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Breakthrough: Bishops Now Willing To Obey Canon Law!

June 23, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

Four years ago, when asked about American bishops, pro-abortion politicians, and canon 915, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan said: “Most don’t think it’s something for which we have to go to the mat.” He was right. In the years since, most bishops have ignored that provision of the Code of Canon Law. But their resistance miraculously evaporated at their recent meeting in Fort Lauderdale, where a resounding majority of bishops applauded the suggestion that canon 915 be resurrected.
Curiously, the issue which ignited such widespread support was not abortion, but immigration.
There are two stories here. First, the bishops.
For years, bishops have been a leading partner in the national coalition advocating amnesty for illegal aliens. Like many coalitions, this one contains many odd bedfellows. For instance, Catholic bishops have allied with American corporate interests, whom they otherwise routinely criticize for their greed and other capitalist sins.
These corporations have moved millions of jobs to Third-World countries, but there are some enterprises that they can’t export. So they need cheap labor here as well as abroad. Our bishops turn a blind eye to the result — depressed wages — even though it leaves millions here at home in the same poverty that the bishops normally lament.
They do have their priorities.
Another strange bishops’ bedfellow is the pro-abortion Democrats. They support amnesty because folks coming from tyrannies south of the border tend to vote for corruption the same way they did at home. The Democrats thus have good reason to expect that most Hispanics will vote for them. Bishops know this too, of course.
But don’t they know that Democrats are now officially the pro-abortion party?
Let’s face it. Our bishops have lived for years with Roe v. Wade. They’ve managed to muddle through. What they cannot live with is the presidential administration of Donald Trump.
For the U.S. bishops, Trump is simply the enemy. Forget that he is the most pro-life president in recent memory. Actions speak louder than words. So consider, in word as well as deed: Which is the bishops’ highest priority? Amnesty for illegal aliens, or abortion?
Well, the prospects for amnesty have dimmed greatly since Trump’s inauguration. “Moderate” Republicans, beholden to those same corporate interests for political support, have not been able to muster a majority in the House to pass an amnesty bill. The deadline was quickly approaching. So last week, pro-amnesty forces launched a last-gasp campaign to get the bill across the finish line.
And the Fort Lauderdale bishops were in the lead.
In the face of popular support for the president’s enforcement of immigration law, they upped the ante in Fort Lauderdale. Bishop Edward Weisenburger of Tucson, Ariz., led the charge by floating a thinly veiled threat. The bishops, he suggested, should consider making a “prophetic statement” to impose “canonical penalties for Catholics who are involved in this.”
And what is “this”? Could it finally be pro-abortion politicians?
Alas, no. It’s the longstanding policy that children not be placed in prisons with adult criminals.

Bishops, Business,
And Baggage

Children?
Yes, the second story concerns the children. It’s painful to observe but illegal immigration is another big business that our bishops are effectively in bed with. In Mexico, criminal drug gangs, called “Coyotes,” charge some $5,000 a head to smuggle prospective customers across the U.S. border. Twenty years ago, most of those customers were adult men. They would work here as illegals, and wire money to their family back home.
Under Obama, however, astute Coyotes recognized that the market was changing. Customers who were willing to subject their children to the perilous journey had a better chance of being released by U.S. authorities if they were captured. Yes, their children were bargaining chips to get them across the border. But consider the reward!
The moral imprimatur of the bishops is a strong selling-point for Coyote smugglers soliciting business in Mexico and Central America. It works. And while the bishops are clearly well-intentioned, The Coyotes clearly are not.
The Coyotes’ business model worked for years. Obama ignored the law, allowing most of the illegal families to enter the U.S., and disappear. But Obama housed unaccompanied children in separate centers for years.
So what’s the problem?
Attorney General Sessions insisted on enforcing the law that Obama flouted. So he put illegal adults — who have broken the law, we recall — in adult detention centers, while their minor children stayed in the same safe shelters occupied by unaccompanied minor aliens.
Enforcement, not housing, is the sticking point for the Fort Lauderdale bishops. They insist that immigration enforcement is immoral. Of course, they conveniently ignore the companion query: Isn’t their alliance with criminal smugglers and pro-abortion Democrats immoral as well?
Not necessarily: Jacques Maritain, the brilliant twentieth-century Thomist philosopher, was once asked if it was moral for U.S. intelligence agents to use prostitutes as sources during the Nazi occupation of France.
In Maritain’s view, the intelligence agent was not in the business of converting prostitutes. He was seeking information. If his using a prostitute for information did not actually pervert her — that is, if she was already a hardened prostitute — he could use her information.
Now, are bishops in the business of converting Coyote traffickers and pro-abortion Democrats? The answer will determine whether their alliance conforms to Maritain’s moral norm.
We must draw our own conclusions.

Sad Faces, Sad Facts

Trump’s enemies had sought every possible way to defeat him. So pictures of “children in cages” (like those Obama used) were low-hanging fruit for their propaganda machine. Hypocrisy abounded, as usual. Even Planned Parenthood stepped up to oppose separating children from their mother. Apparently they support separation only before the child is born, not afterwards.
Detention was merely the poster child for fighting the rule of law. And the Fort Lauderdale bishops jumped on the bandwagon.
Rest assured, Trump’s executive order will do nothing to assuage their rage. This is a mortal battle. The bishops’ NGOs have received $30 million in this fiscal year alone to house illegal minor children. Trump threatens to shut down the program by defending the border. There is no room for compromise on the left. There never is.
Forget rational thinking. Many Hispanics occupy our local jail and attend our parish’s ministry there every week. They miss their wives and children terribly, and pray for them fervently. Does any bishop really believe that those prisoners would want their wives and children to be thrown in with the other felons who populate our jail?
Bishop Weisenburger doesn’t care. Ignoring the Catholic Catechism, he demands that Catholics who disagree with him on prudential issues be punished (see CCC, n. 2241.2).
On the other hand, he is fine with pro-abortion Catholic politicians.
Really?
Yes, really. Bishop Weisenburger’s Diocese of Tucson is represented in the U.S. Congress by Raul Grijalva. Cong. Grijalva is a Catholic. He has garnered a rating of 100 percent from the NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League). His advocacy of abortion is public, obstinate, persevering, and scandalous.
Why doesn’t his bishop publicly threaten to refuse Cong. Grijalva admission to the Eucharist? Is he afraid he would lose his indispensable allies on the pro-abortion left? (Bishop Weisenburger’s office did not respond to our request for comment.)
Bishop Weisenburger is not alone. The problem is endemic. Countless American bishops refuse to apply canon 915 to those who persevere in the manifest grave sin of supporting of murder of the unborn.
Next week we’ll take a closer look at their silence. Dozens of Catholic senators and representatives support separating the unborn being separated from their mothers. Why do their bishops ignore the Silent Scream?
A footnote: the Fort Lauderdale bishops announced no plans to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Humanae Vitae next month.
They do have their priorities.

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