Let’s say you’re unhappy with what someone offers you and they come back with another offer and you publicly declare that it falls short in every particular but you want to keep talking. Would it be fair to say that you rejected the new proposal? Of course it would.
And yet, Cardinal Timothy Dolan has blogged his displeasure with the news media for reporting that the Catholic bishops have rejected the new HHS contraception mandate proposal that, according to his official letter as president of the USCCB, “falls short.” Because he wants to keep talking. But just because you’re prepared to keep talking doesn’t mean that you haven’t rejected the counter-offer. If you want a “Keep Talking” headline, you don’t put out a bill of particulars but a statement saying that there are still unresolved issues that you look forward to discussing.
Back-slapping son of the Old Sod that he is, Dolan seems to think that he can keep everybody happy. He can’t. It’s pretty clear that he would like to work out a reasonable accommodation with the Administration, and that he’s got plenty of colleagues who would be happy if he did so. But the loudest episcopal mouths–Archbishop Charles Chaput, for one, want no part of a deal. And the more Dolan dithers, the more they understand that his rotundity can be rolled.