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By Dr. Jeff Mirus, Catholic Culture, Jan 14, 2020

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

It has been said that “all politics is local”, and this is a valuable axiom for winning public office. Unfortunately, after such victories, politics mostly proceeds from the top down. This creates a huge temptation to seek change by leaping over what is local in an effort to control high-level socio-political policies. In the Church, this temptation tends to take its most virulent form in the role by national episcopal conferences. I began an assessment of such conferences last week in On funding (or dissolving) episcopal conferences. Today I take up their tendency to substitute a thirst for political influence for each soul’s thirst for God.

Last week I mentioned the tendency of episcopal conferences to focus on desired policies and goals, including influencing other institutions and governments in their response to major public issues. At the same time, this tendency tends gloss over each bishop’s direct personal responsibility for his own local flock. Attention is often focused more on the positions the conference is taking on public issues, and less on creating a vibrant local Catholic culture beginning with each parish and diocese.  ….

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