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What’s The Gospel All About, Anyway?

July 12, 2023 Frontpage No Comments

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

In July 1980, I was in Washington for the historic pro-family conference hosted by Paul Weyrich. Paul was the master coalition builder, and he was building a movement that was destined to change history.
On July 6, I went to Mass at Holy Trinity, a parish run by the Jesuit Order that is located just off the campus of Georgetown University. At the time, I add only the highest of opinions of Georgetown, since two of my friends, Fr. Jim Schall, SJ, and Dr. George Carey, taught in the politics department there.
The celebrant of the Mass, Fr. Francis X. Moan, SJ, took the occasion to preach a homily advocating the end of the death penalty. It was as strident as it was tedious, and after Mass I stopped to say hello to him, as I often do when I’m in unknown territory.
I asked Fr. Moan about his sermon. “Father, I’m from out of town, but most of the other folks in the pews today are from Washington, and most of them are in politics.
“Today’s sermon was about a woman touching the garment of Christ and being healed (Mark 21). But instead of talking about the saving power of Jesus Christ, you talked about politics.
“The love of Christ unites us, Father, and politics divides us. Why did you talk about politics?”
“That’s what the Gospel is all about,” said Fr. Moan. “Politics.” And he followed that up with an about-face that would make a Quantico drill sergeant proud.

Catholic Joe’s Home
Away From Home

I haven’t been back to Holy Trinity for a long while, but it’s hard to leave the memory of Fr. Moan behind, because Holy Trinity is pretty big news these days. You see, Holy Trinity is Joe Biden’s parish when he’s in Washington.
Holy Trinity Parish is in the Archdiocese of Washington, where Wilton Cardinal Gregory has served as archbishop since 2019. Shortly after the 2020 election, the cardinal made it clear that he had no problem with Joe Biden receiving Communion there. In June 2021, Holy Trinity’s LGBTQIA+ Ministry website assured the public that it would not deny the Eucharist to anyone, the Daily Signal reported.
That policy hadn’t caused much commotion before the 2020 election. We recall that Washington’s Donald Cardinal Wuerl had long maintained a “pastoral approach” regarding the many prominent Catholic politicians in his archdiocese who publicly advocate abortion.
The cardinal articulated this view during a speech to the John Carroll Society at the Church of the Little Flower in Bethesda, Md., on March 11, 2012.
Asked to explain when Communion should be denied under Canon 915, “he repeated his earlier position that only in extremely rare cases after an individual has been publicly excommunicated” should it be denied, according to the National Catholic Register.
Cardinal Wuerl’s “earlier position” on Canon 915 had been on the record since he was bishop of Pittsburgh.
In a 2004 speech that was later published by the USCCB, he said, “Given the longstanding practice of not making a public judgment about the state of the soul of those who present themselves for Holy Communion, it does not seem that it is sufficiently clear that in the matter of voting for legislation that supports abortion such a judgment necessarily follows. The pastoral tradition of the Church places the responsibility of such a judgment first on those presenting themselves for Holy Communion.”

Politics Instructs The Gospel: “Shut Up!”

Vermont Bishop Christopher Coyne, who has just been appointed as co-adjutor archbishop of Hartford, certainly agrees with Cardinal Wuerl’s view today.
In the eight years that he’s been bishop of Burlington, Bishop Coyne has never publicly criticized the 100 percent pro-abortion record of Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Catholic who retired this January after 48 years in the Senate.
Quite the contrary. In a parting shot, Sen. Leahy flaunted his defiance by giving Coyne a royal welcome last December, when he invited the bishop to give the invocation that opened the Senate’s session on the Feast of Saint Nicholas.
Bishop Coyne, like every other bishop in America, knew that Leahy was as ruthless as he was powerful. That reputation dates back to May 9, 2007, when Pope Benedict XVI told an inquiring reporter that he would support bishops who excommunicated pro-abortion lawmakers.
“It is part of the code,” Benedict said. “It is based simply on the principle that the killing of an innocent human child is incompatible with going in communion with the Body of Christ.”
When that statement hit the Senate Press Gallery, a reporter for The Hill asked Sen. Leahy, who chaired the Committee on the Judiciary at the time, for comment on the Pope’s statement.
Leahy’s reply was blunt: “I’ve always thought that those bishops and archbishops who for decades hid pederasts and are now being protected by the Vatican should be indicted,” he said.
In the words of Fr. Paul Mankowski, SJ, America’s bishops were “tamed.”
Pat Leahy didn’t have to worry about Canon 915. And neither did fellow Catholic Sen. Joe Biden, who served with him on the Judiciary Committee for thirty years.
Joe didn’t have to worry then, and he doesn’t have to worry now.

Pro-Abort Democrats Flaunt Faith, Flout Teachings

Neither do pro-abortion pols on Capitol Hill.
Two years ago this month, sixty Catholic Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Cong. Rosa DeLauro, released a statement arguing that “freedom of conscience” conferred an imprimatur on their support of abortion.
On the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, another group of House Democrats, once again led by DeLauro, reaffirmed their commitment to abortion.
This time around, they argued politics first: “We are proud that we are part of the faithful pro-choice Catholic majority — 68 percent of whom supported the legal protections for abortion access enshrined in Roe and 63 percent of whom think abortion should be legal in all or most cases,” the statement reads.
So, the Church’s moral teaching should be subject to a majority vote — and of course, since they count the votes, they win.
They then turn to our old friend “Social Justice,” that classic canard that cordially canonizes their obdurate rejection of magisterial teaching:
“Our faith unfailingly promotes the common good, prioritizes the dignity of every human being, and highlights the need to provide a collective safety net to our most vulnerable,” they write. As for doctrine, “The role of informed conscience is at the very core of our faith.”
Four days later, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, president of the USCCB, joined Bishops Michael Burbidge and Daniel Flores to blast DeLauro’s statement.
“It is wrong and incoherent to claim that the taking of innocent human life at its most vulnerable stage can ever be consistent with the values of supporting the dignity and wellbeing of those in need,” they wrote.
They then torpedoed the pro-abortion claim to conscience as self-exoneration: “Conscience is not a license to commit evil and take innocent lives. Conscience cannot and does not justify the act or support of abortion. In fact, conscience ‘must be informed and moral judgment enlightened’ with the Word of God in faith and prayer, and ‘guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church’ [CCC 1783, 1785],” they wrote.
Oh, by the way, Ms. DeLauro represents New Haven, Conn., where she was baptized and confirmed.
And, for future reference, she lives in the Archdiocese of Hartford.
Where Archbishop Christopher Coyne will succeed Archbishop Leonard Blair next year.
Stay tuned.

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