Catholics & the 2004 Presidential Election - Collected Readings & Resources


Monday, June 28, 2004

Further reflections on 'Catholics in Political Life' 

Posted by Jamie at 2:27 PM

I've posted once or twice this week on the USCCB statement on 'Catholics in Political Life.' The message on a whole seemed confused and uneven to me, even self-contradictory at points. I was over in Catholic Analysis this afternoon and it suddenly became clear, and I don't know why I didn't notice it before.

All of positions I liked, or at least found agreeable, were in the official statement itself. All of the positions I didn't like, or just found disagreeable, were in the Task Force's 'Reflections.'

Why is this relevant? Because, as Oswald points out, the former is the only one which has any authority. (Well, putting aside for the moment the question of whether the USCCB has any real authority at all, other than a general 'moral' authority). The latter is only a collection of 'reflections,' which lack even the pseudo-authority of the USCCB, and are simply the unambiguous 'reflections' of a couple of theologians.

More importantly, apart from the question of authority, is the question of whose opinions stand behind the statements. The former, the official statement, regardless of its authority or lack thereof, bears behind it the collective weight of the full body of American bishops, who voted overwhelmingly to approve this document. The latter is the opinion of one man, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and a couple of his buddies (no disrespect intended; simply a statement of fact), which were presented to this full body of bishops before the official statement was produced, in order to push them in a particular direction. Now that the dust has settled, and it hardly requires pointing out that the official statement is vastly different from McCarrick's reflections, it becomes all too clear that the full body of bishops has in fact rejected McCarrick's proposals. Not too draw the line too sharply, it's not a difference of black and white, but it is a difference -- McCarrick clearly advised, in no uncertain terms, against the denial of communion; the official statement left this option wide open. In short, the fully body of U.S. bishops seem not to have bought the McCarrick line.

The USCCB's publishing of the Task Force reflections after the official statement, and on the same webpage, confused matters horribly. We now have several contradictory statements, without any clear consensus. But once we look at things in this way, chronologically, we can see that the official statement has entirely supplanted the reflections, which were only intended to guide the formation of the latter, a task at which they seem to have utterly failed to do.

Perhaps I'm just reading way too much into this. But in any case, I suddenly find myself in a far better mood than I was this morning.


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.

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Contributing Editors:

Oswald Sobrino of
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Earl E. Appleby of
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Jeff Miller of
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Jamie
Ad Limina Apostolorum

Christopher Blosser of
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Documentation

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Periodicals

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Related Documents & Articles

Worthiness To Recieve Communion: General Principles
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding The Participation of Catholics in Political Life
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Evangelium Vitae
Pope John Paul II

Worthy to Receive the Lamb: Catholics in Political Life and the Reception of Holy Communion, from Archbishop Donoghue (Atlanta, GA), Bishop Baker (Charleston, SC) and Bishop Jugis (Charlotte, NC).
August 4, 2004

Catholics in Political Life U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. June 7, 2004.

Catholic Politicians and Bishops. By Most Rev. Raymond L. Burke, Archbishop of St. Louis. America June 21-28, 2004.

A Time For Honesty, Pastoral Statement by The Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark. May 5, 2004.

Why Communion Could Be Denied to Anti-Life Legislators. Interview with Father Thomas Williams, dean of the School of Theology of the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum.

Why Don't Catholic Politicians Practice What the Catholic Church Preaches?, by Judie Brown. Washington Dispatch April 19, 2004.

How to tell a Duck from a Fox: Thinking with the Church as we look toward November, by Archbishop Chaput. Denver Catholic Register April 14, 2004.

On the Dignity of Human Life and Civic Responsibility, a Pastoral Letter by La Crosse Bishop Raymond L. Burke.

Blood On Their Hands: Exposing Pro-abortion Catholic Politicians, by Mark Stricherz. Crisis May 2003.

The Failure of Catholic Political Leadership, by Robert P. George & William E. Saunders. Crisis 18, No. 4 (April 2000).

Denying Holy Communion: A Case History, by Bishop Emeritus Rene Henry Gracida. [PDF Format].

Ten questions regarding the denial of the Eucharist, by Barbara Kralis.

Recommmended Reading

John Kerry, Abortion and the Catholic Church

Irreconcilable Differences", by Matthew Mehan. NRO Sept. 16, 2004.

John Courtney Murray and the 'Liberal Catholic' Justification of Abortion Investigative report by Christopher Blosser. August 30, 2004.

"Please answer the question, Senator Kerry", The Mighty Barrister. August 2, 2004.

You wouldn't even ask. Fr. Pavone (Priests for Life). July 2004.

Kerry isn't making abortion stand clear, by Raymond J. Keating. Newsday July 27, 2004.

Senator Kerry May Be Human . . . But is He a Person?, Catholic Kerry Watch. July 23, 2004.

Kerry's Catholic Problem, by Brent Bozell. July 7, 2004.

The Body Politic and the Body of Christ: Candidates, Communion and the Catholic Church. Debate btw/ Thomas J. Reese, S.J. and George Weigel. June 23, 2004.

The Kerry challenge, by George Weigel. May 5, 2004.

Rites and Wrongs: Why John Kerry should not take communion, by Philip F. Lawler. Wall Street Journal April 30, 2004.

John Kerry's Catholic Problem", by Cal Thomas. April 26, 2004.

Kerry Distorting Catholic Doctrine. Newsmax.com interviews George Weigel. April 16, 2004.

"Personally Opposed, But…" Five Pro-Abortion Dodges, by Todd M. Aglialoro. Crisis April 1, 2004.

On Embryonic Stem-Cell Research

Reagan vs. Reagan and The Stem-Cell Cover-Up, Catholic Kerry Watch, August 14, 2004.

Senator Kerry dismisses religious convictions as "ideology"  Catholic Kerry Watch. August 9, 2004.

Ron Reagan & Functionalism, Revisited, Catholic Kerry Watch. July 29, 2004.

Out of Touch, by Michael Fumento. Refuting Kerry's claims on the use of embryonic stem cells. Citizen Magazine August 2004.

Stem Cell Defection, by Ramesh Ponnuru. National Review August 16, 2004.

Stem Cell Research: Fact Sheets, Letters to Congress and Articles from the USCCB.

On Voting, "Proportionality" and Cardinal Ratzinger's Memorandum

What Ratzinger Said, by James Akin. Sept. 9, 2004.

Bishops Refute Flawed Theology (of Andrew Greeley) Barbara Kralis. August 22, 2004.

Thoughts on Proportionality, Catholic Kerry Watch. July 12, 2004.




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