What Is the Catholic Church’s Long Game?

So the Catholic Church hierarchy in the U.S. has announced that in late June they will begin “A Fortnight of Freedom“, which seems to primarily revolve around the anger at being unable to force their non-Catholic employees of Catholic organizations that receive federal funding to follow the dictates of the Catholic Church.

If public opinion polls are to be believed, they are way out of step with most U.S. Catholics. I can only see this alienating many Catholics. At the same time, much of what they’re doing, such as political advocacy, certainly pushes the boundary of non-profit tax status. If there’s one thing the Catholic Church has proven over the centuries, it’s that it’s a survivor. I’m failing to see the Church’s angle here. So I’m wondering if any of these hypotheses could explain its actions:

1) They are utterly clueless. Never underestimate the power of dumbitude.

2) Hubris. Since none of the hierarchy paid a price for the decades-long aiding and abetting of serial kiddie rapists*, they don’t think the government, including the IRS, will lay a finger on them. Of course, they could be right about this…

3) They’re preaching to the faithful. Those Catholics who haven’t left the Church believe this stuff, and the Church is responding to the involved laity, and ignoring the uninvolved laity.

4) The Church has given up on alienated Catholics. Related to point #3, the Church doesn’t think it’s worth the effort to appeal to marginally involved Catholics. Admittedly, that would be an odd position for the church of John the Evangelist to adopt.

5) Appealing to congregations outside of the U.S. Perhaps the conservative hardline appeals to cardinals outside of the U.S, especially in the developing world?

6) Follow the money. If the Almighty provides, He does so through human donors. Perhaps those who are still willingly to give to the Church are conservative Catholics, who then push the Church to the right, further alienating more Catholics, thereby forcing the Church to appeal to the religious right even more.

Anyone clued into the Catholic Church know what’s going on? Because it looks like it’s going to be a hot summer. Discuss.

*Cardinal Bernard Law essentially did have to flee to Rome. I believe he now shepherds the flock at the Basilica of the Immaculate Getaway.

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6 Responses to What Is the Catholic Church’s Long Game?

  1. DBP says:

    I don’t think I could really count myself as being clued into the Church, but they seem to be backed into a corner and are swinging with all their might hoping to land a few good punches before the inevitable occurs. The catholic church is dying. There’s no two ways about that. This is just part of the death throes. They’re digging in their heels and trying to throw gas onto the fire and push rabid followers to an increased frenzy.

    Reminds me a bit of evangelicals and trying to paste gourd’s name all over every govt building and erecting a 200 foot tall eyesore and a god damned ark.

  2. gglobster says:

    My home country of Belgium is heavily catholic by tradition, but your US Catholics are an entirely different breed. I have no clue what they’re up to. They don’t seem to be following the same dynamic as Old World Catholics.

  3. someone says:

    1. No, don’t underestimate them, they’re not stupid.
    2. Perhaps, but I’m not an usa’ian so I don’t know.
    3. yes
    4. also
    5. perhaps. but I’m guessing it’s more the other way around and them getting orders from above.
    6. Could be
    And to gglobster, belgium is like >90% roman-catholic, that makes for different dynamics then the USA where they are a minority church.

  4. hipparchia says:

    q: what is the far right’s long game?
    a: infiltrate, buy, and/or take over everything.

    alternatively, the question could probably be reframed as “what is the kochtopus’ long game?” fred koch was a charter member of the john birch society, at least one of his sons, if nndb is to be believed, is a catholic, and then there’s bit from the nyt:

    “The [john birch] society is familiar with strange twists. In late 2005, for example, Mr. Thompson became chief executive after staging a coup with the help of John McManus, the society’s most prominent member, its longtime president and an ultraconservative Roman Catholic.”


  5. hipparchia says:

    hmmm… here’s one i did not know about until now.

    becket fund for religious liberty, founded 1994(?) to make sure that people could practice their religion publicly. or something. they recently awarded their founder their highest honor, the canterbury medal: http://www.becketfund.org/religious-liberty-pioneer-kevin-j-“seamus”-hasson-awarded-becket-fund’s-highest-honor/ and they’ve got quotes from famous people of all religions to prove how wonderful they are.

    i wonder if they have anything to do with the latest salvos in the war on women. why yes, yes they do!

    “The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty led the charge against the Administration’s unconstitutional HHS mandate. The Becket Fund applauds the other courageous defenders who have stepped forward and filed additional suits in defense of America’s first freedom. Today, there are 23 separate cases and 55 individual plaintiffs, representing hospitals, universities, businesses, schools, and people all speaking with one voice to affirm the freedom of religion guaranteed in the Constitution.”



  6. hipparchia says:

    argh! the interwebz eated my last comment!

    a couple of links for following the [becket fund] money…



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