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Friday, May 02, 2008

Just What Does it Take?

Cardinal Egan of the Archdiocese of New York showed gratifying spine recently when he hauled Rudy Giuliani on the carpet for receiving at the recent Papal Mass in New York, despite his abhorrent views on abortion. All to the good but His Eminence's bold action left many of us wondering if his counterpart in D.C., Archbishop Wuerl, would react similarly to the not less then four distinguished politicos who received at the Papal Mass in Washington: Chris Dodd, Teddy Kennedy, John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi, all enthusiastic proponents of the suction machines.

His Grace has spoken at last and alas, it is doesn't look as if he's made of the same stuff as Cardinal Egan. In the Archdiocese newspaper the Catholic Standard, Archbishop Wuerl writes
A decision regarding the refusal of Holy Communion to an individual is one that should be made only after clear efforts to persuade and convince the person that their actions are wrong and bear moral consequences. Presumably this is done in the home diocese where the bishops and priests, the pastors of souls, engage the members of their flock in this type of discussion. In the case of public figures who serve in Washington as representatives of other parts of the nation, this dialogue and any decisions would take place within their home diocese.

I have always respected the role of the local Church and the ministry of the individual bishop as shepherd of the Church entrusted to his care. For that reason, I have not accepted the suggestions that the Archdiocese of Washington or episcopal conferences have some particular role that supersedes the authority of an individual bishop in his particular Church.

In other words, the Archbishop punted, leaving the matter to be decided by the offending parties' respective bishops. Well, fine. Let us hope those respective bishops will eventually do something about it (although if they haven't by now, it doesn't seem likely they will). One question should be asked of Archbishop Wuerl: if, at a Mass you were celebrating, a notorious and unrepentant mass-murderer haling from a diocese not yours presented himself for communion, would Your Grace permit him to receive, barring instruction to the contrary from that murderer's bishop?

(h/t Catholic World News.)

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