Cardinal McCarrick responds -- implicitly -- to ALL's ad campaign in a recent column for the diocese newspaper ("If the world loves you" Catholic Standard May 13, 2004):
There is a saying that has its roots in the 10th chapter of St. John's Gospel. It reminds us that we should not look for the love of the world, but strive only to find God's will and do it with all our hearts. There is a good chance that if we are never criticized by others, we have missed the mark of being faithful to the teachings of the Gospel. If the world loves you, you are probably always saying what the world wants to hear.
In light of that simple but very profound truth, I hope you were not upset at the criticism of your archbishop in an advertisement that has appeared in some places lately. I appreciate the zeal of those folks who are critical, but I do not agree with them, and during my recent Ad Limina visit to Rome, it was clear that so many of the highest authorities in the Church are in agreement with my position. . . .
I'd be curious which of the "highest authorities" he is referring to at the Vatican?
The disagreement that I have with the folks who are annoyed at me is that I disagree that in this instance we should use denial of the Eucharist as a public sanction. As 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. There are apparently those who would welcome such a conflict, for good reasons, I am sure, or for political ones, but I would not. . . .
He does adopt something of a stance on the issue, which is to say reiterating the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist and placing the burden of responsibility on the individual Catholic to "informing his consciences" and determine whether he is worthy of reception:
I am asking the Catholic Standard to reprint the statement about the worthy reception of the Eucharist which appears in the missalettes and which was authorized by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Basically, it places on the individual Catholic the need to make a judgment as to whether he or she can properly come to receive Communion. One must not be conscious of any serious sin that has not been absolved in the sacrament of Penance. One must be striving to live as a good Catholic, keeping the commandments of God and of the Church, especially those two great commandments to love God and neighbor. This would exclude from Communion anyone who would hate his neighbor or harm his neighbor, in particular when that neighbor is a little unborn baby in its mother's womb. This doctrine by which the Church places a particular personal responsibility concerning the decision to approach the altar on each individual, protects the holiness of the Eucharist and challenges its children to holiness as well. It places the decision to approach the altar on the informed conscience of the individual Catholic - informed by the truth of our teachings - and, therefore, each one of us must not presume to approach Holy Communion if we are not, in our informed conscience, already with the Lord and in communion with the teachings of His Church.
This is what the Church teaches and, as your bishop and your servant and your friend, this is what I teach, too. Thinking of you, as I come back home to Washington, I pray that each one of us will never approach this most holy sacrament of the Eucharist without the necessary disposition to receive its awesome grace.
Relatively strong words coming from McCarrick -- but I have the distinct feeling that it's not the response Judy Brown and American Life League were hoping to provoke by their ad campaign.
And here is the question that's been asked countless times already: what do you do when a pro-abortion Catholic politician reads a warning such as McCarrick penned, shrugs, and continues to recieve communion while actively promoting and campaigning for abortion, in open defiance of the Church? Catholic politicians who, by this time and after all that has been written, are fully aware that they are acting contrary to the explicit teachings of their Church?
What is the next step?
Further reaction and discussion around St. Blog's Parish