Yeah, I’d say that’s a good way to describe the U.S. Catholic church, considering how they’ve been under the blankets with the extreme right-wing for so long:
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has no official policy on donations to Komen because funding activities take place at the local level, according to conference spokeswoman Sister Mary Ann Walsh. That could change as more bishops speak out on the issue, though another conference official said the national body has no plans to take up the question.
Observers say the local bishops’ focus on Komen and other social issues reflects a larger conservative shift within the American church since New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan became chairman of the Conference in November 2010.
Under Dolan’s leadership, the conference last year set up a new ad hoc committee on religious liberty to oppose government policies that conflict with church teachings on abortion, contraception and gay marriage.
That move coincided with the rise of social conservatives in Congress and state legislatures during the 2010 elections and has gathered pace during the 2012 presidential campaign.
“It’s an ideal time for them to push both Democrats and Republicans to acquiesce to their demands, because nobody wants to be seen as disrespecting religion,” said Jon O’Brien of the advocacy group, Catholics for Choice, which opposes the Vatican on matters related to sex, marriage and family life.
But even as opposition to Komen continues, some Catholic recipients of Komen money have promoted their ties with the breast cancer charity to the media. Other institutions carry hypertext links to Komen on their Web sites and some display the Susan G. Komen for the Cure logo, including a pink ribbon.
In Ohio, tens of thousands of dollars in Komen grants have gone to some of the same institutions that bishops there proposed as funding alternatives to Komen.
Georgetown University in Washington has received $15 million in Komen grants. Catholic institutions overall collected $7.4 million from the charity in 2011 alone, while Planned Parenthood’s receipts totaled $684,000 during the same year.
The grants, and the warm reception for Komen among some Catholic institutions, underscore the common interests of charity and church in protecting women against a devastating and deadly disease. But some outside observers say the money also raises ethical questions about the bishops’ opposition role.
“It is morally inconsistent, and difficult to explain, why you would condemn donations but continue to accept grants. It makes no ethical sense at all,” said Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Bioethics.