Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

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.

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