As posted by my fellow pundit Barbara Kralis on Fidelis . . . A surprising turn of events recently took place on the political scene. It may have gone unnoticed by most of the top analysts, politicos and pundits, but it has given many faithful Catholics a sign of hope. The man, Gov. James E. McGreevey of New Jersey, deserves a little more of our attention. Here's why.
Catholics have suffered from a 30-year-old scandal of hundreds of pro-abortion "Catholic" politicians, both in the U.S. Congress and in State and local legislatures, who defiantly rejected clearly defined Church teachings, some which are 2,000 years old, warning members not to receive the Eucharist unworthily or with mortal sin.
Over the past twenty years, several U.S. and world bishops have warned manifest, obstinate, persistent sinners not to come to the altar to receive sacrilegious Communions. To date, none that we know of have obeyed their bishops but continued instead to give grave scandal to the Church and its members.
None, that is, until May 5, 2004, when Newark's Archbishop John J. Myers released a much needed pastoral statement, A Time for Honesty. In it, Bishop Myers wrote that Catholic politicians who support the right of a mother to abort the child in her womb should not seek Communion. The statement fell short of being promulgated as a "canonical notification" but was nonetheless a powerful admonition.
Here's the surprising event. On the same day, New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey, a pro-abortion "Catholic" Democrat, actually said he would voluntarily refrain from taking Communion at Mass out of respect for his bishop.
Now, I'm not saying the pro-abortion, pro-sodomite governor is my hero—far from that. What I am pointing out is he is one of the few CINO politicians—if not the only one—to obey his bishop's warning to stop receiving the Eucharist. And, he did it publicly, with humility.
Could this be the beginning of a conversion of conscience for Gov. McGreevey, the former altar boy? Could this be the first step towards the governor's return to Christ and His Church? With God, all things are possible. McGreevey's response, of course, was only proper—short of conversion. We remain sorrowful for his continued support for evil legislation.
Before McGreevey, saints have also had to take their first steps back to Christ; St. Paul persecuted Christ's Church and later became one of the greatest disciples. St. Augustine lived a sinful life of fornication and unbelief; he recanted his ways—thanks to the prayers of his mother, St. Monica—and became one of the great doctors of the Church. The number of sinners who returned to God is well documented in the lives of the saints.
Will more pro-abortion legislators actually start obeying magisterial warnings against sacrilegious reception of the Eucharist? This is more likely to happen if all the heads of the l96 U.S. dioceses will promulgate "canonical notifications" in each of their dioceses, just as the Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis, MO, did when he was bishop of La Crosse, WI. Bishop Burke explained, "No good bishops could stand by and let this [sacrilegious reception of the Eucharist] happen. These public legislators are in grave sin."
Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, NE, initiated a similar action, a synodal law in l996 that has an automatic penalty of excommunication attached to it. Recently, Bishop Bruskewitz issued another official statement saying he would deny the Eucharist to manifest, obstinate, persistent sinners and gave total support to Archbishop Burke's "canonical notification."
Two of New Jersey's 4 other Latin Rite bishops, Bishop John Smith of Trenton and Bishop Joseph Galante of Camden have publicly supported Archbishop Myers in recent days, stating that they would deny the Governor the Eucharist. Bishop Myers urged that Catholic voters and Catholics in public life carefully consider their position if they find themselves in opposition to Church teaching in these matters. He then implored Gov. McGreevey and all dissenters to be honest and to admit in the public forum that they are not in full union with the Church and that they have abandoned the full Catholic faith. Shortly after the Archbishop released these pastoral statements, McGreevey admitted at a Trenton press briefing:
The archbishop of Newark is clearly the leader of the Catholic community throughout the Archdiocese. I will respect the Archbishop's request.
I don't know about you, but I'm writing the Governor, inviting him to come back to full union with the Catholic Church. Perhaps if he receives enough prayers and encouragement, we'll witness an outpouring of grace upon his soul. The holy remedy now for the Governor is to publicly recant his pro death mentality on abortion, sodomy, and embryonic stem cell research, go to his bishop for the Sacrament of confession, make reparation for his sins and spend the rest of his life working to undo all the harm he has done. The recompense will be great. God awaits Gov. McGreevey just as much as he awaits you and me.
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.