Skip to comments.Will the Real Catholic please stand up?
Posted on 01/28/2003 7:42:15 AM PST by heyheyhey
By Mary Jo Anderson
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.
Mary Jo Anderson is a contributing reporter to WorldNetDaily.
Good question indeed!
Especially when applied to the hierarchy ;-)
I am immediately reminded of the funeral for John Cardinal O'Connor. In the front pews sat then president Clinton, his wife, VP Gore and his wife, along with other notable political figures from New York who happen to be Catholic and Pro-Choice. Thought you might enjoy this article.
Cardinal OConnors funeral showed
by Mark Hare
Did you see their faces? The Clintons, the Bushes (W. and H.W.), the Patakis, Giuliani? Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative. Equally uncomfortable, visibly so, at Mondays funeral for New Yorks Cardinal John OConnor.
Unlike OConnor, they are bound and defined by labels that keep them in permanent opposition. You wonder whether they are capable of even the simplest genuine communication with each other.
People who accept what now constitutes the conservative constellation of issues use the term liberal as a synonym for evil. The :liberal use the term right-wing extremist in the same way.
Ill drop these annoying quotation marks now that you know I find both words - liberal and conservative - essentially empty of meaning, and therefore, useless.)
What is conservative about opposing conservation? What is liberal about supporting physician-assisted suicide?
And there at the cardinals funeral, the political lexicon was shown for the gibberish it has become, illogical and inconsistent.
Inevitably, there is an effort to categorize public figures as conservative or liberal, said Cardinal Bernard Law in his homily. Cardinal OConnor, like the church herself, defies this type of categorization.
OConnor, said Law, was obviously opposed to abortion, but also to the death penalty, to euthanasia and assisted suicide. He was a champion of the rights of workers, and of assistance to the poor. And of peace for Northern Ireland and the Middle East.
What a great legacy he has left us in his constant reminder that the church must always be unambiguously pro-life, Law said.
For a moment, St. Patricks cathedral was silent. But the great nave slowly filled with applause, rising like incense to the ceiling. The worshippers stood; the applause resounded for one minute and 50 seconds.
The politicians squirmed. The Bushes, who oppose abortion but wildly support the death penalty, applauded.
The Clintons and Gores never did. The Patakis applauded, as did Giuliani, but only politely.
To the Cardinal, pro-life meant much more than it does to politicians. It includes the whole spectrum of issues that have been neatly divided between liberals and conservatives.
To applaud or not to applaud. That is the question.
Later, Giuliani and Pataki said they had applauded as a tribute to OConnor, who was admired and respected by them both - despite their disagreements.
The cardinals positions, the churchs positions, are consistent and firm All life is sacred. But ones deepest beliefs can never be an excuse for attacking those who do not accept them.
Former Mayor Ed Koch, in a piece in New York magazine, says he and OConnor clashed again and again - over condoms in schools, abortions, the rights of homosexuals. But they became friends.
Once when a young police officer had been shot and lay dying in a hospital, Koch says he called OConnor. And he came down and comforted the family and embraced me until I composed myself. That night, we saw one another revealed. I dont like people to see me crying. But with him I wasnt ashamed. It felt right.
Compassion was his greatest gift, Koch said of OConnor. He wasnt a man who hated.
Politicians are not priests. Politics is not religion.
But the fidgeting politicians in the front row could learn from the cardinals example - they will be better and more interesting people when they transcend the labels that divide them from each other and from their constituents.
They will know nothing about the nuances of clapping until they read the "Gulag Archipelago" by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
One of Solzhenitsyn's most chilling stories concerned a birthday party for Comrade Stalin, held in a small, out-of-the-way town. Stalin was, of course, nowhere in sight, but still there were speeches and applause. Without thinking, the mayor of the town rose and exhorted his fellows to one last cheer for the evening to the honor of Stalin.;^D
The applause continued for minutes without stopping and everyone was growing weary, but who would dare to be the first to stop clapping? As the labored applause wore on an old man collapsed. Finally the mayor allowed his arms to drop and the noise died. The next evening the mayor was sentenced to the gulag, and no charges were ever spoken against him. As he stepped into the train, a party official whispered into his ear, "Never be the first one to stop clapping."
They were mighty slow off the mark, as I recall. And Mrs. 41 is publicly on record as not opposing abortion. Her husband learned to mouth the required formulas for the sake of a spot on the ticket with Reagan, but his Planned Parenthood baggage still weighs heavily on him.
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