The Washington Times has more coverage from the on-going unravelling of the "traditional" consensus of meekness among Catholic bishops about pro-abortion politicians. Sometimes, it is exhilirating to undo the "traditional." In its coverage, the conservative Washington Times correctly follows the significant change in course from the past resulting from more Catholic bishops being more outspoken against pro-abortion political celebrities. For the liberal spin, you can read this article from the National Catholic Reporter in which the reporter has obviously gone out of his way to interview two known "liberal" or "moderate" clerics in order to get on the record opinions in favor of coddling pro-abortion politicians. In this case, the liberal reporter searched out well-known liberal Cardinal Mahoney of Los Angeles and "moderate" Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk of Cincinnati. (Of course, in liberal spin, moderates are "reasonable" and "open-minded" as opposed to "rigid" and "close-minded" conservatives.)
Yet, even the liberal spin can't cover up the liberal alarm over some Catholic bishops taking their charge to defend the truth seriously. Mahoney expresses alarm in the article:
"I am puzzled by people rattling sanctions at the moment. That has not been our tradition over the years," he said.
It looks like Cardinal Mahoney is a bit taken aback by a new generation of bishops who are bucking the spineless consensus.
In addition, the National Catholic Reporter (also known, for very good reasons, on these pages as the National Catholic Distorter) thinks the matter so alarming that is posts a hyperventilating editorial excoriating bishops who have rebelled against the past paralysis on this issue. The editorial argues that the faulty logic of the outspoken bishops was exposed when pro-life leader Senator Santorum recently endorsed pro-abortion Senator Specter in Pennsylvania. The editorial argues that, under the logic of bishops taking action against pro-abortion policians, Santorum should be denied communion. Let me say from the outset that I would support any bishop who would deny Santorum communion for his support of Specter. But the editorial's argument falls apart once you think clearly about it. Santorum is a strong pro-life leader who wants to keep Senate control in the hands of the only pro-life national party, the Republican Party. Unfortunately, Santorum made the judgment that goal meant supporting Arlen Specter. I, for one, think that judgment was mistaken. But it was a tactical judgment meant to advance the current strategic advantage the pro-life movement now holds in the Senate with Republican control--an important strategic advantage that the editorial writer is surely aware of but fails to mention. The bottom-line is that Santorum made a tactical decision to preserve a strategic pro-life advantage. That much is clear even if you think, as I do, that Santorum's tactical decision was mistaken.
That tactical scenario is very different from the pro-abortion politician who is acting solely to protect Roe v. Wade's regime of abortion on demand. If a bishop thinks that Santorum should be denied communion because of the tactical Specter endorsement, that is fine with me, although the fact is that any pro-life person can only dream that a Kerry, a Kennedy, a Clinton, or any other national Democrat for that matter would ever come close to matching the strong pro-life leadership demonstrated in the past by Senator Santorum.
More interestingly, the editorial ends with a plaintive plea:
"The circular-firing-squad mentality infecting too many conservative Catholics and a number of bishops should stop now. Before it is too late."
Before it is too late for what? The editorial does not say. Maybe, the editorial writer is worried that his liberal Catholic subscriber base will begin to actually leave the Catholic Church. In my opinion, that outcome should be welcomed because it is merely a recognition of the truth that they have long since fallen out of full communion with the Catholic Church by pursuing religion as something we make up. Better the honest truth than a lifetime of self-deception and denial.
But the promised "Absurd Quote of the Week" goes to Cardinal McCarrick of Washington, D.C., as recorded in the Washington Times, defending his discomfort with refusing communion to anyone: "[A]s a priest and bishop, I do not favor a confrontation at the altar rail with the sacred body of the Lord Jesus in my hand."
Cardinal, what altar rail? The altar rails of the vast majority of our churches have been ignominiously torn out of church after church. And, what confrontation? Any political celebrity to be denied the Eucharist by the cardinal will have been duly informed, in accordance with canon law, well before he or she shows up at the communion line. All the ministering priest has to do is to kindly give a blessing and move on. I assure the cardinal that none of the political celebrities will try to forcibly take the Eucharist from him--that would not look good, even in the secular press. And if the political celebrity wants to exchange words, so be it. Is that too much for a priest of the crucified Christ to risk? Is that too much to risk to protect the Body of Christ from sacrilege? The cardinal is straining at a gnat, and swallowing a camel. And so to him belongs the absurd quote of the week.
Ongoing commentary by the editors of CatholicKerryWatch
Sen. John Kerry stands with Kate Michelman (right) President of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Since 1995, Michelman's group has given Kerry a 100% rating for his voting record to defend abortion.