Waking up to Good Friday — Boston Cardinal O’Malley’s need for guidance on pro-abort Catholic politicians reception of holy communion

 “We have not had the kind of clear response that we need…”

Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston     

Vice President Joseph Biden (L), Sen. Paul G. Kirk Jr. (D-MA), Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) (2nd-R) and Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

  

EDITOR NOTE: I woke up to the following angry e-mail on this first Friday of Lent:      

Since when has Cardinal O’Malley been concerned about Catholic politicians who support the killing of unborn children not being allowed to receive Communion? He even gave Ted Kennedy a saint’s send off, as he presided over his funeral services. Kennedy, a man who not only supported the killing of unborn children, but even while they were being born — the barbaric and excruciating painful partial-birth abortion.     

If that wasn’t enough, you have Kennedy’s support of homosexuality. Two of the greatest sins in the Bible are killing and homosexuality and Kennedy supported both of them.     

O’Malley wrote in a blog that he disagreed “in the strongest terms” with those who argued that Kennedy did not deserve a Catholic funeral, and he said such critics do “irreparable damage to the communion of the Church.”     

No, O’Malley, it is YOU who have done irreparable damage to the communion of the Church. You claim that Canon Law is not clear in denying Communion to Catholic pro-abortion politicians.     

I don’t know how it can be any clearer: Canon 915 of the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law states, in part: “Those…who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Communion.”     

Is not supporting killing a grave sin? I guess not, to O’Malley.   

***     

Let’s simplify with some questions: On January 2, 1960, John F. Kennedy officially declared his intent to seek the Democratic nomination for Presidency of the United States of America; if at that time he declared to do so on a plank supporting homosexuality and the killing of unborn children, including those being born, would he have:     

1. Won the Democratic nomination?     

2. Become President?     

3. Been allowed by his bishop to receive Holy Communion if found obstinate in promotion of such grave moral sin?     

So, what has changed?   

For Cardinal O’Malley to claim confusion in this matter is something akin to Moses retracing his steps back up Mt. Horeb in order to re-confirm with the All-Holy God on the religious and moral imperative to follow the 5th Commandment… 

Geth·sem·a·ne (gěth-sěm’ə-nē) Meaning:  Oil press.   

A poem for the sleeping…    

  

Down shadowy lanes, across strange streams  

Bridged over by our broken dreams;  

Behind the misty caps of years,  

Beyond the great salt font of tears,  

The garden lies. Strive as you may,  

You cannot miss it on your way.  

All paths that have been or shall be,  

Pass somewhere through Gethsemane.  

All those who journey, soon or late,  

Must pass within the garden’s gate;  

Must kneel alone in darkness there,  

And battle with some fierce despair.  

God pity those who cannot say,  

“Not mine but thine,” who only pray,  

“Let this cup pass,” and cannot see  

The purpose of Gethsemane.  

—Ella Wheeler Wilcox  

This story from Peter J. Smith at Life Site News explains the holy anger on this first Good Friday of Lent…   

WASHINGTON, DC, February 17, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The best way for the Church to ensure pro-abortion Catholic politicians do not receive Communion would be through a change in the Church’s Canon Law, or an official directive from the Pope himself, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston told LifeSiteNews.com.      

LifeSiteNews.com caught up with O’Malley in Washington, DC last month, where he was among the concelebrating bishops for the Vigil Mass for Life at the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. LSN asked O’Malley what he considered the appropriate pastoral response to pro-abortion politicians receiving Communion.       

“Well, I think that the only way that that solution [denying communion] should be invoked is if there were a large catechesis or if it was universal for the whole church,” the cardinal responded. “You can’t have people doing things in one parish and another, you would only divide the Church hopelessly.”       

(To view the full LSN interview transcript with Cardinal O’Malley, click here)       

For several years, the US Catholic Bishops have actively engaged the problem of how to correct the scandal of pro-abortion politicians receiving Holy Communion – but developed no consensus on a uniform pastoral approach. Many orthodox Catholics continue to protest against pro-abortion politicians presenting themselves to receive the Church’s holiest sacrament, yet the practice is widespread.       

O’Malley said an official papal directive or change in Canon Law would be “the only way it is really going to work.”       

“That would be helpful if they did it,” he continued. “But if it is not done – to make it look like it’s an individual bishop sparring with the people of particular parties is only going to divide the Church in a very terrible way. Then you’ll have some priest who will obey and others who won’t, other divisions of the Church, more scandal, and undermining the authority of the bishops.”       

O’Malley revealed that he had been concerned about the issue for a long time, and asked Pope John Paul II for guidance when the pontiff was soliciting input from bishops for his pro-life encyclical Evangelium Vitae.       

“I wrote to him and asked him to please give us very clear direction on how to deal with politicians who will be pro-abortion and will be Catholic,” related O’Malley.       

“We have not had the kind of clear response that we need.”       

However, it seems the Vatican has already attempted to give the US bishops guidance on how to deal with the issue, through a 2004 letter from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – now Pope Benedict XVI – entitled “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles.”       

The memo states that, once persistently pro-abortion Catholic politicians had been warned by their respective bishops not to approach the altar, they “must” be denied Communion.       

Unfortunately, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) never received the letter as Ratzinger intended. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, chairman of the USCCB task force on the issue, only referenced the document as an afterthought in his 12-page report to that committee.       

Later – in what may have been a Vatican end-run around McCarrick – Ratzinger’s letter hit international headlines after being leaked to Roman media.       

In the end, the US Bishops task force put out more generalized guidelines in the document “Catholics in Political Life,” which leaves the appropriate pastoral response towards pro-abortion politicians – including denial of Communion – to the prudential judgment of the individual bishop. Ratzinger would later affirm to the USCCB that the document was “very much in harmony” with his general principles.       

(To view the full LSN interview transcript with Cardinal O’Malley, click here)     

POEM CREDIT: LIVING SACRIFICE BLOG  

END OF POST

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