On May 5, Archbishop John Myers of the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ, issued an eloquent statement that clearly analyzes the issues involved in the propriety of pro-abortion politicians receiving the Eucharist. The archbishop correctly distinguishes between grave and instrinsic evils like abortion on which there is only one Catholic position and other issues of social policy, such as increases in welfare payments or tax cuts, about which Catholics can differ in good faith. The archbishop also makes clear that receiving the Eucharist is not an absolute right, and that those who are pro-abortion should honestly admit they are not in communion with the Church.
Let us hope that this statement is a prelude to action. What is also striking about this statement is the contrast with the weak-as-water comments of Cardinal McCarrick of Washington, D.C., who heads a task force considering this issue for the bishops' conference. It has even been reported that this task force will probably not finish its work before the 2004 election! So in the end, Cardinal McCarrick's passive response to the issue is irrelevant.
What is relevant is that some bishops and archbishops are taking action or preparing to take long overdue action. Maybe the rest of their colleagues will eventually emulate their apostolic boldness. According to Vatican II, each bishop is a vicar of Christ in his diocese—not a vicar of the bishops' conference or of a committee or of a paralyzed task force. Fortunately, it seems that several bold bishops have taken that teaching of Vatican II to heart.
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.