Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Deliberately misleading?

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jul 15, 2004

While other American bishops were debating over exactly what Cardinal Ratzinger had said regarding the reception of Holy Communion by pro-abortion politicians, Bishop John Steinbock of Fresno, California, produced this whopper:

I pointed out to the priests and deacons that this document did not say, as was falsely reported by the secular media, that Catholic politicians who vote for abortion may not receive Communion.  It did not refer to Catholic politicians at all.
What! The Ratzinger letter didn't mention Catholic politcians at all?!?

No, wait. That's not what Bishop Steinbock is saying. If you read his editorial very carefully, you notice that he's writing about an entirely different document: not Cardinal Ratzinger's letter, but Redemptionis Sacramentum, released by the Congregation for Divine Worship back in April.

But why is Bishop Steinbock talking about that document now? And why does he abruptly switch back to the Ratzinger letter, just a few sentence later, without making it clear that he's now talking about a different text? Now the bishop reports:

The Doctrine of the Faith has declared that even those who are not in full communion with the teaching of the Church, as long as there is not a denial of what is proposed by the Church as divinely revealed, may not be denied the Sacraments. 

Taken by itself, that's accurate, too. But by making two different statements about two different documents, the bishop has created a very misleading impression.

Put it this way: The Ratzinger document did not say, as was falsely implied by Bishop Steinbock, that Catholic politicians who vote for abortion should be allowed to receive Communion.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach five million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our April expenses ($18,110 to go):
$35,000.00 $16,890.48
52% 48%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Fr. William - Jul. 21, 2004 1:23 AM ET USA

    Bishop Steinbock: please have the moral courage and integrity to remove yourself from the Fresno See and admit that you are not in Communion with Holy Mother Church. Then, please do Jesus and His Church a favor: retire to a monastery for a life of prayer, penance and reparation for all the harm that you have done to the Church and to the People of God who want to be in union with Rome.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 15, 2004 11:51 PM ET USA

    Once again ... corruptio optimi pessima est ... corruption of the best is the worst. Why do we harp on the bishops so often? Are we adherents of some neo-anticlericalism? NO! We believe in everything the Church and the saints have taught about the beauty, wonder, power and glory of the priesthood - especially in its fullest degree in the bishop. The bishops have to lead us to heaven. When they are mired in the things of the world they betray Christ and abandon us to be devoured by wolves.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Round Trip to the present moment: a Catholic jazz artist's latest offering April 22
Easter with the Pope April 21
Smaller Church, Bigger Faith, 3: Ecclesiastical Discipline April 17
The Holy Spirit and Evangelization: A Primer April 16
Journey to the Sun: A Strange Biography of Junípero Serra April 16

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Easter Vigil homily (full text) CWN - April 20
Pope Francis's Easter Message 'Urbi et Orbi' (To the City and the World): full text, link to video CWN - April 20