My point is that the proclamation of the truth in the areas of Christian faith and morals is the divine appointed responsibility of the exercisors of the magesterium of the Church. If one does not accept that, one's Catholic faith would seem to be "grounded" on quicksand. If the Pope and the bishops do not perform this duty they are being disobedient to their divine mandate. Does this mean that every word uttered by a Pope or a bishop, or even a council, over the years has the indisputable mantle of truth enveloping it. No, of course not. However, the proclivity of any Catholic is to accept their teachings, try to understand the reasons behind them, and always, unless given good evidence otherwise (Cardinal Mahoney comes to mind) to respect the proclaimers. The virtue I wished Jerry Ryan had talked about what might be lacking in the heirarchy, rather than humility, is prudence. There has been a number of unprudential ramarks by not a few bishops recently. As far as your specific questions, I do not see a lack of concern for the poor on the part of American Catholic bishops, nor a strong defense of unrestarined capitalism; I think the oridination of woman as deacons is still an open question (I personally favor it; but, I will accept whatever final dcision is made); slavery was never a positive teaching of the Church, and not practiced by the Church hierarchy, although I agree some in the Church were not in the vanguard opposing it; what do you mean by "usery? If you mean charging of excess interest on loans, that, as far as I know, has never been ok with the Church. The preference has been for loans without interest, or simple charitable gifts; I have agonized over the morality of artificial birth control for decades, origninally believing the Church was wrong to condemn it in toto. However, seeing the spread of immorality, veneral disease, the ease of adultry, and the like, I'm beginning to see the wisdom, if not all the reasoning, behind the Church's official stant here; as far as the "mandate," the issue is not birth control, it is who can define the Church, the Church itself, or the secular government. I think the heirarchy was right in opposing the mandate, and I hope the "accommodation" announced by HHR will put the issue right; the "flat earth" and "earth revolving around the sun" canard is not even worth addressing. History has shown that the Church has been at the forefront of supporting and encouraging true science for more than a millenia. I do agree to an extent that "pretending to know absolutely and overreaching is dangerous;" thus the need for prudence, and, ok, perhaps a bit more humility.