Catholics & the 2004 Presidential Election - Collected Readings & Resources


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Ratzinger Backs Bishops' Statement - Reflections 

Posted by Oswald at 12:00 PM

Cardinal McCarrick has released a recent letter from Cardinal Ratzinger in which Ratzinger backs the bishops' official June 18th statement entitled "Catholics in Political Life" (Catholic News Service, July 12, 2004). In that statement the bishops gave cover to those bishops who have decided to deny Communion to pro-abortion politicians. The statement also called for denial of honors and speaking platforms for such politicians at Catholic institutions and warned of the evil of supporting abortion legislation. Those are the facts. What follows is this writer's opinion, as previously stated on this website.

In my view, it was the submission of Cardinal Ratzinger's memorandum discussing the theological issues involved in this matter that made it impossible for the bishops to issue an official statement discouraging the denial of Communion to pro-abortion politicians as desired by Cardinal McCarrick. The absurdly weak position advocated by the task force headed by McCarrick never made it into the official position paper issued by the bishops. In my view, the weak position never made it because it contradicted the theological principles presented by Ratzinger to the bishops for use in their deliberations.

In the end, one big thing has happened: the right of a few courageous bishops to defend the Eucharist has been officially affirmed. As one liberal ruefully put it, these bishops have "cover" to continue to deny Communion to pro-abortion politicians. That is a big thing because the McCarrick task force was intent on attempting to get an official statement discouraging such courageous action.

In addition, Ratzinger's summary of the theological principles involved in this issue make it crystal clear that the actions of the courageous bishops are the theological gold standard. Theology dictates that the best practice is to deny Communion to pro-abortion politicians. Application is a matter of prudence. Unfortunately, it is my view and that of many others that for many prudence has become an excuse for cowardice or, even worse, indifference. In any event, a few courageous bishops have had a disproportionate and highly positive impact by following the best theological practice--and that is a welcome change for the better. The work of the courageous few among the bishops plus the recently filed heresy action against Kerry by a lay canon lawyer show that the Holy Spirit is still dispensing the gift of courage among American Catholics. So be it.


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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News Resources

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Kerry Communion Watch @ Beliefnet.com

The Candidates on Abortion: Where do they stand?

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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