Michael Sean Winters writes today about his hopes and expectations of the coming US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) summer conference in New Orleans. To get the gist of my comments, includings MSW's innocence on Mardi Gras beads, you must see his article first at http://ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/next-weeks-usccb-mtg-futu...
MSW, this is classic. You collect beads at Mardi Gras to toss at women on balconies (or women below your balcony, to expose themselves - which they do quite willingly. This is also why the thought of the Bishops going there for a "light agenda" is a bizarre. Of course, some of them have such a stunted sexuality, irregardelss of their vows, that their cluelessness on New Orleans is more sad than surprising.
If they are going because of the poverty of the place - well, that is not a light agenda. Redrafting Faithful Citizenship is not either. I suspect that the departed staff were valuable not only because of their knowledge because of their relationships with certain groups - including the ability to not go too far into Republican turf. Benedict and Francis have probably thrown off the ideological balance but the political balance remains unchanged - although I must say the Republicans are a dying party - or their core is dying anyway - literally. A real blessing would be a new examination of those relations with the National Right To Life Committee - including and especially its relationship with the Republicans. Thinking through the end game on abortion would be a good thing - but such an open discussion may lay bare some motives that they wish to keep hidden - hence the movement to the fifth floor.
The real problem, however, is that if they acknowldge that nothing much will ever move on abortion (other than GOP get out the vote) - save maybe a higher guaranteed income for families, there is not logical reason for the bishops not to go hard left on most policy areas - from Obmacare to immigration to much bigger child tax credits (not to mention adult eduation high schools for the inner city poor). They bishops have already lost anti-communism - so dropping abortion as a poltical hook to tell the flock to vote as Republican as many of them are pretty much goes away and many bishops do not want that, even if the Pope's focus dictates as much. This will be a dfficult meeting because the GOP is so entrenched in the Conference.