" That incisive moral analysis and strong moral values that so many American Catholics like Margery Eagan exhibit: where are they coming from? At National Catholic Reporter this week, theologian Richard McBrien offers strong reasons for doubting that the incisive moral analysis or values are trickling down from the top of the church to the bottom.
McBrien finds that the more and more overtly the bishops reveal themselves as tools of the Republican party, the more decisively U.S. lay Catholics distance themselves from the bishops and claim their birthright obligation as baptized Christians to exercise their informed consciences in making political and moral judgments. To put the point as plainly as possible, the Catholic hierarchy may speak, but not many folks are listening:In summary, on most of the issues the survey asked about, majorities of Catholics said the locus of moral authority rests with individuals, not the bishops, but after taking church teachings into account.
............... MoreGiven the findings of this latest survey, it is clear that relatively few Catholics look to the bishops themselves as the sole source of guidance on moral issues. "