Thursday, April 17, 2008

The conservative complaints of the papal visit

To hear what the liberals are complaining about as the Pope visits, turn on any news program (even Fixed News, as my friend Keith Olberman would say).

To understand what the conservatives are saying, read this article. I don't agree with most of it. In fact, I struggled to find something in it worth blogging but, then I read these couple of paragraphs and thought they are worth reflecting on...

Everyone knew the Pope's thought on this issue. But everyone also knew that prominent Catholic politicians like Senator John Kerry and Speaker Nancy Pelosi-- both ardent proponents of legal abortion-- would receive Communion at the papal Mass in Nationals Park today. Everyone knew, because the politicians announced their intentions in advance.

This is no small matter, because these politicians were not only creating scandal but also endangering their own souls. So how did the US hierarchy react? Were their warnings issued? Admonitions to avoid grave sin and scandal? I saw none. Only this quote from Sister Mary Ann Walsh, an official voice of the US bishops' conference: "People go to church and people go to Communion.."

I do think that, when politicians legislate actions that are gravely sinful, such as killing innocent babies, we need to make it clear to them that they have acted in a way that takes them out of communion with the church. But, what about politicians that supported President Bush's War in Iraq despite the warning of the Pope and the very Bishops that this writer has so little respect for in his article? And, who's to say that there wasn't a phone call or email or even a personal visit to a politician to tell them that they shouldn't receive communion. What if a bishop, believing it prudent to keep things quiet, tried to tell a Ted Kennedy or John Kerry that they can't be Catholic and pro-infanticide. He may think it works better than making public statements that only harden the hearts of politicians and give liberals even more reason to vilify our shepherds.

And, why does it always feel like resignation is the only penalty either liberals or conservatives believe is an adequate response to a bishop that doesn't do what they want him to do?

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