Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

Coals to Newcastle

By Diogenes ( articles ) | May 20, 2004

According to the Washington Post, 48 Democratic congressmen wrote Cardinal McCarrick warning him that withholding Communion from politicians who support abortion rights will increase anti-Catholic bigotry. In case you were wondering, the Post mentions that the signers "include at least three House members with strong antiabortion voting records."

One of the signers with a solidly antiabortion voting record, Rep. Bart Stupak (Mich.), said in an interview that bishops "are making these statements thinking they're undermining the candidacy of John Kerry, when what they're really undermining is the Catholic church."

Stupak added that he has been surprised by the partisanship of some bishops.

"I've had some threaten not to give Communion to me, even though they don't know my position, just because I'm a Democrat," he said. "I've had cardinals refuse to shake my hand because I'm a Democrat, and then somebody whispers to them that, 'No, no, he's a good guy.'"

You just heard my tauroscatometer blow a fuse. It's conceivable, barely, that an infielder for the St. Louis Cardinals might refuse to shake a congressman's hand "just because he's a Democrat" -- but anyone who thinks there are cardinal archbishops (plural!) inclined to snub Dems quâ Dems is stark drooling mad. Stupak should be ashamed of himself for not being able to concoct a more plausible lie.

This letter is fishy is several respects. For starters, writing to McCarrick to be openhanded with communion is like pleading with Barbra Streisand not to succumb to the blandishments of the Christian Right. Clearly the manifesto serves no purpose in convincing the already convinced, but it has great leakability in the Washington area and hence greater news value. Moreover, the bits quoted are suspiciously similar to the song sung by Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J., editor of the Jesuit magazine America, who is constantly warning bishops that their credibility will suffer if they get mixed up in religion.

The Church's disastrous record in implementing her teaching in the public arena ought to be obvious in the Post's deadpan admission that, of 48 signatories, "at least three" had "strong antiabortion voting records," but which they mean "at most three" have any anti-abortion votes at all. The degree to which Catholic congressmen let themselves be instructed by Lumen Gentium is perhaps more easily discerned in the last sentence of the article:

Other signers included House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, presidential candidate Dennis J. Kucinich (Ohio) and Rep. James P. Moran Jr. of Virginia.

Think! Does the Church really want to put the careers of these fine Catholic public servants at risk?

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

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

There are no comments yet for this item.