Remember back in November of last year, when the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) held a general meeting in which they ignored issues like income inequality, poverty, immigration reform, and economic justice and decided instead to formulate a plan of attack against equal civil marriage rights for same-sex couples?
Well, they’re at it again. The American Catholic Church has had a pretty rough time these past seven months, what with its ongoing defense of alleged pedophile priests and their diocesan protectors, persecution of LGBT Catholics and their allies, hysterical, dictatorial, and un-Christian attacks on marriage equality and contraception, fear-mongering about trumped-up threats to religious liberty, and high-profile tiffs with American nuns and the Girl Scouts. Their image has taken a body blow. So at their meeting in Atlanta yesterday, they announced plans to push back — with an “ambitious public relations drive to soften and shape their image.”
Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley acknowledged that ”Our church, both in the States and at the Holy See, does not do a good job of communicating around controversial topics,” adding, “we need more help and more sophistication in our messaging.”
Do they really think we’ll buy their spin? I can see it now: We aren’t bullying the nuns, we’re just making sure they know their place. We don’t hate LGBT people, we just want to prevent them from pledging their lives to each other in civil marriage. We love women, we just want to make sure they’re making babies. . . Selling the American public on homophobia and misogyny will be a tall order indeed for the USCCB’s PR firm.
The USCCB also has apparently elected to rip a page from the playbook of the National Organization for Marriage
Discrimination (NOM) by crafting anti-gay messages specifically targeted at Spanish speakers:
Outreach efforts also include a Spanish-language video, now in production, that will take the form of a tasteful soap opera, tracing one family’s interactions over generations. The drama aims to promote traditional marriage and combat rhetoric that frames gay marriage as an issue of equality, civil rights or justice, said Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland.
Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta said that the planned public relations campaign “will be a tremendous expense.” With Catholic parishes, schools, and social programs closing around the country, where is the USCCB getting the money? How many will go without food, shelter, or an education, just so the nation’s Catholic bishops can put on a pretty face for the American people?