During the last presidential election it became clear to many of us that despite their overwhelming presence in the media the american bishops making the most noise in their opposition to Barack Obama reflected a minority view within the conference. A necessary tactic, then, for republican Catholics was to amplify their voices even more and even to claim that their numbers were larger than they really were. I exposed one such effort for what it was here.
It seems that now we are beginning to see some more visible, public responses to the scandalous behavior that we — we Catholics, and sadly the rest of the world who could not help but watch and be astonished at american Catholic “discourse” — witnessed during that election cycle. Santa Fe Archbishop Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan has publicly criticized the “combative tactics” of these right-leaning bishops, assuring that the majority of u.s. bishops disagreed with them.David Gibson now reports on the sudden and shady resignation of Scranton bishop Joseph “The USCCB doesn’t speak for me” Martino, claiming that “there are strong indications that Martino was pushed before he jumped.”
Whatever the ins and outs of the internal church maneuvering, the upshot is that a leading voice in the anti-Obama wing of the church hierarchy has been silenced while both Obama and Biden continue to take center stage.
Although the efforts seem to me a little late coming, it is refreshing to see signs that, despite republican efforts to increase the volume of these marginal and extreme views, someone — maybe a number of someones — is finally reaching over to turn the amplifier down saying “Enough already.”