Catholic Bishops Cross Church-State Line

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Writing in the online magazine
American Chronicle
the law
," Jan. 27), Barbara Anderson points out
the strong influence the

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
has had on
immigration policy.

It has caused Catholic pulpits
nationwide to urge open borders for legal and illegal
aliens alike, she notes. "The Catholic Campaign for
Human Development uses money from generous Catholics to
train illegals to lobby and agitate for `rights` for
says Anderson.

This is far from new business for
this powerful Vatican-directed agency. Despite the new
pope`s encyclical disclaimer about trying to influence
public policy, Rome and these bishops have been hard at
work trying to shape U.S. public policy for decades.
And, to a large degree, they have succeeded. Let me

We now have five male Catholic
justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. Most Catholics,
particularly women, with whom I talk are highly
displeased with this concentration of power and the
likely rightward course of women`s rights under the new
alignment. Evidence of this came sharply to me when I
attended a Jan. 11 reception honoring Kate Michelman,
recently retired president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Among those on the dais were her successor, Nancy
Keenan, and Frances Kissling, president of Catholics for
a Free Choice. All three were raised Catholic and all
three are strongly pro-choice.

As the circus of these Alito
hearings reminds us, subjective beliefs dominate the
political, cultural and social dialogues, even in a
nation supposed to be guided by separation of powers,
separation of church and state, and the rule of law. No
constitution or construct of man can possibly account
for the diversity of views on the ultimate questions
raised by our limited view of our limitless universe.
That this new Supreme Court judge is "conservative"
no one disputes, even if defining that word means voting
often against the fair and broad exercise of basic human
rights, including privacy.

Those who occupy chairs in the
citadels of religiosity are naturally covetous of the
"true faith"
they embrace—not because it represents
the truth but because it represents temporal power of
the most useful kind. That, for example, the world`s
richest institution, the combined resources and property
of the Catholic Church, exposes the obvious basis for
its biases on contraception, abortion and male-only
priests as a means of flock control—particularly over
women but also in a much broader sense over the American
body politic.

The one question that was not
raised at the Alito hearings was whether he felt that
the activities of his church were legal under current

On Nov. 20, 1975, the American
Catholic bishops issued their Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life
Activities. This plan is a superbly detailed blueprint
of the bishops` strategy for infiltrating and
manipulating the American democratic process at
national, state and local levels. It called for the
creation of a national political machine controlled by
the bishops. In large measure, this machine has,
dragging along its unwitting evangelical brethren, taken
over the Republican Party.

Colgate University political
science professor

Timothy Byrnes
calls it the most "focused and
aggressive political leadership"
ever exerted by the
American Catholic hierarchy. So much for respect for the
American constitutional principle of separation of
church and state.

When the Supreme court decided Roe
v. Wade (1973), late Bishop James McHugh was a monsignor
and the staff director of the National Catholic Family
Life Bureau.

In a March 4, 1987, interview by
Byrnes, McHugh observed that "within 24 hours" of
the court`s action, the bishops knew they would need to
mount a political campaign in favor of a constitutional
amendment prohibiting abortion. "Indeed," Byrnes
observed, "by November 1973 the bishops had
explicitly declared that they wished `to make it clear
beyond a doubt to our fellow citizens that we consider
the passage of a pro-life constitutional amendment a
priority of the highest order.`"

States the plan: "It is
absolutely necessary to encourage the development in
each congressional district of an identifiable, tightly
knit and well organized pro-life unit. This unit can be
described as a public interest group or a citizen`s

According to McHugh, some
conference members asked if the bishops could credibly
claim that these groups were not expressly subordinate
to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Says
Byrnes, "McHugh, who actually drafted the plan, told
me that the NCCB`s (50-member) administrative board
(which first passed the plan and authorized its
presentation to a plenary session for adoption by the
conference as a whole) debated this section of the
document for `several hours,` searching for a way to
formally distance these politically charged advocacy
groups from the tax-exempt church."

Continues Byrnes: "As finally
adopted, the Pastoral Plan defined a `congressional
district pro-life group` as `an agency of citizens
operated, controlled and financed by these same
citizens` and added that `it is not an agency of the
church, nor is it operated, controlled or financed by
the church.`

"Some observers nevertheless
pointed out that the actual—as opposed to the
formal—independence of the lobby groups was belied by
the highly detailed list of objectives and guidelines
that directly followed this disclaimer."

In other words, the bishops
themselves recognized that the disclaimer was
ridiculous. They created an illegal political action
machine and dared anyone to complain.

So far they are doing beautifully.

Samuel Alito has been confirmed and
installed, and this behind-the-scenes plan should get
much of the credit. And if the bishops have their way,
real immigration reform as proposed in House Resolution
4437 will not occur. The most recent example of its
efforts can be found in the U.S. Conference of Catholic
Bishops Pastoral Letter on migration (Strangers
No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope
The pastoral plan can be read in its original text


Donald Collins, a board member of
the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)
and a freelance writer living in Washington, DC.,
frequently writes on family planning and immigration

Donald A. Collins [email
him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.