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Burke borked

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jan 21, 2004

St. Louis-bound Bishop Burke put the cat amongst the pigeons in a big way by announcing that pro-abort pols would be denied communion. Clever folks at the Post-Dispatch phoned around the country to Burke's brethren to see if his spokespersons-in-Christ might help cut the ground out beneath him. They were not disappointed:

The Rev. Christopher Coyne, the Boston Archdiocese spokesman, has no expectation that O'Malley ever would ever direct his priests to refuse communion to pro-abortion rights officials, he said. Unless a person is clearly deranged or saying things against the church at that moment, the archdiocese's policy is that no priest or lay communion minister should ever refuse communion, he said.

"A priest or a Eucharistic minister is not a policeman or policewoman," Coyne said. "The proper place for a conversation (about church doctrine) is not in the communion line, but before or after."

Three points: first, Coyne's "...or policewoman" line signals which moral imperatives the Archdiocese is really prepared to take seriously. Second, it's nonsense to imply that a bishop's responsibilities regarding admission to communion are no different from those of a lay extraordinary minister faced with an on-the-spot decision. Third, Coyne's suggestion that "a conversation" about doctrine should take place outside of Mass would be reasonable if he were saying this: it is a bishop's duty to confront public dissenters, and, should they prove obdurate, only then must he deny them communion.

Well, Kennedy and Kerry are famously obdurate. That means either the confrontations have never taken place, or they took place and the bishop backed down. Well, Fr. Coyne, which would you have us believe? More to the point, which of the two paths -- hiding or caving -- should Bishop Burke pursue if he is to move the Archdiocese of St. Louis forward?

Burke gets tweaked as well by Cardinal McCarrick's flack, who sniffs that, in Washington at any rate, the church doors are open to absolutely anyone with half-a-trillion in public funds to disburse:

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, D.C., works with pro-abortion rights Catholic politicians on a spectrum of moral issues. McCarrick deals with the morality of their action and their relationship to God in private conversations, never publicly, said McCarrick spokesman Susan Gibbs.

"In this diocese, priests and Eucharistic ministers don't refuse communion," she said. "We keep the doors open."

How sweet. It must be said about these "private conversations" that the bishops have certainly managed to impress on their interlocutors the importance of the privacy aspect. So much so, in fact, that it's hard to name a single example of a pro-abortion Catholic pol who changed his mind or who, having refused to change it, left either his office or his Church.

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Show 18 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Jan. 24, 2004 5:49 PM ET USA

    Isn't it ironic that when one speaks the truth the liberals call it "diatribe" and accuse the author of being hurtful, bull roar

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Jan. 22, 2004 4:06 PM ET USA

    How uncharitable! You make that suggestion about hiding behind spokespeople as if it goes on everyday back in the Curia. Other than 400 or so posts in Off Topic, where would you get that idea?

  • Posted by: - Jan. 22, 2004 12:35 PM ET USA

    Kelly, you bring up an interesting point. If the Bishops spoke for themselves they'd actually have to take responsibility for what they say. But when you have a "spokesperson" who speaks for you, he can be blamed or ignored or "reprimanded" when something he says on your behalf is unpopular. Well, your Emminences, it's not going to be like that before the Pearly Gates.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 21, 2004 8:55 PM ET USA

    ""A priest or a Eucharistic minister is not a policeman or policewoman," Coyne said. "" Not quite so. At my parish (Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston), extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist are often cops. For one thing, we have to make sure communicants don't decide, on a whim, to stick the Body of Christ in their pockets. The Ordinary ministers of Communion are -- what? -- too busy? How I wish bishops would ditch their "spokesfolk" and speak for themselves. This is nuts.

  • Posted by: Barb Kralis - Jan. 21, 2004 8:42 PM ET USA

    Read the following article from the New Oxford Review regarding O'Malley. http://catholiccitizens.org/press/pressview.asp?c=8844

  • Posted by: - Jan. 21, 2004 7:53 PM ET USA

    And...."Can. 1369 A person is to be punished with a just penalty, who, at a public event or assembly, or in a published writing, or by otherwise using the means of social communication, utters blasphemy, or gravely harms public morals, or rails at or excites hatred of or contempt for religion or the Church."

  • Posted by: - Jan. 21, 2004 7:52 PM ET USA

    For those Catholics who still abide by the Canons of our Church, I give the following: "Can. 915 Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion."

  • Posted by: - Jan. 21, 2004 6:24 PM ET USA

    In the early Church, those guilty of serious public sin had to spend YEARS standing outside the church doors, begging the forgiveness of all their brethren, before being readmitted to Holy Communion. I'll bet few of them ever repeated their offense.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 21, 2004 5:36 PM ET USA

    Obviously, there are a lot of "Catholics" who don't understand what scandal is. And it seems more and more painfully obivious that some of those "Catholics" have been ordained bishops. Maybe those bishops should review what Jesus had to say about scandal, and that His condemnation can apply to them, too. Have they forgotten one of their predicessors named Judas? I can think of no analogy that better fits. Jashu

  • Posted by: - Jan. 21, 2004 2:41 PM ET USA

    << What does a person have to do to get denied Holy Communion here?>> Kneel for communion.

  • Posted by: AveMaria580 - Jan. 21, 2004 12:34 PM ET USA

    Paul wrote in one of his letters "I have turned them over to Satan so they learn not to blaspheme." Where are the ones who will turn our blaspheming bishops and child murdering and abusing politicians and priests over to Satan. One of the spiritual works of mercy is to admonish sinners. It's an act of charity. And, would extra. ministers refuse communion to pro-aborts. I know of Extra mins who use the consecrated host in women's rituals and one who admitted to the sin of Onan. God help us.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Jan. 21, 2004 12:13 PM ET USA

    It's interesting that on this matter, the absence of collegiality is becoming apparent. At this point, Bishop Gregory should go public and get behind Bishop Burke or at least privately let these diocesan ankle-biters know their spin is unhelpful. The question for every bishop is: What does a person have to do to get denied Holy Communion here? Diogenes is correct, no Catholic pol has ever switched from a pro-abortion position to a pro-life position -- private conversations or not.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 21, 2004 12:09 PM ET USA

    OK. I figured it out. I don't think Burke is expecting anything less -- or more -- than that. Never should we, which is sad.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 21, 2004 11:22 AM ET USA

    What is the USCC's verision of the Tower of London?

  • Posted by: - Jan. 21, 2004 11:20 AM ET USA

    The refusal of Holy Communion to a PUBLIC sinner prior to some public expression of conversion is a reasonable action that has been utilized since the earliest days of the Church by those who believe that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. To those who do not believe, it makes no difference who presents to receive it and who hands it out. Let's face it ... there are enormous numbers of Catholics who have completely lost the Faith. Their behavior makes that perfectly clear.

  • Posted by: shrink - Jan. 21, 2004 10:46 AM ET USA

    This reminds me of the saga of Bishop Joseph Sullivan of Baton Rouge, who in 1979 uninvited Charles Curran to a diocesan-sponsored speaking engagement and canned the Claretian priest who made the invite. To preempt a hat trick, the USCC jailed him in their version of the Tower of London. He died of heart failure at age 63, after of 3 years of doing time. The Vatican attempted no rescue efforts as far as anyone could tell. Cardinal communion in the hand Carberry presided at the funeral mass.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Jan. 21, 2004 10:30 AM ET USA

    In this diocese, priests and Eucharistic ministers don't refuse communion," she said. "We keep the doors open." Thanks, Sport. The barns a little drafty, since the horses left the stable long ago.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 21, 2004 10:05 AM ET USA

    Diogenes, The virtue of humility seems to elude you. Your diatribes might be easier to read if filtered through this virtue.

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