Daily Links, June 14: Bishops say the darndest things

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This morning, U.S. Catholic managing editor Bryan Cones did another spit-take when reading Cardinal Timothy Dolan's response to the U.S. bishops being told by the head of their national review board that they need to do a better job following their own norms on sexual abuse. To Dolan, that meant "keep up the good work!"

That wasn't the only story today that had us scratching our heads. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska admits he hasn't read the "Obamacare Protection Act" (I think he means the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Is the name that hard to get right?). But he heard somewhere that Muslims are completely exempt from the entire law (not true). Good to see the bishops are well-versed in the law they are so strongly opposed to. [UPDATE: Greg Metzger writes more about how Archbishop William Lori and John Garvey responded to Bruskewitz's question. In short, they admit to not really knowing about how the law affects Muslims.]

Archbishop William Lori talked about resistance, even among Catholics, to the bishops' "religious liberty" campaign, saying "these things ... show us how very great is the need for our teaching, both in our culture and even in our own church.” What teaching is that, exactly? Obviously not on birth control, because as the bishops have repeatedly stated, that's not what this fight is about. And not on politics either, because this is a nonpartisan effort. And I don't think there's any church doctrine on public policy or legislative issues.

But what the bishops really need is better PR. At least that's one conclusion they arrived at during their meeting in Atlanta. I'm sure that's not meant to be a knock on the head of their communications office, who happens to be a Sister of Mercy, since the church is not attacking women religious.

If you want to join the bishops in praying for religious freedom, here's their "Litany for Liberty." 

Meanwhile, the church's fight against same-sex marriage continues, with an Australian bishop saying "marriage is now under fierce and hostile attack" and the church in England arguing that allowing gay marriage "will be divisive and delivers no obvious legal gain."

Anthony Stevens-Arroyo raises a good question about the marriage issue: Since the Defense of Marriage Act was declared unconstitutional by a federal court, do Catholics choose to stand with their church or in defense of the constitutional rights of all Americans? After all, we know how important it is to Catholics to defend the Constitution.

And just for some variety in your bishop news, they're also challenging Sen. Marco Rubio on the DREAM Act.

Finally, jury deliberations are still moving slowly in the Philadelphia sex abuse trial, as the jury tries to sort out all they heard during the nearly 11 weeks of testimony. They've been denied the chance to hear testimony again. And the defense attorney is so angry that the jury has more questions that he scolded the judge and slammed his cell phone against a wall.