Cardinal McCarrick offers a solution to the problem of pro-abortion Catholic politicians that does not address the substance, but only the appearance of the problem. Why does that sound familiar? He told the Boston Globe that he is proposing that politicians who publicly dissent from Church teaching should be allowed to speak at Catholic colleges (and presumably other Catholic institutions), but should not be given honorary degrees. Look Your Eminence, the point! There it goes! Oh, you missed it.
It’s not the symbolic presentation of an award that is the problem here; it’s the provision of a platform for views from a prominent Catholic who clearly dissents from moral truth. It’s the appearance of sanction for those views as legitimate, thus muddling the issue in the minds of students and other Catholics. The cardinal also provides other gems of muddled thinking:
McCarrick strongly defended the bishops against criticism from antiabortion activists. ‘‘A bishop could not be accused of being unfaithful to his pastoral responsibility” for refusing to deny Communion to politicians who support abortion rights, he said.
“Those who are excommunicated or interdicted after the impostion or declaration of the penalty and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” (Canon 915) What is clearer than that? Perhaps Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter on the issue. Oh, that’s right, Cardinal McCarrick’s already seen it.
He stressed the importance of bishops speaking on issues beyond abortion, such as poverty, education, and healthcare. He said abortion is a primary issue for the Catholic Church, but not the only issue, because, ‘‘the Lord didn’t stop there, and the pope doesn’t stop there, and the church cannot stop there.”
Yes, well, maybe if you started there, you wouldn’t get so much flack from people who see your attention going everywhere, but the pro-life issue.
In his talk, he rued what he described as the political and cultural division in American society today and said it is important that the Catholic Church be nonpartisan but clear in its beliefs.
Yes, we all rue division, but it’s a reality. But you don’t heal division by pretending it doesn’t exist and plaintively asking, “Can’t we all just get along?” The Church needs to speak with a clear moral voice, unwavering in conviction. So how is it partisan for her to stand up and do that? Denial of Communion to pro-aborts is not a partisan issue. There are plenty of pro-abortion Catholic Republicans. Why not include them in any interdict?
I’m pretty sure now what the results of the cardinal’s “task force” on this issue is going to recommend. It’s probably a good thing this is coming out after the election. At least courageous bishops like Archbishop Burke and Bishop Sheridan and others weren’t dissuaded via peer pressure before last November by the existence an official “wishy-washy” policy statement.