Politics is by necessity the art of compromise, but prophets must stand on principle.
Bishop John M. D’Arcy recently ordered administrators at St. Joseph High School in South Bend to withdraw an invitation for Joe Kernan to speak at commencement because of the governor’s views on abortion.
The core issue isn’t partisan politics or the right of free expression. It’s the obligation of a moral institution, in this instance the Catholic Church, to take a firm stand on a basic belief.
All too often church leaders, of various denominational flavors, act like politicians, willing to compromise principles for the sake of maintaining a facade of peace. That’s a sure route to an anemic faith, abuses of power and scandal.
Moral leaders instead need to be Isaiahs, speaking unpopular but necessary truth to the political and cultural leaders of their time.