One of my doomsayers announces that the bishops. just. caved.
So I go and look at what they actually said:
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) sees initial opportunities in preserving the principle of religious freedom after President Obama’s announcement today. But the Conference continues to express concerns. “While there may be an openness to respond to some of our concerns, we reserve judgment on the details until we have them,” said Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, president of USCCB.
“The past three weeks have witnessed a remarkable unity of Americans from all religions or none at all worried about the erosion of religious freedom and governmental intrusion into issues of faith and morals,” he said.
“Today’s decision to revise how individuals obtain services that are morally objectionable to religious entities and people of faith is a first step in the right direction,” Cardinal-designate Dolan said. “We hope to work with the Administration to guarantee that Americans’ consciences and our religious freedom are not harmed by these regulations.”
Um. No. They didn’t. just. cave. In fact, they haven’t backed down at all that I can see. They politely noted that Obama twisting himself into a pretzel to *look* like he was accomodating is, in fact, an acknowledgement of the fact that he has placed himself in a losing predicament and that he has had to do damage control. They acknowledge the attempt at damage control as a first step in admitting how wrong he is… and leave the door wide open for him to transition from appearing to do something to actually doing something. Instead of cornering the animal and making him fight, they are giving him room to get out of the fight without incurring undue damage when his inevitable surrender comes. But they are not, in the slightest, backing down that I can see. They understand his game.
So, combox counselors of despair: instead of perpetually prophesying doom, why not try prayer for our bishops and our Church as we fight this battle? It ain’t over by a long shot, but we have made real progress and the bishops have played this very well so far. You doomsayers help nothing by constantly throwing in the towel on the flimsiest provocation. Man up. Show some courage!