Catholic World News News Feature
Why I worry when a bishop does the right thing May 12, 2004
Here at CWN we view it as our special role to challenge prelates who don’t stand up for the faith. It’s part of our journey, it’s how we grow as members of this vibrant community we call Church.
But on those rare occasions when our clergy do stand up and speak out and tell the truth, I get nervous. Granted, this circumstance doesn’t occur often – maybe it’s not really worth getting used to feeling this way. Still, I wonder.
Will they be able to manage Phase II? Will they survive the more difficult blood-in-the-water test of the next round? Or will they be thrown off the Island for being weenies after all?
In short, do they realize that being a Christian means that when you carefully explain your position, with many nuanced phrases, steering way clear of any personal allusions, nevertheless the World will excoriate you? Can you handle it? Or will you cave?
So, with a deep sense of gratitude to Archbishop Myers for publishing his wonderful defense of the refusal of Communion to pro-abortion politicians, I yet bite my nails when I hear that he “didn’t mean” to attack anyone, or that he’s being accused of breaching the wall between Church and state.
Those are tough things for our guys, with sinews untried, to handle. I want to run down to Newark (well, not literally) and stand on the sidelines shouting, “go for the net!” like the soccer mom I am. When the New York Times sadly notes:
Last week, in response, Gov. James E. McGreevey declared that he would no longer seek communion at public services. Over the weekend, the Senate majority leader, Bernard F. Kenny Jr., a Democrat from Hudson County, announced he was leaving the church entirely. And other politicians said on Monday that the archbishop's words had put them in the uncomfortable position of choosing between their public policy positions and their faith.
I want to yell, “Right!” That’s exactly the response Myers’ paper should have elicited. I want Myers to say, when interviewed, “That’s not ‘an uproar,’ Mr. Stinkin’ New York Times, it’s what I intended: that some people who have not been acting in good faith question their motives and integrity and take action.”
In fact, far from “pressuring and angering,” the effect of Archbishop Myers’ letter is one of true Christian charity, in that it has caused at least three souls to take the step away from being “neither hot nor cold” and make a spiritual decision brought on by a fatherly reality slap.
I hope the good archbishop doesn’t get too flustered to see it too. So far so good. I just get nervous.