Action Alert!

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?

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  • Posted by: - May. 22, 2004 2:45 PM ET USA

    Persecution of the Catholic Church, bloody or unbloody, is beginning, indeed, has already begun. Once it is out in the open, we will find out who are the faithful. When it really gets hot, then our vocations will abound. Youth love a challenge! We haven't given them one for forty years.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - May. 21, 2004 2:02 PM ET USA

    You know, it is amazingly vain and pride-filled for ANYONE to configure the ultimate intentions of our Catholic Church in political terms. That in itself betrays a lack of appreciation of Eternal things and greatly calls into question the motives and character of those who would seek to trivialize Her for their own gain.

  • Posted by: - May. 21, 2004 10:42 AM ET USA

    Any "partisanship" on the part of bishops who withhold communion from pro-abort politicos has been galvanized by pseudo-Catholic Dems who now are circling the wagons. The honorable bishops who have issued the uncomfortable ultimatums would clearly direct their attention to Republicans, or any other party with an influential presence, should the need arise.

  • Posted by: - May. 20, 2004 9:07 PM ET USA

    This is truly sickening ! After all the generations of Catholic hierarchy support, openly or behind the scenes, for the Democrats---after all the waffling, fudging, and misleading, about who is elibigle to receive Holy Communion---after repeated Vatican efforts to pull the rug out from under our President, NOW THIS ! More than sickening, it is DOWNRIGHT REVOLTING ! "Let your yes be a yes." Let Catholics be Catholics, and may the rest either repent or find a new home !

  • Posted by: - May. 20, 2004 6:32 PM ET USA

    In my parish, Belle Harbor, NY, the centerpiece Prayer of the Faithful of last Sunday’s Mass was for all the people "too poor to be able to afford health coverage." Throughout the year, the "faithful" are manipulated to go with the Democrats. Just the same with the Diocesan weekly. The preposterous notion these factotums are surreptitiously putting across Republicans is from the Spirit of Confusion. Is.19,14. From the USCCB down, the U.S. Church is biddy to the Democratic Party.

  • Posted by: shrink - May. 20, 2004 3:49 PM ET USA

    Last month at a little gathering of Dem. party operatives, Cdl George made it quite clear that the Dem. party had lost its soul... but that the Republican Party never had one. (The Dems were amused.) So it seems odd that the political party that once had a soul finds itself in need to write a letter begging forbearance, while the political party that never had a soul has remained quietly on the side. Is it that soulless Republican Henry Hyde has no concern from 'anti-Catholicism'?

  • Posted by: - May. 20, 2004 12:35 PM ET USA

    If McCarrick had any testicular fortitude, he would have refused to accept the letter and, instead, publicly identified it for what it is, a cheap political ploy from Dems trying desperately to repair the damage their presidential candidate inflicted on himself when he uttered that pusillanimous line, “I’m personally opposed, but…” Anyway, the letter wasn’t needed. Most USA bishops are cowards and won’t speak out righteously on this issue. But, then, Scripture does warn us about false teachers.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - May. 20, 2004 10:42 AM ET USA

    I like to think that in some areas at least that I am not a complicated person. Why can't we call hate and prejudice (even when it comes from our own bishops) for what it is? If someone throws a rock throw my living-room picture window I certainly wouldn't accept the excuse that they were merely trying to help me build my stone fireplace. These verbal gymnastics and subtle insinuations weary me and insult my intelligence.. They are blantantly ant-Christian. Why not call them as such?

  • Posted by: - May. 20, 2004 9:31 AM ET USA

    Mercy requires that abortion-enabling politicians should be publicly rebuked by their pastors and bishops. Bishops who are too ignorant of the morality of this question should mercifully be returned to their seminaries for instruction. Bishops too cowardly to do the right thing should have the right thing done to them. Modernist heretics were once rooted out successfully ... it could happen again, given papal and episcopal leadership of sufficient caliber.

  • Posted by: - May. 20, 2004 7:55 AM ET USA

    A serious question: Has Stupak been a consistent pro-life Democrat across the board (i.e., seeking abortion prohibitions with NO exceptions), or is he just "mostly right" on this issue? Odd, no one today is complaining that excommunicating segregationists got the Church too embroiled in politics, or damaged Her credibility...if Stupak truly believes and understands that abortion is murder, then he is being amazingly short-sighted. If not, truly duplicitous...

  • Posted by: - May. 20, 2004 6:48 AM ET USA

    Getting accurate information from the mainstream media has become an art requiring delayed reaction. When the news "breaks" or a controversial story is posted, it is almost ineviatable that one must wait a period of days to weeks for truly factual information. In this case, the warning from these congressman should serve as a spur to those bishops timidly holding their cassocks--is it God or mammon?