Archbishop Burke on Bad Catholics in Political Life
Diogenes writes at Off the Record:
... Archbishop Burke, you remember, put his fellow prelates in a flutter during the 2004 presidential campaign by declaring that Catholic pro-abort pols would be denied communion in his archdiocese. In the spirit of episcopal collegiality, a special commission was appointed to research the matter into oblivion. That makes Burke's own study of the problem (available in its entirety here) all the more interesting. No one with a regard for metaphor can say Burke takes the bull by the horns -- the beast in question has long been gelded and polled -- but at least his two-by-four thwacks the steer hard enough to get its attention. He is critical of the Statement of the United States Bishops, "Catholics in Political Life," which was issued in the course of their June 2004 meeting, and which sidestepped the key problem by kicking back to the local ordinary the decision to pursue "the most prudent course of pastoral action." Burke himself does not sidestep the problem:My Comments:The Statement also seems to take away the serious responsibility of the minister of Holy Communion, resting the matter entirely with the Bishop. One bishop issued a statement on the same day as the statement of the body of Bishops, which intimated that can. 915 is not to be applied in his diocese. He stated:The bishop quoted by Burke is Cardinal Roger Mahony, whose decision to "follow church teaching" by doing the opposite is of a piece with his judgment that "for a small slice of Church history, Latin was the language of Mass." The pastoral approach.The archdiocese will continue to follow church teaching, which places the duty of each Catholic to examine their consciences as to their worthiness to receive holy communion. That is not the role of the person distributing the body and blood of Christ.The statement of the bishop in question confuses the norm of can. 916, which applies to the self-examination of the individual communicant, with the norm of can. 915, which obliges the minister of Holy Communion to refuse the Sacrament in the cases indicated.
It should be noted that Archbishop Burke is an eminent canon lawyer.
Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
St. Louis Prelate Aims to Bring Flock in Line - Archbishop Burke Takes Firm Stance on Social Issues
The Final Word on Pro-Abort Pols and Communion?
Bishop Wuerl: Bishops Should Consult One Another Before Speaking On National Issues Like Kerry And Communion