Stay the Course?

Meeting last month in Baltimore, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a number of statements, including guidelines for the pastoral care of “persons with a homosexual inclination” and an instruction-titled “Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper”-on who should or shouldn’t receive Communion.

Overshadowed in the media reaction to the guidelines and the bishops’ “hard saying” about Communion was Bishop William S. Skylstad’s “Call for Dialogue and Action on Responsible Transition in Iraq.” Skylstad is president of the USCCB and his statement on the war has much to recommend it. Dismissing the idea that there are only two options in Iraq, either “cut and run” or “stay the course,” Skylstad pleads for a “collaborative dialogue that honestly assesses the situation, acknowledges past difficulties and miscalculations, recognizes and builds on positive advances.”

These are sensible recommendations, necessary steps in bringing about a responsible resolution to a tragic and untenable situation. The USCCB would do well to adopt just as sensible a policy in confronting the laity’s doubts about church teaching on the meaning of human sexuality. For instance, 95 percent of married Catholics do not find the teaching on contraception persuasive. And how do the bishops respond? “Stay the course or get out of the Communion line” might be a rough paraphrase of the USCCB statements....

To read the rest of this article please login or become a subscriber.