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Bishops fret about being too political

The bishops in question are in Canada, and their concerns regard a campaign against the Harper government's plan to sharply reduce international aid funding:

OTTAWA Canadian Catholic bishops have taken the unprecedented step of blocking an annual education campaign organized by the churchs foreign aid wing, Development and Peace, after deeming this years edition too partisan.The bishops are reported to have been concerned that the campaign, targeting the Harper governments controversial changes to Canadian international assistance, would divide parishioners and hurt the churchs work with the Conservatives on other issues.Organizers say they can appreciate the bishops concerns and are toning down the campaign so it is less political.

We certainly wouldn't want the church to appear to favor one side.


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I wonder: could this have something to do with the next papal election? If by some strange turn of events the next pope was American (say, Dolan or Burke), then they would want to have been noticed by him for the sake of some hypothetical future promotion. What would count for them would be the reaction, not of their congregations, but of the people who matter for their career. Those bishops' letters are ostensibly written to the faithful, but in reality are meant for the eyes of their mentor or of Rome. In that way, Cdl Dolan and Cdl Burke can have an influence that extends well beyond their official roles.