The usual suspects

The usual suspects

There’s a bit of gnashing of teething going on in certain circles in Boston right now. It seems that the state’s governor, US Senators, and local congressmen—all pro-abortion—have been invited to the installation Mass for Archbishop O’Malley.[/url]

Also yesterday, a spokesman for the archdiocese, the Rev. Christopher J. Coyne, announced the list of public officials invited to O’Malley’s installation. Those invited include Governor Mitt Romney, Mayor Thomas M. Menino, US Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry, House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran, Senate President Robert E. Travaglini, Police Commissioner Paul F. Evans, Fire Commissioner Paul Christian, and members of the US House of Representatives whose districts overlap the Archdiocese of Boston.

Almost all of them are Catholic, except Romney, who’s Mormon, and US Rep. Barney Frank, who’s Jewish, I believe.

What’s setting people off is that the last time Kennedy, Kerry, and the other congressmen were invited to a Mass at the cathedral (it was Law’s 10th anniverary, I think), they went up for Communion, despite the irregular marriages and public disregard of Church teaching, especially abortion.

The problem is that the usual rule is that someone presenting themselves for Communion is usually to be assumed to be in good standing to receive. In other words, it’s usually the responsibility of the communicant to be sure that they are in a state of grace to receive. But what if the person has caused notorious scandal by their actions? And what if they are presenting themselves to the archbishop for Communion?

On the one hand, you want to exclude such persons to teach them a lesson. But on the other hand, by inviting them, you give them an opportunity to receive a teaching on the matters that separate them from the Church that they otherwise would not have to sit through. I guess much depends on the way Archbishop O’Malley handles it.

I hate to it say, though, but I am through giving American bishops the benefit of the doubt as a group. I can no longer assume that they are automatically going to do the right thing, just because they’ve preached all the right words in the past. Cardinal Law preached well, but the words and actions didn’t match. I hope they do with Archbishop O’Malley.