In March, I wrote “Bishops’ Conference Should Look Toward Rome,” about the sad situation at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in their foolish attempt to browbeat President Joe Biden on the issue of abortion and their beyond foolish qualms about the COVID-19 vaccines. Their June meeting did nothing to restore confidence in their leadership.
People ask me all the time: “How did it get this bad?” The answer is not complicated, but it is multi-faceted.
Lay leadership is not the answer, at least not currently. I will take my chances with Papa Francesco and his current appointees to the Congregation for Bishops. But the changes we need won’t happen quickly and they won’t be sudden or sharp. Pope Francis has proposed synodality as a vehicle by which the Holy Spirit might return to our ecclesial decision making, but it is difficult to imagine today’s culture warriors engaging in a genuinely synodal process. We are in for some bad ecclesial weather for the next few years.
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Michael Sean Winters is a journalist and writer for the National Catholic Reporter.
With thanks to Go, Rebuild My House, a publication of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States.