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Stand up for life! Mary Jo Anderson says time has come to fear power of real Catholics ^ | Tuesday, January 28, 2003 | Mary Jo Anderson

Posted on 01/28/2003 4:44:54 AM PST by JohnHuang2

Sacramento, California's Bishop William K. Weigand stated the obvious this week: The emperor has no clothes.

Gov. Gray Davis parades about pretending he is covered in a Catholic mantle because he "… is an active Catholic who attends mass in Southern California with his wife, Sharon." Davis wants to snuggle up to Catholic voters. But Davis adamantly defends abortion – a personal and political position that cannot be sustained by a practicing Catholic. And his bishop said so publicly. That's what bishops do – call the faithful back to the definitive teachings of the faith.

"As your bishop, I have to say clearly that anyone – politician or otherwise – who thinks it is acceptable for a Catholic to be pro-abortion is in very great error, puts his or her soul at risk and is not in good standing with the church …" said Weigand.

Nothing excites Catholics like a bishop on the march. Hundreds of Catholic blog pages and cyber-lists jammed my e-mail: "A bishop who actually functions as a bishop is called to do! Let's pray John Kerry's bishop speaks up next."

The governor's defenders tossed a silly salvo, chiding Bishop Weigand for "telling the faithful how to practice their faith."

Yes, Virginia, the bishop is supposed to tell the faithful how to practice their faith.

That's why we have bishops – not to fund-raise, not to be a decorative addition at Christmas masses, not to be an avuncular photo-op for every ambitious politician. It seems Gov. Davis lacks even an elementary understanding of a bishop's job description.

A bishop shepherds his flock from the cathedral, taken from cathedra, a Greek and Latin word for "chair." It means that the one who speaks from this chair has the authority to teach and instruct on matters of faith and morals. Jesus Himself instructed the apostles to pay heed to what the Pharisees taught when they sat upon "Moses' seat" even though the Pharisees themselves did not "practice what they preach" (Matthew 23).

Bishop Weigand counseled Davis and any abortion advocate to "abstain from receiving Holy Communion until he has a change of heart." Stung by the bishop's directive, the governor's office fired back: "There are a lot of Catholics who are pro-choice. Does the bishop want all Catholics to stop receiving Holy Communion? Who's going to be left in church?"

The answer, governor, to the first question is, yes – if you are no longer in communion with the teachings of the Church, stay in your seat. Receiving Holy Communion is serious business. St. Paul taught that those who receive communion unworthily drink judgment upon themselves (I Corinthians 11). A Catholic receiving communion signifies his union with Christ and the Church.

Gov. Davis and other "Catholic" politicians like Nancy Pelosi or John Kerry who trumpet their support for abortion are not in union with the Church. Their reception of communion is like reciting your wedding vows while having an affair. Such politicians seek respectability by claiming a religious affiliation, but they have sanctioned the legal killing of millions of children. Let them attend a partial-birth abortion on Saturday afternoon and see, then, if they can approach the altar on Sunday.

The answer to second question "Who's going to be left in church?" is: faithful Catholics. The governor has confused political power and the Church, worrying about how many people (votes? dollars?) would be left in the pews if abortion proponents who attend Catholic parishes staged an exodus.

A lesson from the Bible applies: Gideon was instructed by God to defeat the mighty Midianites who preyed on Israel. Gideon raised an army, but God told him to "send home anyone who is afraid," and 22,000 departed forthwith (Judges 7). Gideon accomplished his feat with just 300 men and the power of God.

What use to the Catholic Church are members whose fear is greater than their faith? If you are fearful of the secular ridicule that is heaped on Catholic teaching, depart with our blessings, for you will bear no fruit.

Many politicians, including Catholic politicians, are afraid of the abortion industry. Oh, they claim allegiance to the faulty ideal of a "woman's rights," but that is because they cannot admit that they fear the loss of the money provided by the abortion cabal. Such politicians believe that the abortion juggernaut will flatten their political dreams unless they bow before the merchants of death.

Perhaps the time has come to fear the power of real Catholics – not the Catholic-lite crowd. The Catholic political wind is blowing in a new direction. The "Catholic vote" is 25 percent of the voting public. That's a powerful voting bloc that has been split in recent years over the issue of abortion. The Vatican released a document that will narrow the gap.

Two weeks ago, Pope John Paul II issued the "Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life." In this document, Catholic laity are instructed that "a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals."

No wiggle room.

A "political program" includes a party platform. You simply cannot claim to be a faithful Catholic and support abortion laws or a political candidate or party that supports abortion policies. As the document is digested, fewer and fewer Catholic voters will be at ease with a direct assault on this teaching. Catholic politicians cannot wrap themselves in Catholic externals to attract the Catholic vote and expect to be issued a get-out-of-jail-free-card by his or her bishop. Bishop Weigand has set a standard not only for laity and politicians, but also for his brother bishops.

There are those who will attempt to slither under the wire by claiming freedom of conscience. That excuse will not stand: St. Paul taught that a conscience must be formed in doctrinal purity, and those who fail to do so make a "ruin of their faith" (I Timothy 1).

But, some will say, the Vatican cannot enforce compliance with its doctrinal teachings. Perhaps. But don't forget about Stalin's boast to FDR: "How many divisions does the pope have?" Stalin misunderstood the distinction between raw power and legitimate authority. Truth is its own authority. It touches the recesses of man's heart where no tank – or law – can follow.

Bishop Weigand spoke the truth when he taught that life is not for killing. He admonished the powerful and the powerless alike that anyone who supports abortion is in "very great error, puts his or her soul at risk and is not in good standing with the church …" The time has come for those who claim to be Catholic to stand up for life.

TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Quote of the Day by Theophilus

1 posted on 01/28/2003 4:44:55 AM PST by JohnHuang2
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To: hobbes1; dubyaismypresident
2 posted on 01/28/2003 4:46:50 AM PST by xsmommy
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To: JohnHuang2
"Who's going to be left in church?"

It is true that many self identified Catholics tell pollsters that they support abortion rights. I suspect, however, that few of these "Catholics" are filling pews on Sunday or dropping meaningful contributions in the collection basket. (While something like 50% of "Catholics" tell pollsters the foregoing, only 33% of Catholics satisfy their Sunday obligation). If more bishops behaved like the admirable Wiegand you might see attendance drop a bit at Easter and Christmas, but I would make book that no detectable change would occur the balance of the year. Indeed, attendance and contributions might rise as dispirited traditionalists are re-energized.

God bless you Bishop Wiegand. May more follow your lead.
3 posted on 01/28/2003 5:12:06 AM PST by irish_links
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To: irish_links
Right you are. At my parish, our pro-life group, with the pastor's permission, installed a sign to let mother's who may considering abortion to call a certain number where they could get help. There was one woman who was offended by the sign. She happened to be on the school board and parked her car in front of the sign to drop her kids off at school. She made a big ruckus but the pastor put his foot down and said the sign would stay. We were told a year later that our sign brought in more calls to the center than any of the other signs placed at other parishes throughout the diocease.

So, pastors too can have a positive effect for life.

4 posted on 01/28/2003 6:48:41 AM PST by Slyfox
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To: JohnHuang2
Niebuhr stated eloquently in his work "Christ and Culture" that the Church is at its most vibrant and closest to its purpose when it stands against the culture of the society. When it becomes the culture, as in Medieval Europe, the danger of corruption is great.

As to who would be left in the Church? The same who stayed during the reigns of Nero and Diocletian. The people who by their life and death gave meaning to the Gospel with their lives. More than that the Church does not need.More than that the Church should dismiss as window dressing.

5 posted on 01/28/2003 7:29:31 AM PST by xkaydet65
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To: JohnHuang2
Yes, Virginia, the bishop is supposed to tell the faithful how to practice their faith.

You bet. A bishop is supposed to be, above all, a teacher - by explicit teaching, as well as by example.

6 posted on 01/28/2003 7:47:57 AM PST by yendu bwam
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To: JohnHuang2
The truth is, abortion has deformed the Democratic party. Democrats accomplished a lot of things for average working people that the GOP doesn't often give them credit for: worker protections, the 8-hour workday, public works projects, etc...

Until the '70s, both parties more or less agreed on moral issues--they fought mostly over economics. Once the Dems embraced the Culture of Death they started losing the very working-class people that they did so much to help...enter a bargain with the Devil and that's what'll happen...

7 posted on 01/28/2003 7:48:13 AM PST by HumanaeVitae
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To: Slyfox
So, pastors too can have a positive effect for life.

If they are brave enough to proclaim God's truth fearlessly. Regrettably, that does not describe the average bishop.

8 posted on 01/28/2003 7:49:34 AM PST by yendu bwam
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To: HumanaeVitae
The truth is, abortion has deformed the Democratic party.

On abortion, Democrats march in lockstep

9 posted on 01/28/2003 7:51:49 AM PST by mikeb704
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To: mikeb704; HumanaeVitae; JohnHuang2; Slyfox; irish_links; yendu bwam; xsmommy
A staunch pro-abortion advocate calls on Catholic leaders with a pro-life pledge.

Click here (and please ping your Catholic lists).
10 posted on 01/28/2003 8:29:32 AM PST by Liz
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To: Gary Boldwater
Liberals attack the Bible:

11 posted on 01/28/2003 9:00:26 AM PST by Gary Boldwater
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