There are 195 Catholic dioceses and eparchies in the United States. Why didn't more sign on? Where's Chicago? Boston? Atlanta? Why haven't any California dioceses joined the suits?Kevin Clarke of America has an interview with Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, California -- chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development -- who offers an intriguing view:
Bishop Blaire acknowledged that there is a concern among some bishops that there ought to have been more of a wider consultation regarding overall strategy on the religious liberty question. And I say that with some hesitation, he added, because the California bishops very strongly support whatever action has to be taken to promote religious liberty.The question is what is our focus as bishops and that we have opportunity to clarify our focus and that we are all in agreement on focus. He said some bishops appear to be speaking exclusively on the mandate itself that it is imposed as a violation of [individual] conscience."He said there are other bishops who see the crucial question as the religious liberty of the church itself and its freedom to exercise her mission through her institutions. He added, I think that its important at meeting that there be a broader discussion of these issues [at the June U.S. bishops meeting in Atlanta] so that U.S. bishops can clarify their message and not allow it to be co-opted.[...]Bishop Blaire believes discussions with the Obama administration toward a resolution of the dispute could be fruitful even as alternative remedies are explored. He worried that some groups very far to the right are trying to use the conflict as an anti-Obama campaign.
Read the rest right here.