Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Kissling Cousins

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jul 09, 2005

Vision Book Cover Prints

Catholics for Free Choice's Frances Kissling is alarmed by the new Instrumentum Laboris and its impact on the cerebrum of Joe Biden.

Now as we enter one of the most critical political issues of our time -- the selection of a new Supreme Court Justice -- the new pope has released a working document that gives ammunition to these groups and individuals by intimating that prochoice Catholic policy makers might be committing sin or causing scandal, and thus would not be eligible to receive communion.

"Intimating"? The document (ยง72) is straightforward: "Some [Catholics] receive Communion while denying the teachings of the Church or publicly supporting immoral choices in life, such as abortion, without thinking that they are committing an act of grave personal dishonesty and causing scandal."

For prochoice Catholics senators, faced with extremely difficult political options regarding protecting the integrity of the constitution and the Courts, this will be a terrible dilemma.

Kissling must have wet herself laughing while penning that line. What pro-abort Catholic pol has ever framed the political problem as a "dilemma"? What pro-abort Catholic pol has ever suggested, however obliquely, that he hoped Democratic party discipline would slacken in the future to permit him to move it in a pro-life direction?

The fact of the matter is that there is wide latitude for American bishops to reject the Vatican notion that prochoice legislators must in every instance and in every way consider no other issue but abortion as they decide on laws or nominees.

"the Vatican notion that prochoice legislators must ..."? I think her trolley jumped the tracks here.

We hope that the majority of American bishops will quickly put to rest this divisive Vatican opinion, reassert their own view that there are indeed legitimate options for Catholic senators evaluating nominees and that all options must be considered as the senators decide on support for or opposition to a candidate.

Well, if their inertness in the face of John Kerry's reception of communion during last summer's campaign is any indication of their views on the matter, the majority of U.S. bishops agrees with Kissling on this point. They won't need to reassert their view because no view was ever asserted in the first place. It's one of those issues that was remanded "for further study" (my guess is they set Joe Imesch the task of cutting photos of communion rails out of back issues of Newsweek, and that he's still working through the late-1990s batch). However, the U.S. bishops aren't shy of confronting governmental outrages against the common weal, and have issued a stern statement against "Operation Restore Order" in Zimbabwe. Interesting, isn't it, how much clearer one's Christian duty in the political order is at a distance of 8,000 miles?

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