This is good, but the fundamental problem is with Catholics thinking that remaining within a political party that supports abortion as a civil right and attempting to dismiss this fact by pointing to conservative support for things like specific wars (or war in general) or the death penalty neutralizes the scandal involved in belonging to such a group is a moral option.
When will Church leaders tell Catholics that it's as wrong to belong to organizations that support the culture of death, most notably through support for the legal option to kill preborn babies, as it is to belong to a Masonic lodge?
And when will so-called Catholic politicians who support legal abortion be told, without equivocation, by all bishops (including the Holy Father) that, by supporting the culture of death, these so-called Catholic politicians are not in union with Rome, may not receive Holy Communion, and will be excommunicated if they persist in supporting legal abortion?
A top Vatican official now says the Roman Catholic Church is weighing a further change to clean up the clergy: revising church law so predators could be more easily removed.
"It's possible," said Cardinal William Levada, head of the Vatican office that reviews abuse claims against priests worldwide.
"There are some things under consideration that I'm not able to say," Levada told reporters Friday, in a meeting at Time magazine's offices. A Vatican spokesman stressed Saturday that no immediate changes are planned.
It is the latest signal during Benedict's first papal visit to America that he is intent on purifying the priesthood as he affirms traditional Catholic practices and teaching.
My thoughts: Working to prevent men with homosexual tendencies from receiving the Sacrament of Holy Orders or entering religious life would be a great start!
Then he came to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand." While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "The one I shall kiss is the man; seize him." And he came up to Jesus at once and said, "Hail, Master!" And he kissed him. Jesus said to him, "Friend, why are you here?" Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.(Matthew 26:45-50)
"Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.'" (Matthew 7:21-23)
Catholic members of Congress who publicly support the right to abortion will trek to Nationals Park Thursday for a Mass celebrated by a pope who has said such lawmakers should not receive Communion.
Leading these lawmakers, some of whom have repeatedly complained about remarks by Pope Benedict XVI and a few bishops on the subject, will be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the government's highest-ranking Catholic and a supporter of abortion rights. Nowhere in her remarks or her actions this week has she referred to strains with the new pontiff.
Instead, she bent to kiss his ring at the White House Wednesday as Benedict arrived in a blaze of pageantry, and later she spoke glowingly on the House floor about his commitment to truth, justice and freedom. A week before he arrived, the House passed a resolution welcoming him to Washington.
And yes, her spokesman said, she intends to receive Communion from one of the 300 priests and lay ministers who will offer it to the gathered flock of 45,000.
Benedict's stance on abortion and Communion has been painful for elected officials who inhabit the troubled zone where Catholicism and their political beliefs intersect.
Pelosi was one of 48 Catholic lawmakers—some who support and some who oppose abortion rights—who signed a letter in 2004 complaining about statements by "some members of the Catholic hierarchy."
"If Catholic legislators are scorned and held out for ridicule by Church leaders on the basis of a single issue, the Church will lose strong advocates on a wide range of issues that relate to the core of important Catholic social teaching," they wrote. "Moreover, criticism of us on a matter that is essentially one of personal morality will deter other Catholics from entering politics, and in the long run the Church will suffer."
None of the Catholic lawmakers interviewed Wednesday said they hesitated to attend Thursday's celebration of Mass. This event, they said, is about bigger themes and values, such as hope and compassion.
"Pope Benedict's historic visit is an important opportunity for Catholics and for all Americans to reflect on the ways we can contribute to the common good, address global issues of poverty, disease and despair," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., whose views in 2004 led several Midwestern bishops to say they would deny the Democratic presidential nominee Communion.
"In a nation and a world facing such extraordinary and daunting challenges, the pope's visit promises hope, inspiration and great wisdom," Kerry said in a statement.
These pro-abortion "Catholic" politicians are shameless and they don't seem to fear God's judgment. It's both upsetting and embarrassing.
1. Presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion should be a conscious decision, based on a reasoned judgment regarding one’s worthiness to do so, according to the Church’s objective criteria, asking such questions as: "Am I in full communion with the Catholic Church? Am I guilty of grave sin? Have I incurred a penalty (e.g. excommunication, interdict) that forbids me to receive Holy Communion? Have I prepared myself by fasting for at least an hour?" The practice of indiscriminately presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion, merely as a consequence of being present at Mass, is an abuse that must be corrected (cf. Instruction "Redemptionis Sacramentum," nos. 81, 83).
2. The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin. The Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that authorize or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a "grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. [...] In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to 'take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it’" (no. 73). Christians have a "grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. [...] This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it" (no. 74).
3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.
4. Apart from an individual's judgment about his worthiness to present himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone, such as in cases of a declared excommunication, a declared interdict, or an obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin (cf. can. 915).
5. Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.
6. When "these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible," and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, "the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it" (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration "Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics" , nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgment on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.
Tab Hunter & Roddy McDowall have their cake and sausage, and eat it too.
The Cafeteria is Closed blog has a post which appears to promote the legal recognition of homosexual unions and accept notions about the nature of homosexual activity that have caused some controversy. There are currently over 400 comments on the post.
After the jump, I will respond to what I read in Gerald's post and in some of the comments. Some of what I say, I will have said before, but I went through and edited things, updated links, and made an effort to tighten what is intended to be a fairly thorough response to the thoughts expressed by Gerald and others commenting at The Cafeteria is Closed blog.
Although the response is lengthy, it isn't just an articulation of my unsupported opinions, hence the links and the length.
One of the reasons error is so widespread in society is that it takes effort to come to know the truth, and refuting errors can involve writing a whole book-length response to properly refute errors that can be rattled off in a few sentences. Many people aren't interested in the work entailed in learning the truth or refuting error, and this is especially so when the errors appeal to them because of an attachment to sin.
I'm not suggesting those things of Gerald, but I do contend that Gerald has sort of gone off the deep end on this issue.
My response to Gerald is after the jump. Please add your comments at the end.
An editorial in the Jesuit's America magazine recently predicted that Sen. Barack Obama will profit by the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States.
The moment the Holy Father denounces the war in Iraq, it will provide a "big opening for Sen. Obama," according to Michael Sean Winters.
Winters argues that Obama can "invoke the foresight of John Paul II, a man still revered among American Catholics," while contrasting himself to Sen. Hillary Clinton, President Bush, and, most importantly, Sen. John McCain.
Winters is undoubtedly right.
The question is whether Catholic voters can be persuaded to overlook his extreme stances on the life issues, all of which are opposed to Catholic teaching, in order to register their protest against an unpopular war and those who supported it -- namely, John McCain.
Winters may not be right, however, when he predicts that "Pope Benedict will put the Iraq War, and the thinking that got us into that war, back at the center of political discussion." Such an eventuality, according to Winters's thinking, will advance Obama's cause among Catholic voters.
The trouble with his argument is simple: What Winters knows, Benedict XVI also knows. The Holy Father is well aware of the political divide between Democrats and Republicans on the life and family issues. It's no accident that just ten days before his arrival in the United States, Benedict spoke out on the "grave sins" of abortion, euthanasia, divorce, and "the culture of death."
This should be a reminder to Catholic Obama supporters that this pope embraces the same priorities of his predecessor, John Paul II. To those who are hopeful that Benedict will scold President Bush about the Iraq War, these remarks reveal what's on the Holy Father's mind as he prepares to visit this country. It is highly doubtful that Benedict will frame his criticism of the Iraq war in a way that could be construed to eclipse his regard for President Bush or Senator McCain.
Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.
Opposition to the Iraq war does not supersede the obligation to oppose abortion and reject politicians who support legal, elective abortion.