It seems to me that Pat Perriello gets it exactly right:
The French bishops have prepared a statement that explores the church's response to the gay and lesbian community concerning civil unions and gay marriage. What a refreshing approach they are taking to such an issue that matters to the world around them.
In another example of bishops around the world taking a more open stance toward issues confronting all humanity, the German bishops are looking at permitting the use of the morning-after pill in certain circumstances.
But the U.S. bishops, on the other hand:
In contrast, the US Catholic bishops always seem to be looking for what is wrong with whatever stance any non-Catholic group around the world may take. . . . [I]n this country, we hear only what is wrong with homosexual behavior, and the general public can only conclude that the church supports and perhaps even encourages mistreatment and discrimination against our gay and lesbian brethren.
In other words, the French bishops choose to respond to gays and lesbians in their midst with love, support and an attempt to be sensitive to their needs as part of the family of man. I believe we could call such a position one that is predicated on Gospel values. The alternative, to condemn and express outrage that anyone would even think of trying to be fair and provide outreach to this group of citizens, does not seem in keeping with the values enshrined in the Gospels.
There are some fundamental differences between the bishops leading the Catholic church in the U.S., and the bishops leading the church in France and Germany. One of these differences is, quite frankly, educational. The bishops in France and Germany are far better educated than are the U.S. bishops, and they have theological advisors with sound educations, who are also not afraid to speak their mind to the bishops, while Catholic theologians in the U.S. speak always in whispers and fear to incur our bishops' wrath.
But far and away the bigger difference between our bishops and the bishops of many other bishops' conferences is that our bishops made a deal some time ago with the devil, when they placed themselves in the hands of a super-rich elite that uses conservative religious groups and the Republican party to protect its economic domination of the United States. That bargain with the devil has resulted in the inability of our Catholic bishops in the U.S. to do anything except toe the GOP party line and act as a mouthpiece for the super-rich.
The consequences for the moral credibility of the U.S. Catholic bishops and the church they lead could not be more grim.