Out of Touch Bishop…

is out of touch. It seems he “does not identify” with people who pray the Rosary outside of abortion clinics.

Because the purpose of the laity is to be people their shepherd feels comfortable identifying with.

This is the sort of clerical narcissism Francis was addressing when he said he wants shepherds who smell like their sheep.

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  • HornOrSilk

    Look beyond Lifesite news, Mark. They could be distorting what the bishop said. From the little on there, I think his point is those who “exclusively” do it while rejecting the fullness of the teachings of life. That seems to be he point: the church is not only about abortion. If that is the case, he is right. Look to some other source instead of lifesite which rejects the full Catholic teaching on life and constantly misrepresents others.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      Actually, if you disagree with this take, stop committing the genetic fallacy and explain how his actual words were different from what was reported by LifeSite. People I have read that read Italian (I don’t) say that it was not only this bad, but worse.

      • HornOrSilk

        I have asked to stop going to Lifesite for sensationalistic news. Find a more credible site. That’s the point. I don’t know what he said, but what was reported on Lifesite made it seem like he is complaining about exclusivity of some people. If it is worse, it is for you to show what he said. But when the source I read is Lifesite, which has a history of misrepresentation, again, I am going to have skepticism when it attacks a bishop of the Catholic Church.

        • Mike

          Lsite news covers stories that receive absolutely 0 coverage anywhere else often but i have to agree that they SEEM to sensationalize alot and that that sometimes makes it look like they aren’t as interested in the truth, in the long game, as in scoring cheap points. But i can’t confirm this feeling that they’re making mountains out of mole hills, it’s just there in my gut.

        • Marthe Lépine

          I agree with you, since I have had other issues with Lifefite, to the point where one member of the diocesan council of Development and Peace in my diocese once suggested (only half-jokingly) whether Lifesite might have gotten money from Canadian mining corporations to make trouble for Development and Peace and get that organization off the back of mining interests in developing countries… (I am not making this up, I was at the meeting where that comment was made.)

          • Allan B

            Hmmm, a member of the diocesan council of Development and Peace in your diocese? Would this be the same Development and Peace that keeps getting caught funding pro-abortion, pro-contraception, and pro-homosexual organizations with donations gathered from Catholics? It would not surprise me in the least to find someone associated with D&P slamming Lifesite. In fact, I’d be more surprised to find such a person approving of Lifesite and what it does. D&P is a perfect example of narrow focus in the other direction, exclusively focused on poverty relief while ignoring moral issues.

            Allan B

            • Marthe Lépine

              Exactly! However most of those accusations you are parrotting do seem to have come from Lifesite, this is the reason of my comment above. If you choose to swallow Lifesite misrepresentations, and to spread them, instead of those of a fellow Catholic who is directly involved with D&P, it’s your choice…

            • Marthe Lépine

              And can you tell me who “keeps catching them”, please? Or more exactly, keeps claiming that they keep being caught?

  • Olivier Joffre

    But he named him !

  • FrDeacon Daniel G. Dozier

    So my question is…why isn’t the Pope as the Bishop of Rome the head of his own Episcopal Conference in Italy? Now would seem as good a time as any to take that on before this guy does more harm…

  • kirthigdon

    The bishop’s reported comments are even more insulting than what Mark summarizes. And in what respect does Lifesite reject full Catholic teaching or misrepresent others? I don’t follow the site. I do belong to a group which prays the rosary in front of an abortion mill, with the support of our bishop and local clergy, thank God.

    Kirt Higdon

    • HornOrSilk

      Well, look at how they lied about Pope Benedict on Harry Potter (as a clear example of their misrepresentation). They promoted many people (like Bush) as being pro-life who went against pro-life teachings of the Catholic Church.

      • kirthigdon

        As I said, I don’t follow Lifesite and I also don’t follow Harry Potter arguments. So what did they claim Pope Benedict said about HP and what, if anything, did he really say? Did they endorse Bush as the best available major candidate or the “lessor evil”? That is not the way I vote, but it is a prudential judgment that a lot of Christians make. It does not mean they are not pro-life.
        Kirt Higdon

    • Athelstane

      What’s worse – and telling – is that he won’t even use the Italian word for “abortion.” Instead, these are merely clinics that practice l’interruzione della gravidanza – essentially, “interruption of pregnancy.”

      And when you see euphemisms like this being used, your alarm bells should go off. People who are pro-life do not talk this way – in Italy, or in America. And if you look at the rest of his comments, and the rest of his record, you find that suspicion confirmed. This bishop has a history, people.

  • MitchellJ

    His point seemed to be about exclusivity. Focusing on abortion and euthanasia and forgetting the rest of Catholic moral teaching. I don’t agree with his comments 100% but what he is saying is not what is suggested here.

    • Humphrey

      And focusing only on the poor and the sick is not exclusivity? That is a two way street but only one side gets callend on exclusivity.

      Besides has this bishop ever been in front of some abortion clinic? Has he ever lead a prayer there? Has he ever said anything to his political friends about abortions and the laws that allow killing babies?

    • Marthe Lépine

      Well, several years ago I was shocked to read in a blog that strongly claims to be Catholic and conservative a statement to the effect that “the poor will always be with us, we can worry about them once abortion will have been eradicated” (not the actual wording, it was too long ago). It should not be a matter or one OR the other, exclusively, but a matter of both, and people should be free to concentrate their attention to one or the other, but without claiming that everybody should follow their lead. In my own opinion, attitudes such as constantly fighting abortion while showing little sympathy for unmarried single mothers because … they are only living with the consequences of their sins; or arguing that a corporation does not deserve to be criticized when it directs its workers to social support agencies and food stamps when their wages are insufficient to support themselves and their families; or claiming that poverty cannot be responsible for a woman looking for an abortion, it is just a matter of convenience for her and she should be expected to make all the necessary sacrifices to support her child (without our help, of course)… These are some examples of lack of compassion towards the women facing an unexpected pregnancy. Most people need to choose what good works they are capable of getting involved in, and in my opinion nobody should be criticized for giving more priority to preventing the need for an abortion to arise by working towards more justice for the poor. People are needed on both sides of the issue.

      • HornOrSilk

        Quite right.

    • Cypressclimber

      While that criticism has merit on one level — and there is always someone, somewhere, who can be cited to bolster it — in practice, I think it’s an unfair criticism, for three reasons:

      1. If a group of people gather to pray to end abortion, then that’s their focus. It’s unfair to say, well, how come you aren’t focusing on X,Y and Z? Because they’re focusing on this. Every gathering to focus on something doesn’t have to include everything else. That way lies madness — if everytime a group gathers to do any *one* thing, they have to complete a checklist of other things in order to be legit.

      2. This is how efforts against abortion manage to be ecumenical, interfaith and broadly successful. If you said, OK, everyone in this rally against abortion also has to agree with the following 12 other items of belief…

      You’ll have folks say, well, I don’t agree with that, so we go home.

      The annual March for Life in DC has lots of Catholics, but it’s not only Catholics. Lots of Rosaries, but there are lots of other good folks who I’m sure object to the Rosary. But they all march side by side, because what everyone agrees on is that babies should be safe from abortion. Thats a good thing; why mess it up by saying, Oh, but you have to agree with the following 12 other things too…

      3. This criticism of prolife folks — that they don’t care about anything else — is simply false on the facts. It parrots the pro-abortion side, which often claims that abortion objectors don’t care about the baby after birth.

      Well, it is contradicted by the facts.

      Now, if folks want to claim that something less than 100% of abortion protesters are lacking in balance and charity, well…congrats, you just proved Original Sin. Big deal.

      But if the claim is that a failure to care in a comprehensive way is a particular besetting sin of abortion protesters…then that actually needs to be demonstrated factually — and not by these, “I knew someone once” anecdotes. Because I think the facts are very clearly the other way, as witnessed by:

      * Vast efforts aimed precisely at helping women facing problem pregnancies
      * Generous support by prolife people for all manner of charities
      * The political diversity of people who oppose abortion. I.e., if you, say, go to the March for Life, you won’t find they are all Randians; far from it.

    • AquinasMan

      My comments are not specifically directed at MitchellJ, but…

      How on earth do we make the leap that because someone is active on the pro-life front, they are automatically suspected of “forgetting the rest of Catholic moral teaching”? That’s a neat trick. Let’s assume people who run soup kitchens have no concern over abortion, since they’re hyper-focused on serving dinner.

      Moreover, St. Paul made it clear that the body of Christ is composed of many parts that perform different functions. We don’t criticize the thumb because it doesn’t pump blood like the heart. We don’t criticize the spleen because it doesn’t care how the legs walk from point A to point B. Each part works in concert for the body; but lay off this “well, they’re too narrow-focused” BS. We NEED people narrowly focused so they can do what they are called to do, with EXCELLENCE and PASSION. The potshots coming from various corners on all sides is not helpful.

      • MitchellJ

        Definitely, we need people on all fronts! But I’m sure you have met people in the pro-life movement who have the attitude of “we can deal with the death penalty, poverty, health care access, other moral issue once abortion is gone.” That is not helpful, if that is who the bishop is directing his words at, then I agree. We cannot solve abortion without making strides on health care, poverty, etc. In the end its not about accomplishing this or that goal but creating a culture of life. A culture of life is one where are people are afforded basic human dignity; we are far from that, and if we outlawed abortion tomorrow it probably would not do much to lower abortion rates (sadly). To do that we have to convert the culture.
        This bishop said he does not identify with those outside the clinics praying the rosary but with those who oppose abortion AND work for increased access to health care and for those out of work, etc. To me it seemed like he was saying yes to both/and Catholics and no to either/or approaches to moral theology.

        That was my reading of what he said, anyways.

        • Athelstane

          “we can deal with the death penalty, poverty, health care access, other moral issue once abortion is gone.”

          With respect, none of those problems is as important or salient as a moral evil as abortion is. They simply aren’t.

          Every abortion is a clear moral act – and that act is a grave moral evil in every single instance. Whereas with, say poverty or lack of access to health care, there’s an entire set of interacting acts that may be of varying moral quality.

          Note that this is NOT an argument for simply ignoring these other issues. The Church can walk and chew gum at the same time, and so can we. But even as we focus on multiple evils, we also recognize that they are not the same kind of evil. There are over 1 million unborn children slaughtered in this country alone every single year. There is no other evil that measures up to that – none.

          We cannot solve abortion without making strides on health care, poverty, etc.

          With respect, you are in danger of reducing this to an economic and sociological (read: materialist) problem. It’s not. It’s a spiritual and moral one, and it can only have a spiritual and moral solution.

          In 1935, the number of abortions in the U.S. was negligibly small. And yet the country was in the grips of the Great Depression. Clearly poverty wasn’t a great driver of abortion then. Nor is it now. People have abortions because of the decayed moral culture which treats human life is such disposable terms – above all, a kind of atomistic narcissism. Yes, that can manifest itself in things like income inequality, too, but it exacts its clearest and most tragic human cost in the act of abortion.

          • Marthe Lépine

            “nearly 18,000
            children worldwide died every day in 2012” (I tried to insert the source of this quote here, but the system does not seem to work; however it is in today’s story on cbc.ca about life expectancy). Seems to me there is good enough reasons to suppose that many or most of those deaths are the result of poverty and starvation. It is fine to save children from abortion, but those who are called to spend most of their efforts at fighting poverty should not be belittled by statements such as “since abortion is the most serious moral issue, and there is no other evil measuring up to that”. In fact, there are a number of other moral evils at the root of the kind of poverty that kills children.

  • Dave P.

    I’m grateful the auxiliary bishop in my diocese identifies with the rosary-praying contingent. In fact, he’s one of them.

  • Humphrey

    Well at least we now know why so many catholics support abortion, same sex “marriages” and euthanasia.

    What is funny, even with so many catholics not focused on this things there are still poverty and sicknes in the world. C`mon people feed the hungry,it`s not like you have to be outside the abortion clinic praying,you have the time.

  • Cypressclimber

    I was stunned by the comments, and it makes me wonder if there is just a big divide between Catholic culture in the US and in the part of Italy where this bishop is from. In the US, I think most bishops are pretty pro-Rosary, and are happy to identify with the folks who are devoted to it, rather than demean them as having blank faces. It’s hard for me to understand where that kind of comment can be other than demeaning, but I only know my part of the world.

    After all, how can I really make any meaningful assessment of another person’s prayer? You’re lost in prayer, but all I see is a blank face? What I am supposed to see? Why should I expect you to pray the way I think is right? After all, dear bishop, those people aren’t talking to you

  • Willard

    I think the Archbishop is right and his views are the reason Pope Francis appointed him secretary general. The VAST majority of pro-criminalization of abortion Catholics are political conservatives. Political conservatives are known, for example, for opposing medicaid expansion as part of Obamacare. According to a recent study, at least 7,000 and as many as 17,000! people will die due to this. Whatever that is, it isn’t “pro-life”.

    • Humphrey

      Since i come from a country similar to Italy i doubt you can find there anybody who could be consider political conservative in american terms.

      And i doubt he was talking about american pro-life groups.Not everything is about USA.

      • Willard

        I wish you were right but I don’t think so. When Our Lord’s Holy Vicar has to defend himself against American blowhards like Rush Limbaugh, the evidence of the out sized influence of the USA is plain to see.

        • AquinasMan

          Yeah thanks for stopping by to politicize a non-political post. Check’s in the mail.

          • Willard

            Sorry the truth hurts. It is a POLITICAL decision that will cause the deaths of between 7 to 17 thousand Americans in states that refuse to expand medicaid under Obamacare. Unfortunately, those politicians have the support of an overwhelming majority of “pro-life” Catholics. The Archbishop is absolutely correct to oppose this. And I, for one, am glad that Pope Francis has his back.

            • Hezekiah Garrett

              The archbishop didn’t say anything at all about medicaid or obamacare.

              Next time the nice lady offers you seroquel, don’t pouch it in your cheek!

              • Willard

                The Archbishop said, “I do not identify with the expressionless faces of those who recite the Rosary outside the clinics who practice interruption of pregnancy, but with those young people who are opposed to this practice and strive for the quality of life of the people, for their right to health, to work”

                Don’t need to take seroquel to know exactly where this Archbishop is coming from and why His Holiness would appoint him to such an important position.

                • Athelstane


                  His Holiness likely appointed Galantino because of his approach to his new episcopal office. According to Wiki, after his consecration, “he asked that money ordinarily spent on gits for him should be spent on services for the poor. While bishop he has lived at the seminary not the
                  bishop’s palace, eschewed the services of a secretary and chauffeur. He asked to be called “Don Nunzio” instead of the customary title “Your Excellency.””

                  All well and good. But what may have been overlooked was that his views on the Church’s moral teachings are much more in line with (to put it in American terms) the National Catholic Reporter than the National Catholic Register.

                  Whatever certain political parties may crassly do to exploit such sentiments, the people who show up outside abortuaries to pray and counsel are not there to win elections. They are there to save lives. If you spend any time with us, you’d come to realize that.

        • Alexander S Anderson

          I hate to burst your bubble, but I don’t think Pope Francis pays much attention to what Rush Limbaugh says. He definitely doesn’t ask himself “what will Rush think?” before he writes and speaks. I think you’re being very provincial. American problems aren’t everybody’s problems, and despite what the press wants you to believe, they aren’t first on Pope Francis’ mind, and they surely aren’t first on the mind of an Italian bishop.

          • Willard

            It’s possible that I’m wrong but I find it very suspect that within a few weeks of being called a marxist by that thrice divorced drug addict, Pope Francis had to come out to say he “wasn’t a marxist”. But I hope you’re right.

            • Alexander S Anderson

              I took the dismissive attitude he displayed in those comments as well as the fact that he, to my lights, has not alluded to the circus of interpretation going on here since as a sign that it wasn’t high on his list of concerns, as it should be. But I have a hunch that this bishop made his comments because he’s a little too comfortable in the post-Chistian culture of Europe, where praying outside of a clinic is a little gauche.

  • Rich

    This makes me very thankful that my bishop, Paul Loverde, can indentify with people praying in front of clinics because he does so himself.

  • Elmwood

    Maybe the bishop thinks praying the rosary could be misunderstood as publically condemning the women who have abortions–I don’t know–or that it is the wrong way to evangelize, which is how we should combat the culture of death.

    But I think it’s a fair question to ask if the prolife movement has been co-opted by a political ideology which isn’t entirely compatible with our faith, and is seen by the unchurched as merely being a political movement.

    • Athelstane

      Hello Elmwood,

      It’s fair to ask, perhaps, if you don’t actually know many of these people in the pro-life movement, especially the ones who pray outside abortion clinics.

      These people are not getting invites to GOP rubber chicken fundraising dinners, or government contracts, out of these outings. But I do know sidewalk counselors who have saved lives. Lives of children who are alive and well today because they showed up, with expressionless faces to pray outside these clinics.

  • Athelstane

    Because the purpose of the laity is to be people their shepherd feels comfortable identifying with.

    His Excellency – sorry, “Don Nunzio” – Bishop Galantino is not a totalitarian, merely a garden variety progressive social justice bishop keen to (as he put it) “reposition” the Church in Italy even more in line with reigning smelly secular orthodoxies. But Mark’s apt expression here can’t help but remind me of Bertolt Brecht’s caustic and disillusioned poem after the East German regime had denounced its own people as having forfeited the confidence of the government:

    Would it not be easier
    In that case for the government
    To dissolve the people
    And elect another?

    But I’m sure if Don Nunzio searches hard enough, especially in the retirement hospices of southern Italy, he can find sheep that he can find worthy of smelling of. The abortion clinic sidewalks, alas, will be barren territory. Except, of course, for vocations.

  • BHG

    SHerlock Holmes once “said” : “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist fact to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” Always tough to take comments out of context or with limited context because that is theorizing without facts. If one must do so, might it be best to give them as charitable a spin as one can and move on? Why get all riled up at this article; after all His Excellency was not talking to us and we do not know the full story behind his remarks–or all his remarks for that matter. Perhaps he means that he has trouble identifying with those who pray outside abortion clinics but who drive home in big cars to big homes with many empty bedrooms and claim they are too strapped for cash to donate to charities that help desperate women get assistance they need rather than default to abortion. I can understand that and I can see how it would fit with the rest of the comments. Knowing what was said before and after would sure help me but the article doesn’t provide that. I could nit-pick what was recorded here but one good sense I got is that he expects prayer and the Christian faith to change who we are AND what we do in a concrete way for others. Not a bad message, that.

  • tteague

    I am wondering if, at least, some of the problem is that there is an issue in translation with the quote that’s been getting a lot of attention. Although I still find the bishop’s statements to be a bit vague, I wonder if what he was saying is more like:

    “I don’t identify with the expressionless [meaning: passionless, not connecting with others at a personal level] person who stands outside the abortion clinic [their only pro-life concern is abortion] reciting their rosary [which is good, but only one of many things such a person can do], but with young people [I see the example of young people who have a lot of passion and energy and action], who are still against this practice [who are still against abortion and show it], but are instead [maybe should read “also”] fighting for quality of life [in general because their scope is more broad & inclusive regarding pro-life issues], their health, their right to work [they tend to include the whole spectrum of pro-life concerns, not only abortion, which is what a lot of the more visible Catholics have tended to focus on in the recent past].”

    If so, then perhaps the bishop is saying something of more substance and more in line with what Pope Francis has been saying in regards to a total pro-life emphasis – even if it could have been better said. But I can’t say.

    Of course, this still begs the question as to whether a straw man is being set up to be knocked down, for I doubt many of these “expressionless” persons exist – though I don’t have much experience with this. And the proverbial “young people” has been a kind of exciting mantra of change for decades and for many issues. And, of course, there may be cultural differences at play in both translation and understanding. Anyway, I wonder. The original quote seems a bit clunky. And I wonder if anyone has gone back to him and asked for clarification.

  • Elmwood

    Here is how google translates the original article:

    In recent years, the CEI has invested heavily on the non-negotiable values ​​(life, family, education). The Pope did not care about that expression, too?

    “We think the sacredness of life. In the past we have focused not only on abortion and euthanasia. It can not be so, in the middle there is the existence that develops. I do not identify with the expressionless faces of those who recite the rosary outside the clinics, who practice abortion, but with those young people who are opposed to this practice and strive for the quality of the people, for their right to health, to work.

    Sounds like he’s saying we can’t only focus on abortion or euthanasia, but also on the right to health care and work. What’s wrong with that?

    • Athelstane

      1) in the first place, the translation missed a lot. Bishop Galantino carefully avoids even using the Italian word for abortion. Instead, he employs the dodgy euphemism “ending pregnancy.” Always a bad sign.

      2) in the second place, he’s questioning the motives and value of every single person who prays outside abortion clinics. He’s kicking some of the most loyal people in the Church. It’s not just insulting, it’s immoral.

      Will the good bishop criticize protestors on government unemployment schemes or health care benefits for being too one track minded? You know the answer as well as I.

      • Benjamin2.0

        he employs the dodgy euphemism “ending pregnancy.”

        Ha! “Abortion [of pregnancy]” just means “ending pregnancy”! It’s already a euphemism – past its expiration date, it seems. Nominalism fails in practice every time.

        When will hippy Italian bishops learn that using a term for a thing which evades the essence of the thing will not transform the thing itself but, slowly, the term? I’m not eager to stop using the word ‘end’ for the sake of its implications in the same way I have to be careful when using the word ‘abort’.

  • “This is the sort of clerical narcissism Francis was addressing when he said he wants shepherds who smell like their sheep.”

    Agreed, but didn’t Pope Francis appoint this bishop as General Secretary of the Italian Episcopal Conference? Seems like there is a disconnect between his words and his appointments at times.