Founded in 1981, the Institute on Religion & Democracy has been a voice for transparency, for renewal, and for Christian orthodoxy.
By George Weigel
At their annual November meeting, the U.S. bishops failed to approve a pastoral message on the economy. “The Hope of the Gospel in Difficult Economic Times” was approved by a clear majority of the bishops voting, but objections raised in large part by retired bishops were sufficient to deny the document the supermajority it needed.
All of which strikes me as a lost opportunity.
No doubt the draft document could have been improved; any ecclesial document can be improved (if you doubt that, try reading Vatican II’s “Decree on the Means of Social Communication” without taking a long winter’s nap). What was so striking about “The Hope of the Gospel in Difficult Economic Times,” however, was that it was different: it was the work of pastors, not policy wonks; it anchored its reflections in the gospel, not in the dismal science; and in a public environment becoming ever more secular, it used terms like “sin” and “virtue” to describe our present circumstances, what led us into them, and what might lead us into a better future.
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