Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Deacon Fournier: "Bishop Martino is Right, ‘This is Madness People’"

Deacon Keith Fournier writes at Catholic Online:
CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) - I first read the news on everyone’s favorite “Vaticanisti” blog, “Whispers in the Loggia”, edited by Rocco Palmo. However, by the end of the day the story had spread throughout both the old and the new media. Last Sunday, at a forum allegedly dedicated to assisting Catholic voters to exercise their “faithful citizenship” which was held at St. John’s Roman Catholic Church in the Diocese of Scranton, Bishop Joseph F. Martino sent shockwaves with four well chosen words. He arrived at the forum, listened for awhile and could not remain silent. Why? Because Bishop Martino understands that he is a Moral teacher of the faithful. He is called by virtue of his consecration to the Office of Bishop, to protect the faithful from errant teaching.

After listening to some of the speakers attempt to take the most recent letter of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on “Faithful Citizenship”, turn it on its head through sophistry, and then use it as a framework to influence Catholics to support a candidate who has pledged as their first official act if elected to the Presidency to sign the “Freedom of Choice Act” into law (even though an alternative exists which would at least limit the evil of procured abortion) the Bishop stepped up to the microphone. He told those present: “No social issue has caused the death of 50 million people”, referring of course to the current evil of abortion on demand as it exists in the United Sates of America since the horrible judicial opinions in Roe and Doe. Then he spoke those four words, “This is Madness People.”

[Read the whole thing]

I have to applaud Bishop Martino for this statement:
“No USCCB document is relevant in this diocese,” said Martino. “The USCCB doesn’t speak for me.”

“The only relevant document ... is my letter,” he said. “There is one teacher in this diocese, and these points are not debatable.”

His letter, published Sept. 30 and circulated throughout the diocese, states that a candidate’s abortion stance is a major voting issue that supersedes all other considerations due to its grave moral consequences.
I happen to think Faithful Citizenship is an excellent document, notwithstanding the efforts of many to twist it in order to provide cover for voting for pro-abortion candidates. Nevertheless, I believe VERY STRONGLY that a bishop has the final say in his diocese, and his authority cannot be supplanted by the episcopal conference of his state or the episcopal conference at the USCCB. I also believe that any voter guide or other guidance on voting issued by a bishop for his diocese trumps any voter guide coming from the national conference. Short of a directive from the Vatican, the bishop's word on matters of faith and morals is law in his diocese.

My feelings in this regard became cemented when, a few years ago, a number of bishops sought to muzzle those bishops who favored enforcing Canon 915 by requiring them to seek the permission of the U.S. Bishop's Conference before taking any action in that regard.

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