February 1, 2013 —
In a shocking press release, United States Conference of Bishops made several unexpected moves in response to the Obama administration’s proposed modifications to the HHS mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, known by many as Obamacare. In a brief three-sentence memo, Cardinal Timothy Dolan implied a number of cryptic, esoteric, and ridiculous things. Two of the three sentences were particularly disconcerting to American Catholics:
We welcome the opportunity to study the proposed regulations closely. We look forward to issuing a more detailed statement later.
American journalists and politicians are outraged. An MSNBFOX reporter writing on condition of anonymity e-mailed,
WTF! Seriously? The USCCB is going to READ the whole document before they comment? What is this, the stone age? Clearly the Bishops are again showing how out of touch they are with the times. We reported on this story before we were sure it was real. That’s what we do: we make things real, even if they’re not. And if they are, we sometimes make them unreal by ignoring them. How naive and trite of them to act like this is their role. Ridiculous, really. Know your role, Bishops.
The president of the PSJRA (Press Staffers and Journalism Researchers of America) says that they plan to follow the situation closely and are ready to press charges if they find that the USCCB plans to read the whole document themselves, personally. “That’s why we get hired, to read and summarize and oversimplify the stuff that politicians and journalists don’t have time or interest to review themselves,” she said. “This cuts into our business and will make our bosses look really bad, which is our job, not theirs.” She ended by expressing hope that the USCCB would employ quality, unionized professionals to do the reading and the writing for them. If Dolan wrote today’s press release himself, which we doubt, she said that they would take it as an insult.
Catholic blogger Sam Rocha seemed weirded-out, too. “I don’t really get it,” he said, “most Catholic reporters and psuedo-journalists will glance through thousands of words of commentary but only a small percentage of them will read the actual legislation. I know I won’t read it. If we don’t have to, why should they? Do they think they’re better than us? I’m insecure about myself already, the last thing I need right now is the Bishops one-upping me.”
Public response has been decidedly negative, too. Unlike the outcry from the press, popular dismay seems to be attached to the fact that the USCCB does not appear to be consulting with respectable and credible sources.
As Boris Dittomurica left noon Mass at St. Eagleclaw the Militant, he told one of our reporters, “the USCCB cannot be trusted to think for themselves, there are too many liberal nuns in that outfit; they should really call into Limbaugh or Hannity and find out what is really going on. That’s what I do. These clerics can’t be trusted anymore; I hear some of them are not Republicans and don’t own guns. Don’t they know they’ll go to Hell for that? I sure hope they wake up and read the Constitution someday, before it’s too late. I’d better find out what I think at Drudge; good day and MERRY CHRISTMAS!”
Across town, at St. Tree of Whatever Makes You Feel Good, a young person named butler jude, who objected to being labeled as a man or women because God isn’t confined by Western neoliberal gender normativity, expressed its displeasure with the Bishops’ decision to not analyze the HHS document from a postcolonial neo/non-post(modern) perspective. “Even if they don’t want to truly understand the ryzomatic, Foucauldian power structures involved, at least they could give Rachael Maddow a call and see what she says. That’s basically what I do when it comes to politics. Doesn’t the Huffington Post have something on this? I mean, if Jesus was socialist, shouldn’t they at least be Democrats? I’m tired of the oppressive linearity of this conversation.”
“A dark day in democracy,” said another concerned citizen. “I’m not even Catholic, but surely we cannot be trusted to read those long and boring documents and then try to think about them ourselves.” She continued, asking, “What if everybody did that? I mean we don’t even get to decide what we think about American Idol or toilet paper. How could I ever understand anything about politics without someone who hasn’t read it there to explain it to me? Plus, doesn’t that take an awful lot of time? Just who do these guys think they are? I guess since clergy don’t work, maybe they have time for that. Sounds kinda crazy to me.”