As many of you know, Cardinal Egan (Archdiocese of NY) has publicly admonished Rudy Guliani for receiving communion during the Pope's visit. This has of course put some of the members of our hierarchy in a bit of an embarrassing situation, like our own Archbishop Wuerl.
During the Pope's visit to Washington DC, US Senators Nancy Pelosi, Chris Dodd and John Kerry all received Communion at National Stadium. (There are photos circulating the web of Dodd and Kerry receiving Communion. I have not seen one of Sen. Pelosi, so if you know of one, please let me know.)
According to an article in the NYTimes:
The Archdiocese of Washington also issued a statement on Monday. It said that Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl had consistently and persistently presented the Church's clear teaching on the evil of abortion and the need for those in public office to recognize that the support of abortion is wrong.
How to respond to those in public office who support abortion legislation is open to various legitimate pastoral approaches, as the United States bishops affirmed in their June 2004 statement on Catholics in political life, the statement said. The decision concerning the refusal of holy communion to an individual can best be made by the bishop in the person's home diocese with whom he or she presumably is in conversation.
I am just dumbfounded by this statement. This is unbelievable. This just boggles the mind.
What Archbishop Wuerl has just said was that: "You can only be denied Holy Communion by the bishop where you reside, since they know you best."
No matter what you have said on the issue, no matter how you have voted on the issue, no matter how many fundraisers and how much money you have donated to supporting abortion, unless your bishop takes action, no other bishop can do anything about it.
This is the same argument made by those who say: "You can't talk about abortion, if you are not a woman." or "You can't talk about supporting the War in Iraq, if you have not served in the military."
What the Archbishop has just done, and will be picked up by pro-abortion politicians and others all around the world, is to reduce the authority of the church to speak on these issues and have Catholics listen, just another notch.
Can you see the conversation now:
Archbishop Wuerl: Abortion is evil. As a Catholic, you should not support additional funding for it.
Pro-Abortion Politician: Well, that is all well and good but since you are not the bishop of my diocese, it does not matter what you say. I only have to listen to the views of Bishop X in this matter. Since he has not said anything on it, I am free to support increased spending on abortion.
What a disaster this is.
No wonder why many Catholics in this Diocese have lost total confidence in the Archbishop's leadership.
He has not only failed us, but the entire Church!
NB: There are those of you who may think that using the term "weasels out" is too derogatory. I am using it since it was a term both he and I would recognize immediately, since it was used when both of us were kids. If you do not like it, then I suggest you may substitute other titles, such as "Archbishop Wuerl Cops-Out" "Archbishop Wuerl Pulls a Pontius Pilate" "Archbishop Wuerl Has No Backbone."