PHIL LAWLER’S TAKE:
…The bishops’ statement challenges all Catholics to recognize, with awe, the unfathomable gift that is the Eucharist, to realize that none of us is worthy to receive the Body of Jesus Christ, to recognize our sinfulness, and appeal for the mercy of our Eucharistic Lord. These are all good and necessary messages, especially necessary at a time when only a minority of active Catholics accept the Church’s fundamental doctrine on the reality of the Eucharist.
But while they rightly remind us all to examine our consciences before receiving Communion, in this document the bishops do not examine their own consciences, and ask themselves how well they are fulfilling their sacred duty to protect the Sacrament from sacrilege and scandal.
Not even the American bishops (a group of men with a strong tendency to be self-satisfied) could be content with this message. Surely the faithful, pro-life laity will not be satisfied. But ultimately it is not the laity to whom the bishops must answer. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco wrote in May: “I tremble that if I do not forthrightly challenge Catholics under my pastoral care who advocate for abortion, both they and I will have to answer to God for innocent blood.”
Maybe a few bishops, spurred by this statement, will resolve to have those long-overdue private conversations with Catholic politicians who are flouting the Church’s moral teachings. But what if the politicians ignore their entreaties, and continue to boast publicly about their rejection of God’s law? The bishop might advise the wayward politician not to receive Communion. But what if that advice, too, is spurned?
In such cases (and there are many), the Code of Canon Law (915) spells out the bishop’s duty:
Those who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy Communion.
The American bishops, with the clear approval of the Vatican, have declined to affirm what Church law prescribes. Some bishops are prepared to do their duty, but others are not, and the USCCB as a body remains silent. Through that silence, the USCCB statement issues an invitation to disobedience. It comforts the bishops who will not enforce Canon 915. It coddles the politicians who will not protect human life. It creates a temptation for all Catholics to stifle the cries of their own troubled consciences—a temptation to say: Non serviam.
The above comes from a Nov. 17 posting by Phil Lawler on Catholic Culture.org.
….The apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Christoph Pierre, likely did not realize it, but he did not do good service to the pro-life movement when in his address to the bishops he said that it was important for Catholics to grasp and do something about the social problems that lead women to seek abortions – as if that had not been the case in the past and wasn’t the case now. But that is precisely what those Catholics who have given time, treasure, and countless acts of compassion and love to the women who have come to crisis pregnancy centers in the half-century after Roe v. Wade do. As Kevin D. Williamson recently put it, “We know what is [happening with] the women going into [the] human slaughterhouses” of Planned Parenthood “clinics:” “They are terrified, they are poor, they are alone, they have been discarded, they have had an overwhelming new variable thrown into their lives, which did not include very much comfort or certainty to begin with…” Pro-life people working with women in crisis pregnancies have long known all that; they respond to those horrible circumstances as Christ would have responded; and they don’t require instruction as to the putative necessity of broadening their horizons.
Archbishop Pierre’s counsel to the bishops to value “unity” above virtually all else was also unhelpful. Unity understood as virtual unanimity means that the lowest common denominator determines the course of a bishops’ conference’s teaching. That was not how collegiality and synodality were lived at the great councils of the patristic era. That was not how St. Charles Borromeo implemented the reforms of the Council of Trent in Milan. And while Pope St. Paul VI took great care that the documents of the Second Vatican Council were adopted by the greatest possible consensus, he refused to sacrifice truth to a false concept of unity as unanimity on such sharply contested issues as episcopal collegiality or religious freedom.
And finally, it would be instructive to know just who Archbishop Pierre was thinking of when he cautioned those tempted “to treat the Eucharist as something to be offered to the privileged few….”. I cannot think of a single bishop or priest who suffers from that temptation, and I would be surprised if the archbishop can name one, either. So why reiterate the cartoon view of American Catholicism too often found in La Civiltà Cattolica and other Roman circles in recent years? No good purpose is served by underwriting fantasies of a U.S. Catholicism stewed in the juices of Donatist self-righteousness.
The pastoral crisis of an American Church in which prominent lay Catholics act publicly in defiance of moral truths that can be known by both reason and revelation, yet imagine themselves worthy to receive holy communion, will continue. The bishops have now re-affirmed their responsibility to address that crisis, and “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church” explains yet again the appropriate pastoral practices to be deployed to meet one important facet of the challenge of Eucharistic coherence. Lay Catholics should support the bishops in their efforts.
But lay Catholics must also get about our own work of fraternally correcting fellow-Catholics who facilitate the work of the “human slaughterhouses” to which Kevin Williamson refers – and must hold public officials accountable at the ballot box if they do not change their ways. It’s not the bishops who put President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, Senator Durbin, Representative DeLauro, and the rest of Planned Parenthood’s Amen Corner of Catholic Miscreants in office. It’s their fellow lay Catholics. And that must change.
The above comes from a Nov. 18 posting by George Weigel in Catholic World Report.
The “Greater Good” is not a Catholc Moral System.
Unity is not a virtue as Catholics are taught. Chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility. Faith, Hope and Charity.
Unity is a Mark of the Holy Catholic Church. (The Church is One.)
The 3 Theological Virtues are Faith Hope and Charity.
The 4 Cardinal Virtues are Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperence.
The 7 Capital Virtues are chastity, temperence, diligence, charity, patience, kindness and humility.
The Faith gets thumbed down here?
I see the bishops’ statement as a sop (sop=a thing given or done as a concession of no great value to appease someone whose main concerns or demands are not being met) both to the pro-life laity at large and to themselves, their own consciences. To the laity, the statement is a substitution for the enforcement of Canon 915 as if directing pro-lifers to focus on their own unworthiness relieves the bishops of any obligation to discipline sinful politicians. To themselves–Lawler writes: “Through that silence, the USCCB statement issues an invitation to disobedience.” I see that disobedience extending to themselves especially, as the statement is a sop to their consciences, a substitute for what really needs to be done and which, if properly formed, their consciences would demand. They have bought off their consciences with a statement and a program of action that while laudable as far as it goes leaves untouched the elephant in the room. In the end, one could argue that the statement, while signaling the need for greater appreciation of the Eucharist, actually delivers the opposite message: we don’t care enough about what we believe to do what is necessary, so what we believe really isn’t all that important. That’s how I see it; if I am misguided fool I will thank God if I am the only one here.
Dan, I think you haven’t read it or watched the two hour course on it, am I right?
“Dan, I think you haven’t read it or watched the two hour course on it, am I right?,” Wrong ct, I read the statement. I might have commented on it but felt that Lawler had already expressed my views. It is an eloquent statement for what it says; but words are cheap– even beautiful sounding words as are in this document cost nothing to say. But now I will comment: this whole document gives the impression that the Church thinking on this matter began with the New Testament and then proceeded on to Vatican II. No popes prior to JPII are cited and only a handful of authorities prior to V II are cited. Is this a subtle nod to the hermeneutics of rupture? But the most important matter to me is what is not said. Special sections call for care of the environment (sec 40) for the poor (37,38,39) and true abortion is listed among a list of ills in 38 and 39, but only as one ill among a host of others. When it comes time to address mortal sins, nary a word is said with regard to abortion, where it might have been mentioned and highlighted, without even mentioning politicians. So I stand on my words, even if they are foolish. They are the best this fool has to offer.
48 and 49 address your concern
Sorry ct, I don’t think so. It merely states the obvious, that bad Catholics shouldn’t present themselves for communion. But Biden and Pelosi et al. are good Catholics, just ask them. It is all bark and no bite until the bishops show they mean business.
They always said that admonishing pro-choice politicians was not the purpose of the document.
bishops be runnin’ a “sop opera”
you misspelled soap
The word was not misspelled as he was referring to Dan’s post on November 19 at 12:41 pm. where Dan makes up his own phrase and refers to a “sop opera” not a “soap opera”.
Lawler and Weigel are upset because they were hoping and praying the Bishops would nail President Biden and Nancy Pelosi over the abortion issue and therefore help their politician/friends in the GOP. The Bishops would do well to condemn the pro abortion politicians as well as the war mongering, pro death penalty and anti poor repuklican politicians.
“… help their politician/friends in the GOP” I thought they were concerned about the unborn babies being slaughtered, not the GOP. I had better learn to read their comments given here more closely.
Ooooh, isn’t the Catholic Church of today, so “loving and tender, ” “accompanying” nasty “Catholic” “baby-killer politicians” — and “listening” to them? Oh, the Catholic Church used to be so “mean” and “cruel,” and so “rigid” in “obeying the rules,” in pre-Vatican II days. Nobody wants a “mean” Church like that. Let’s “toss out” and “cancel” the “cruel” Code of Canon Law.
The conservative GOP Catholics like Lawler and Weigel want President Biden and Speaker Pelosi to be barred from receiving Holy Communion because of their position on abortion. What is their position on Catholic republican politicians like Congressman Paul Gosar who advocate the murder of other members of Congress as well as of President Biden? Should these Catholic republican politicians in good standing with the Church hierarchy be barred from Holy Communion in spite of their supposed anti-abortion stance?
” What is their position on Catholic republican politicians like Congressman Paul Gosar who advocate the murder of other members of Congress as well as of President Biden? ” Gosar posted a photoshopped anime video to social media showing him appearing to kill Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Joe Biden, for which he was rightly censured, the first censure in 10 years. Were all Catholic republicans advocating death to democrats in like fashion to all Catholic democrats advocating the death of unborn children, yes, they would rightly merit excommunication like their democratic counterparts.
This depraved act by a lone individual is just that– a single depraved act. I am sure his confessor will have plenty of work to do with him.
If someone was advocating murder and did not repent when admonished by his pastor, he should be instructed not to approach for communion.
If someone was advocating for making murder legal, or murder of people with certain characteristics or of a certain locality, which is what pro-choice politicians do, they should not present themselves for communion.
Should they be denied communion if they approach? Yes.