USCCB spokesperson decries anti-HCR violence

The bishops' longtime spokesperson, Sister Mary Ann Walsh, has a blog post denouncing the violence and ugly epithets from opponents of health care reform. The USCCB was one of those opponents, and so is wise to distance itself so quickly from such actions, which are growing serious, as the WaPo reports. The GOP is rushing to do the same, though the bristly House Whip Eric Cantor isn't sounding very apologetic:

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) angrily lashed out at Democratic leaders for their handling of reported threats against members of Congress Thursday, accusing them of "dangerously fanning the flames" by blaming the GOP and confiding that he has also been the recipient of threats.

I prefer the way Sister Mary Ann frames the problems:

The intolerance and incivility did not begin with legislation passed Sunday night. It is not unrelated to the divisions that exist in our country and, sadly, even in our church.It starts with how we view others as enemies rather than as fellow travelers on the journey of life. It includes whether or not were willing to give another the benefit of the doubt, accepting that their intentions are good, even if their goals differ from ours.In involves accepting the fact that each of us is a child of God and precious to Him and our brother or sister.

She cites Cardinal George and his statement as an example of this approach, which may not ring true with many. But the fact that her message calls out so many HCR opponents inside and outside the church is a good start to a new chapter -- let us hope.

David Gibson is a national reporter for Religion News Service and author of The Coming Catholic Church (HarperOne) and The Rule of Benedict (HarperOne). He blogs at dotCommonweal.

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