To provide a couple brief parallel (and purely hypothetical) examples, what if Obama sent a message to a group of orthodox jews who violate kosher laws and praised them for supporting his domestic initiative of promoting American pork consumption?I can see his point. I just don't think his conclusion is justified. Obama may be trying to split Catholics. The fact is he is doing the opposite. The way to Catholic unity is not enforcing good behaviour. It is in challenging dissenting Catholics to return to the fullness of the faith of leave. Don't be luke warm. Be hot or cold. With the strong divide between Obama and the bishops we are getting exactly this challenge.
Or again, what if Obama sent a message to a group of Jehova’s Witnesses who practice blood transfusions and thanked them for their support of National Donate Blood Day?
In both these hypothetical cases, Obama is praising “political” actions with deep religious connotations that, when chosen by those who claim to practice each faith, violate what it has traditionally meant to be Jewish or a Jehovah’s Witness.
It was not long ago when Democrats could count on the support of most Catholic bishops. During the health care debate Obama didn't even try and reach out to them. He counted them as strong opponents. Instead he reached out to Sr. Carol Keehan. This is common in church history. Catholics have to choose between their bishops and their king. It is good that people have to make a stand. It forces them to reflect on who they trust. Do they trust the wisdom of God or the wisdom of man. Often the stark choices lead to better decisions. If we think it a small matter than we tend to indulge the world more. If the matter is obviously very serious we have a harder time justifying opposing the church. So the more battles Obama has with the bishops I think the better it will be for the church. It will lose some members but the ones that stay will be so much stronger.