Saturday, November 8, 2008

Bishops to Punt on First Down

The Religion News Service is reporting that the US Bishops have removed the planned discussion on the Political Support for Abortion from their upcoming meeting. This seems like exactly the wrong thing to do.

We are in the wake of what could be seen as the biggest political loss seen by the pro-life movement since Roe v. Wade. The Bishops acted surprisingly well, and many of them issued statements that were quite clear regarding the obligations of a Catholic voter especially as related to Abortion. They even corrected politicians such as Speaker Pelosi and Sen. Biden, when they publicly misrepresented the Faith.

This is not a time to give up. We lost the election, that has happened. Maybe we fumbled, and the culture of death was able to score a touchdown. But, we get the ball back and shouldn't be punting right now. With such prominent Catholics in positions of power (number 2 and 3 in the order of succession), the Bishops need to unite, and be the Shepherds they are supposed to be.

Our current system isn't working. Right now, the agreement reached by the USCCB puts the primary responsibility on the "home" Bishops of the Catholic Politicians. The Bishop of DC, for instance, then simply respects any agreements reached by the other Bishops. This arrangement has a couple fundamental flaws. First, there is no guidance, therefore no consistency, in applying, for instance Can. 915 (Those...who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.). Recourse to Rome, for instance Abp. Burke, would give the answer that voting pro-abortion is a sin which is 1) manifest and 2) grave. The agreement also potentially ties the hands of the DC Archbishop, who has the responsibility of preventing such scandal in his Diocese.

This is why we need to talk about it publicly. We need to get the Church's teachings out in the open. We need to be able to discuss this important issue in the open because it is so closely tied to our salvation. If some are led astray directly because of the nonintervention of the Bishops (undoubtedly there are some) then these Bishops will have to answer for this on Judgment day. When there is such a grave evil being supported, like Abortion, this is where the spiritual work of mercy "Admonish Sinners" comes in. The mission of the Church is nothing less than to get everyone into Heaven. And the Bishops, with their special mission to guard the faith and responsibility over their flock, are liable when they don't do all they can to fulfill that mission.

These are trying times, to be sure, and so we must be more vigilant and more faithful than ever. Our love of neighbor must drive us to do what we can to see all to Heaven. Learning what the Church teaches, and being told to follow would probably be a good start.

[EDIT Late Nov. 8 - My most recent post finds that this is indeed not the case, no agenda change is planned.]