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By Diogenes (articles ) | May 21, 2004

John Allen's story on Pilarczyk has been bouncing around the mailboxes for a week.

An American archbishop from a key "battleground state" has entered the flap over John Kerry and Communion, saying that for now he would "give him the benefit of the doubt" and not deny the pro-choice Democratic presidential candidate the Eucharist.

Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk of Cincinnati made the comment in a May 7 interview with NCR in Rome.

In response to which the formidable Donna Bethell put the following question:

Help me out here. Just exactly what is the "doubt" of which Kerry is to receive the benefit?

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  • Posted by: John J Plick - May. 24, 2004 6:27 PM ET USA

    Dear Father Pat, As the Lord by His grace has given me a passing familiarity with Srcipture I would like to comment on your reference.As I recall, the "seven sons of Sceva," overly impressed by Paul's ability to drive out demons, attempted to manipulate the Name of Jesus ( as in an incantation)attempting to do the same thing without professing any real faith. I would hopefully presume that YOU have real faith? Mistaking the pet hamster for a mouse is one thing..., but an ELEPHANT (J Kerry)???

  • Posted by: - May. 23, 2004 6:43 PM ET USA

    A rereading of the Archbishop's interview with NCR might help clarify some things. There are certain exorcisms that I would not undertake without all related questions being definitively resolved by the College of Bishops and my own mandate authoritatively confirmed. I cannot help thinking of the seven sons of Scaeva. Fr. Pat Dowling

  • Posted by: - May. 23, 2004 1:13 PM ET USA

    (a) The "bully," it seems to me, is the guy elbowing his way in to somewhere he doesn't belong and insisting on staying, not those telling him he's wrong. (b) Yet again I say, Verily, verily, we look very silly insisting on Eucharistic discipline all of a sudden. First things first. Before I put on my alb, I have a cassock on; there are trousers under that, and underwear. Amchurch is marching down the aisle today stark naked, sporting a tiara. When do we start fretting about catechesis??

  • Posted by: - May. 23, 2004 1:56 AM ET USA

    In addition to Kerry's denial of the Catholic Faith on numerous points, in addition to legitimate questions as to the validity of the Kerry-Heinz match, we need to shout more loudly and clearly that the National Committee of his Democratic Party is in bed with F. Kissling and "Catholics for a Free Choice," a fanatical pro-abortion murder club which is suing the Vatican and trying to oust it from observer-status at the U.N. How much more does anyone need to resolve "doubts," real or otherwise.

  • Posted by: - May. 22, 2004 1:45 PM ET USA

    Fr Pat, let us not speak past each other. Deny Holy Communion to the NOTORIOUS and PUBLIC sinner who publicly defends what any Catholic knows is wrong. Such a merciful rebuke could prevent further grievous sins of sacrilege. This is not difficult. It requires a little courage. And courage exercised will receive its reward. Others are guilty of mortal sin in a much less apparent manner - their crime is secret. It would be contrary to any number of virtues to seek to deny them Communion.

  • Posted by: Fr. Zuhlsdorf o{]:¬) - May. 22, 2004 12:54 PM ET USA

    We must not fall into the trap of talking about "the benefit of the doubt" or "not knowing the state of the person's soul when he presents himself" and so forth. The state of his soul is not the only question. Catholic politicians who support abortion commit public SCANDAL. They must, in justice, try to correct the damage they have done proportionally: in public statements. Until they do, giving them Communion is also a scandal.

  • Posted by: - May. 22, 2004 10:23 AM ET USA

    Yes, a humble, private Catholic parishioner struggling with the abortion issue, whose decisions do not go beyond his own little world, deserves loving care, A public figure who has in his power the ability to touch the lives of hundreds and does not speak out against the killing of the unborn, AND whose public stand is known to the people in whose presence Communion is given to him, is a cause of scandal to his fellow Catholics. Sexual misconduct is not the only sin of scandal.

  • Posted by: - May. 22, 2004 2:46 AM ET USA

    "No doubt" Jesus was a bully, when he said: "Be hot, or be cold, for the lukewarm I shall vomit from my face." Surely Kerry and Pilarczyk won't be vomited: too cold.

  • Posted by: - May. 21, 2004 9:54 PM ET USA

    Minidoc, PJRS and joej, to rid the world of evildoers is no mean undertaking. Nor to rid the Church of Sacrilegious Communicants. But as there is a danger of uprooting the wheat with the weeds, it is a task that will have to await the Judge of the living and the dead. Please distinguish, too, between denying Communion and challenging and inviting to the life of faith those for whose pastoral care we are responsible. Fr. Pat Dowling

  • Posted by: - May. 21, 2004 8:26 PM ET USA

    I am beginning to wonder: will the majority of our bishops stop at nothing to get their fellow Democrat, Kerry, elected ? And I may seem rather angry: apparently they care not at all that this means a) millions of innocents will be murdered, b) perverts will feel free to do their thing on the sidewalks, c) euthanasians will get rid of all of us who refuse to follow the gutless bishops determined to lead as many fellow jackasses as possible down into the bottom of Hell with them. The end ?

  • Posted by: - May. 21, 2004 7:05 PM ET USA

    It has always been my understanding that to receive Communion in a state of mortal sin puts one in grave danger of damnation, at the least. I have also understood that it is up to the pastor to guard his flock to see that someone doesn't do this. Can you read Kerry's soul? No. But do you see possible danger here for him? If so, do your duty. It is not "bullying." It is called "caring for souls."

  • Posted by: - May. 21, 2004 4:50 PM ET USA

    Fr. Dowling....You are right, bullying has no place re.one's faith.(Isn't that part of the Islamic way,or worse,in converting infidels?) However,don't you think Kerry has stated his position (very emphatically,very strongly and very consistently) enough times to enough PRO DEATH groups of people in a very wanton way,knowingly defying the Catholic C

  • Posted by: - May. 21, 2004 4:19 PM ET USA

    Father Pat: We're not talking about bullying. Or about compelling Faith or withholding love. We're talking about John Kerry being told by his bishop to stop receiving Communion until he repents of his serious, consistent and public denial of the Faith. Kerry's scandal, if left unaddressed,further shames a Church that has been in crisis for 40 years. Why is this so difficult for you to understand? Will it help that you no longer have to worry about that pesky problem of mistaken identity?

  • Posted by: - May. 21, 2004 2:45 PM ET USA

    Theodosius ignored St. Ambrose' "excommunication" once ... "Ambrose prohibited his entrance, saying: 'How would you walk upon such holy ground? How could you lift up in prayer hands steeped in the blood of unjust massacre? How could you with such hands presume to receive the most sacred body of our Lord?" Kerry's hands drip with the blood of millions of victims of abortion that he wholeheartedly supports. His crime is far worse than that of Theodosius. Where is the doubt and where is Ambrose?

  • Posted by: - May. 21, 2004 2:34 PM ET USA

    St. Ambrose was a Catholic bishop and also a kind and just man. Consequently, when the emperor Theodosius ordered the massacre of 7000 people in Thessalonica, he sent him a nice letter advising him that he must do public penance before he would be allowed to receive Holy Communion. The emperor refused ... for eight months. And then, on Christmas day, the Church rejoiced to see the tears of a repentant emperor lying at the feet of a bishop who wasn't afraid to do his episcopal duty.

  • Posted by: - May. 21, 2004 12:59 PM ET USA

    Often pastors will be appalled by the way certain people who publicly live a life at variance with truth and right conscience approach the Eucharist. Are we, as pastors, to bully or are we to invite people to change their behavior? Bullying is the easier, but not the wiser course. Can faith be compelled? Or love? Fr. Pat Dowling

  • Posted by: - May. 21, 2004 12:44 PM ET USA

    There is no doubt where Mr. Kerry stands on abortion; he has made his position clear on numerous occasions. On that count alone, he is not fit to present himself for Holy Communion. But, besides that very serious matter, there hasn’t been anything more publicized about the licitness of his marital state. Kerry has never publicly produced either an annulment decree or a marriage certificate/registration signed by a valid minister of the sacrament. Canon 915 would apply here too: No Communion

  • Posted by: Jim E - May. 21, 2004 12:23 PM ET USA

    Help! Did Pilarczyk reply to Donna Bethell's question about doubt in his mind about Mr. Kerry's position on abortion? Would love to see / hear the reply.

  • Posted by: - May. 21, 2004 12:21 PM ET USA

    Notwithstanding, that Heinz Kerry has left no doubt he is for the murder of innocents, I am still waiting for a priest to explain to me any benefit of doubt.

  • Posted by: - May. 21, 2004 10:54 AM ET USA

    Constance has it right. If there is no accountability -- and many bishops have procrastinated, equivocated and remonstrated ad infinitum -- the cushy relativism of the day has triumphed. Only someone with his head in the sand could ignore his clerical duty to admonish high profile leaders who claim to be Catholic but are in truth flaunting their prodigal positions and behaviors.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - May. 21, 2004 10:28 AM ET USA

    Fr. Pat -- Can there be any doubt as to Kerry's public position on abortion? How many times over the year has Kerry affirmed his support of abortion? If as you say we can have doubt about that, is there any political position from any politician on a moral question that we can ever be certain? Kerry's obligation, in any case, would be to remove such dobut publicly. As for the Kerry-lookalike, here's a hint: the real Kerry has a Secret Service detail.

  • Posted by: - May. 21, 2004 10:15 AM ET USA

    10,000 difficulties do not equal 1 doubt. Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman.

  • Posted by: - May. 21, 2004 9:44 AM ET USA

    We need your prayers in the archdiocese of Cincinnati. Last spring at a public appearance Abp. Pilarczyk in response to a question about being outside of the big tent (the Church) extended his left arm as far as he could and said, " Left wing Demorcrats are outside of the Church". Now if our Abp. does not see John Kerry as outside of the Church who does he see as outside of the Church? Will Francis Kissling be moving to Cincinnati and enrolling in our Abp.'s Lay Pastoral Ministry Program?

  • Posted by: - May. 21, 2004 9:10 AM ET USA

    Perhaps the Archbishop of Disneyland Central means that Kerry is known to have many positions on everything and to have voted both sides on many issues (except for pro-life). So, His Excellency may feel that Kerry needs to sort out his actual belief--if there is one--or he may doubt that Kerry actually knows what it is that he believes. His Excellency also has a reputation for being forgiving of specific sins...very specific sins.

  • Posted by: - May. 21, 2004 7:56 AM ET USA

    In particular cases there must always remain some doubt as to whether a pastor ought to deny Communion. Is it the pastor's place --and his responsibility in all cases -- to commandeer the domain of individual conscience? At least allow for the case of mistaken identity, where an innocent lookalike could be denied the Sacrament. Fr. Pat Dowling

  • Posted by: - May. 21, 2004 7:07 AM ET USA

    Well, as no one goes to Hell anymore - and what was that the Pope said about it (and Heaven) not being a place? - how could anyone, really, not be able to receive Holy Communion? Even the "anonymous Christian?"