But the big news about their statement is that one of the signers, Bart Stupak (Michigan), says it is the result of many meetings among themselves and with others, including Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C. A spokesman for the Cardinal did not confirm this or deny it.
Cardinal McCarrick heads the U.S. bishops' panel on...bishops and politicians. Those two classes of people seem to be reversing their roles lately. The 55 Democrat politicians are acting like bishops, making moral pronouncements; and some bishops seem to be huddling in secret with the politicians.
Cardinal Mahomy likes to see "teachable moments" in current events. He ought to make the issuance of the 55 signers' document a teachable moment for them. The signers include familiar California names: Diane Watson, Lucille Roybal-Allard, the Sanchez sisters, George Miller, Hilda Solis, Xavier Becerra, Nancy Pelosi.
Think of the good that Cardinal Mahony and his fellow California bishops could do.
They could jar the 55 signers out of their illusion that they can form their conscience against the Church and without the Church's help. The bishops could tell the signers that pro-life Catholics are not, as the signers say, a narrow, right-wing minority but rather are in line with the Popes and the mind of the Church.
The California bishops could also tell the signers that they cannot have it both ways -- they cannot claim they are for social justice when they are complicit in killing BABIES. They cannot claim to want fewer babies killed but not want to outlaw any baby-killings, even partial-birth ones. Finally and most of all, the bishops could tell the politicians, "YOU CANNOT BE CATHOLIC AND PRO-ABORTION."
A nice pipe dream, no? But we can always dream. And pray. And blog on!