Chaput The Great Unloads

Archbishop Chaput lets the fake Catholic groups have it. Money quote:
people who claim to be Catholic and then publicly undercut the teaching and leadership of their bishops spread confusion, cause grave damage to the believing community and give the illusion of moral cover to a version of health care “reform” that is not simply bad, but dangerous.
Agree with him completely. However, must the bishops not examine themselves on the prudence of taking policy stands on various and sundry matters --and so many of them--on which Catholics may in good standing disagree? By lending their weight to all kinds of contingent matters on which they have neither (as a body) expertise nor jurisdiction nor the promise of the Holy Spirit to guide them, have they not thereby diluted the impact of their serious moral teaching and created the habit in laypersons of not having to take episcopal teaching very seriously?

There is of course the necessary distinction between essential doctrines and prudential judgments...but since the bishops' conference doesn't make that distinction when cheering for programs like S-Chip, the faithful might be forgiven for not understanding it. Even the opposition to the health care bill is only because it funds abortion and denies conscience protections. Otherwise, the USCCB would be as strongly in favor of the health care plan as it is against it in its current form.

Yet by what right of their office do they opine that the socialist solution to health insurance woes is better than Paul Ryan's or another --especially since a sizeable number of the individual bishops themselves are on record as personally opposed to the government takeover approach? Were NARAL only slightly less stubborn, it would be the bishops themselves who were giving the illusion of moral cover to a version of health care "reform" not simply bad, but dangerous. (As I say in the S-Chip link: "Respect for life, living wages, universal health care: choose any two. But insisting upon the last is highly likely to hasten our culture's abandonment of the first.")

If the USCCB stayed out of politics and weighed in only to defend attacks on the human person and the family, they would do better. I hazard a guess Chaput would agree.

Update: Take a look at this statement from the Catholic Medical Association. Appropriately it denounces anti-life and anti-conscience measures in the bill. But look at the argument:
In so doing, they have intentionally and publicly contradicted the policy position of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
They say that as if Catholics were bound by every policy position of the USCCB, which they aren't. I intentionally, publicly disagree with the USCCB on in any number of positions as a Catholic in good standing who fully submits to the Magisterium.

I'd argue that the objection ought to hold true. The bishops should only weigh in on matters that truly and rightly bind in conscience.