This is perplexing as I’ve respected Cardinal Francis George of Chicago for some time. But his apparent reaction to a parish in his archdiocese allowing Al Sharpton to give the homily at Mass yesterday is confounding. Here is the press release the archdiocese sent out last week, according to the group Catholic Citizens of Illinois:
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., learned from the news media that the Rev. Al Sharpton has been invited to speak at St. Sabina’s on February 9 in the course of celebrating Black History Month. The Cardinal supports the celebration but does not approve of the invitation because of the Rev. Sharpton’s present political candidacy and his pro-abortion stance.
Since the homily at Mass is a liturgical action, the homilist is to be a bishop, priest or deacon. This is the normal sacramental discipline of the Catholic Church. Archdiocesan policy also respects the civil internal revenue laws prohibiting direct political campaigning during a worship service.
The Cardinal believes, however, that making a case of this invitation at this time would be a futile gesture and a waste of effort.
Futile gesture and waste of effort? If the cardinal is being quoted accurately, I can’t imagine why it would be futile and a waste? Is providing an object lesson on the Gospel to the parish a waste of time? Perhaps removing the pastor would not be futile. Apparently, the parish has long welcomed pro-abortion, Marxist, anti-Semitic, and racist speakers, at least according to Catholic Citizens of Illinois.
Why do bishops find it so difficult to act decisively when someone is obviously far beyond the pale on obvious matters of heterodoxy or deviant sexual morality, but not when the pastor is incompetent or negligent in matters of money?