gang, the author added: “There are two major differences between past examples (where America recovered from political excesses) and the situation we face today. First…President [George W.] Bush has defined the current conflict with global terrorism as being ‘open ended.’ This is a ‘permanent’ alteration of the constitutional landscape. The other difference is…that when prior dark times unfolded in America ‘we forbade torture, and the rule of law was intact.’ Legal torture…acting in concert with the erosion of the rule law, changes what is possible.” In other words, America–the Freedom Clock is on the field and ticking! 
Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien, who is from the Bronx, warrants a mention here. He was recently appointed as head of the Baltimore diocese. The first thing he did after arriving in town was to summarily fire a popular parish priest, Father Ray Martin. The latter had three parishes to take care of and was held in the highest esteem by his flock. Father Martin’s supposed offense: He had dared to preside over a funeral mass with an Anglican priest, the Rev. Annette Chappell. O’Brien charged that this gave “scandal” to the church.  I point this out because in the Bishops’ statements, they go on, and on, about noble ideas, like “toleration” and “solidarity.” Their actions, however, speak louder than their words. In this instance, O’Brien never touched base with the people in that South Baltimore community about their feelings. Instead, he just told them what he was going to do. Doesn’t that kind of clerical arrogance sound familiar to you?
For decades, these same kind of “Church Fathers” permitted pedophile priests to prey on the innocent children of the laity. They did little or nothing about these vile predators. In fact, the worst alleged offender in that particular aspect of the scandal was Cardinal Bernard F. Law of Boston. He was allowed to “escape” to the Vatican, where he has been given a sinecure. Now, that is a real scandal!  In order to get the pedophile priest affair behind them, the Bishops should make Cardinal Law return to America, and require him to do a public penance in every parish in Boston, MA. Otherwise, no one should think the Church is truly sincere about cleaning up the shameful pedophile mess.
Finally, Right Wing windbags will endorse what the Bishops have done in Baltimore. And, why not? The U.S. occupation of Iraq will continue unabated, the war funding will go on, and the 14 U.S. military bases in Iraq will remain in place. As for the maniacal Bush-Cheney Gang, uncriticized by the Bishops, it will resume its blood stained ways, with Iran next in its lethal cross-hairs!
. “Catholic Priest is Fired for Funeral”
by Liz F. Kay and Kelly Brewington, Baltimore Sun, Nov. 9, 2007.