Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

The Sacrament of Unity: lose a few, lose a few

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jun 07, 2004

The communion wars continue, and the news isn't good. In instructing his priests to deny the Eucharist to gay rights agitators, Cardinal George had written, "The policy of the U.S. Conference of Bishops is to not give Communion to those wearing the Rainbow Sash." USCCB spokesman David Early contradicted the Cardinal, insisting that the Conference had never adopted such a policy. Cardinal George was obliged to concede the point. He explained that the bishops, in 2001, denied communion to the Rainbow Sash Movement at a Mass at the National Shrine (held during the Conference meeting), and said he understood this denial to have national implications for guiding the bishops' response.

Now RSM convener Joe Murray has (predictably) requested an apology from George, and has (predictably) requested that George apologize to bishops Flynn, Mahony, and Clark, who welcomed the RSM at the altar. George's brother bishops (predictably) have not come to his defense-- at least publicly -- even to the modest extent of denying that he has anything to apologize for. Murray, having spotted the crack in the episcopal masonry, has inserted his wedge and will hammer until the breach allows him to pass.

It gets worse. On Saturday, the RSM posted the following press release:

The Rainbow Sash Movement has just been notified that Cardinal McCarrick of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC has agreed to host a "Listening Session" on the weekend of the National Council of Catholic Bishops meeting in November. According to Joe Murray, spokesperson for the Rainbow Sash Movement, "I have been in direct communication with the Cardinal's representative since January 2004," trying to develop this "Listening Session," and I am thankful to God for this opportunity.

At the this point we only have RSM's word for it, and November's still a way off, but objectively it doesn't look good, especially considering the track record of the principals involved.

The "Gay is OK" offensive, of course, is only one skirmish in the larger war. Pro-abortion politicians have also made significant inroads in past months. Tucson Bishop George Kicanas, reporting on his ad limina visit, gives this account of his meeting with the CDF:

Later today we met with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. We discussed ... Catholic politicians and how to respond to those who obstinately resist Catholic teaching. The Congregation indicated that their 2002 document did not suggest refusing Communion to such politicians. That was not its intent. The purpose of that document, on the participation of Catholics in political life, was meant to make clear that life issues are not sectarian concerns only for Catholics but flow out of the natural law and are the foundation of law for all societies.

OK, this doesn't explicitly say that it's wrong to withhold communion from pro-abort pols, but any way you slice it, it doesn't read like a rousing statement of support for Archbishop Burke. Stay tuned.

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