Skip to comments.There's your answer (California Catholic Daily reports on a conversation with Archbishop Wuerl)
Posted on 01/15/2007 3:27:02 PM PST by NYer
The California Catholic Daily reports on a conversation with Archbishop Wuerl:
Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., who has come under fire for failing to speak out against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosis attendance Jan. 3 at a Mass at her alma mater, Trinity University, came to San Diegos Kona Kai Resort the weekend of January 13-14 to speak at an international Communion and Liberation conference.
While in San Diego, Wuerl told California Catholic Daily reporter Allyson Smith that he has no plans to discipline the newly elected Democratic Speaker, who is now the most powerful Catholic in Congress -- and an ardent supporter of abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and pro-homosexual legislation.
Smith: Did you make any statement last week about Nancy Pelosi going to Mass at Trinity University?
Wuerl: That was a matter between the university and Nancy. They were offering their location, and the Mass was celebrated by a priest with faculties, and there was no reason to make any comment.
Smith: Do you intend to discipline her at all for being persistent and obstinate about her support for abortion and same-sex marriage?
Wuerl: I will not be using the faculty in the manner you have described.
Smith: Will you make a statement to your priests and deacons to warn her not to allow her to receive if she presents herself for Communion?
Wuerl: Youre talking about a whole different style of pastoral ministry. No.
I hope the comments on this post are charitable and helpful in tone....
BTW. California Catholic Daily is a new online publication from Jim Holman, owner and publisher of the alt-press San Diego Reader, and apparently replaces the other (four? I think) similar Catholic publications he used to operate.
I think what Archbishop Wuerl and others fail to understand is the impact of things like this on the lay Catholic who is struggling to be a faithful disciple in the world. The message that is sent by silence is strong, in terms of the lay apostolate in the world, in terms of the unity of faith and life.
Nancy Pelosi is not "struggling" with the Church's teaching on abortion, trying to work for the protection of unborn human beings within the constraints of the current U.S. law. As we noted before, she is unapologetically, strongly supportive of abortion-rights and unborn children don't even enter into her radar (publicly, at least) as human beings. The same week she was sworn in as Speaker, NARAL issued this statement:
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, issued the following statement in commemoration of the historic swearing in of Rep. Nancy Pelosi as the first woman to serve as the Speaker of the House.
"Americans who value freedom and privacy have many reasons to celebrate as Nancy Pelosi takes the Speaker's gavel to make this historic move forward for our country. For her nearly 20 years in office, Speaker Pelosi has been an effective advocate for women's health and has championed her pro-choice values by consistently voting to protect a woman's right to choose. In November, voters across this country endorsed Speaker Pelosi's call for a change and new direction by electing 23 new pro-choice members to the U.S. House of Representatives. Today, we celebrate as Speaker Pelosi takes the reins; under her leadership Americans can expect a new focus on commonsense solutions, not the divisive attacks that marred the previous Congresses."
On January 4, NOW greeted Pelosi with an oversized congratulations card, on the way to a swearing-in brunch. On the way in, Pelosi greeted them:
When Speaker Pelosi passed by, she waved and exclaimed, "Thank you! NOW has always been there for me."
Nancy Pelosi is in a very powerful position, a Catholic, and is working in opposition to a fundamental, moral teaching of her faith: the preciousness of each human life from conception. She lives in a country in which unborn human beings are unprotected by the law, in which the culture, at every level, dehumanizes them, and she, who is in a position to do something about this, in word and deed, does nothing to help the cause of bringing greater awareness of the humanity of the unborn, and works against legal protection and is the hero of organizations that are the activist core arrayed against the humanity of the unborn. There is not a speck of ambiguity here.
Perhaps Archbishop Wuerl is catechizing and attempting to work with "Nancy" in private, and perhaps he didn't mention it because he and/or Archbishop Niederauer are engaged in this private outreach and the questions asked by this reporter did not directly ask him about that. That could well be the case. And certainly "refusing Communion" has become a flashpoint in this kind of situation which has a few alternative approaches. A real pastor takes every approach he can before getting to the point at which "discipline" is all that is left. Perhaps this is going on or is in the works.
But resting on Archbishop Wuerl's statements alone, which do not indicate that there's anything problematic about Nancy Pelosi's way of living a Catholic life, and which, I admit, simply might be an expression of a reticent style that only answers the questions posed, I'll just say this again.
If this woman, engaged in a public role, very publicly works against the teachings of the Church to which she professes a very public tie isn't publicly challenged by even one of the primary teachers of the Church - the bishops - the rest of us - lay Catholics, living and working in the world, every day facing decisions on how to be faithful disciples of Jesus in the midst of the complexities of our professions, some of us who really suffer because of the things they refuse to do because of their fidelity to Christ - we get a message.
And the message we get is that - it doesn't matter. Do whatever you want. Catholicism isn't about discipleship, about (among other things) living in the truth that every person God chooses to create - from conception to natural death - is our treasured brother or sister - I'm not sure what it's about, but it evidently isn't about that.
Note: for those of you with the desire to bring capital punishment and the war into this discussion, another thread will be provided for that. This thread is limited to discussions of this particular situation and the implications for laity living out their faith in the world.
Some words of wisdom: (Emphasis mine)
Every responsible person and each follower of Jesus Christ have an obligation to defend and protect innocent human life. This witness can take place in many ways: teaching, non-violent public demonstrations, the legislative process, preaching, outreach to those in crisis pregnancy, care for the disabled and the dying, as well as financial support, prayer and ministry to those who have had an abortion.
If we are to put an effective end to those things that threaten human life, we must work as good citizens in the area of public policy to change laws. But it is also necessary to change hearts and minds as well as laws. Pope John Paul II reminds us that a pro-life educational endeavor must have "as its goal that shift of perception and change of heart which accompany true conversion."
It is said that evil exists when good people do nothing. We must find a way to make our convictions known and effective. For Catholics, the parish community is an ideal context in which to do this and the role of the priest, as leader, places him in a perfect position to reiterate this most basic principle of respect for life. In particular, the homily at appropriate times can be an effective means for communicating this truth. Other opportunities include the regular intentions of the general intercessions, the use of the parish bulletin, parish newsletters and increasingly web sites. The United States bishops offer guidance and a starting point: "We must begin with a commitment never to intentionally kill, or collude in the killing, of any innocent human life, no matter how broken, unformed, disabled or desperate that life may seem."
The proclamation of the gospel of life is not reserved to the parish priest. All of those involved in parish activity and especially the parish staff must be both committed to the message and able to express it in a convincing manner. Given the importance of the gospel of life regular updating sessions to deal with current issues and to review the teaching of the Church would be a valuable resource for all involved in the life of the parish.
We must also incorporate the Church's teachings on social concerns and respect life issues into the mainstream of Catholic education. All those who teach in Catholic schools and religious education programs must become intelligent and clear voices in defense of life. The U.S. bishops remind us that this educational effort must be made at every level. "The commitment to human life and dignity, to human rights and solidarity, is a calling all Catholic educators must share with their students. It is not a vocation for a few religion teachers, but a challenge for every Catholic educator and catechist." Efforts should be made to integrate this teaching into the curriculum of our education programs at every level.
The U.S. bishops also urge parents, as the primary educators of their children, to give priority to the important areas of human sexuality and respect for all human life. The faithful not only have a responsibility to promote life issues in their homes but also in the workplace, the courts and the legislature. The lay faithful are called to give daily witness to respect for life, in family life, public education, government, institutions of health care, and the instruments of mass communication.
Only in this way can these fundamental human values which are rooted in our very nature as the fruit of God's loving creation make an impact on our growing secular world that seems all too comfortable disregarding human dignity and ignoring the basic truth about the true origins, nature and destiny of every human person.
As children of God we must pray and fast for an end to anti-life practices; be active in the political process and elect responsible leaders; assist women facing unintended pregnancies; support with compassion those who suffer from having had an abortion; affirm the lives of the elderly and the disabled; forgive those who have committed grave offenses, and tirelessly promote the truth about the importance of each human person.
Bishop Donald Wuerl, Pastoral Letter to the people of the Church of Pittsburgh, 1999.
Thank you, Amy Wellborn, Jeff Miller and all the other devout Catholics who are using their blogs to keep the spotlight on Archbishp Wuerl and SOH, Nancy Pelosi, CINO.
I'm in the Archdiocese of Washington and I am stunned by my Archbishop's failure to apply basic Catholicism in this matter.
Is he a Cardinal yet? I'm stunned, as well.
Not yet, but that's just a matter of time.
Can. 915 Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.
A Primer on Canon 915
Archbishop Raymond Burke first conducted private communications to three 'Catholic' legislators, imploring them, "to make their consciences correct with Magisterial teachings." After all three politicians refused to meet with him, saying they instead reject the Church's infallible teachings, Bishop Burke, as 'Priest, Prophet and King,' then took the necessary steps to issue the four paragraph 'canonical notification' to address the scandal they were causing in his diocese by their conduct 'which is seriously, clearly and steadfastly contrary to the moral norm' (EE n.37).
The notification declares: "...Catholic legislators who are members of the faithful of the Diocese of La Crosse and who continue to support procured abortion or euthanasia may not present themselves to receive Holy Communion. They are not to be admitted to Holy Communion, should they present themselves, until such time as they publicly renounce their support of these most unjust practices" (canon 915).
Burke exhorted, "No good bishops could stand by and let this happen. These public legislators are in grave sin."
Traditionally, a Mass for Life is celebrated at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception on the evening before the March for Life. The principal celebrant has always been the resident Cardinal, or in this case, resident Bishop. But, wait, here is the upcoming schedule.
January 21 - 22, 2007
Sunday, January 21, 2007
12noon Solemn Sunday Mass Upper Church
Reverend Benedict Groeschel, CFR, Celebrant & Homilist
8:00pm Vigil Mass for Life Upper Church ***
Justin Cardinal Rigali, Celebrant & Homilist
10:30pm National Rosary for Life Crypt Church
Mothers of Mary
11:00pm Confessions Confessional Chapel
There is no mention of the bishop.
True. This replaces the San Diego News Notes, Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission, San Francisco Faith, and the La Cruz de California (the Tijuana paper).
Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic Ping List:
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I'm in the Archidocese of Washington, too, and while I'd like to say I'm stunned, I'm not. Wuerhl is just following McCarrick's style. Same-old, same-old as far as I can tell.
I am stunned too. Wuerl was the "fixer" who came to Seattle to save that diocese from the poor example and teaching by Abp Hunthausen. Of course he received a lot of criticism for that from the liberals who backed Hunthausen. It seems that Wuerl has lost his spine somewhere along the way.
Hmmm, I'm on the cusp of the Washington Diocese. I actually belong to the Archdiocese of Baltimore,...seems like some of the natives should know about this. Possibly they already do.
Last year the Mass I attended was at the Verisign Center (then MCI) this was on the day of the march and they place was packed up the walls.
It was the first year I had a chance to attend and a very positive experience.
I'm very, very disappointed to hear this news about Wuerl. Is it possible that he has come in under the Holy Father's radar??
Of course, if she never attends a Mass in the Archdiocese again, it won't be a problem for the Archbishop.
Think she actually practices her faith? Doesn't seem likely.
Let's take a 'watch and wait' approach. At some point in time this year, the Holy Father will announce the next crop of Cardinals. Let's pray that Bishop Wuerl is not named.
This is certainly very disappointing. I am also willing to wait and see a little longer. But Archbishop Wuerl has a deserved reputation as a conservative Catholic. If he won't draw the line, who will?
I'm amazed, too. Not only did he turn a blind eye, but he's essentially saying he's not going to do anything in the future and doesn't consider it his job.
Somebody else posted (when this whole thing began) that Wuerl was a big time Dem and turned up at a lot of Dem events, etc. I don't live in the diocese and I don't know a thing about this, but I guess that might explain his reluctance to do anything. He's more Dem than Catholic.
That said, who the heck is recommending bishops to the Pope now? We've gotten several who I think were not at all what BXVI would have chosen on his own if he knew about the US. He relies on other people to do this for him, and I think there are some problems with the system (as recently revealed by the Polish situation).
Well isn't that interesting.
What is that saying... the road to hell is paved with good intentions?
He thinks he being compassionate by not denying Pelosi Communion, meanwhile the slaughter of the innocent goes on.
PC in the Catholic Church.
"I think what Archbishop Wuerl and others fail to understand is the impact of things like this on the lay Catholic who is struggling to be a faithful disciple in the world. The message that is sent by silence is strong, in terms of the lay apostolate in the world, in terms of the unity of faith and life."
The impact is clear as day: Archbishop Wuerl doesn't REALLY believe his religion. He thinks that the government of the United States is more important.
I had the same thought when I saw California force Catholic Charities to pay for birth control, and Catholic Charities remained open and in business rather than closing up shop in California.
When push comes to shove and its Catholicism directly versus some government in the United States, the test of faith is at hand. Those who obey the government or protect its officials don't REALLY believe the Catholic religion. They think America and its laws are more important.
If the high clergy think that, well, let's just say that they don't have any authority left in the tank when they start grousing about moral issues they don't like. After all, if the religion isn't true, then an Archbishop is just a closeted queen with a big stage on which he acts.
If I remember right, it's that the road to Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops... either way it would do well for Abp. Wuerl (and for that matter all of us) to take heed of it.
Now there's an understatement!
LOL! That makes for a good tagline, Jay. Good point.
Very informative and disturbing post. I spoke with my former pastor and treasured friend who lives about 1000 miles away since he retired and it was like a shot of adrenalin to hear a truly holy man speak of the necessity of conformance with the tenets and doctrine of our faith.
I've done my best to not judge others, but when someone claims to be a practicing member of my religion and spits on the very foundation upon which it was founded, I get very judgemental. As I told my former pastor, I cringe every time I see Ted Kennedy receive the Eucharist, knowing he is going to cast a pro-abortion vote the next day. So it is with Pelosi.
I would rather the world had 100,000 devout Catholics than the millions who call themselves catholic but pick and choose which doctrinal mandates to follow.
"Interesting" is a "nice" word.
Conspicuous, significant, telling, perplexing, timorous, revealing, suspicious and fishy might also be inserted.
Bump we need pickets-will read later.Phila is the best and when are you going to pick up your signs.
I'm not understanding why the bishop won't speak out.
How can they put themselves, and/or their agenda before their faith?
Hope you're feeling better.
I appreciated his stand for the faith of the church.
Catholic Charities is an organization to avoid - make sure you never give them a dime. They're basically just another left-wing "social service" organization top-heavy with bureaucracy and in line with the goals of the Dem party.
There is nothing specifically Catholic about them except that they get to collect in Catholic churches from time to time.
That's outrageous. I'm 19, living in a world where everyone is telling me these things are okay to do, where there are organizations like Catholics For Free Choice telling me that God WANTS abortion to be legal...what message is it sending me when he's silent on her showing up for mass and possibly receiving communion?
I trust these men who have devoted their lives to God. If I was seeing this three years ago when I was on the fence on the abortion issue, I would have used it as one more reason.
This man is setting a bad example.
Shocking is another word that comes to mind...
It's really hard to believe that he won't be participating in this.
I'm glad God has given you the light to get off the fence and onto the side of truth. And you're right, Wuerl's behavior is going to be a source of confusion to others.
I'm actually a little surprised by it myself. Even if he's not going to turn into a pro-life champion on the order of the late Cardinal O'Connor, you'd think he could go through the motions. I believe even Cdl McCarrick did that in his day, although I certainly never thought of him as a great leader in the area.
Why would you be stunned, if you knew Wuerl's history?
He never took any religious sanctions against any of the large number of prominent liberal, and mostly Catholic Democrat politicians when he served here, including Mrs. Kerry who owns a home in Pittsburgh.
The gentleman is being true to the policies he had already established in his previous duty station.
It's really discouraging when the bishop of a diocese allows prominent Catholics, who dissent from Church teachings on matters of faith or morals, to scandalize the faithful with their public statements and acts. This is something that Archbishop Wuerl will be accountable for when he stands before Christ for judgement. I just wonder what his excuse will be.
Did not know his track record.
Dear incredulous joe,
Hope I see you at the March! We should be there, too!
Archbishop Wuerl will be the main speaker at the March for Life.
Archbishop Wuerl is not a cardinal. I don't know when he will be made one, although it's highly likely that it will come sooner or later. Every Archbishop of Washington has been made a cardinal since the archdiocese's separation from the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Cardinal McCarrick was created cardinal almost immediately after becoming Archbishop of Washington.
Conversely, Cardinal Hickey was made Archbishop of Washington in 1980, but was created a cardinal until 1988.
Many folks wondered why Pope John Paul II waited eight years to make him a cardinal.
Cardinal Baum, who preceded Cardinal Hickey, was appointed in 1973, and created a cardinal in 1976.
Cardinal O'Boyle was appointed archbishop in 1947, but not made a cardinal until 1967, some twenty years later.
Cardinal O'Boyle was the first resident archbishop of the See, and perhaps because it was a brand-new jurisdiction, that was the reason for the wait.
Archbishop Wuerl is 65, so he will likely serve 10+ years here in Washington.
Archbishop Wuerl is a theological conservative, although he is politically an old-time blue collar, labor union Democrat.
Theologically, he is orthodox. However, he doesn't want to fall out with his good friends in the Democrat Party. I've read before that he considers the idea of disciplining politicians over the issue of abortion to be "politicizing" the faith, especially the Blessed Sacrament, should sanctions include exclusion from receiving the Blessed Sacrament.
He believes that lines of communication with politicians of all stripes should be kept open, and believes that cutting off pro-abort Catholic politicians from the Eucharist will only close those lines of communication.
I understand his position, but I disagree. One can maintain the lines of communication, but still insist that those who create public scandal, and give bad example to other Catholics, possibly leading other Catholics into damnable attitudes and behaviors, may not receive the Eucharist.
But Archbishop Wuerl, like Cardinal McCarrick before him, disagrees with this perspective.
I think incredulous joe made a good point, and I realized that is what has been bothering me particularly about this whole thing with Pelosi. He said:
but I believe this thing with Pelosi is a bit of a different animal; while the likes of Kennedy, Kerry, Durbin and Mikulski shuck their faith on and off to serve themselves and their needs, Pelosi is actually trying to change the mindset of American Catholics as being a force for the pro-life cause. Pelosi offers a "Catholic alternative".
Teddy Kennedy doesn't even pretend to be a great Catholic, and doesn't really dwell on it much, but Pelosi does hold herself out as an example and implies that her version of Catholicism, with all the hard parts taken out, is just as good as Rome's. She'd make a fine Episcopalian, but she's not honest enough to do that, and instead is going to devote herself to confusing and misleading Catholics for political purposes.
I think Abp Wuerl has a particular duty to respond to her, even if he wants to give Kennedy et al. a pass.
I noticed that the talk he gave was to Communion and Liberation. My experience with them has been that while they are theologically conservative in some ways, they have retained that bizarre Italian attitude towards politics - left-wing, accomodationist, and not particularly pro-life - and don't seem to see any contradictions with some of their other positions.
I do think that Catholic Charities quit offering health insurance per se to its employees in California. That's what their press release after the trial announced. I know some very orthodox institutions who had to change their health care insurance after that decision, I don't remember quite how it works, will have to ask my BIL, but the it was in order to avoid the mandated abc coverage. At the time, it was said that that was what Catholic Charities was doing as well.
"I noticed that the talk he gave was to Communion and Liberation. My experience with them... not particularly pro-life..."
Well, Archbishop Wuerl is deeply pro-life. He just doesn't see the contradiction between his pro-life principles and permitting deeply pro-abort Catholic politicians from actively participating in the life of the Church and the sacraments.
Unfortunately, at the grass roots level, at the level of in-the-pew Catholicism, I see the contradiction. I know pro-abort Catholics who go to church and have told me, "Well, heck, the bishops don't do anything about Ted Kennedy or [fill in the blank]. They must not be all THAT serious about it! If they don't do anything to these folks, then it must be true that one can be a good Catholic and still be in favor of a woman's choice."
I think they have a good argument, unfortunately.
It is the bishops, as a group, and bishops like Archbishop Wuerl, who must take the largest portion of blame for the defection of millions of Catholics in the United States on the issue of abortion.
We should pray for our bishops, first that they might become more genuinely Catholic, and second, that God may have mercy on them at their particular judgments.
"Well, Archbishop Wuerl is deeply pro-life. He just doesn't see the contradiction between his pro-life principles and permitting deeply pro-abort Catholic politicians from actively participating in the life of the Church and the sacraments."
Then he isn't deeply pro-life, is he?
I'm not giving him a pass.
I want to vote for Rudolph Giuliani, because he's tough on crime and would be tough on terrorists. Also, I think he'd WIN. I liked Giuliani as Mayor of New York, and I think he would be good for the country as President.
But, unless he takes the position that, although deeply pro-choice, he will nominate only strict-constructionists (code word for anti-Roe) judges to the Supreme Court and appellate courts, I will not vote for him. Abortion is an absolute issue.
If I hold myself to that standard, then you can bet your sweet bippy I am going to hold any "archbishop" to that same standard. He has the power, and he does not use it to protect life. He is no pro-life, and he doesn't deserve the fig leaf of protection of his dignity.
He won't do what his duty requires of him.
And it leads others astray.
I am not inclined to give him any fig leaf of respectability here. Why does he deserve it?
He is shirking his duty on the most important moral issue of our time, in the most important see in America.
He's a coward.
Good summary. I agree with your observations on this.