The Catholic League rushed to the defense of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) when it was blamed for the partial government shutdown this fall. It was one of the most baseless and absurd accusations we have seen in a long time.

The most absurd criticism against the bishops was first made by Adele Stan, a writer for a pro-abortion and anti-Catholic website. She not only blamed them for the shutdown, she slandered them by saying they are at war with the poor: the USCCB was accused of blocking access “to health care for the masses, food for the hungry, and shelter for the homeless.” Also, “they wouldn’t mind seeing the global economy brought to its knees.”

We jumped on this issue when Stan’s screed was echoed by other secularists. Following our critical statement, her article was given a big push by the National Catholic Reporter, the dissident weekly that rejects the Church’s teachings on sexuality. We immediately took aim at the newspaper, showing how it is working to undermine the bishops. The next day there was a sharply worded rebuke of the USCCB’s critics by its director of communications, Sister Mary Ann Walsh.

Regarding the partial government shutdown, all the USCCB wanted to do was to make sure that in discussions over a Continuing Resolution and debt ceiling bill, the conscience rights of Catholics would be included in “must-pass” legislation. For this they were accused of pushing for the government to default.

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