The US Bishops’ Statement: An Invitation to Disobedience, by Phil Lawler

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By Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture, Nov 18, 2021

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

After voting almost unanimously to approve a long-awaited statement on the Eucharist yesterday, the members of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) gave themselves a hearty round of applause. I wonder if they noticed that not many other Catholics are clapping.

What was it that prompted the bishops’ applause? Were they saluting each other for their courageous witness? No; this was not a courageous document. Were they congratulating themselves for the prudence that allowed them to avoid a contentious debate? Not likely; they have been sniping at each other for more than a year on this topic, and the dispute will undoubtedly continue. Sometimes a healthy open debate is needed to clear the air. Or were our bishops simply clapping with relief that, once again, their conference had managed to navigate a tricky passage without capsizing completely? …

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