Mar 11, 2017
McCarrick, en 2013: "La gente encontrar
"La gente encontrar
Why we can applaud the Iran deal in good faith
Jul 26, 2015
By Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick July 16 2015.
In this Jan. 14, 2015 picture, Secretary of State John Kerry, left, listens to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, as they walk in the city of Geneva during a bilateral meeting ahead of nuclear discussions. (Martial Trezzini/AP)
This opinion piece is by Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, who was involved in helping free American hikers from Iran in 2011. He served as Archbishop of Washington from 2001 to 2006.
There are many stories about the late Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, a long-serving secretary of state to Pope John Paul II. Although in modern times, the Holy See has been blessed with many gifted statesmen, Casaroli was recognized as one of the greatest Vatican diplomats of his time. One day, as the story goes, a friend asked him to list the three most important characteristics of a successful diplomat. Without a moment’s hesitation the Cardinal replied, “Patience, patience and more patience.” This special insight was probably the key to his diplomatic success.
It is therefore no surprise that the negotiations to arrive at the final and delicate conclusion to the long discussions between the P5+1 countries and Iran over its nuclear program took time and patience. There are reports of arduous deliberations over almost every word in the agreement. It was indeed an extraordinary process of dialogue, but perhaps it will be most notable for the patience it required. This patience indicated an enormous desire to find the right answers and, in so doing, to have an important and historic impact, not only on the Middle East, but in a larger sense on the direction of the modern world.
We truly have reason to compliment Secretary of State John Kerry. In the immediate wake of his long and heroic, but ultimately unsuccessful, efforts to broker a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, Kerry entered into this new marathon. Fortunately, the P5+1 nations and Iran seemed truly dedicated to coming to a concrete solution.
My own personal interest in this matter goes back several years. Bishop John Chane, the former Episcopal Bishop of Washington, and I were privileged to help bring back home to their families the young American hikers who had been detained in Iran. In subsequent visits to that country, Bishop Chane and I came to know several of the religious leaders of that country and to respect their knowledge and integrity.
Pope Francis himself let us know very clearly of his own tremendous concern for a peaceful and equitable resolution. In January 2015, we heard the Pontiff say, “I expressed my hope that a definitive agreement may soon be reached between Iran and the P5+1 group.”
The Catholic community in the United States likewise has been vocal in their hope for a firm resolution to this difficult problem. The Church has struggled over many years to provide guidance and support for nuclear disarmament and to ensure that nuclear energy is only used for peaceful purposes. It was Saint John XXIII who, back in 1963, in his encyclical Pacem in Terris, called for a ban on nuclear weapons. At every turn, the Church has applauded the efforts already made in this regard.
I applaud the fact that a major issue of dispute in this very volatile region was resolved through negotiation and not armed conflict.
Bishop Oscar Cantú, Chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, called this a “momentous agreement” and a “significant achievement (that) aims to curb Iran’s development of nuclear weapons while allowing them to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.”
One of the important religious and moral teachings that surely had a direct bearing on the P5+1 negotiations was a Fatwa of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that should definitely be carefully studied and considered. He declared the possession and use of nuclear weapons as incompatible with Islam, a teaching not dissimilar to the Catholic position that the world must rid itself of these indiscriminate weapons.
As we see the start of a new relationship with Iran, one of the most important Muslim majority countries, we must take the long view of total nuclear disarmament. As the present agreement is clarified and implemented over the coming months and the years, we must never lose sight of our ultimate goal — a world without nuclear weapons, a world totally free from these weapons of mass destruction.
Many of our American leaders espouse this goal and many of our religious bodies support it based on the teachings and demands of our own faiths. History calls us to take further steps toward a world without nuclear weapons.
This is a beginning – a good beginning. It is now for us to build upon it, to be determined to make our world and future generations safe, secure and ready to accept the call that all world religions share: the need to protect one another.
The Holy See viewed this agreement in “positive light,” saying, “It constitutes an important outcome of the negotiations carried out so far, although continued efforts and commitment on the part of all involved will be necessary in order for it to bear fruit.… It is hoped that those fruits will not be limited to the field of nuclear programme, but may indeed extend further.”
Pope Francis in his message to a December 2014 conference in Vienna spoke about nuclear deterrence and said, “Now is the time to counter the logic of fear with the ethic of responsibility, and so foster a climate of trust and sincere dialogue.”
What an enormous possibility! Thank God we have not let this chance go by.
Globe-trotting Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is almost 84, and working harder than ever
Jun 27, 2014
The day before a newly elected Pope Francis was to be formally installed at the Vatican in 2013, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica when he passed out at the altar and had to be rushed to the hospital.
It was a scary moment, and especially odd to see McCarrick stricken; even at 82, the energetic former archbishop of Washington always had a reputation as one of the most peripatetic churchmen in the Catholic hierarchy.
Doctors in Rome quickly diagnosed a heart problem — McCarrick would eventually get a pacemaker — and the cardinal was soon back at his guest room in the U.S. seminary in Rome when the phone rang. It was Francis. The two men had known each other for years, back when the Argentine pope was Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires. McCarrick assured Francis that he was doing fine.
“I guess the Lord isn’t done with me yet,” he told the pope.
“Or the devil doesn’t have your accommodations ready!” Francis shot back with a laugh.
McCarrick loves to tell that story, because he loves to tell good stories and because he has a sense of humor as keen as the pope’s. But the exchange also says a lot about the improbable renaissance that McCarrick is enjoying as he prepares to celebrate his 84th birthday in July.
McCarrick is one of a number of senior churchmen who were more or less put out to pasture during the eight-year pontificate of Benedict XVI. But now Francis is pope, and prelates like Cardinal Walter Kasper (another old friend of McCarrick’s) and McCarrick himself are back in the mix, and busier than ever.
McCarrick in particular has been on a tear in the past year, traveling to the Philippines to console typhoon victims and visiting geopolitical pivot points such as China and Iran for sensitive talks on religious freedom and nuclear proliferation.
“I truly believe there should be a religious channel in handling things where you do not have the diplomatic channel,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press” last month after a trip to Tehran.
McCarrick travels regularly to the Middle East, and was in the Holy Land for Francis’ visit in May. “The bad ones, they never die!” the pope teased McCarrick again when he saw him.
In classic McCarrick style, the cardinal returned to Washington at 2 p.m. a few days later and at 4:30 that same afternoon he was on Capitol Hill buttonholing House Speaker John Boehner in yet another effort to urge the Republican leader — and fellow Catholic — to get moving on immigration reform.
“Every time I see him he gets closer,” McCarrick says with a twinkle in his eye. “I tell him, ‘John, you could be a great hero!’”
McCarrick loves the action, of course, and he is well-suited to his roving ambassador role. He speaks several languages fluently and he seems to know everybody — and everybody knows him.
Sometimes McCarrick’s travels abroad are at the behest of the Vatican, sometimes on behalf of Catholic Relief Services. Occasionally the U.S. State Department asks him to make a trip, as it did when he visited the Central African Republic in April with Imam Mohamed Magid of the Islamic Society of North America and Leith Anderson, head of the National Association of Evangelicals.
The country has been ravaged by ethnic and interreligious brutality, often perpetrated by the Christian majority, and the U.S. government thought this delegation could provide a witness of interfaith harmony even though they could only stay during the daylight hours due to the threat of violence.
“They naturally think of me because I travel a lot and I worked a lot with Muslims,” McCarrick said during a recent conversation at his office at a seminary in the Maryland suburbs.
The interview took place during a rare lull: McCarrick was heading to Armenia for meetings with Orthodox Church leaders on Syria the next week, followed by meetings in Rome, which scratched a long-planned vacation with his extended family. “I knew it would never happen,” he sighs.
But Francis, who has put the Vatican back on the geopolitical stage, knows that when he needs a savvy back channel operator he can turn to McCarrick, as he did for the Armenia trip. “Why don’t you ask McCarrick to go?” the cardinal says of the Vatican’s thinking. “He’s usually willing to do these crazy things.”
So what does McCarrick want to accomplish in his hyperactive retirement?
“I’m just trying to get people to talk to each other, and hopefully to get people to like each other,” he said. “I’m not the smartest guy in the world, by any stretch. I’m not a great theologian. I’m not anything. But I’m not lazy. My great gift is presence.”
“My shtick,” he added, “is that we are all brothers and sisters in God’s one human family.”
That’s a line he learned from his mentor, the late Cardinal Terence Cooke of New York, where McCarrick was ordained a priest. McCarrick quickly rose through the clerical ranks, becoming a bishop and then archbishop in New Jersey, and finally a cardinal in Washington in 2001. He retired in 2006 and was sort of spinning his wheels under Benedict. Then Francis was elected, and everything changed.
“Pope Benedict is a wonderful man, and was a good friend of mine before he became pope,” McCarrick said. “But he was anxious to bring the church back to where he thought it should be, and I guess I wasn’t one of those who he thought would help him on that. I would have obviously done what he asked.”
McCarrick was always seen as a moderate, centrist presence in the hierarchy, a telegenic pastor who could present the welcoming face of the church, no matter what the circumstances.
That made him indispensable at times, as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops became increasingly polarized. But it also made him a favorite target for conservatives who disdained McCarrick’s style.
The cardinal, however, never wavered. “If you stand in the middle you can meet both sides. If you go all to one side you’re going to lose the other, and vice versa,” he said.
“In medio stat virtus,” he added, citing the wisdom of the ancient church. “Virtue is in the middle. Strength is in the middle.”
If that sets some teeth on edge, critics have a tougher argument to make since Francis says much the same thing. The pope did so quite forcefully in a homily just a few days later in which he criticized “ideologues” and praised compromise as “sane realism” on behalf of peace.
That sort of moderation is also characteristic of McCarrick’s successor in Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who has also become a key figure in the new pontificate.
McCarrick has high praise for Wuerl, and always reminds interviewers that Wuerl heads the D.C. archdiocese, not him. They also operate on different ecclesiastical planes — McCarrick racking up the frequent flier miles and lobbying on Capitol Hill while Wuerl works the inside track between Rome and the U.S.
McCarrick is, of course, realistic about his own mortality. Age is his real foe, and even McCarrick can only needle and negotiate with Father Time so much. For now, though, the pacemaker is working.
“My heart is still beating.” The knees “are killing me,” he says, and he’s been warned that he will have to start taking an aide along on his trips, which doesn’t make him happy.
But he’ll keep moving as long as he can. “What else would I do? I get up at 5 a.m., I shower and shave and say my prayers, and go to chapel,” he says. “Then I come back and have breakfast. And then what do you do? You go to work.”
“We work while the light lasts,” he said, invoking a favorite phrase from the Gospels.
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick: Attacking Other People’s Beliefs Is Not Freedom of Speech
Apr 12, 2014
The former Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick says that none of the divine religions permits and discounts the humiliation of the followers and sacraments of other religions and scoffing at what millions of people hold to be sacred and holy is not allowed or commended by any religion.
TEHRAN (FNA)- “There has to be respect for what other people believe. It is almost like you slap somebody on face if you attack what they hold to be sacred, and it is really an attack on the respect that other people deserve. If we believe that we are all brothers and sisters in God’s family, then we must love all brothers and sisters and not treat them as fools, and not attack what they hold to be holy and sacred,” said Cardinal McCarrick in an exclusive interview with Fars News Agency.
Theodore Edgar McCarrick is an American Cardinal of the Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Washington from 2001 to 2006, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 2001. Cardinal McCarrick served as the Auxiliary Bishop of New York, Bishop of Metuchen and Archbishop of Newark before being elected as the Archbishop of Washington by Pope John Paul II in 2000.
Cardinal McCarrick has traveled to so many countries across the world, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Poland, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Switzerland and Iran. On May 16, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI accepted Cardinal McCarrick’s resignation as he had reached the customary age of 75. He is fluent in seven languages, including French, German, Italian and Spanish. In 2003, Cardinal McCarrick headed a delegation of American scholars and religious figures traveling to Iran as a goodwill gesture by the United States aimed at reaching out to the Iranian people.
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was one of the first American figures who appeared on the U.S. media to condemn and speak out against the devilish plan by the American pastor Terry Jones to burn copies of the Holy Quran in 2010.
Cardinal McCarrick took part in an exclusive interview with Fars News Agency and responded to our questions about the decline of moral and religious values in the secular societies, inter-faith and interreligious dialog and promoting it, discrimination against the religious minorities and anti-religious bigotry and blasphemy. What follows is the text of the interview.
Q: Your Eminence, the moral values have begun declining in the recent years. Such practices as abortion, euthanasia and homosexuality are being legalized and permitted in different Western countries. What’s the church’s attitude towards these new developments? Is it permissible according to the church’s teachings that two people of the same gender get married to each other? Isn’t this contrary to the human spirit and dignity?
A: Our teachings have not changed through all the years since the gospel. As you say, we certainly believe in marriage as a union of a man and a woman; a union that lasts forever and given to us by God by which we can bring children to this world. If two people of the same sex get married, this is something which the church certainly does not teach and this is not a way of marriage. I think the church, under the fraternal directions of Pope Francis, believes that we don’t condemn anybody because we are all sinful people and we are doing the best we can, but as far as the teaching goes, we have to teach that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that abortion is taking the innocent life of a baby and euthanasia is taking the life of an older person whose life depends on God, not on us. So these new developments are not happily considered by the church and not by the teachings of Islam, either.
Q: So, what’s your suggestion and what are the practical solutions to such problems that have emerged in the contemporary era, especially in the developing and industrialized world?
A: I think we have to continue teaching and teach better. I think for a long time, since the 1960s, there has been a great revolution in the world being anti-authority and people do not accept any ancient authority and any authority that comes from a cultural background, and I think because of that, so many things that we know, we teach and we believe are important and good and come from God are seen as not being valuable. This is the new thinking, that nothing is important and that everybody can go their own way and make their own decision as to what is right and what is wrong. But church teaches, and Islam teaches that we have a rule to follow, a rule that the Prophet (PBUH) taught in a strong way as a correct morality. The Jesus has taught the same thing so the church finds itself teaching what it has always taught, saying to people that we are not condemning you as individuals, but we are saying that we do not believe what you are doing is right.
Q: Cardinal McCarrick, what’s your viewpoint regarding the weakening and enfeeblement of the ethical values and belief in God among the youths, both in the religious and secular societies? It can be seen that young people have become more inclined toward secular values promoted in the West and by the mainstream media that most of the times advocate the principle of the separation of the church and the state and invite people to abandon religion. What’s your take on that?
A: Unfortunately, Mr. Ziabari, what you’re saying is exactly what is happening. The old authorities are losing their authority. The church and its teachers and the teachers of the mosque that are trying to reach out to the young people, are not reaching them anymore. Because they have to talk to the young people maybe a couple of hours in a week, whereas in the media and the television, the young people can listen and watch for hours and hours a day, so the amount of teaching that young people can get from the church and the mosque is in no way near the amount that the media such as the television and radio can give, and because of that, young people listen to that so much and are influenced by it and it seems to be easier for them; it plays to their weaknesses, plays to their temptations and the things they find easy … and I’m afraid this is what is happening in our society, and unless we can somehow capture the young people, then the future does not look promising because if they are now in their 20s and 30s and reject the values of religion and ethical practice and do their own thing, then once they get old, everything will be worse.
Q: Yes, unfortunately this is what is happening now. First, we admit that there’s the principle of freedom of choice and everybody has the right to choose the way he wants to traverse, but after all, morality and religion are necessary for the prosperity and peace of the society. The clergy sometimes find it difficult to teach the young people what is right and what is wrong. How can the clergy and the religious preachers promote the moral and ethical values in a persuasive and convincing way?
A: I think that there are three ways. The first way is the way in which all of the people act. They often say, I cannot hear what you are saying, because what you are doing speaks so loud. So if we are not ourselves living holy and moral lives according to the commandments and the holy books and the teachings of holy men who precede us, if we do not follow these rules in our lives, then it is very hard for us to persuade the young people to do it. If they see us abusing marriage and the rejoice of relationship between a man and a woman, if they see us taking advantage of each other, if they see us doing the things which are sinful and acts of pleasure, not acts of joy as the Book says, then they realize that we can’t talk, because we are not doing what we preach. They say that you talk in a good way, but you don’t live that way. That’s the first thing. We have to be examples; we have to be models. If we are like that, and if they see us living a good life, that is going to be a very important help in strengthening their understanding of the right road.
Also, we really have to promote the reading of the sacred books, reading of the Bible and reading of Quran. We need to be able to teach them; the ancient truth. These are the great things which we have learned from the holy prophets who have been touched by the God’s grace and were our teachers throughout the years. We have to learn how to proclaim that message in the language of the day. The Archbishop of Washington, who is my superior, is a wonderful teacher and he does that by making sure that he uses the language of the day in promoting the ancient truth. We have to talk their language; the language of the young people. If we don’t talk the language of the young people, they will not listen to us, or else, they will not understand. So that is another thing which we have to do.
Practice good things, so you serve as good examples, make sure that they are reading and understanding the holy books and then finally to know how to speak to them in their own language.
Q: There’s always been a heated debate on the dichotomy of free speech and blasphemy. For instance, you surely remember the controversy that erupted over the publication of cartoons ridiculing Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten in 2006. Do you believe that the media should have the freedom to scoff at the sacraments of the followers of divine religions because this right is enshrined by their freedom of speech?
A: I think in the ideal world, yes. But there has to be a respect for the teachings of other people. There has to be respect for what other people believe. It is almost like you slap somebody on face if you attack what they hold to be sacred, and it is really an attack on the respect that other people deserve. If we believe that we are all brothers and sisters in God’s family, then we must love all brothers and sisters and not treat them as fools, and not attack what they hold to be holy and sacred. So, whereas I have always been in favor of the freedom of speech and freedom of religion and all types of freedom, yet if freedom of speech is an attack on other religions, this would be a violation of freedom of religion. There is a difficult conversation among these rights. It’s hard to make a general rule for them. I do believe in the freedom of speech and freedom of religion. But when the freedom of speech turns into an attack on other people’s beliefs, then it ceases to be freedom of speech.
Q: Your Eminence; what’s your perspective on the necessity of promoting inter-faith dialog among the followers of the dominant divine religions? How can a comprehensive and lasting dialog help them settle their disputes, realize an inclusive mutual understanding and propel them toward respecting each other’s sanctities and beliefs? How can the inter-faith dialog lead to the removal of anti-Muslim, anti-Christian and anti-Jewish bigotry and prejudice across the world?
A: That’s a wonderful question. It’s a question we have all been asking ourselves over the years, and I’ve developed a program that depends on 5 five steps. The first step is that, you have to talk with each other. You have to meet each other and talk with each other. The second step is that you have to talk “to” each other. So often, we have people living together, and they keep saying their own things, but they don’t listen to what the others say. So, you have to talk to each other. You have to really enter into a dialog and conversation. Number three; if you do that, then you’ll get to be able to understand the other person, to understand why we believe what we do, to understand why it is so important that we have faith in one God, and then we will be able to appreciate what the other people believe. If you understand why the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) proclaimed something and why this is the word of Allah, and the same thing to Gospel and Jesus, then you can appreciate them, and then you can begin to cooperate. That’s the ultimate stage of the inter-faith dialog, that is, we end up working with each other.
In the United States, we have been so blessed with the real determination to do this, and I’m so grateful to the Muslim leaders here, in the Islamic Society of North America, and all my friends in different Muslim associations and mosques who are really wonderful people. We understand each other, we are following this practice; we are talking to each other, understanding each other and appreciating each other, and then working together. And remember, some years ago, when there was a preacher who wanted to burn the Holy Quran, I was the first one to go to the television to say how stupid that was, and how evil that was. It was not an exercise of freedom of speech. It was an attack in discourtesy and hatred on another religion. So we are very fortunate to have an interreligious dialog in the United States for a long time, and I’m really thankful to my Muslim friends in the country.
Q: It can be seen that in different countries, the religious minorities are sometimes persecuted and denied their basic rights, or mistreated because of their religious beliefs. This is an unfortunate phenomenon in the 21st century and bespeaks of the lack of tolerance and religious freedom in different parts of the world. What’s your viewpoint on that?
A: I think it has to be dealt with on two levels. It should be eliminated on the ordinary level of the street, because if it’s not eliminated on the ordinary level of the street where people work and live, then it’s not going to be eliminated on the level of government, and I think it has to be eliminated on both levels. On the level of the government, it has to be eliminated, too. Certainly, on the street level, and the level of ordinary churches and mosques and Friday sermons where people preach friendship, dignity of every human being and the rights of the human being, this should be coped with. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said, my religion is for me, and your religion is for you, and the Holy Quran says, if Allah wanted everybody to be of the same religion, He would have created it that way.
So, the Quran and the Bible understand that there may be people who will not always believe in exactly the same thing. But we have to respect each other and it’s on that level that we can get our governments say that, ok, every religion which does not hurt the other religions can be respected, can be supported and can be protected.
Q: Your Eminence; I noted that in your response to one of my previous questions, you referred to the controversy over the burning of the Holy Quran by a Christian pastor in the United States a few years back. I want to know what you, as a high-ranking Catholic cleric, exactly think about that incident, which broke the hearts of millions of Muslims. Was the act of burning the Holy Quran compliant and in accordance with the teachings of Christianity?
A: Exactly not. I was the first one to go on television to attack this and say it was wrong. I was on Al Jazeera to talk to the Muslim world and the Arab world. The first time this was said will happen, a number of us gathered, Christians, Jews and Muslims, and appeared on television stations and I was the first one who spoke out against it and said how foolish this was, and how unlike it was to what Christianity teaches. Christianity demands that we have respect for each other; Christianity demands that we do not attack each other, it demands that we should not take the sacred objects of other religions and treat them disrespectfully, even as we hope nobody would treat our sacred objects disrespectfully. So, I’m very sure about that, because I spoke out against that immediately and one of the Muslim magazines covered my statements condemning what this poor fellow was trying to do.
Q: I had heard that by virtue of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which stipulates the separation of church and state, the teaching of creationist theories and criticism of evolution as proposed by Charles Darwin is disallowed in certain U.S. states. Do you find this practice fair and compliant with the tenets of academic freedom?
A: I think it would depend on how they are taught. I think if they’re taught as one possibility, then it’s all right. If they are taught as the answer, then I think that’s wrong, because there are other positions, other points of view that the children and young people should know about. They should know that there’s a view that the creationism is the total answer; they should know there’s a view that God created all things by the stages of evolution, and that God created everything automatically. These are different points of view which honest people have, and so I think they should be allowed that those who believe it can proclaim it. I think they must allow also the possibility of others to proclaim what they believe so that the young people, as a whole, understand the complexity of creation and be convinced about the wonder and brilliance of one God who created this world.
Q: You traveled to Iran in 2003 as the leader of an Abrahamic delegation. How did you find Iran at that time, the culture and lifestyle of the Iranian people and the magnets of Iranian civilization? What was the most attractive and interesting part of your trip to Iran?
A: This is a long time ago, but I was there three years ago also, and hope to be back again in March for a few days to meet some of the ayatollahs. But I found Iran to be fascinating place. What is so interesting about it is that there are so many nations in the world, especially in Asia and Africa that are created by a politician who draws a line on the map and says this is one country, and that’s another country. He doesn’t know what’s on the ground. He doesn’t know that there are many tribes there. But Iran is the Ancient Persia. This is the empire which existed for many centuries before the Christian Era. This is empire that Rome, with all its power, was never able to subdue. Iran, Persia has been the birthplace of extraordinary leaders, great philosophers, great emperors and great presidents. I think the diverse population of Iranians is a model to the world, and I found the people very friendly, very open, smiling and joyfully receiving the guests.
When I had a question, I didn’t speak Farsi, but there were many people who spoke English, and this was very helpful. I found my visit tour very joyful and I’m planning to come back in March and then perhaps again in the summer time.
Q: Your Eminence; Iran's new President Hasaan Rouhani and his administration have been trying to increase Iran’s interaction with the West. What’s your assessment of his election, his approach in the foreign relations and his achievements since he took office in August 2013?
A: I’m a fan and a supporter of this new government. I have met the Foreign Minister (Mohammad Javad Zarif), I’ve not met Dr. Rouhani, but what I hear of him is all very good; I also met the Iranian ambassadors and I pray that this is the beginning of a new stage of relations between the West and Iran, especially between the United States and Iran. I’m so pleased that the two presidents had the chance to talk on the phone. I’m so pleased that we have been able to come, with the best organization and best way to handle this difficult situation. I’m very pleased that Iran and the P5+1 have come to what I think is a breakthrough solution.
I think there are two questions on the political level. When a sovereign state, for scientific purposes, says that it wants nuclear energy while everybody else has nuclear energy, then it should be able to do it. I think the world has said that we just do not need more countries that have weapons of mass destruction, and I think the world has a right to do that. We follow the fatwa of the Supreme Leader who has said several times that Islam cannot involve the weapons of mass destruction. Ayatollah Khamanei has been very very clear on that. I think now that we have entered into this arrangement, I think that it will be worked out and seen that Iranians stick to their words and promise, and hopefully the Iranians will see that the West is willing to stop these very difficult sanctions and promote cooperation between the Iran and the world.
Interview by Kourosh Ziabari
Cardinal McCarrick: ‘If we stop loving people we are in terrible trouble’
Jan 25, 2012
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who retired in 2006 as archbishop of Washington, D.C., took time to meet with Catholic San Francisco during a visit to the archdiocese in November, where he gave an Advent talk at St. Rita Church in Fairfax. Here are excerpts from the conversation. The questions have been edited for clarity and the answers for space.
Catholic San Francisco: The bishops of New York were just in Rome for their “ad limina” visit and spoke with the pope about the “grave challenges” facing the church. How did we get from a place where there seemed to be a healthier relationship on the role of the faith in public life to one we’re almost at war, pushing back, highly defensive?
Cardinal McCarrick: Certainly a number of things happened. Every time there’s a recession there’s less money and there’s always some who say it has to go to the secular world. And then of course in the 1960s all authority was attacked. All authority had to defend itself and some was not able to. It was unexpected. (Pope) John XXIII saw it coming. The situation affected not only church vs. state or state vs. church. There is a hardening. We have to realize we are living in an antiauthoritarian world. That’s part of the background of why we’re having trouble. In a certain sense it is, almost horribly to say, the logical conclusion of the anti-life movement in our country. If human life does not become as important, then families do not become as important. You see as a generation that’s opposed to life, except for the minorities in our country. We find a situation where life is not that valuable and where values that provide what we consider the dignity of life are no longer present. The values now are everybody does what they want to do rather than the common good, where we all must work together to build a family, build a nation, build a world. That’s what we all have to face. The bishops who have responsibilities in dioceses, this is what they’re giving voice to.
CSF: What is your observation about the relationship between the episcopate and the laity and how they can work together in their different roles to restore the values that are embodied in the common good?
Cardinal McCarrick: There is no one America. I do not accept your distinction between the people and the episcopacy. There has always been a body on the right and a body on the left who are not happy with the center. Life is like that. I see many problems. I don’t interpret the word “grave” as you do. It has other connotations. There are serious difficulties, sure. We’ve had them before, we’ll have them again. I’m not naive, but I don’t see this as being a time of total crisis.
I was in the Diocese of San Jose over the weekend and was really very impressed by the faith of the people. It was standing room only. Very, very crowded churches. I’ve been in other places in the country and the world where the churches are not filled or they are filled with older people, not with the young. Certainly one of the great problems is to hold on to our young people without the methodology we had before, which is the Catholic schools. When I was a kid 70 percent of youngsters went to Catholic schools. We have to recover some way of holding these youngsters close to the Lord and giving them an opportunity of growing in their love of God and growing in their understanding that we are not made as individuals; we don’t save our souls as individuals, we save our souls as part of a community.
Many young people need to find that the church reaches out, that the church takes care of the poor, that the church wants justice, that the church wants to be a promoter of peace and harmony in the world, justice in the world. They want to do it themselves. We have to open the door and let them see, “Hey, you can do it here. You can do it better as part of the church.” Then we can begin to develop strength in this church of today.
CSF: Is part of the challenge to turn up the volume on the church’s message?
Cardinal McCarrick: You put your finger on something very important. I’m teaching what I believe as a Catholic priest – special dreams, special hopes. We mustn’t be afraid to talk to the press. We mustn’t be afraid to talk to the politicians, to the rich and the poor. We have our programs – four books in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
CSF: Sometimes Catholics get upset over how other Catholics practice their faith and want a bishop to step in. How do you manage that pastorally?
Cardinal McCarrick: If you are going to say that you are not going to be involved with anyone who is not 100 percent on your side, you’ll have almost no one to deal with. In a lot of ways you leave these decisions to an individual and their confessor. You can’t say because a man or a woman did “x” they take themselves out of the church. If you did that you wouldn’t be talking to anybody, and the pope wouldn’t be talking to anybody, and Jesus wouldn’t have been talking to anybody. There’s a certain understanding of where the Lord is and where we are. He preaches the Gospel of love, and if we stop loving people we are in terrible trouble.
USA: Kardinal verlangt Plan für Irak
Sept 09, 2010
Der frühere Erzbischof von Washington warnt vor einer „Ausrottung“ des Christentums im Irak. Der bald beginnende Abzug von US-Kampftruppen aus dem Irak „darf nicht dazu führen, dass wir uns um die Iraker nicht mehr kümmern, vor allem um die Millionen von Vertriebenen und Flüchtlingen“. Das meinte Kardinal Theodore E. McCarrick jetzt in einem Internetbeitrag. Die USA bräuchten einen Plan, wie sie nach dem Truppenabzug noch Einfluss auf das Geschehen im Irak nehmen könnten, so McCarrick. „Die Angehörigen von Minderheiten im Irak einfach alleinzulassen, ist keine Option“, so der Kardinal wörtlich. „Wir dürfen bei einem Abzug keine humanitäre Krise hinterlassen in der Hoffnung, dass die sich schon irgendwie von selber lösen wird.“
Cardinal McCarrick turns 80; number of cardinal-electors drops to 107
Jul 14, 2010
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the retired Archbishop of Washington, DC, celebrates his 80th birthday today and thus becomes ineligible to vote in a papal conclave.
Born in New York, Cardinal McCarrick was ordained to the priesthood in 1958 and became an auxiliary bishop of New York in 1977. He later served as Bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey (1981- 1986) and Archbishop of Newark (1986- 2000) before becoming Archbishop of Washington. He retired from that post in 2006. He received his red hat from Pope John Paul II in 2001.
There are now 107 living members of the College of Cardinals eligible to vote in a papal election, and 5 more cardinals will reach the age of 80 by mid-October of this year. Vatican-watchers anticipate that Pope Benedict XVI will soon call a consistory to name new cardinals, bringing the number of cardinal-electors closer to the limit of 120.
Cardinal Mccarrick brings Catholic Bishops’ Perspective to Senate hearing on Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Oct 13, 2009
Washington.– Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, testified today in Congress before the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security on Comprehensive Immigration Reform. The hearing sought faith-based perspectives on immigration reform.
“Our nation requires an immigration system that marries legal immigration with our long-term economic needs, the principle of family unity, and basic human rights. This will help restore the rule of law to our immigration system. Now, our immigration system accomplishes none of these goals,” said Cardinal McCarrick.
The cardinal also addressed concerns regarding the rule of law and how it applies to immigration. “In truth, the church position in favor of reform seeks to restore the rule of law and provide order and legality to an otherwise chaotic system,” said Cardinal McCarrick, a consultant to the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Migration.
Cardinal McCarrick outlined the key elements the U.S. bishops believe should be addressed in any immigration reform legislation.
1. Bring the undocumented population in this country out of the shadows and give them a chance, over time, to achieve permanent residency and citizenship.
2. Preserve family unity by strengthening family-based immigration.
3. Create legal avenues for migration, so that migrant workers, who labor in many important industries in our nation, are able to enter the country legally and in a safe and orderly fashion.
4. Give immigrants their day in court by restoring due process protections removed in 1996 legislation.
5. Work with neighboring countries and the international community to address the root causes of migration, so that immigrants and their families ultimately can remain in their home countries and support their families in dignity.
While recognizing that immigration has economic, social, and legal aspects which must be addressed in any reform legislation, Cardinal McCarrick expressed that, from the perspective of Catholic teaching, immigration is ultimately a humanitarian issue.
“In our view, our immigration laws ultimately must be judged by how they impact the basic dignity and God-given human rights of the human person,” Cardinal McCarrick said.
The cardinal also urged Senators keep the discourse “civil” and to refrain from “labeling and de-humanizing our brothers and sisters” nor “scapegoat them for unrelated economic or social challenges we face.”
Cardinal McCarrick also said the Catholic Church stands ready to assist the legislators as they “lead the nation toward a humane and just immigration system which both restores the rule of law and respects the inherent human dignity of the person.”
Cardenal McCarrick testifica ante el Senado sobre la Reforma Integral del Sistema Inmigratorio
Oct 13, 2009
Washington.– El Cardenal Theodore McCarrick, arzobispo emérito de Washington, testificó ayer ante el Subcomité para Inmigración, Refugiados y Seguridad Fronteriza del Senado sobre la reforma integral del sistema inmigratorio estadounidense. El Subcomité invitó a las comunidades de fe a ofrecer sus perspectivas sobre la reforma de inmigración.
“Nuestra nación requiere un sistema de inmigración que case la inmigración legal con nuestras necesidades económicas a largo plazo, el principio de la unidad familiar y los derechos humanos fundamentales. Esto ayudará a restaurar el imperio de la ley en nuestro sistema inmigratorio. El sistema actual no logra ninguno de esos objetivos”, afirmó el Cardenal McCarrick.
El cardenal también expresó preocupación por la forma en la que la ley, actualmente, se aplica a la inmigración. “En verdad, la postura de la Iglesia a favor de la reforma busca restaurar el imperio de la ley y proporcionar orden y legalidad a un sistema de otro modo caótico”, dijo el Cardenal McCarrick, asesor del Comité de Obispos sobre Inmigración.
El cardenal enumeró los elementos centrales que, en opinión de los obispos, deberían ser abordados en cualquier reforma de las leyes que regulan la inmigración:
1. Sacar a la población indocumentada de las sombras y darles la oportunidad de que, con el tiempo, puedan obtener la residencia permanente y la ciudadanía.
2. Proteger la unidad familiar mediante el fortalecimiento de la inmigración basada en los lazos familiares.
3. Crear avenidas legales para la inmigración, para que los trabajadores inmigrantes que trabajan en muchas industrias importantes en nuestra nación puedan entrar al país de forma legal, segura y ordenada.
4. Restaurar el derecho de los inmigrantes a defender su caso ante una corte legal, mediante la restauración de las protecciones legales que fueron eliminadas en la legislación de 1996.
5. Trabajar con los países vecinos y la comunidad internacional para abordar las causas que originan la emigración, para que los inmigrantes y sus familias puedan permanecer, ultimadamente, en sus países de origen y sostener a sus familias con dignidad.
Aunque reconoció que la inmigración tiene aspectos económicos, sociales y legales que deben ser abordados en cualquier reforma legislativa, el Cardenal McCarrick afirmó que, desde la perspectiva de la enseñanza social Católica, la inmigración es un tema fundamentalmente humanitario.
“Desde nuestro punto de vista, nuestras leyes de inmigración deben ser juzgadas por la manera en la cual afectan a la dignidad fundamental y los derechos humanos otorgados por Dios a cada persona”, dijo el Cardenal McCarrick.
El cardenal también instó a los senadores a mantener el civismo en el debate y a evitar caer en la trampa de la “descalificación y deshumanización de nuestros hermanos y hermanas” ni tampoco convertirlos en “chivos expiatorios por problemas económicos y sociales a los que nos enfrentamos y que nada tienen que ver con ellos”.
El Cardenal McCarrick afirmó que la Iglesia Católica está lista para ayudar a los legisladores en su esfuerzo por “guiar a la nación hacia un sistema de inmigración justo y humano que restaure el imperio de la ley y respete la dignidad inherente en cada persona humana”.
At Kennedy burial, notes to and from pope
Aug 29, 2009
One last surprise from the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy: at his burial service in Washington tonight, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick read excerpts from the exchange of letters between the dying senator and the Vatican.
At Kennedy burial, notes to and from pope
The Boston Globe
Posted by Michael Paulson August 29, 2009 09:07 PM
One last surprise from the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy: at his burial service in Washington tonight, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick read excerpts from the exchange of letters between the dying senator and the Vatican. The letters are extremely revealing, both of the importance of Catholic faith and the Catholic church to Kennedy, and of the pastoral response from the pope even to a politician with whom the church had serious disagreements.
Here is the text of Cardinal McCarrick's remarks:
May I, for a moment, be the voice of so many, all around the nation and indeed all over the world, as we pay a final tribute to Senator Edward Kennedy and offer our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vicki, to his children, and to all the Kennedy family . On learning of his death last Wednesday morning, tributes to his half-century of leadership in American life and politics came from all over the globe. May I offer my own again.
They called him, 'The Lion of the Senate," and indeed that is what he was. His roar, and his zeal for what he believed, made a difference in our nation’s life. Sometimes, of course, we who were his friends and had affection for him would get mad at him when he roared at what we believed was the wrong side of an issue, but we always knew, and were always touched by his passion for the underdog, for the rights of working people, for better education, for adequate health care for every American. His legacy will surely place him among the dozen or so greats in the history of the Senate of the United States.
Shortly before he died, Senator Kennedy wrote a very moving letter to the Holy Father, and took advantage of the historic visit to the Vatican of President Obama to ask the President if he would deliver it personally, which Mr. Obama gladly did. A couple of weeks later, the pope replied with a fatherly message of concern for the senator’s illness, and a prayer for his progress.
When Vicki and I and others began to talk about the organization of this brief service, the happy thought emerged of using part of these two letters to commemorate the faith of Ted Kennedy, and the warm and paternal spirit of Pope Benedict XVI. I want to quote from that letter. It begins:
"Most Holy Father, I asked President Obama to personally hand deliver this letter to you. As a man of deep faith himself, he understands how important my Roman Catholic faith is to me, and I am so deeply grateful to him.
"I hope this letter finds you in good health. I pray that you have all of God’s blessings as you lead our Church and inspire our world during these challenging times.
"I am writing with deep humility to ask that you pray for me as my own health declines. I was diagnosed with brain cancer more than a year ago, and although I continue treatment, the disease is taking its toll on me. I am 77 years old, and preparing for the next passage of life.
"I have been blessed to be a part of a wonderful family, and both of my parents, particularly my mother, kept our Catholic faith at the center of our lives. That gift of faith has sustained, and nurtured, and provided solace to me in the darkest hours. I know that I have been an imperfect human being, but with the help of my faith, I have tried to right my path.
"I want you to know, Your Holiness, that in my nearly 50 years of elective office, I have done my best to champion the rights of the poor, and open doors of economic opportunity. I’ve worked to welcome the immigrant, to fight discrimination and expand access to health care and education. I have opposed the death penalty and fought to end war. Those are the issues that have motivated me and have been the focus of my work as a United States Senator.
"I also want you to know that, even though I am ill, I am committed to do everything I can to achieve access to health care for everyone in my country. This has been the political cause of my life. I believe in a conscience protection for Catholics in the health field and I will continue to advocate for it as my colleagues in the Senate and I work to develop an overall national health policy that guarantees health care for everyone.
"I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness, and though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings of my faith. I continue to pray for God’s blessings, on you and our church, and would be most thankful for your prayers for me."
Two weeks later, the reply came back from the Vatican, and in part, it read as follows:
"The Holy Father has read the letter which you entrusted to President Obama, who kindly presented it to him during their recent meeting. He was saddened to know of your illness, and asked me to assure you of his concern and his spiritual closeness. He is particularly grateful for your promise of prayers for him, and for the needs of our universal church.
"His Holiness prays that in the days ahead you may be sustained in faith and hope, and granted the precious grace of joyful surrender to the will of God, our merciful father. He invokes upon you the consolation and peace promised by the risen savior to all who share in his sufferings, and trust in his promise of eternal life.
"Commending you and the members of your family to the loving intervention of the blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Father cordially imparts his apostolic blessing as a pledge of wisdom, comfort and strength in the Lord."
That's the end of the quotation.
With the prayers of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, added to our own prayers, we entrust the body of Edward Moore Kennedy, Senator Ted, to his resting place, until the Lord calls us forth, until the end of time. Amen.
Priesthood is 'an enormous gift', says cardinal
Jun 29, 2009
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- "Priesthood is such an enormous gift and we need to rejoice in it every day and renew it every day," said Cardinal Theodore McCarrick on June 19.
"There is no sacrament, I think, more filled with love as the sacrament we took when we became priests," the retired archbishop of Washington said in his homily during a special Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception to mark the beginning of the Year for Priests.
Pope Benedict XVI announced the church's yearlong focus in March in an effort to further appreciation and support for priests around the world.
Lasting almost 80 minutes, the Mass at the shrine in Washington was planned to occur simultaneously with a Mass Pope Benedict XVI celebrated at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome to open the year.
Thirty-one priests concelebrated the Mass with Cardinal McCarrick at the shrine.
In his homily the cardinal stressed the importance of keeping a constant focus on love of God's gifts to his believers and maintaining a steadfast interest in self-improvement.
"Priesthood is in all of us whether we are ordained into the priesthood or have been baptized into it," Cardinal McCarrick said.
After a request for continued and increased prayers for priests over the coming year, the congregation filled the basilica's Crypt Church with enthusiastic applause. Almost 400 worshippers participated in saying a special prayer for priests at the conclusion of the Mass.
For Cardinal McCarrick there is nothing new in striving for self-improvement. "I hope I will learn to pray better and be kinder but you have that every day anyway, there's nothing new in that," he added.
He said he hopes all priests will take this year to learn the value and the gift of being a good priest.
One priest, Father James Steffes, took the service and homily to heart, literally. He told Catholic News Service this will be a year for him to become "a perfect lover of God" and of others.
Father Steffes is executive director of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.
The priest said he is encouraged by the purpose of the year and by the Mass.
He said he will use this year to continue to "celebrate the life that God has chosen for me and respond to his call to be a lover."
Cardenal Theodore McCarrick: una vida dedicada a los demás
Jun 05, 2008
Celebró 50º aniversario de ordenación.
(El Pregonero, 6/5/2008) El cardenal Theodore McCarrick, arzobispo emérito de Washington, celebró su 50º aniversario de ordenación sacerdotal el sábado pasado con una emotiva misa de agradecimiento en la Basílica del Santuario Nacional de la Inmaculada Concepción de Washington.
Al principio de la ceremonia religiosa, el nuncio apostólico en los Estados Unidos, Monseñor Pietro Sambi, leyó el mensaje del Santo Padre, Benedicto XVI, para el cardenal homenajeado ante la presencia de cardenales, arzobispos, obispos, sacerdotes y diáconos invitados y público en general.
"En esta feliz ocasión, expreso mi gratitud por el devoto servicio al Señor y su Iglesia, el cual marcó tu ministerio en tu nativa arquidiócesis de Nueva York y Puerto Rico, luego como el primer obispo de Metuchen y finalmente como arzobispo de Newark y cardenal arzobispo de Washington."
A través de su emisario, el Papa envió un cordial saludo e impartió su bendición apostólica a la vez que reconoció las muchas gracias con las que McCarrick ha sido bendito durante cinco décadas como sacerdote y la particular preocupación que ha mostrado siempre por los pobres y las necesidades del pueblo de Dios en el mundo.
El arzobispo de Washington Donald Wuerl destacó en su homilía dos elementos claves que caracterizaron las cinco décadas del cardenal McCarrick como pastor: amor y fe. "Ha mantenido una muy apretada agenda al servicio de los demás."
Su sucesor en la arquidiócesis lo considera 'un maravilloso pastor', lleno de dones y preocupado por los demás.
Honrado por las muestras de afecto y con su característica humildad, el arzobispo emérito reconoció durante la misa su regocijo, dijo sentirse feliz y agradeció a los presentes.
Al concluir el servicio litúrgico, religiosos, amigos laicos y feligreses le colmaron de aplausos, especialmente en reconocimiento y agradecimiento por los cinco años al frente de la arquidiócesis capitalina.
Julio Blanco, de la Iglesia San Bartolomé de Bethesda, Maryland, quiso compartir la eucaristía con el pastor que le ordenó diácono y sumarse a la fiesta de fe en los predios de la Universidad Católica."El cardenal McCarrick ha sido muy activo en su apostolado de dar de comer al hambriento y vestir al desnudo y sigue muy activo aquí y en el exterior por amor y dedicación a ese apostolado."
Su particular entrega y preocupación por los inmigrantes ha sido notable y así lo reconocen líderes de la Iglesia como Monseñor Kevin Farrell, obispo de Dallas, Texas.
"El cardenal McCarrick siempre ha tenido gran interés por la comunidad hispana y lo recuerdo preocupado por las diferentes comunidades de la arquidiócesis de Washington", comentó quien se desempeñó como obispo auxiliar en la capital.
Mons. Farrell destacó la habilidad lingüística del arzobispo emérito de comunicarse muy bien en español, lo cual le permitió un acercamiento a los hispanos. "Se preocupaba por el trabajo de los sacerdotes, se dedicaba a hablarles y ayudar a las personas de todas las comunidades."
El propio homenajeado bien reconoció su afinidad y amor por los inmigrantes durante una breve entrevista el día de la celebración. "En la Iglesia somos los campeones de los inmigrantes, porque todos somos inmigrantes y ésta es una nación de inmigrantes."
El cardenal reconoce que cada gobierno está en su derecho de establecer leyes, pero considera que deben ser leyes abiertas a los inmigrantes.
Al ser consultado sobre sus aportes hechos a la comunidad hispana, sólo atinó a decir que 'espera seguir haciéndolo'...
El cardenal McCarrick nació el 7 de julio de 1930 y fue ordenado sacerdote el 31 de mayo de 1958. Se desempeñó como arzobispo de la ciudad de Newark, New Jersey, y obispo auxiliar de Nueva York antes de ser transferido a Washington.
Comenzó su trabajo pastoral en esta capital el 21 de noviembre del 2001, fue ordenado cardenal en el 2001 y pasó a retiro en el año 2006.
May 31, 2008
This afternoon, 50 years to the day of his priestly ordination, Washington's Cardinal Theodore McCarrick will mark the milestone with a public Mass in DC's Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Whispers in the Loggia, Saturday, May 31, 2008
This afternoon, 50 years to the day of his priestly ordination, Washington's Cardinal Theodore McCarrick will mark the milestone with a public Mass in DC's Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
If the record's any indicator, the man is one of the most-accomplished Stateside prelates of the post-Conciliar era -- his tour of duty's seen him serve as secretary to the Cardinal-Archbishop of New York, dean of students at CUA and president of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico, auxiliary bishop of his hometown, founding ordinary of Metuchen, archbishop first of Newark, then in the nation's capital, always doubling up his plate with a boatload of other commitments, as if the day jobs alone weren't demanding enough.
But whether his audience has been heads of state or disaster victims on the road, grade-schoolers or Tim Russert at home, those who know him well and admired him from afar have always cited the cardinal's sense of simplicity and modesty -- the famous homespun kindness -- as his defining quality. Along the way, it raised untold millions for the help the church, the neediest and the common good, earned widespread affection, esteem and credibility in the public square... and, of course, brought the Pope to New Jersey... and Our Lady of Kazan to the Vatican.
Needless to say, the heights have been quite high. For most others, they'd be dizzying. But not even these could keep the prelate known to everyone from reporters to donors to his aides as "Uncle Ted" from keeping close to the ground, still buying his jackets from a Hertz Rent-a-Car closeout sale (the company's patches still sewn in the liner), shirking the French cuffs in favor of his beloved tab shirt and sweater-vest, heading out on the first plane to be present for victims of natural disasters the world over with help and consolation, or even -- as his confreres went into lockdown mode over the first waves of the abuse crisis -- pulling a couple dusty folding chairs off a stack to sit down with a reporter and talk frankly about the scandals on-record.
He's allegedly been "retired" these last two years, but for the Ted, that just means he's been freed to take on his longtime moonlighting gigs -- diplomat, humanitarian, fund-raiser, policy-wonk, pilgrim -- full-time.
Asking after the cardinal's schedule shortly after his return from a week in Greenland a couple months back, a friend heard him rattling off commitments: a Red Mass in New Hampshire, two weeks in India and Nepal, a stop in Rome on the way home. But still, he knew he couldn't miss Monday morning at the USCCB plenary, the time when the body's "seniores" -- the retired bishops -- are traditionally introduced.
"If you miss that," he said, "they think you're dead."
They'd make an exception in his case, but he made it anyway. And, sure enough, a couple minutes into the coffee break, he was on the road again.
The Canons say that, both collectively and individually, the cardinals are "especially" entrusted with "the daily care of the universal church." And, well, you'd be hard-pressed to find another among the bunch who takes the charge as seriously as the seaman's son who never knew his Dad; the slight, unimposing figure whose embrace over a half-century ended up spanning the globe.
As his global family gathers 'round in the capital, the jubliarian reminisced in the pages of DC's Catholic Standard:
The cardinal speaks in family terms of the man he asked to preach at his anniversary Mass, his successor leading the Archdiocese of Washington, Archbishop Donald Wuerl. "He's been a very gracious brother," he said.
And joining Cardinal McCarrick at the Mass will be many men that he calls his "sons" - the priests and bishops he has ordained over the years and remains close with. Since being ordained a bishop 31 years ago, he has ordained more than 320 priests and 12 bishops.
"One of the reasons the Lord has blessed us with vocations is, we all realize we're a family," he said, adding that he always tried to get to know each of his seminarians personally before he ordained them.
Fifty years later, he can smile about his own ordination day, but it wasn't so funny back in May 1958. "A disaster happened at the seminary the day before," he said, remembering that about one-half of the 32 men about to be ordained priests for the Archdiocese of New York fell deathly ill the day before, probably from food poisoning. The night prayers of the men about to be ordained took on special meaning, as the sound of ambulances could be heard at the seminary during the night.
"I was fine, thank God! Of the 32 to be ordained, some looked like death warmed over. Everybody got through," Cardinal McCarrick remembered, adding, "I was afraid when they prostrated (during the ordination), they wouldn't get up." The men were ordained that day by New York Cardinal Francis Spellman.
Humorous memories aside, moments from his ordination and the subsequent ordinations he presided at remain special to him.
He remembers at his ordination when his name was called, and he responded in Latin, "Ad sum."
"You say, 'here I am,' 'ad sum.' Now they say, 'present.' That's the real call. That's the vocation. I'm here to serve, to do whatever. That's a special moment (in the ceremony)," he said.
Lying prostrate reminds the man about to be ordained a priest that he is giving himself totally to the Lord, Cardinal McCarrick said. "I'm here because I want to give you (God) everything."
A famous prayer from St. Ignatius of Loyola remains among his favorites:
"Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
"You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
"Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace.
That is enough for me."
Interviewed recently at Redemptoris Mater, the mission seminary in Hyattsville that he established for the Archdiocese of Washington and where he lives in his retirement, Cardinal McCarrick said he experiences God's love every day. "I'm amazed at the goodness of God, the mercy of God. Here I am, 50 years a priest."
After his ordination, he dreamed of being a parish priest, but God had other plans for him, he said. "In 50 years (since) I've been ordained, I've only had two years of parish work," he said. As a young priest, he even turned down a Rome assignment, because he thought it would take him from parish work. "There's an old saying, 'If you want to make God smile, make plans!'"...
The cardinal said his greatest surprise in his 50 years as a priest has been to see "how good God is. A priest is able to see the goodness of God in awesome ways."
When he retired in the summer of 2006, Cardinal McCarrick said he prayed that he could continue to do three things:
¥ to work for peace in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, where he continues to visit four or five times a year, working with religious leaders in that effort;
¥ to help with dialogue between Islam and the Catholic Church, which he said is "so important for peace in the world, and for the future of the world;"
¥ and to continue to serve the poor, work that he continues as a board member for Catholic Relief Services, traveling around the world on that agency's behalf. "The poor have been such extraordinary examples in my life," he said, noting he experienced the poor as a young bishop in Harlem and he witnesses the plight of immigrant families today as a retired archbishop. "These are people so close to the Lord," he said of the poor.
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick Commencement Address
May 24, 2008
Father President, Your Excellency, Bishop D’Arcy, my dear brother priests, my dear Brothers and Sisters in Consecrated Life, members of the faculty and administration, my dear fellow graduates of the Class of 2008 and, in a special way, your mothers and fathers and your families. I want to say that the valedictorian really set the bar very high for the rest of us this afternoon.
University of Notre Dame, News and Information Office
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick Commencement Address
By: Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick
Date: May 18, 2008
Father President, Your Excellency, Bishop D’Arcy, my dear brother priests, my dear Brothers and Sisters in Consecrated Life, members of the faculty and administration, my dear fellow graduates of the Class of 2008 and, in a special way, your mothers and fathers and your families. I want to say that the valedictorian really set the bar very high for the rest of us this afternoon.
First of all, may I greet my dear brother and friend, Bishop John D’Arcy. The Bishop has been a wonderful, thoughtful and courageous servant of the Church, especially here in Indiana, for so many years. He has also been a great and loyal friend of Notre Dame. It was at his encouragement that I accepted the awesome privilege of talking to you all today, a task which I approach with deep recognition of the honor and the responsibility of trying to say something that will truly be meaningful and not just for today, but for your future.
On that note, I want to mention that I had heard that a number of my fellow graduates had hoped that the famous Bono might be our commencement speaker. Now as a friend of Bono, I also thought that would be a good idea, and so I did the next best thing. I called him and I told him about our graduation and I asked him to give me a thought that I might share with you. I told him it could be serious or funny. His serious thought was very powerful. For me it was like a short meditation.
He asked me to tell you to choose your enemies carefully, because you will be defined by that choice. He suggested that often times, our enemies are within us, and he volunteers that his enemy had been indifference. I answered for all of us that he had certainly conquered that enemy, and that his extraordinary commitment to the poor and the sufferings of the world, especially the underdeveloped nations of Africa, was a great testimony to the victory. I just thought I would share with you this powerful message today and at the same time, to give you his regards.
I want also to greet our Laetare Medalist, President Josiah Bart– … I mean, Martin Sheen, who in so many ways has been a great example to every one of us. I suspect there may be a number of write-in ballots to return him to the West Wing next November.
Truly, it is really an honor and a privilege for me to be giving this talk. I know that I join an extraordinary group of distinguished Americans and citizens of the world who have stood before a graduating class of Notre Dame over the years. I realize that I am very much out of place among them, but I join them with great recognition of the honor which you do me today, which I have in speaking to you.
I want to offer my joyful congratulations to all of you as you achieve this great milestone in your life. To graduate from the University of Notre Dame is an honor and a distinction that will be with you for the rest of your lives. Allow me too, to congratulate your parents and your families and to thank them for the sacrifices which they have made to make it possible for you to come to this University. For them, there is a justifiable pride today as you graduate from Notre Dame.
Let me begin with a story. It’s a personal story, but hopefully it will give you a smile. Some weeks ago, I was visiting one of my nieces who has been blessed with a large number of children. In the course of a conversation with her six-year-old – very difficult to have a long conversation with a six year-old – but in the course of that conversation, I mentioned that I was going to receive an honorary degree from Notre Dame. The little guy said: “Notre Dame, WOW!” He said it so loudly that his mother came in from the kitchen and asked what that was all about. When I told her, she looked at me and smiled. And then she said, “WOW!” (As you see, we are a bit vocabulary-challenged in my family.) That is not the end of the story. When my 13-year-old nephew came home an hour later, his little brother told him immediately about the honorary degree. He got it right, although he pronounced it somewhat heroically. The teenager, on hearing the news, turned to his mother in disbelief and said in his high, subtly changing falsetto: “Uncle Ted, a degree from Notre Dame? REALLY!”
Two WOWS and a REALLY – and from three different age groups! What an enormous tribute to any institution. There is probably not a college in the nation that can do better than that. Let’s talk about why for a few minutes this afternoon, and reflect on the challenge and responsibility that comes from being that kind of a place in the hearts and minds of people.
For most people in our country, I would guess that Notre Dame is a combination of a number of great and wonderful things. It is an outstanding house of studies, a true educational powerhouse, a center of scientific and sociological research, a welcome harbor for reflection and spiritual values, a place where learning and athletic excellence tend to go hand in hand, an ever-developing think tank for the nation and for the world. Notre Dame, indeed, is all those things, but as a Catholic university it is more. My own Archbishop, Donald Wuerl, who has been a great grace to the Church in our country as a major Catholic educator and leader, spoke to a national educational association a few months ago in these words: “A Catholic university has the unique capacity to deal with and emphasize the spiritual dimension of human life. Revelation, religious conviction and faith enable the student and professor to carry our understanding of human existence beyond the natural and physically viable into the spiritual dimension needed for full and complete human life.”
Our own Professor Scott Appleby – you note that I say “our own” because I already feel that I am close to graduating – mentions that diversity is one of the great strengths of Catholic higher education. He speaks of different types of Catholic institutions, one of which might “urge retreat into a Catholic enclave walled with great books, others which would stress the centrality of a vibrant campus ministry and liturgical life. Still others, which would prioritize social outreach and justice and peace activism or awareness as the guarantor of Catholic identity.” But as we look at Notre Dame, it can claim all three of those models to mirror and so to represent what is best in Catholic higher education.
In a sense, Notre Dame faces an enormous challenge. It is not an ordinary university. It is not an ordinary Catholic university. Oftentimes, the fact of your singular prominence and your scholastic excellence in fields of study both classic and prophetic implies a greater responsibility. The world of academe has always understood that to those to whom more has been given, more may be required. In the world of Catholic universities, a leader must strive to be first not only in scholarship and in vision, but first in example and in the courageous witness to the truths which it holds and teaches.
That is true, I believe, not only of those who profess our faith or who are guided by our rule of life, but in a real sense true of all who sign on as crew or passengers on this exciting voyage on the high seas of university education.
Pope Benedict, just a month ago on his historic journey to our country, summed it up with eloquence and clarity: “First and foremost, every Catholic educational institution is a place to encounter the Living God Who, in Jesus Christ, reveals His transforming love and truth . . . in this way, those who meet Him are drawn by the very power of the Gospel to lead a new life characterized by all that is beautiful, good and true.” Notre Dame fits that description, and perhaps nowhere more than in the great spiritual and pastoral life it offers to its students.
And so, today is for me – your new and rather ancient classmate – a very great honor to sign on with you as you come to the glorious conclusion of this adventure, sailing these waves of higher education through calm seas and sometimes turbulent ones. I pray that this sail has been a happy one for you. It has, of course, not been without the challenges that taught you how to grow in your ability to stand fast as you learned to navigate the weaving decks of changing times and shifting currents, to gain a balance of your strengths and opportunities, and to seek the signs that are necessary to understand as you join the multitudes of other travelers along the paths that hopefully lead to the fulfillment of your dreams.
But we still need to discover what is it that Notre Dame deserves two WOWS and a REALLY. What do people look to see in the men and women of Notre Dame? Maybe another story will help. This past year has been a specially blessed one for Notre Dame. It was the year in which the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross was solemnly recognized by the Church as Blessed. Brilliant educator, zealous missionary, prudent leader and meticulous administrator, Blessed Basil Moreau made a difference in his own lifetime – and, through the Congregations he founded, in the lives of millions of men and women, just like you and me.
We should not be surprised if the kind of education we receive at Notre Dame bears the mark of Blessed Basil Moreau, so that if we look at him and his history, we may deepen our understanding of why the reputation of this University brings out the OHs and the AHs, the WOWS and the REALLYs of so many.
Born in 1799 and died in 1873, Father Moreau lived the challenging political and religious life of France in an age of vast and rapid change. The great blessing of Basil is that he never changed, he was always the same person, dedicated to education, especially dedicated to the education of the poor. A humble man, and yet a strong man. A man who could be direct, and a man who could be stubborn, but always a man who loved the Church, embraced the Holy Cross and loved his Congregation.
It was his extraordinary trust in God and his confidence in God’s help which allowed him to face challenge and difficulty, obstacle and disappointment. Blessed Basil found it most important that education be filled with hope. Constantly he would talk of his priests and brothers as those who have cause to be “men with hope to bring, those who could make God known, loved and served, for there is the promise we are called to live.” It is interesting that Pope Benedict when he came to America last month spoke clearly to this in a very similar way: “Catholic education is an outstanding apostolate of hope. To all of you I say bear witness to hope, account for the hope that characterizes your lives by living the truth which you propose to your students.”
The Pope is very clear about what real Catholic education is all about. He said, “Catholic identity is not dependent on statistics. Neither can it be equated simply with orthodoxy of course content. It demands and inspires much more: namely, that each and every aspect of your learning communities reverberate with the ecclesial light of faith.” Basil Moreau is not far behind him. Listen to his words: “Education in its proper sense implies the expansion and cultivation of all the faculties, mental and physical – the cultivation of the heart as well as the mind, and of these the formation and enrichment of the heart is undoubtedly the most important of the two.” He goes on to say the education of the heart and the development of a family spirit in each school at every level was what embodied the educational vision of Blessed Basil.
Yet it was not just the family spirit that ensummarized the educational vision of Blessed Basil. He wanted an institution that was excellent. He would suffer no compromise with excellence. That was a quest that every one of his schools should have and he is very clear about it. He was determined that his schools, the schools of the Congregation, be not only equal to and able to compete with the schools of the state, but that they accept in every form, in every field the challenge of being better. Here is a quote from Basil on education: “No one need fear that we shall confine our teaching within narrow and unscientific boundaries; no, we wish to accept science without prejudice and in a manner adapted to the needs of the times. But we shall always place education side by side with instruction, the mind will not be cultivated at the expense of the heart.”
In the quest for excellence in education, there can always be shades of opinion. The Holy Father spoke of them in his great homily at Yankee Stadium last month. Pope Benedict says, “Authority, obedience, to be frank, these are not easy words to speak nowadays. Words like these represent a stumbling block for many of our contemporaries, especially in a society which places a high value on freedom. But the Gospel teaches us that true freedom … is found only in the self-surrender which is part of the mystery of love. Only by losing ourselves, the Lord tells us, do we truly find ourselves.” Blessed Basil would have no trouble with that, believing it, teaching it and organizing his religious Congregation on the basis of those principles. He says in the preface to his book on Christian education a wonderful statement, “Society . . . needs people of virtue more than people of learning.” This comes from a man who was really an educator and determined to make sure that people learned, but he never lost his compass. He never lost the value system which was so important for his life and his work.
There is still another element that we can always see clearly in the reflection of Basil Moreau. We must be able to see this always as we look at Notre Dame and, indeed, as we look at ourselves as well. It is Basil’s dedication to the education of the poor. He writes to his brothers, “If at times you show preference to any young person it should be to the poor, to those who have no one else to show them preference, to those who have the least knowledge, to those who lack skills and talents and to those who are not Catholic or Christian.” He was determined to reach out to those who didn’t have the opportunities that he and others had, the grace, the chance, the gifts! The wonderful story when as a youth, he entered the seminary at Le Mans, his father walked with him the 50 miles of the journey, embraced him and walked back home again on foot. Basil knew what it was to be poor. He would never turn the poor away.
He also knew that the whole person is not just mind and body, but mind and body and soul. And therefore, this institution, so firmly founded in this family in the Church must never cease to give the clear signs that it has never lost its character as a place where the inspired teachings of its founder are revered and modeled and where the values of the Gospel are lived and proclaimed. I truly believe that it is on this foundation that all those WOWS and REALLYs are brought to life.
In an eloquent talk in Rome to the trustees of the University, Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, a member of the family of Moreau, speaks very clearly and beautifully. He asks the question, “Is there any other single Catholic school you know about that has at last count, 64 chapels where Mass is celebrated and the Eucharist is reserved? Is there any place on earth, except perhaps Lourdes and Rome, where Mary is more deeply and universally reverenced than at her school and at her campus?” Blessed Basil once wrote to his religious community, “An education that is complete is one in which the hearts and hands are engaged as much as the mind.” And that is certainly what he had in mind when he launched this great enterprise of Catholic education.
Shortly after his inauguration as President of the University, Father Jenkins convened a national task force on the future of Catholic schools in the United States. The teaching of Basil Moreau is echoed on every page of that document and initiatives, like Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education, are signs not just of the importance of Catholic education that is seen so clearly here, but a desire to be faithful to the teaching of Blessed Basil to give the poor the very best in education to break through the cycle of poverty and to proclaim the dignity of every human being. To that accomplishment we can proudly add the work of The Catholic Peacebuilding Network, to which Notre Dame has given a home, like the Kroc Institute, as well as many of the countless other initiatives, which have put Notre Dame in the forefront of initiatives for a better, a more just and humane and peaceful world.
I guess I give a lot of credit to Blessed Basil Moreau. I believe that his spirit is still present here in a special way. It is the spirit of a combative, zealous, brilliant and courageous man. His life is an adventure of faith, an adventure of generosity and what we say of Blessed Basil, we must be able to say of Notre Dame. This then is the challenge. Whatever your faith, whatever your background, whatever your talents, use them for others, build a better world, strive beyond your own abilities, reach beyond your grasp, make a difference. If a man whose long life was almost totally confined to a middle-sized city in the northwestern part of France could be responsible for the revolution in American Catholic education that Notre Dame has accomplished, and continues to accomplish, then you and I can accept no lesser challenge than that of making our globalized world more human and more humane, more committed to the protection of life and dignity, of peace and justice, of faith and love. It is because of this commitment that Notre Dame merits at least two WOWS and a REALLY and why you and I must live so that we deserve them, too.
May God bless you on your journey, dear friends, dear fellow graduates, and may angels go with you and keep you safe along the way.
Les Etats-Unis attendent le Pape Benoît XVI
Apr 10, 2008
Cité du Vatican, le 10 avril 2008 - E.S.M. - Le pape Benoît XVI se rendra aux Etats-Unis la semaine prochaine, 9 ans après la visite de Jean Paul II dans ce pays. Voici un extrait d'une interview du cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, archevêque émérite de Washington à paraître dans l’hebdomadaire Famille Chrétienne.
Le cardinal McCarrick analyse les contours de la voyage du pape Benoît XVI
Au cours de sa rencontre avec le président George W. Bush, le Saint-Père Benoît XVI devrait s’exprimer sur la politique internationale et sociale des Etats-Unis, a estimé le cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, archevêque émérite de Washington. Le cardinal McCarrick a aussi évoqué la "détermination" avec laquelle l’Eglise américaine a fait face aux affaires de pédophilie ainsi que le "recul de l’influence chrétienne" dans les domaines de la culture et des médias.
Voici les propos recueillis par Samuel Pruvot dans une interview à paraître le 12 avril 2008 dans l’hebdomadaire français Famille Chrétienne.
Q.: Benoît XVI est-il populaire outre-Atlantique ?
Cardinal McCarrick: Les Américains sont très curieux de le découvrir. Dans le passé, le contact avec Jean Paul II a été très fort, au point que certains fidèles se sont interrogés à l’arrivée de Joseph Ratzinger. Redoutaient-ils une avalanche d’interdits ? Ils ont eu droit à une Encyclique sur l’amour de Dieu et la charité fraternelle ! Pour eux, le gardien de la foi est devenu un véritable père. C’est pourquoi les catholiques américains sont bienveillants vis-à-vis de Benoît XVI et impatients de l’entendre.
Q.: Que pourrait-il sortir de la rencontre entre le pape et le président Bush ?
Cardinal McCarrick: Le pape sera heureux de rencontrer officiellement le président Bush à la Maison blanche. Benoît XVI encouragera sans doute certains points de sa politique, mais il en pointera d’autres. Le pape devrait encourager le président à poursuivre ses récents efforts de médiation en Terre Sainte. On sait par ailleurs qu’il apprécie ses positions fermes sur l’avortement. Mais il existe d’autres sujets plus délicats. Je pense évidemment à la guerre en Irak mais aussi aux carences de la politique nationale en matière de santé ou d’immigration.
Q.: La sécularisation est-elle en marche outre-Atlantique ?
Cardinal McCarrick: Le pape est plus conscient que nous de ses ravages ! Il connaît parfaitement les situations locales, grâce aux visites ad limina des évêques. Le recul de l’influence chrétienne se fait durement sentir dans la culture et les médias, il faut avoir le courage de le dire. Depuis les années 60, les Américains n’ont pas réussi à surmonter les affres de la révolution sexuelle.
Q.: L’image de l’Eglise n’est-elle pas très affectée à cause des affaires de pédophilie ?
Cardinal McCarrick: Le traumatisme est toujours grand, mais l’Eglise n’a pas éludé ses responsabilités. Elle a même fait preuve de beaucoup de détermination. Au sein de la société, elle s’est réveillée la première. Plus que n’importe quelle organisation, elle a pris la mesure du problème et les moyens d’enrayer ce mal. Les nouveaux cas de pédophilie sont rares. Mais il faut payer les conséquences de scandales qui remontent parfois jusqu’à quarante ans.
Q.: Les primaires américaines vont-elles peser sur cette visite ?
Cardinal McCarrick: La visite du pape n’a rien à voir avec le calendrier des primaires ! Elle doit plutôt se comprendre en fonction de son message aux Nations Unies. Benoît XVI a voulu profiter de cette magnifique opportunité. Pour revenir aux primaires, le vote des catholiques n’est pas d’un seul bloc aux Etats-Unis. Il faut nuancer. Bien entendu, ils sont très sensibles à la défense des vies innocentes. Les évêques américains ont d’ailleurs placé ce critère en tête, dans un document destiné à éclairer la conscience des citoyens. Défendre la vie, la famille et le mariage demeure pour nous un devoir incontournable, dans la vie privée et publique.
Q.: Quel sera le message du pape à l’Onu ?
Cardinal McCarrick: Depuis la tribune des Nations Unies, Benoît XVI s’adressera au monde entier. Il pourrait lancer un appel en faveur de la paix, particulièrement en Terre Sainte. On connaît son attachement pour la liberté religieuse, cela est capital pour les chrétiens qui vivent en milieu musulman. Benoît XVI a été très affecté par la mort de l’évêque de Mossoul, en Irak. Le sort des pauvres sur la planète le préoccupe aussi beaucoup, dans la droite ligne de sa première Encyclique. Il ne faudrait pas oublier les questions d’environnement. J’ai été son envoyé au Groenland, lors d’une rencontre œcuménique avec le patriarche Bartholomé.
Q.: Les catholiques sont-ils influents sur la côte Est ?
Cardinal McCarrick: Benoît XVI vient célébrer le 200e anniversaire du diocèse de Baltimore qui fut fondé en 1808. Cela paraît très ancien pour un Américain ! A l’origine, la population de la côte Est était majoritairement protestante. La situation a changé au 19e siècle avec l’implantation d’une première vague d’immigrés catholiques à New York, Boston ou Philadelphie. L’intégration s’est poursuivie et l’élection de Kennedy a constitué un formidable symbole. Le phénomène continue avec l’immigration d’origine hispanique.
Former Catholic Cardinal, Pro-Abortion Group Blast Communion Denial Quote
Oct 16, 2007
A former Catholic cardinal and a leading pro-abortion "Catholic" group have blasted comments by St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke who said he would deny communion to Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani because of his position favoring abortion.
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com, October 15, 2007) -- Earlier this month, Burke said he would deny communion to Giuliani.
"If the question is about a Catholic who is publicly espousing positions contrary to the moral law, and I know that person knows it, yes I would [deny communion]," Burke told the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
He said anyone who administers Catholic communion can't knowingly give it to Catholic politicians who flout the Church's teachings on abortion.
"It is a cause of concern for me and for all bishops to find ourselves in this situation," Burke said.
Former Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick restated his opposition to Burke's position to withhold communion from pro-abortion politicians.
McCarrick said the Catholic Church shouldn't be denying communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians because no elected official will ever perfectly fall in line with every policy position the Church takes.
In an interview with the Associated Press over the weekend he also said the church's positions on abortion and other issues such as euthanasia and the death penalty are base teachings, but do not fully encompass all Catholic beliefs.
"You cannot be authentically Catholic if you do not support life, yet it is not enough just to support life, you have to go beyond that," McCarrick said.
"To really be authentically Catholic, you need it and the family rights, the right to education, the right to take care of the poor, the right of migrants," he added.
Meanwhile, Jon O'Brien, the head of the pro-abortion group calling itself "Catholics for a Free Choice" said communion decisions shouldn't be based on abortion.
"In Catholicism, once you are baptized, you are authentically Catholic. We don't have a litmus test that people take," he told the Associated Press.
After Burke's comments, Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, was in New Hampshire campaigning and he avoided answering the comments directly.
"Archbishops have a right to their opinion, you know," Giuliani said. "There's freedom of religion in this country. There's no established religion, and archbishops have a right to their opinion. Everybody has a right to their opinion."
US cardinal: Catholic church must speak louder against abortion
Oct 12, 2007
The retired archbishop of Washington said Thursday that the prospect of both major party presidential candidates favoring abortion rights is evidence the Catholic Church must more forcefully preach on the issue.
(The Associated Press, October 11, 2007) MIAMI GARDENS, Florida: Cardinal Theodore McCarrick called for persuading pro-choice Catholic politicians rather than refusing them communion, as another high-profile prelate, Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis, has advocated.
"I very much respect his position," McCarrick said in an interview with The Associated Press at St. Thomas University here. "It's not mine."
The communion issue gained attention during the 2004 presidential campaign, when Democratic Sen. John Kerry, a Catholic who supports abortion rights, sought the White House. Burke said he would deny the Eucharist to the Massachusetts senator.
The issue came up again last week as the 2008 campaign heated up. Burke did not name names, but it appeared he was focusing on Republican candidate Rudy Giuliani, who is pro-choice and Catholic.
Regardless, McCarrick said no candidate would fall fully in line with church teaching, leaving Catholics to examine their consciences to make their choice. He said abortion and other right-to-life issues such as euthanasia and the death penalty were bedrock teachings, but do not fully encompass Catholic beliefs.
"You cannot be authentically Catholic if you do not support life, yet it is not enough just to support life, you have to go beyond that," the cardinal said. "To really be authentically Catholic, you need it and the family rights, the right to education, the right to take care of the poor, the right of migrants."
Jon O'Brien, the president of Catholics for a Free Choice, which supports abortion rights and contraception, rejected the cardinal's comments on abortion.
"McCarrick got it wrong," O'Brien said. "In Catholicism, once you are baptized, you are authentically Catholic. We don't have a litmus test that people take."
Catholics make up one-quarter of the electorate in the United States, but surveys indicate that most do not choose candidates based on their position on abortion.
McCarrick, 77, stepped down from the Archdiocese of Washington last year, but he is still active in varied church issues and a member of the College of Cardinals. In the interview, he also said the U.S. must do more to accommodate Iraqi refugees, who have left that country by the millions, and expressed support for the politicians who invoke God on the campaign trail.
Il cardinale McCarrick al Simposio in Groenlandia
Sept 11, 2007
Tutte le religioni impegnate a salvare la bellezza del Creato.
(Radio Vaticana, 11/09/2007) Sono in rotta verso Narsaq, ultima tappa del loro viaggio in Groenlandia, gli oltre 150 partecipanti al simposio "Artico: specchio di vita". Il Patriarca Ecumenico di Costantinopoli Bartolomeo I ha salutato le autorità dell'isola a Nuuk, dove si trova anche l'unica chiesa cattolica di tutta la Groenlandia. Ce ne parla la nostra inviata, Giada Aquilino:
Una piccola comunità, stretta attorno a padre Paolo Marx, un missionario americano degli Oblati di Maria Immacolata che da Copenaghen - dove risiede - si sposta periodicamente a Nuuk, per assistere un centinaio di fedeli cattolici, provenienti anche dalle altre parti della Groenlandia. Stiamo parlando della parrocchia Cristo Re di Nuuk, la principale città dell'isola abitata da circa 13 mila abitanti, su una popolazione totale groenlandese di 56mila persone. Nella chiesetta del centro cittadino, ieri il cardinale Theodore McCarrick, inviato del Papa al simposio di Religione Scienza e Ambiente e unico porporato ad essere venuto in visita nella terra dei ghiacci, ha celebrato una Santa Messa in forma privata. Un tributo in più alla regione Artica, che in questi giorni ha accolto calorosamente il Patriarca Ecumenico di Costantinopoli, Bartolomeo I, e gli altri esponenti religiosi che, assieme a studiosi, politici e giornalisti, lo accompagnano. Proprio l'emergenza sullo scioglimento dei ghiacci, rilanciata nelle ultime ore anche da un nuovo allarme degli scienziati anticipato dalla stampa statunitense, è stata ricordata dal Patriarca Bartolomeo, nel suo incontro con le autorità a Nuuk. Un innalzamento delle acque - ha ricordato - si ripercuoterebbe in altre parti del mondo, con conseguenze disastrose "per piccole isole tropicali e grandi città, come New York o Shangai, che potrebbero essere inondate". E ancora una preghiera per la salvaguardia del Creato caratterizzerà la giornata di domani, quando il Patriarca Bartolomeo I presiederà nei pressi di Narsaq una liturgia bizantina nella Tjodhilde's Church, di epoca vichinga. (Dalla Groenlandia, Giada Aquilino, Radio Vaticana)
Ma su questo impegno di tutte le religioni per la salvaguardia dell’ambiente ascoltiamo, al microfono di Giada Aquilino, l'inviato del Papa in Groenlandia, il cardinale Theodore McCarrick:
R. – Tutti noi che rappresentiamo tutte le religioni del mondo – o meglio quasi tutte, perché siamo qui presenti rappresentanti di molte religioni del mondo – possiamo vedere in questo luogo un luogo santo, perché questa è opera di Dio, il Signore ci ha dato questo mondo, questa bellezza, che ha una straordinaria importanza per la salute del mondo intero. Stando qui noi possiamo dire grazie a Dio per questo mondo, grazie per questo luogo, grazie per l’opportunità di vivere e di abitare questi luoghi, perché questa è casa Sua. Ma sappiamo anche che è necessario fare qualcosa per far continuare la grandezza del mondo, la bellezza del mondo, la santità del mondo. Noi siamo qui per dire che siamo una famiglia e che dobbiamo tutelare la casa della famiglia.
D. – Quindi l’ambiente può essere veicolo del dialogo ecumenico ed interreligioso?
R. – Credo di sì e questo perché le religioni del mondo hanno la stessa preoccupazione. Noi possiamo vedere questa bellezza, ma possiamo anche vedere, purtroppo, che tutto questo si sta distruggendo. Credo che noi dobbiamo partecipare ed unirci per riuscire a fare in questo momento qualcosa di buono per il futuro del mondo e per le generazioni future.
U.S. must do more to aid Iraqi refugees, prelates tell U.S. state secretary
Jul 31, 2007
Just back from a trip to the Middle East, a U.S. cardinal and a bishop are pressing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to do more to help Iraqi refugees.
WASHINGTON (CNS, 30/07/07) – Just back from a trip to the Middle East, a U.S. cardinal and a bishop are pressing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to do more to help Iraqi refugees.
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, N.Y., urged Rice in a July 26 letter to do more to resettle Iraqi refugees in the United States and to provide additional financial, medical and other types of support for refugees in other countries.
"It was clear that the countries we visited are in dire need of additional support from the United States and the international community in order to provide safe haven to the almost 2 million Iraqi refugees in the region," their letter said.
Cardinal McCarrick and Bishop DiMarzio, both board members of Catholic Relief Services and both consultants to the bishops' Committee on Migration, recently toured refugee settlements in Turkey, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon with a delegation from the International Catholic Migration Commission and CRS.
"Without a heightened commitment from our nation and others, we are fearful that these countries will no longer welcome and protect these refugees," their letter to Rice said, "particularly if the security situation in Iraq deteriorates and more Iraqis flee their homes."
They said the countries lack sufficient funding to meet refugees' basic needs. Many families have spent their savings and are dependent upon the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, nongovernmental organizations and host governments to survive.
Cardinal McCarrick and Bishop DiMarzio said they found many people in need of medical care, as well as help dealing with severe psychological and emotional trauma.
"Children are particularly vulnerable," they said. Besides physical and psychological ailments, access to education remains a major problem. "The situation of children is made worse because many are compelled to work illegally in order to support their families."
The letter also asked Rice to do more to resettle Iraqi refugees in third countries, including the United States. Some refugees, particularly those who have worked with the U.S. government or contractors in Iraq have been targeted for retaliation and are unlikely to be able to return to their homeland, they said.
They said they were encouraged by the State Department's commitment to process 7,000 Iraqi refugees for admission to United States by the end of the 2007 fiscal year, but were disappointed in the few arrivals to date.
Anastasia Brown, interim director of Migration and Refugee Services for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that as of June 30, 133 Iraqi refugees had arrived in the United States. Another 1,270 had been approved for admission and about 2,050 were ready to be interviewed. The fiscal year ends Sept. 30.
"After our visit, we see that even the 7,000 refugee resettlement slots to which the United States has committed is insufficient to meet the need," said Cardinal McCarrick and Bishop DiMarzio. "We urge you to do all that you can to ensure that you reach your initial processing goal of 7,000 as soon as possible and to increase significantly the number of arrivals for fiscal year 2008."
They said that as the leader of the coalition force in Iraq "the United States must show leadership with regard to Iraqi refugees."
"Without our leadership, it is unlikely that the international community will fill the void. We urge you to bring this critical need to the attention of the president and act as soon as possible to protect these vulnerable refugees," they said.
President Assad Reviews with Cardinal McCarrick and Bishop DiMarzio Situation in Region
Jul 12, 2007
President Bashar al-Assad reviewed on Thursday with Cardinal Theodore McCarrick Archbishop Emeritus of Washington and Catholic Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Brooklyn Diocese the strained situations in the Middle East.
DAMASCUS,(SANA, July 12, 2007) - President al-Assad underlined necessity of collaboration of efforts of the region's countries and the international community to solve the refugees issue due to its importance for the region's stability.
For their part, Cardinal MacCrrick and Bishop DiMarzio hailed Syria's efforts towards the Iraqi refugees on the Syrian lands.
During the meeting there was an assertion on the need to the continued communication and respect opinion and the other's opinion in addition to activation of dialogue among religions and cultures .
Confusion on communion for pro-choice politicians nothing new
May 14, 2007
By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
(ncrcafe.org, May 9 2007) São Paulo, Brazil - Confusion created today on the papal plane - after Pope Benedict XVI appeared to say that politicians who vote in favor of abortion rights should be considered excommunicated, only to have Vatican officials back away from that interpretation - is nothing new. Attempts to discern the mind of Joseph Ratzinger on this question have long been complicated.
During the 2004 presidential election in the United States, roughly 15 American bishops stated publicly that they would not administer communion to the Democratic candidate, U.S. Senator John Kerry, on the grounds that he is politically pro-choice. Several cited a 2003 "doctrinal note" from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, titled "On Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life," to support their position.
That document asserted that "no Catholic can appeal to the principle of pluralism or to the autonomy of lay involvement in political life to support policies affecting the common good which compromise or undermine fundamental ethical requirements."
As the debates over Kerry and communion gathered steam, many Catholics naturally cited Ratzinger as their authority for a restrictive position.
In mid-June 2004, Ratzinger sent a confidential letter on the issue to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the head of a task force of the U.S. bishops studying the question, and then-Bishop Wilton Gregory, at the time the president of the conference.
In a presentation to the June 14-19, 2004, meeting of the U.S. bishops, McCarrick characterized the Ratzinger letter as providing flexibility.
"I would emphasize that Cardinal Ratzinger clearly leaves to us as teachers, pastors and leaders whether to pursue this path" of denying Communion, McCarrick told the bishops. In part on the strength of that assurance, the American bishops voted 183 to 6 in favor of a statement titled entitled "Catholics in Political Life," which left to each individual bishop the decision of whether or not to give communion to pro-choice politicians.
On July 3, 2004, Italian Vatican writer Sandro Magister published the full text of Ratzinger's confidential letter to McCarrick and Gregory, titled "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion," which seemed to strike a much more firm line than McCarrick had suggested.
"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia," Ratzinger wrote.
"Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia," Ratzinger wrote, "when a person s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church's teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist."
"When these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible, and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it," Ratzinger continued, citing a ruling of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts regarding communion for Catholics who are divorced and civilly remarried with an annulment.
Based on those statements, some accused McCarrick of having deliberately misled the American bishops about Ratzinger's position.
The waters were further muddied just a few days later, on July 12, when the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released the text of another letter from Ratzinger to McCarrick, this one dated July 9. In it, Ratzinger thanks McCarrick for sending him the text of the statement adopted by the U.S. bishops at their June meeting.
The key line of that July 9 letter was the following: "The statement is very much in harmony with the general principles 'Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion,' sent as a fraternal service - to clarify the doctrine of the Church on this specific issue - in order to assist the American Bishops in their related discussion and determinations."
In other words, the Ratzinger of July 9 appeared to be endorsing the "softer" line pioneered by McCarrick and overwhelmingly endorsed by the American bishops.
The perplexing result is that for the last three years, both sides in the communion controversy have cited Ratzinger in favor of diametrically opposed positions. Today's developments on the papal plane seem certain to add more heat, if little new light, to this standoff.
Carefully studying the various statements that are now on the record, perhaps the best summary of Benedict XVI's position can be phrased as follows.
In the abstract, Benedict clearly seems to feel that a Catholic politician who knowingly and consistently supports legislation that expands access to abortion is in violation of church teaching, and thus should not receive communion. Moreover, the pope seems prepared to support bishops who apply this principle to specific cases; that was the premise of his answer to this morning's question about the Mexican bishops. (Even though Cardinal Norberto Rivera has said he has no intention of excommunicating anyone.)
Whether Benedict is ready to impose this position on bishops convinced of the wisdom of a different pastoral course in other cases, however, is the $64,000 question. His July 9 letter to McCarrick, endorsing the stance of the U.S. bishops, indicates that at least so far, he's not ready to take that step.
That may not be a fully satisfying position for anyone, but it seems the best summation of the pope's thinking based on the available evidence.
Have Confidence in Others
May 06, 2007
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick is the archbishop emeritus of Washington, D.C.
(americamagazine.org, May 7, 2007) Among all the words of congratulations that my classmates and I received in the numerous graduations of our lives, we were often told to have confidence in ourselves, to make a difference, to change the world and to be successful. That is always good advice, I guess, but as I look back at it, it usually left out something very important.
I wish we had been told that we must learn to work with other people and to have confidence in them as well.
There seems to be a tendency in graduation speakers—and I am guilty here as well—to concentrate on the individual graduate and his or her role in the world rather than to acknowledge that the vast majority of us are not called to be Lone Rangers but members of a team, a group, a family that can take the contributions of each one of us, be they remarkable or ordinary, and make them something special by joining them with those of others.
I wish more graduation speakers would talk to that essential key of our society. This can be a scary world and a lonely one if we are sent into it alone. It is good to be reminded that there is a great multitude of folks out there who are willing to lend a hand, to give a word of comfort, to show us how.
Of course, the new graduate should not go out into the world thinking that everyone is going to be a partner. A quick reality check reminds us that there are good people and some not so good out there. But in life we also meet many people who are ready to work with us, to help us do the really great things most of us can never do alone, even to start changing the world and making it better. And for believers, most of all, there is a God who loves us and whose grace will truly help us to do things we could never dream of doing by ourselves.
Pope will be a hit in Brazil
Apr 24, 2007
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a fluent Spanish speaker with deep ties to the church in Latin America, believes that Pope Benedict XVI will be a hit during his May 9-13 visit to Brazil for the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean.
(Apr 23, 2007, ncrcafe.org) Rome - “The Latins will be overwhelmed by the humility and the graciousness of the man,” McCarrick said in an April 21 interview at the North American College in Rome. “They’ll be so enamored that they’ll listen to him … at least that’s my dream.”
McCarrick predicted that the humility of Benedict will stand in stark contrast to the swagger and braggadocio that Latin Americans often associate with their political and economic leadership.
McCarrick, who stepped down as the cardinal of Washington, D.C. in May 2006, also predicted that Latin Americans will discover a pope who knows more about their local situation than they might expect from this quintessentially European figure.
“They will find he understands them better than they think he does,” McCarrick said. “They will be surprised by how well he understands them.”
McCarrick said that Benedict’s experience of meeting with bishops and other Catholics from Latin America for almost a quarter-century as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, along with his capacity for reading and absorbing material from different cultures in their original languages, will serve him well.
“He’s studied the world very carefully for the last 25 years,” McCarrick said, “and he comes to his role with great preparation.”
McCarrick said he believes Benedict XVI’s first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, embodies the right approach to reach Latin Americans.
“This is the land of the abrazo,” McCarrick said. “You have to talk to the heart, not just the head.” In that regard, he said, the pope’s discussion of human love in the encyclical expresses “the essence of Christianity.”
“More than any other place, Deus Caritas Est is made for Latin America,” McCarrick said.
McCarrick called Benedict’s decision to attend the meeting of bishops from Latin America and the Caribbean a “great grace” and a sign of “his love and pastoral care for the church in the part of the world.”
At the same time, McCarrick said that the task in front of the pope in Brazil is “not easy.”
The occasion for the trip is the fifth General Conference of CELAM, the Latin American Episcopal Conference, which brings together all the bishops of the region. McCarrick described this meeting as a critical crossroads for the body.
“What’s at stake is the future of CELAM as an instrument of growth and development of the church in Latin America,” he said, explaining that after the turbulence of the last thirty years, related in part to battles over liberation theology, CELAM now “has to confront a new series of challenges.”
First, McCarrick said, the bishops of the region find themselves for the first time facing a “growing secularism,” a new phenomenon in a continent which for centuries has been overwhelmingly Catholic, and which in recent decades has witnessed explosive growth in Pentecostal and Evangelical bodies.
“For the first time, some in Latin America are turning away from religion altogether, which is new,” McCarrick said, adding that he had in mind particularly legislative trends in some Latin American nations.
In part, McCarrick was referring to recent moves in Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador and Chile to loosen some restrictions on abortion. A similar debate is unfolding in Brazil, where Benedict XVI will visit.
Second, McCarrick cited as a challenge to CELAM the rise of what he called “new dictatorships” in Latin America, this time from the political left. He said he had in mind Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and other new Latin American rulers with ties to Chavez.
“In each case, these governments affect the church, which we see especially clearly in Venezuela,” McCarrick said. “How is CELAM going to deal with that?”
McCarrick said that in forging pastoral strategies, it’s important for CELAM to move beyond what he described as adversarial dynamics with Rome which critics saw in some forms of liberation theology.
“Without fidelity to the See of Peter, CELAM cannot do what it is capable of doing,” he said.
McCarrick described himself as a “supporter” of CELAM, against critics who argue that such a large regional body tends to swamp the contributions of individual bishops and national bishops’ conferences. But in order to strengthen CELAM, McCarrick said, the Latin American bishops need to accent their relationship with Rome.
“In many cases there have been misunderstandings, probably on both sides,” McCarrick said. “It’s important that we all speak with one voice, though not in the same language. What we need is one voice in many languages.”
Losses of Catholic population to Pentecostal movements, coupled with a severe priest shortage, have led some Latin American bishops and church leaders to call for greater lay empowerment. McCarrick said he concurs, but that proper formation of the laity is important.
“There has to be more lay involvement, which is fulfilling the desire of the Second Vatican Council,” he said. “The gospel isn’t written just for the priests, but for everybody.”
Yet, McCarrick acknowledged, “this is always a debatable thing in Latin America because of its past history,” referring to struggles over the lay role as understood by liberation theology, especially its advocacy of “base communities” – small groups of Catholics who meet for Bible study, prayer, and social action. Critics sometimes charged that the base communities were seen by liberation theologians as the nucleus of a “church from below,” set in opposition to the hierarchy.
“These groups did not always have the direction, leadership and formation they needed,” McCarrick said. “Formation has to be one of the great goals” of any move to promote lay involvement in the pastoral mission of the church, he said.
As a Catholic in the United States, McCarrick said, he feels a direct stake in the vicissitudes of the church in Latin America.
“We’d be foolish to think otherwise, just as the United States is politically foolish is we don’t work continually on our relations with Latin America,” he said. “Latin America should be our first neighbor. It’s right next door. On issues such as migration and cooperative economic development, we have huge shared interests.”
“As Catholics, we have to look to the local churches in Latin America, because we face much the same issues,” he said.
As for what he expects from the CELAM meeting, McCarrick cited a line from the text of the Mass for Sunday, April 22, which addresses a plea to God for “renewed youthfulness.”
“That’s what I pray will come,” he said.
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington named CSIS counselor
Mar 13, 2007
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
WASHINGTON, DC, March 5, 2007 –Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, has been named a Counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). In becoming a Counselor, Cardinal McCarrick joins former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, former U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills, former Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci, former Senator William E. Brock (R-TN), former Secretary of Defense Harold Brown, Ambassador Richard Fairbanks, former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, former Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA), former Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger, and former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft as one of the Center’s most distinguished global leaders and strategists.
Cardinal McCarrick Continues to Conceal Rome's Insistence that Pro-Abort Politicians Be Denied Communion
Oct 24, 2006
Failure to mention central contents of crucial Ratzinger letter seemingly habitual for McCarrick. Part 1.
CORNWALL, October 23, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Last week, recently-retired Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick delivered an address to the annual Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. McCarrick, who headed up the US Bishops Conference task force on Catholics in Political Life, spoke mainly of his experiences on the task force and of the central debate it explored - namely that of whether or not to deny Holy Communion to Catholic politicians who reject Church teachings on central issues such as abortion and euthanasia.
During the 2004 deliberation among US Bishops, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sent a letter to the US Bishops to use as a guide. The letter pointed out that obstinately pro-abortion Catholic politicians, after being duly instructed and warned, "must" be denied Communion.
In his 12-page address, however, McCarrick did not even provide the gist of Cardinal Ratzinger's letter which outlined in six successive points why communion "must" be denied in the specified cases. He did however speak about a bracketed afterthought at the bottom of Cardinal Ratzinger's letter which spoke of reception of communion for Catholics who vote for pro-abortion politicians.
The failure to mention the central contents of that Ratzinger letter entitled "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion. General Principles" is seemingly habitual for Cardinal McCarrick.
Although it was sent to the US Bishops via Cardinal McCarrick by Cardinal Ratzinger, the document was not revealed to the US Bishops. Rather McCarrick gave the impression that Cardinal Ratzinger's letter indicated Rome was ambiguous about the matter. Speaking of Ratzinger's letter in a June 15, 2003 statement to the US Bishops, Cardinal McCarrick said, "the Cardinal (Ratzinger) recognizes that there are circumstances in which Holy Communion may be denied."
A couple of weeks after Cardinal McCarrick's speech, the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger was leaked to well-known Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, who published the document in full. In a surprising move, Cardinal Ratzinger's office confirmed the leaked document as authentic.
In the days after the Ratzinger letter was leaked and confirmed as authentic, noted US theologian Michael Novak told the Washington Times that sources in Rome were perturbed by Cardinal McCarrick's soft-pedalling of the Ratzinger letter. "Some people in the Vatican were upset that McCarrick was putting on too kind a face on it," Novak told reporter Julia Duin.
Rather than a permissibility to deny communion, Ratzinger's letter spoke of cases where "the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone." It went on to explain that an obstinately pro-abortion Catholic politician who has been warned and instructed, if "the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it." (see the full letter from Cardinal Ratzinger: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/apr/050419a.html )
In interviews with Catholic writer Barbara Kralis, two US bishops said publicly that they were disappointed in not receiving the letter from McCarrick . Asked, "were the contents of the memo made known to you and the other bishops at the Denver meeting?" Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis replied, "It certainly was not made known to me and I do not believe it was given to the other bishops. Cardinal McCarrick referred to the memorandum. We were told that, according to Cardinal Ratzinger, the application of the Canon 915 was up to the prudent judgment of each bishop. The text of the memorandum would have been very helpful at the meeting in Denver. Knowing now about the memo, I am disappointed it was not given to us at the meeting of the Bishops' Conference."
Bishop Robert F. Vasa of Baker, Oregon also told Kralis the memo was not revealed, even to bishops on the task force. "As I recall, Cardinal McCarrick made reference to some letter, but I did not see a copy of the letter at the meeting. I don't know if the committee writing the 'Statement,' entitled 'Catholics in Political Life,' was given a copy of the letter," he said.
Reacting to the controversy, Cardinal McCarrick tried to downplay the significance of the Ratzinger letter. McCarrick said that the leaked Ratzinger letter "may represent an incomplete and partial leak of a private communication from Cardinal Ratzinger and it may not accurately reflect the full message I received." (see coverage: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2004/aug/04080603.html )
Some months earlier, Cardinal McCarrick was downplaying or even denying the statements of another Vatican Cardinal on the same topic.
In April 2004, the Vatican's leading prelate - second only to the Pope - on the Sacraments, Cardinal Francis Arinze, declared unequivocally that unambiguously pro-abortion politicians should be denied Holy Communion. Cardinal Arinze said such a politician "is not fit" to receive Communion. "If they should not receive, then they should not be given," he added.
Cardinal McCarrick reacted to Cardinal Arinze's statements by suggesting that Arinze did not really mean what he said. Speaking with the National Catholic Reporter, after Cardinal Arinze's statements were publicized, McCarrick said of Cardinal Arinze, "I don't think it was his eminence's official opinion . . . The cardinal's position . . . was that . . . the United States should figure out what they ought to do."
Since that time, Cardinal Arinze has so frequently been asked the question he has begun to joke about it. In a live interview on EWTN Cardinal Arinze was asked if pro-abortion politicians should be denied communion. He replied: "The answer is clear. If a person says I am in favour of killing unborn babies whether they be four thousand or five thousand, I have been in favour of killing them. I will be in favour of killing them tomorrow and next week and next year. So, unborn babies, too bad for you. I am in favour that you should be killed, then the person turn around and say I want to receive Holy Communion. Do you need any Cardinal from the Vatican to answer that? . . . "Simple, ask the children for First Communion, they'll give you the answer." (see coverage: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/nov/05111407.html )
Cardinal McCarrick and the Concealing of Rome's Position on Denying Communion
Oct 24, 2006
Whether intentional or not, the concealing of the Ratzinger document and the downplaying of seemingly clear statements from the Vatican has produced an atmosphere of controversy.
CORNWALL, October 24, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Faithful Catholics voiced their concerns over what they saw as outright deception. And from his remarks to the Canadian bishops, it seems Cardinal McCarrick is still smarting from the responses he received to this day.
The "Communion issue," Cardinal McCarrick told the Canadian bishops last Tuesday, "became ground zero in the struggle to identify 'the real Catholic Church' in the United States." A significant portion of his speech was devoted to the "attacks" bishops on either side of the debate received.
Without mentioning its name, Cardinal McCarrick singled out the largest Catholic pro-life group in the US, American Life League (ALL). "I was a target of some of this criticism. At first, it disturbed me when a full-page ad was taken out in a local newspaper attacking me," he said of an ALL ad campaign. He added: "A short time later, however, at the time of one of the USCCB general meetings, a full-page ad appeared attacking all of the Bishops of the United States for not uniformly denying Holy Communion. At that point I felt that I was in good company. Finally, the same groups publicly attacked me together with the then Cardinal Ratzinger, which made me even more convinced I was in good company!" (see the full address: http://www.cccb.ca/MediaReleases.htm?CD=542&ID=1881 )
In an interview with LifeSiteNews.com ALL President Judie Brown responded to Cardinal McCarrick's allegations. "His spin is very interesting because none of our ads have attacked him or any other bishop," said Brown. "We simply asked them and continue to repeatedly ask them to enforce canon law 915. That isn't an attack, that's their job, and asking a bishop or a cardinal to do their job is not an attack." Speaking of the ad which included Cardinal Ratzinger, Brown explained, "The ad that put him in the 'company' of Cardinal Ratzinger, simply asked a question of the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, which of these men is presenting the truth."
The document which the US Bishops task force headed by Cardinal McCarrick finally put out called Catholics in Political Life had some very good points and received praise from the pro-life community. (see coverage: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2004/jun/04062102.html ) The document also was acceptable to the Vatican and then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote the US Bishops Conference to note that the document was "very much in harmony" with his general principles.
The USCCB document never contravened Ratzinger's insistence that obstinately pro-abortion politicians after being duly instructed and warned "must" be denied communion.
On the question of Holy Communion, the USCCB document stated: "The question has been raised as to whether the denial of Holy Communion to some Catholics in political life is necessary because of their public support for abortion on demand. Given the wide range of circumstances involved in arriving at a prudential judgment on a matter of this seriousness, we recognize that such decisions rest with the individual bishop in accord with the established canonical and pastoral principles. Bishops can legitimately make different judgments on the most prudent course of pastoral action. Nevertheless, we all share an unequivocal commitment to protect human life and dignity and to preach the Gospel in difficult times."
Of critical importance in that passage is the stipulation that actions are undertaken by bishops "in accord with the established canonical" principles. The Catholic Church in its code of canon law sets out in canon 915 that "Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion."
Thus, with that stipulation in the USCCB document, it was "very much in harmony" with Cardinal Ratzinger's guidelines on 'Worthiness to Receive Communion'.
Cardinal McCarrick in his speech to the CCCB seems to have another interpretation.
"What was essential to me," he explained of the USCCB document, "was that whereas the Conference was clearly willing to respect the right of individual Bishops to make decisions in their areas, it also made clear - and the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger reinforced this - that a Bishop could not be accused of being unfaithful to his pastoral responsibility if he did not enforce a more restrictive policy."
In saying this, Cardinal McCarrick was referencing this specific line in the USCCB document: "Bishops can legitimately make different judgments on the most prudent course of pastoral action."
One interpretation of the USCCB document would see it as natural that Catholic bishops may legitimately take different judgements since they are dealing with different Catholic politicians. However, Cardinal McCarrick seems to suggest that bishops may take different actions dealing with the same cases, which would preclude criticizing a bishop who would opt not to deny communion even to the likes of John Kerry.
However, the latter interpretation is at odds with St. Louis Archbishop Burke who in an interview with Catholic writer Barbara Kralis was asked about that very question. Asked, "Does this mean that one Bishop can deny Senator John Kerry Holy Communion and another Bishop can give Kerry Communion and both Bishops are correct?," Archbishop Burke replied, "No, in fact, Canon 915 must be applied. It does not give an option. Canon 915 says that those persons who obstinately persist in grave manifest sin must be denied the Eucharist. I strongly believe that if a bishop has spoken to someone who obstinately persists in grave manifest sin and he still presents himself for Holy Communion, he should be refused."
Kralis persisted in questioning, "Can one bishop admit and another bishop not admit? Is this teaching clear? Is it not a contradiction of Canon 915, for one bishop to refuse John Kerry the Eucharist in one diocese and for another bishop to give John Kerry the Eucharist in another diocese?"
Burke answered, "Yes, it would be a source of confusion. I have refused to talk about individual candidates, but when a 'Catholic' pro-abortion politician knows the actions he has taken are gravely sinful in a public matter like supporting abortion, the only way to uphold church teaching is to withhold Holy Communion. It is not right for one 'minister of Holy Communion' to give the Eucharist and another not to." (see the full interview: http://www.catholic.org/printer_friendly.php?id=1210&sec... )
Despite the fact that he never mentioned it in his speech, much of the Canadian media reported that Cardinal McCarrick encouraged Bishops to deny communion to Canadian Catholic politicians who defy church teaching on vital issues such as abortion and same sex marriage. (see the press report: http://www.canada.com/topics/news/politics/story.html?id=758... )
The reason for the discrepancy comes thanks to Canadian Bishop Fred Henry, the fearless Bishop of Calgary in Alberta. Bishop Henry, who has stated publicly that he would deny communion even to the (former) Prime Minister because of his obstinate support for abortion and homosexual marriage, pressed Cardinal McCarrick on the issue during a question period following the Cardinal's address.
In a very pointed question, Bishop Henry asked "What do you do when you have politicians who refuse to the invitation to dialogue, and act rather contemptuously with regard to Catholic teaching?" It was at that point that Cardinal McCarrick, for the first time, publicly seemed to indicate Rome's constant direction on the matter.
"You have no choice in the matter. That person should not partake of communion. Sometimes you just have to do it," he replied, according to press reports.
However, there is some notable ambiguity in McCarrick's answer in that he still did not explicitly respond that communion must be denied. It could be taken that he was indicating that the person must be told that he should not receive communion which leaves it up to the individual, rather than the particular pastor, to determine the outcome of the situation.
Bishops urged to lobby politicians
Oct 21, 2006
'No compromises,' cardinal tells group
(Toronto Star, Oct. 18, 2006) CORNWALL, ONT.—Bishops should use their authority as church leaders to influence how Catholic politicians form public policy, a past archbishop of Washington, D.C., told Canadian Catholic leaders meeting here yesterday.
"We are not just another constituent or community leader," Cardinal Theodore McCarrick told the annual meeting of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. "We are their pastors and their teachers."
McCarrick led a task force of U.S. bishops looking into how to better lobby government and politicians on issues important to the church, including abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage.
The group decided the most effective method is for bishops to meet regularly with Catholic politicians from their parishes to remind them of the teachings of the church, and to tell them they have an obligation to uphold those teachings when developing public policy.
Catholic politicians need to be told they cannot call themselves good Catholics if they support policies that go against the church's stand on the issues, he said.
"Our concern is not politics, nor just particular policies, but their faith and even their salvation. These dialogues are not about winning votes, but saving souls," he said.
The same message must be passed on to ordinary parishioners, as well, he said, and they should be told to consider their church's teachings when it comes time to vote.
"No compromises," said McCarrick, who retired over the summer. "We teach what we teach, but we do it with respect and love."
McCarrick, 76, said he and other church leaders have had some success persuading Catholic politicians to put Catholic doctrine into action when forming policy.
But he remains frustrated by Catholic politicians who have attended church all their lives and may have even been educated in Catholic schools and universities, and yet support policies that go against the church.
"They need to be re-catechized," he said.
McCarrick rejected the argument of some politicians he has met that they have a duty to uphold the constitution and civil rights of all citizens, so cannot allow their religious beliefs to dictate policy on issues such as abortion.
"I always go back to slavery," he said, adding that slavery was once considered constitutional in the U.S., and yet no politician now would support it. Also yesterday, a representative of the Orthodox Church in Canada, the Very Reverend John Jillions of Ottawa, offered his church's support for the Catholic bishops in their fight against same sex marriage and abortion.
"We cannot let our differences stand in the way of this," he said.
The same-sex marriage debate is expected to heat up in Canada this fall, with the Conservative government promising to put the matter to a free vote in Parliament by the end of the year.
Same-sex marriages were legalized last year by the previous Liberal government, a move that put many Catholic Liberal politicians on the opposite side of the debate from their church. Some were denied communion over the issue.
McCarrick said the issue of whether to allow Catholic politicians to take communion if they support policies that go against Catholic teachings has been a subject of much debate among U.S. bishops.
He said he would never deny communion, but does ask politicians who support policies that go against the Church not to come for communion in the first place, out of respect for the church.
Retired D.C. cardinal sees hope despite challenges
Oct 06, 2006
In the early 1960s, the future Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was a young priest earning a doctorate in sociology at the Catholic University of America. Some societal trends from that decade still resonate in the country and in the church nearly five decades later, Washington's retired archbishop said at a conference on "The Catholic Church in America: 2006."
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Standard, 10/3/2006) - Cardinal McCarrick traced a decline in American Catholics living out and understanding their faith to the "ethos of the 1960s, which we have not yet overcome." In that era, he said, people adopted an attitude of being "open to everything," and people "opted out" of traditional morals and ideas about family life, society and their faith.
"What happened when we all started to 'opt out,'? We became a contraceptive society," the cardinal said. That mindset, he said, has had terrible effects on marriages and family life and led to many having an abortion mentality on life issues.
And that ethos, Cardinal McCarrick said, has led people to lose a sense of commitment, to marriage, to God, to the priesthood and religious life, and to workplace ethics.
Washington's archbishop emeritus was a keynote speaker at the conference, organized by Catholic University's Life Cycle Institute, which analyzes current issues from the perspective of Catholic social teachings. Panels at the two-day conference also examined Catholic identity, parish life today, new movements in the church and the church's presence in public life.
Stephen Schneck, the institute's director, introduced Cardinal McCarrick, and praised him for being an "outspoken and courageous voice" on issues like abortion, immigration, outreach to the poor around the world, and human rights. The cardinal, formerly CUA's chancellor, also played a key role in encouraging Congress to pass legislation improving educational opportunities for children in the nation's capital.
Cardinal McCarrick said the nation's nearly 70 million Catholics seem to fall in one of four groups: those who know and follow church teaching, those who do not understand the faith, "cafeteria" Catholics who choose what to follow, and inactive Catholics who have decided not to belong to the church at this time.
The cardinal said the greatest challenge facing the church is helping people know and follow the faith, at a time when most Catholics in polls don't understand key teachings like the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
The retired prelate said that the 1960s mindset of questioning traditional morals affected people's attitudes toward the Second Vatican Council, which was unfolding in the Catholic church at the same time. "The church was saying all the right things, and the vast majority of (Catholics) were not reading them," he said of the council documents.
And he faulted some "in Catholic education, people we counted on to tell us what the Second Vatican Council was all about, (who instead) told us what they wanted it to be about." That resulted in a "crisis in higher education... (and) many Catholic institutions lost the core values of what we were about," he said, also noting that a period of dissent from church teaching followed the council.
Cardinal McCarrick said that too often, Catholic schools and religious education programs declined in the decades that followed the council, "becoming touchy-feely rather than (about) doctrine, matter and form." And fewer young people chose to pursue vocations. "(They were) not getting the impetus of what Catholic life should be, a life of service and a life of sacrifice."
A decline in pastoral practice, in Mass attendance, in vocations and in people understanding and following the faith have occurred in the Catholic Church, as morals have weakened in society as a whole, the cardinal said, noting the church also had to deal with the affects of the "sex scandal of the clergy."
"We ended up being tied into the knot of the '60s, which affects our morality, our family life, our marriages, and how we deal with each other," he said.
Acknowledging he was painting a "bleak picture," the cardinal said, "it's important we see the difficulties the church faces today."
SIGNS OF HOPE
But in the second half of his lecture, Cardinal McCarrick addressed signs of hope he sees in the Catholic church in the United States today. "There's so much hope in the Second Vatican Council. This really brought in the age of the laity," he said. Cardinal McCarrick said that the laity have taken on more responsibility, from serving on Pontifical Councils to leading archdiocesan offices to staffing parishes and serving on parish councils and financial advisory boards.
The late Pope John Paul II with his canonizations "made so clear that lay people are called to holiness," the cardinal said, noting that a large bas relief in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington depicts "The Universal Call to Holiness."
That artwork reminds everyone they are called to be a saint, Cardinal McCarrick said, and "it is that holiness which gives me hope for the future." And he noted that God gave the world saintly people like Mother Teresa and John Paul II as a reminder to people that they can be holy in their everyday lives. That point, he said, was echoed by Pope Benedict XVI in his first encyclical, "God is Love," when the pontiff wrote: "A Christian knows when it is time to speak of God and when it is better to say nothing and let love alone speak."
And the cardinal said that the Second Vatican Council's call to ecumenism has enriched the Catholic church. "We have learned to look beyond ourselves... I have learned from rabbis, and I've even learned from imams," he said.
The new United States Catholic Catechism for Adults issued by the nation's bishops is another sign of hope for the church, he said, noting that there seems to be "a new frontier in Catholic education" to help people learn what the church really teaches.
Cardinal McCarrick also praised the growing popularity of movements in the church like the Neocatechumenal Way, Focolare and Communion and Liberation. "These movements are bringing life to parishes and life to the church," he said. "The movements have also given us a new openness to life, to family life and vocations."
The cardinal, who offered the opening prayer at a large immigrants' rights rally on the National Mall earlier this year, said the growing Hispanic presence in the Catholic Church in the United States "is another sign of hope," as those newcomers offer an inspiring witness to the importance of faith and families in their lives.
Ultimately, Cardinal McCarrick said he has great hope for the Catholic church, today and in the future. "The Lord is the Lord, the church is his, it belongs to him. He is still working powerfully in the world. All these dark forebodings give way to the light of Christ." And problems that might seem to difficult to solve can be, relying on God's grace and love, the cardinal said.
- - -
This story was made available to Catholic Online by permission of the Catholic Standard (www.cathstan.org), official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC.
American Catholic Church trying to overcome ‘opt-out’ ethos
Oct 05, 2006
In the early 1960s, the future Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick was a young priest earning a doctorate in sociology at The Catholic University of America in Washington.
WASHINGTON (CNS, 9/25/2006) – Some societal trends from that decade still resonate in the country and in the church nearly five decades later, Washington's retired archbishop said at a Sept. 20 conference on "The Catholic Church in America: 2006."
Cardinal McCarrick traced a decline in American Catholics living out and understanding their faith to the "ethos of the 1960s, which we have not yet overcome." In that era, he said, people adopted an attitude of being "open to everything," and people "opted out" of traditional morals and ideas about family life, society and their faith.
"What happened when we all started to 'opt out'? We became a contraceptive society," the cardinal said. That mind-set, he said, has had terrible effects on marriages and family life and led to many having an abortion mentality on life issues.
It has led people to lose a sense of commitment to marriage, to God, to the priesthood and religious life, and to workplace ethics, Cardinal McCarrick said.
The cardinal was a keynote speaker at the two-day conference, organized by Catholic University's Life Cycle Institute, which analyzes current issues from the perspective of Catholic social teachings. Panels examined Catholic identity, parish life today, new movements in the church and the church's presence in public life.
Cardinal McCarrick said the nation's 67 million Catholics seem to fall in one of four groups: those who know and follow church teaching; those who do not understand the faith; "cafeteria Catholics," who choose what to follow; and inactive Catholics who have decided not to belong to the church at this time.
The cardinal said the church's greatest challenge is helping people know and follow the faith, at a time when most Catholics who are polled do not understand key teachings such as the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
He said that the 1960s' mind-set of questioning traditional morals affected people's attitudes toward the Second Vatican Council, which was unfolding at the same time. "The church was saying all the right things, and the vast majority of (Catholics) were not reading" the council documents," he said.
And he faulted some "in Catholic education, people we counted on to tell us what the Second Vatican Council was all about, (who instead) told us what they wanted it to be about." That resulted in a "crisis in higher education ... (and) many Catholic institutions lost the core values of what we were about," he said, also noting that a period of dissent from church teaching followed the council.
Cardinal McCarrick said that too often Catholic schools and religious education programs declined in the decades that followed the council, "becoming touchy-feely rather than (about) doctrine, matter and form."
And fewer young people chose to pursue vocations, he said. "(They were) not getting the impetus of what Catholic life should be, a life of service and a life of sacrifice."
A decline in pastoral practice, in Mass attendance, in vocations and in people understanding and following the faith has occurred in the Catholic Church, as morals have weakened in society as a whole, the cardinal said, noting the church also had to deal with the effects of the "sex scandal of the clergy."
Acknowledging he was painting a "bleak picture," the cardinal said, "it's important we see the difficulties the church faces today."
But in the second half of his lecture, Cardinal McCarrick addressed signs of hope he sees in the Catholic Church in the United States today. "There's so much hope in the Second Vatican Council. This really brought in the age of the laity," he said.
Cardinal McCarrick said that members of the laity have taken on more responsibility, from serving on pontifical councils to leading archdiocesan offices to staffing parishes and serving on parish councils and financial advisory boards.
The late Pope John Paul II with his canonizations "made so clear that laypeople are called to holiness," he said.
And the cardinal said that Vatican II's call to ecumenism has enriched the Catholic Church, because "we have learned to look beyond ourselves."
The new U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults issued by the nation's bishops is another sign of hope for the church, he said, noting that there seems to be "a new frontier in Catholic education" to help people learn what the church really teaches.
Cardinal McCarrick also praised the growing popularity of movements in the church such as the Neocatechumenal Way, Focolare and Communion and Liberation.
"These movements are bringing life to parishes and life to the church," he said. "The movements have also given us a new openness to life, to family life and vocations."
The cardinal also said the growing Hispanic presence in the Catholic Church in the United States "is another sign of hope," as those newcomers offer an inspiring witness to the importance of faith and families in their lives.
D.C. Catholic cardinal urges restoration of civility to political discourse
Sept 16, 2006
By Cardinal Theodore McCarrick 9/15/2006 (www.americamagazine.org)
WASHINGTON (America) - I come before you as a pastor who cares deeply about your work as Catholic legislators. We do not always agree. I have tried to be a clear teacher and a decent pastor here in our nation’s capital. I offer some brief reflections that may nourish and challenge you in your vital responsibilities. I draw on the remarkable first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI, God Is Love (Deus Caritas Est).
Since it contained no condemnations and generated little secular controversy, the media mostly ignored it. At a simplistic level, as someone suggested, its message seems almost as trite as a Beatles song: “All You Need Is Love,” by John, Paul, George, Ringo and Benedict. But this encyclical letter is far more demanding and profound.
Love is a word often overused and sentimentalized. Yet, with the eyes of faith we see love as the ultimate calling of our lives, the ultimate measure. Love is both a noun and a verb. Love is something we receive and something we ! are called to do – every day, in countless ways.
At the beginning of his encyclical, the pope quotes a passage from the First Epistle of John, “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 Jn 4:14). Our Catholic faith assures us that God’s love was made visible and walked among us in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. In the words of our pope: “Jesus united into a single precept the commandment of love for God and … love for neighbor. Since God has first loved us, love is now no longer a mere ‘command’; it is the response to the gift of love with which God draws near to us” (no. 1).
The incredible assertion of our Christian faith is that God loves each of us without exception. But God’s love is demanding. It requires a response; it stretches our horizons beyond our comfort zones. God loves not just those we love, but all his children, especially the poor and the powerless. God loves not just the people of one nation but the peoples of all nations.
In my five years in this archdiocese I have seen the love of God at work in very different ways and places. I have seen the presence and the absence of love in corridors of power and corners of soup kitchens; at the White House and among those who have no house and live in shelters. I have served two Washingtons – the capital where you live and work and another Washington, where people without power struggle to live and work in dignity. They do not make speeches or write laws, but they bus our dishes, drive our cabs and clean our restrooms. I have seen people with little reach out in love and care to others in their responses to one another and in their responses to the great tragedies of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.
The church in Washington expresses the love of God in our care for “the least among us,” who we believe are Jesus in our midst. We heal and comfort the sick, provide legal aid to the poor, welcome immigrants, shelter the homeless, educate the young and reach out to those who face a difficult pregnancy alone.
In his encyclical, the pope speaks of the three “essential activities” of the church: the administration of the sacraments, the proclamation of the word and the service of charity. He makes what may seem to some to be a startling assertion, but is in fact an ancient truth: “The church cannot neglect the service of charity any more than she can neglect the sacraments and the word” (no. 22). Love of God necessarily involves love of neighbor.
Witnessing to faith in the halls of power
I have also witnessed faith and hope in the halls of power. I have seen members of Congress struggle to do the right thing and to stand up for human life and the innocent unborn child, for the poor at home and abroad, for working families and immigrant workers, for peacekeeping and reconstruction of war-torn societies. But what moves me most is when I see people crossing the bridges between this city of power and privilege and the city of poverty and deprivation in ways that enrich all of us.
People like you and me need to cross often between these two Washingtons. We need to see and touch and be seen and be touched by those in need. It will help us act more faithfully and choose more wisely. Jesus told us in the 25th chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel that our salvation depends on it. And the pope teaches, “Love of neighbor is a path that leads to the encounter with God, and – closing our eyes to our neighbor also blinds us to God” (no. 16).
You may be wondering what all this talk about love has to do with your roles as public officials. In a word, everything.
Regarding your vocation as political leaders, Benedict writes: “The just ordering of society and the State is a central responsibility of politics” (no. 28a). He quotes St. Augustine, who suggests that “a state which is not governed according to justice would be just a bunch of thieves” (no. 28a). That’s pretty harsh language.
He goes on to say, “Politics is more than a mere mechanism for defining the rules of public life: its origin and its goal are found in justice, which by its very nature has to do with ethics” (no. 28a).
Pope Benedict is not naïve about the challenges faced by politicians. He acknowledges that achieving a just world requires asking: “What is justice?” Answering this question correctly is difficult because, in his words, our human reason is “never … completely free of the danger of a certain ethical blindness caused by the dazzling effect of power and special interests” (no. 28a). Here in the midst of political polarization and interest-group paralysis we know these dangers are not empty abstractions or distant fears.
We know our institutions have been damaged by corruption, ethical lapses and moral compromises. I do not think this is because many legislators are bad people; it is because good people are caught in situations that can blind us to doing the right thing. I am not here as a judge, but as a friend to share these burdens and offer encouragement. The church itself has been deeply wounded by our own scandals with huge pastoral, financial and moral consequences. We have to own and overcome this damage in order to repair and restore trust. We each have to return to God’s mission of love, reminding ourselves and others that we are more than our institutional failures.
We take courage from the fact that God is love. Pope Benedict tells us that when political reason is blinded, God can help:
“Faith liberates reason from its blind spots…. Faith enables reason to do its work more effectively.... This is where Catholic social doctrine has its place: it has no intention of giving the church power over the state…. Its aim is simply to help purify reason and to contribute, here and now, to the acknowledgment and attainment of what is just (no. 28a).
God’s love in the public sphere
Your relationship with the God who loves you and all others, and your knowledge of the church’s social doctrine, which outlines the demands of God̵’s love in the public arena, can help you fulfill your mission as a Catholic in public office.
In applying its social doctrine the church does not seek, according to Benedict, “to make this teaching prevail in political life. Rather the church wishes to help form consciences in political life and to stimulate greater insights into the authentic requirements of justice as well as greater readiness to act accordingly, even when this might involve conflict with situations of personal interest” (no. 28a).
God’s love has given lay people the mission of building a just and peaceful world, a culture of life and love. The pope insists: “The mission of the lay faithful … is to configure social life correctly, respecting its legitimate autonomy and cooperating with other citizens” in accord with their own competencies and responsibilities (no. 29).
The church has a complementary role. Our pope teaches: “The church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the state. Yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice” (no. 28a).
What animates the church’s social doctrine? Love. What ultimately gives meaning and direction to your work as lawmakers? It is love. How are the social demands of love known? They can be discovered in prayerful encounter with God who opens us to a love for others and to the social demands of our faith.
There are many demands of love on my heart. They begin with respect for all human life, beginning first and foremost with protecting the lives of innocent unborn children in America and also extending to the lives of children needlessly dying of hunger and disease in Africa. The demands of love call you and me to courageous and compassionate action in many areas of family, economic and cultural life, to work for greater justice and peace in a world broken by war and the denial of religious liberty and human rights.
Three tests of love
I close by addressing three tests of love. First, the other Washington I spoke of is where many immigrants live. Most do not live in the capital, but they work there. They cook and serve our meals, clean our homes and offices and build our roads and bridges. We need to build a bridge for them. The people who have come to our nation are the “stranger” the scriptures call us to welcome. They have names and faces. Because walls and stronger criminal penalties cannot stop truly desperate people, we need not just one response but several working together.
Our nation should take appropriate steps to control our borders, establish a just guest-worker program with protections for workers, provide a real path to earned legalization for those who are here contributing to society, and take urgent steps to combat the global poverty and despair that drive people here in search of a better life.
Second, I dream of a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land. I find myself and our church in a unique place – a steady friend and strong supporter of Israel and a committed and determined advocate for the Palestinian people and their right to a viable state. I remember being on a panel with two women, an Israeli and a Palestinian. Both had lost a loved one to the conflict. Their message: Do not take the side of the Palestinians; do not take the side of the Israelis; take the side of a just peace for both peoples. I urge you to do the same.
It is not right, nor is it in the interests of Palestinians or Israelis, for the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories to deteriorate further. Effective ways must be found to deliver urgently needed assistance to the people. We are right to call on Hamas to renounce terrorism, recognize Israel and accept previous agreements. It is also right to call on Israel and all the parties to refrain from actions that impede a negotiated two-state solution, a secure Israel and a viable Palestinian state. Walls may provide short-term security, but they cannot bring long-term peace; they can also institutionalize injustice and resentments. Determined, persistent and creative U.S. leadership is needed to help build bridges between two aggrieved peoples weary of endless violence.
Finally, I urge you to restore greater civility to the political discourse of our country. Many of you have been the targets of attack ads and vitriolic political speech. Even as a bishop, I have experienced similar public attacks.
One example: A group (this one was on the right, but it could have been on the left) took out a full-page ad to condemn me because I would not deny Communion to some Catholic public officials. Then they placed an ad attacking all the bishops for our refusal to do the same. Then they ran an ad calling for Pope John Paul II to remove me and the then-Cardinal Ratzinger for our lack of fidelity to their particular vision of faith. As time went on I felt I was in better and better company, especially after the conclave.
We need robust and principled debate on the difficult issues of our day. But we must break out of the war-room tactics, the daily recriminations, the impugning of motives. We could start with, “Thou shall not bear false witness.” We have to build bridges to common sense in pursuit of the common good, even when this requires crossing partisan and ideological divisions. Would it be naïve to ask why Catholic political leaders could not take the lead in rejecting the politics of polarization? We must restore civility to public discourse so that we attack problems and not one another.
My service as archbishop has been a great honor and joy. I know that you will give my successor, Archbishop Donald Wuerl, the same kind consideration that you have given me. May God’s love light your way and be with you always.
McCarrick Returns From Survey Of Catholic Aid In Lebanon
Sept 11, 2006
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, former Archbishop of Washington, D.C., returned Sunday afternoon from Lebanon, where he had conducted a weeklong survey of relief efforts there by Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
(nbc4.com, August 13, 2006) WASHINGTON -- He is a member of the group’s board.
McCarrick called Friday for an immediate cease-fire and the opening of a safe corridor to bring humanitarian aid to those who have been displaced due to the crisis in Lebanon, a spokesman said.
CRS, in partnership with Caritas Lebanon, is providing emergency assistance to more than 85,000 people. CRS plans an emergency response and rehabilitation program of at least $10 million for areas affected by the current Middle East crisis, including impacted areas in Gaza, northern Israel and Lebanon, according to a spokesman.
The Cardinal met with government and religious leaders as well as displaced families during his trip.
"I came to Lebanon in solidarity with the innocent people, as I have visited the Holy Land in the past. I echo the calls of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, for an immediate cease-fire. Violence begets violence, and war is not the answer to the problems of this region," McCarrick said.
More than 900,000 Lebanese have been displaced by the conflict with Israel. Hundreds of thousands are living in public buildings in Beirut and other cities, or in the homes of strangers. Thousands of migrant workers have also been trapped by the fighting, a spokesman for the Washington Archdiocese said.
CRS and Caritas Lebanon are providing temporary housing, assisting migrant workers with emergency assistance and repatriation, and supplying medical care, food and other emergency relief supplies to displaced populations, officials said.
A major challenge, said a spokesman, has been getting aid to “those most in need.” Continued violence in southern Lebanon has prevented supplies from reaching an estimated 50,000 people, the spokesman said.
Fuel is in short supply in many parts of the country. This, combined with the destruction of roads and bridges, and the lack of guaranteed safe passage for humanitarian relief have resulted in “continued suffering,” according to officials.
“I call also for all combatants to open corridors of safety so humanitarian help can reach the people now living in desperate need. In too many cases, even initial aid already in Lebanon cannot reach the people. That must change immediately to prevent the loss of even more lives," the Cardinal said, after meeting with aid workers.
Truth at the fifty-yard line?
Jul 25, 2006
In a series of talks and interviews surrounding the announcement of his retirement as archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick frequently told his favorite John Paul II story: the story of the Pope walking up the center aisle of the Newark cathedral in October 1995, touching people on both sides.
(The Tidings, July 21, 2006) This, Cardinal McCarrick suggested, was how priests and bishops ought to act --- sticking to the "middle," in order to be in touch with everyone. Or, as he told National Public Radio, "The job of a priest always forces you to the middle.… We've got to be in the middle so that we don't let those on the left or the right get lost."
I have other memories of events in Newark's magnificent Sacred Heart Cathedral that evening, of what led up to them, and of what followed.
The Clinton White House had rather brashly informed the Holy See that the President would meet the Pope at the door and escort John Paul up the aisle of the cathedral. The Holy See politely replied that the Pope would enter the cathedral the way he entered every other church in the world --- without the guidance of politicians. The Holy See prevailed, and John Paul did indeed touch some of the many people reaching out to him as he walked to the sanctuary to preside over Evening Prayer.
At the end of the service, two people walked down the aisle of Sacred Heart Cathedral, craftily shaking hands on all sides: President and Mrs. Clinton. John Paul II departed by a side aisle in order to pray at the Blessed Sacrament chapel. New Jersey public television juxtaposed these simultaneous events on a split screen: the politicians doing their thing, the priest and bishop being a priest and bishop. It was a striking, and telling, difference.
It's not easy to know what Cardinal McCarrick means by his oft-repeated admonition to moderation. He certainly wasn't moderate --- he wasn't ready to split the differences at the fifty-yard line, so to speak --- when things he believed in were at stake. To take one example: students from impoverished families in Washington, D.C., can use tax-funded vouchers to attend Catholic schools because Cardinal McCarrick was thoroughly immoderate, indeed relentless, in lobbying Congress on their behalf.
Then there are questions of doctrine. Shortly before the Holy See announced that Pope Benedict had accepted Cardinal McCarrick's retirement, R. Scott Appleby wrote in the Washington Post about three Catholics, representatives of a "people's Church," which Dr. Appleby described as "Catholicism's great hope" in the 21st century: "a Jakarta nun who describes herself as both a devout Catholic and a devout Muslim; a Sri Lankan Jesuit whose Asian-inflected theology of Christ and the Church has little room for the ancient dogmatic formulas preserved by Rome; the president of a Benedictine college in Manila who has no qualms about celebrating Mass without a priest."
Is this the fifty-yard line? Or, to vary the sporting metaphor, is this somewhere out in the parking lot, way beyond the left-field bleachers?
Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ of God or he isn't; Mohammed is the final Prophet or he isn't; you can't split the difference at the fifty-yard line. Is the "ancient dogmatic formula" which attests to "Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord" true? Or is it false?
To stand in the center of the aisle and claim to be in communion of mind and heart with people who both affirm and deny that formula is to confess to severe intellectual confusion. Is a validly ordained priest necessary for the valid consecration of the Eucharist, or isn't he? It's hard to believe that Cardinal McCarrick would have wanted his archdiocesan vocation director to stand in the center of the aisle on that one.
That priests and bishops must be able to minister to people across the spectrum of reasonable theological and political opinion goes, or should go, without saying. That priests and bishops can be true ministers of the Gospel by thinking and acting as if every question were a football field on which truth lies at the fifty-yard line is another matter entirely; see Revelation 3.16.
George Weigel is a senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. His column will appear every other week during the summer.
Retiring Archbishop Gives Farewell Homily
Jul 03, 2006
He will miss it here. He will miss the nuns and the priests he has come to call friends. But shortly before Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick delivered his final homily as archbishop of Washington yesterday, he said he will most miss the people he has served the past five years.
(Washington Post, June 19, 2006) "They became part of my family," McCarrick said. "I'll miss not having my own flock."
About 1,600 people gathered to hear the outgoing head of the Catholic church in Washington deliver his last homily yesterday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The hour-long service drew nuns, priests, prelates and laypeople from every corner of the city and the country.
Moments before the Mass began, the monumental church on Michigan Avenue NE buzzed with a bittersweet sense of excitement as many shared memories of McCarrick. Jean Bilsky, 68, said that she has seen many church leaders come and go in Washington over the past 20 years but that few have been as "down to earth" as McCarrick.
"He just brings joy to your heart when he speaks. His humility is so true," Bilsky said.
Sipihwe Mkize, a South African diplomat, said he will always remember McCarrick as someone who was not afraid to speak his mind. Mkize, 40, lauded McCarrick's handling of the priest sex scandals that swept through the archdiocese when McCarrick first began in 2001. He said he was especially impressed by the cardinal's outreach to Washington's Latino immigrant community.
"He's done so much for the church and so much for the political life of the church in Washington," Mkize said.
McCarrick submitted his resignation when he turned 75 last July, as required by church law. McCarrick, a native New Yorker, was ordained 48 years ago and served in several posts before taking up the archbishop position in Washington in January 2001.
In May, Pope Benedict XVI picked Bishop Donald W. Wuerl of Pittsburgh to replace McCarrick, overseeing an archdiocese of 560,000 Catholics and 115 parochial schools in the District and Maryland. Wuerl, scheduled to arrive in Washington today, will deliver his first Mass as archbishop Sunday at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Northwest Washington. McCarrick said he is confident that Wuerl will have no trouble picking up where he is leaving off.
"Whatever good I had, he's going to double it, and whatever stupidity I have had, he's not going to have," McCarrick said.
As priests and prelates donned their robes in the sacristy before the Mass, McCarrick leaned casually against an altar where his vestments had been carefully placed and chatted about his plans for the future. He will continue to serve the church, he said, traveling extensively on church business over the next several months to Rome, Moscow and possibly the Middle East. He'll split his time between Washington and New Jersey, where he lived for many years, and hopes to catch up on his reading, fishing and napping. But much of his time will be spent praying and preparing for what he says is his final journey.
"I'm going to get ready to go home," he said.
Compact and energetic, with lively hazel eyes, McCarrick looked ready for anything yesterday as he strode across the polished floor of the basilica toward the dais. He paused several times as some in the audience reached out to touch him and whisper their thanks. He nodded to some and gave a jaunty wave to others as he mounted the steps to the throne one last time.
The Mass marked the end of an era for a religious leader who has been beloved but also unafraid to take controversial stands. In the final days of his tenure, McCarrick was a vocal supporter of a Senate bill to allow thousands of illegal immigrants to become U.S. citizens. His longstanding work with the Latino immigrant community has drawn a mix of criticism and admiration, as was his decision to oppose conservative church leaders who said in 2004 they would bar Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry from taking communion because of Kerry's abortion rights advocacy.
It would have been hard to find critics of McCarrick yesterday among the hundreds gathered beneath the gilded dome of the basilica to hear his final words. There were no long goodbyes or lengthy speeches. McCarrick briefly thanked his fellow clergymen and women and D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams for coming. Then he thanked those who had come from far and wide to see him.
"Most of all, I thank God for you -- God's people here in Washington," McCarrick said.
True to form, McCarrick delivered a simple message for a town that often seems to thrive on complexity.
"In humility, we always find hope. Hope is impossible without humility," McCarrick said. "Because to have confidence in someone else, we must be humble."
As McCarrick delivered his final words, the audience began to clap. Moments later, McCarrick, with a lei of gold and white flowers around his neck, walked down the steps of the dais for the last time and turned to wave to the people he will miss the most.
Retired cardinal offers to keep a hand in public policy in retirement
Jul 03, 2006
After decades of regularly testifying before Congress and attending White House meetings on public policy, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick said that although he's now retired as Washington's archbishop he's open to keeping a hand in the political scene.
(Catholic News Service , 6/23/2006) WASHINGTON – The pope accepted Cardinal McCarrick's resignation May 16 and named Bishop Donald W. Wuerl of Pittsburgh as his successor. He continued as apostolic administrator of the archdiocese until Archbishop Wuerl's June 22 installation.
Years before he was named to head the Washington Archdiocese in 2000, Cardinal McCarrick was an auxiliary bishop in New York and then a bishop and archbishop in New Jersey, and he would regularly come to Washington as a representative of one or another of the U.S. bishops' committees.
He wrote letters and testified about peace-building and international relief for Bosnia and Congo, about the treatment of Haitian refugees, and in favor of restoring government benefits for legal immigrants, among other issues.
Cardinal McCarrick said his willingness to testify, give public speeches and otherwise try to influence public policy came about because of his personal contact with the difficult situations in which people live.
"I guess I feel deeply about these things," he said in a June 18 interview with Catholic News Service. "Because of that you want to try to help. When first ordained a priest, I was in Latin America, so I became interested in their problems. When I was first ordained a bishop (in New York), I was in Harlem, so I became interested in those topics.
"It's been part of my life," Cardinal McCarrick continued. "I hope I was prudent in the way I approached it. But I feel strongly about this. That's why I loved Pope John Paul II so much. The dignity of the human person was his great mantra and I believe in that."
Since he took up full-time residency in Washington, Cardinal McCarrick has continued to be involved in political discussions, most recently chairing the bishops' task force about the church's relationship with Catholic politicians whose public actions sometimes contradict church teaching.
That became a prominent issue in the 2004 presidential campaign, when Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, a Catholic, was criticized for receiving the sacraments when he has voted to support legal abortion, which the church strongly opposes.
At a recent round-table meeting with the media, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., who has spearheaded efforts at dialogue between Catholic Democrats in Congress and representatives of the church, praised Cardinal McCarrick for his role in what she called "a very frank and respectful exchange."
Though Cardinal McCarrick gave his task force's final report at the bishops' June meeting in Los Angeles, he told CNS the work will continue.
"The church will still have to talk to these people," he said, "and I think they'll want to talk to the church. That's very good. We've started now what should be a two-way conversation. We didn't have that before. That's a blessing."
Fostering that dialogue is something Cardinal McCarrick said he would try to continue in retirement.
"I'm certainly willing to continue that if people on the Hill are interested, or if people in government are interested or if the bishops are interested," he said.
At a June 20 breakfast on Capitol Hill for Catholic members of Congress, he delivered a farewell talk as archbishop of Washington and urged them to "attack problems and not one another." He told the attendees he had invited them to the breakfast "to express my appreciation for your service to our country."
Cardinal McCarrick told CNS there are a couple of issues he's followed closely which he feels need to be better understood by those in decision-making positions.
Immigration is one.
"The White House seems to understand," he said. "The Senate seems to understand. But the House does not."
Another is the Middle East.
"We really need to have more conversations about the Middle East," he said. "I'm so pleased there is now Jewish leadership recognizing the two-state solution and anxious to move in that direction."
He said he's pleased with the progress of the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East, of which he's a part. "The Jewish leaders who've joined that have been extraordinarily wise and thoughtful," he said. "But not everybody's on that page."
As to whether he continues to be a voice for the church in public policy, Cardinal McCarrick said he's open to the idea, but waiting to see what develops.
"I will be living most of the time in Washington," he said. But whether he keeps a hand in public policy, "that will depend on others. It will depend on what the new archbishop wants me to do and the (bishops') conference. There are many other voices, they don't really need me."
Though he said that the politicians who sought out his voice will "get used to others," Cardinal McCarrick said he will be happy to continue to serve as an advocate.
"As long as I'm alive I'm willing to speak out for people who need someone to speak out for them," he said.
La “Task force” sui politici cattolici è utile, afferma il Cardinal McCarrick
Jun 28, 2006
Tre anni fa, su suggerimento del Cardinale Theodore McCarrick, è stata creata una “task force” per affrontare la realtà dei politici cattolici le cui azioni pubbliche non sono conformi ai principi cattolici fondamentali.
WASHINGTON, D.C., martedì, 27 giugno 2006 (ZENIT.org).- Il Cardinal McCarrick, Arcivescovo di Washington in pensione, ha sottoposto il suo rapporto sui progressi della “task force” all’incontro di primavera dei Vescovi a Los Angeles, svoltosi dal 15 al 17 giugno.
“Riconosciamo tutti che abbiamo molto lavoro da fare”, ha affermato. “Troppi cattolici – dentro e fuori la vita politica – non sanno o non capiscono ciò che la Chiesa insegna e perché”.
“Purtroppo – ha aggiunto –, alcuni legislatori cattolici possono conoscere i nostri insegnamenti ma preferiscono il partito alla fede e i vantaggi politici agli insegnamenti cattolici, perseguendo quindi politiche pubbliche non conformi ai principi morali fondamentali”.
“Abbiamo bisogno di più cattolici nella vita politica, e non di meno”, ha affermato il Cardinale, “di più ‘cittadini fedeli’ profondamente impegnati nella difesa della vita umana e che lavorino per mettere in pratica l’opzione della Chiesa per il povero, il nostro insegnamento sulla famiglia, i nostri principi sulla guerra e la pace e il nostro appello ad accogliere gli stranieri”.
Cardinal Tells Grads Watch Out For The Little Guy
Jun 24, 2006
Archbishop of Washington D.C. Undergraduate Commencement Speaker
(canisius.edu, 5/22/2006) Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington D.C., addressed the Canisius College Class of 2006 during undergraduate ceremonies held on Saturday in Alumni Arena at SUNY Buffalo’s north campus.
Cardinal McCarrick, who served as the late Pope John Paul II’s emissary on international issues, told the more than 600 Canisius undergraduates about a trip he took to Sarajevo when it was under siege by Bosnian Serb forces. As he traveled through the ruins to the home of the city’s Archbishop, he recalled meeting a group of teenagers that were distributing food and medicine to senior citizens trapped in a high-rise apartment building. The teens, who risked their own safety, told the Cardinal that they thought that this is what God would want them to do.
Like the teens in Sarajevo, Cardinal McCarrick told students to watch out for “the little guy,” who can take many forms including people in their own communities facing poverty, drug abuse and prostitution. “They are all around us and they need us,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to say ‘Here I am,’ because that is what God wants you to say.”
Cardinal McCarrick announced last week that he will step down as Archbishop of Washington, D.C. Pope John Paul II installed McCarrick as Washington’s Archbishop in January 2001 and seven weeks later elevated him to the College of Cardinals.
During the ceremony, honorary degrees were conferred upon Cardinal McCarrick, Luiz F. Kahl (posthumously), chair of the NFTA and president of The Vector Group, and philanthropists Sebastian J. ’48 and Lenore M. (McGowan) Rosica.
Cardinal McCarrick Accuses his Brother Bishops of "Partisan" Politics
Jun 24, 2006
The task force appointed by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to "study" the issue of whether or not to give communion to Catholic politicians who persistently hold positions at odds with Catholic teaching has released its final report this weekend.
WASHINGTON, June 19, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After years of deliberation and meetings, the verdict is in: bishops should decide for themselves. Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, the archbishop of Washington and head of the task force, reiterated the interim decision made by the US bishops at their meeting in Denver in 2004. He said there was "no substitute for the local bishop's pastoral judgment and his vital relationships with Catholic public officials in his own diocese."
The only addition Cardinal McCarrick - who claims to be a political "moderate" - made to the original conclusion was to scold some members of the Conference for what he called "partisan" politics which he said was becoming prevalent in the US Church.
McCarrick said, "My concern is the fear that the intense polarization and bitter battles of partisan politics may be seeping into the broader ecclesial life of our Catholic people and maybe even of our Conference."
Since the 1960's the Democratic party, traditionally supported by the US Catholic bishops, has forced the political "centre" further to the left, adopting abortion, euthanasia and same-sex "marriage".
While most bishops have remained silent on the matter, a small cadre of younger bishops such as Charles Chaput of Denver, Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln and Raymond Burke of St. Louis, have in recent years begun to shift the Church - at least in their own dioceses - away from adherence to the Democrat party line and called on Catholics to uphold the moral law in public life. A number of these announced as a kind of "minority report" to the Dallas decision that abortion-supporting politicians in their dioceses would be refused Communion.
Cardinal McCarrick refers to himself as a political 'moderate'. During the presidential election, McCarrick was lauded by Democrats and liberal media for his "balance" in the face of the abortion/Communion question. He told the media, "I have not gotten to the stage where I'm comfortable in denying the Eucharist."
The Cardinal's response infuriated pro-life Catholics who were calling on the bishops to present a united front against politicians, such as then-presidential candidate John Kerry, who used the name Catholic and promoted unrestricted abortion, homosexuality and euthanasia.
American Life League launched a full-page ad in the Washington Times that featured a close-up picture of the crucified Christ and the text, "Cardinal McCarrick, are you comfortable now?"
Many Catholics pointed out that the work of the task force had been done for them. The Church's Code of Canon Law is clear on the subject saying that anyone who is in a state of "manifest grave sin" - which in Catholic teaching includes voting for or supporting the killing of children - must be refused Communion.
A number of Vatican prelates, including the future Pope Benedict XVI, made it clear that politicians who openly advocated abortion, same-sex "marriage", or civil unions for homosexual partners were to be refused Communion.
While the bishops were meeting in Dallas, McCarrick went so far as to suppress crucial instructions from then-Cardinal Ratzinger who was head of the Church's doctrinal office. Ratzinger's letter said unambiguously that politicians who denied fundamental Catholic doctrine "must be refused" Communion.
McCarrick Urges Political Civility
Jun 24, 2006
Retiring Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who has spent five years as the Catholic Church's unofficial liaison to both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, is urging Catholic politicians to end the "politics of bitter division and polarization."
(belief.net) WASHINGTON, June 20 - "For your sake and for the sake of our nation," McCarrick said Tuesday (June 20), "we must restore greater civility to public discourse so that we attack problems, and not one another."
McCarrick made his remarks at a private breakfast for about 25 Catholic members of Congress, just two days before he officially retires as archbishop of Washington and is succeeded by Pittsburgh Bishop Donald Wuerl.
In prepared remarks issued by his office, McCarrick did not dwell on the thorny issue of whether Catholic politicians who support abortion rights should be denied Communion, an issue he has grappled with for two years.
McCarrick made passing references to "a culture of life" and protecting "the innocent unborn child," but urged lawmakers to focus on immigration, ensuring peace in the Holy Land and restoring civility in politics.
"We must try to break out of the war-room tactics, the daily recriminations, the impugning of motives, the endless cycles of political attack and counterattack," McCarrick said.
On Friday (June 16), McCarrick warned his fellow bishops that "intense polarization and bitter battles of partisan politics" were seeping into the life of the church. He issued this warning in his final report as chairman of a task force on the church's response to Catholic politicians.
A group of about 50 Catholic Democrats have met periodically with McCarrick on the issue of abortion, and earlier this year asked for more leeway in their support of abortion rights. McCarrick gently rebuffed them but vowed to keep talking.
McCarrick, 75, has also rejected calls from a handful of conservative bishops to deny Communion to dissenting politicians, especially former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. McCarrick said he did not favor a "confrontation" at the Communion rail.
McCarrick told the legislators "you probably haven't seen the last of me" and hailed their work as "both a noble calling and a difficult challenge."
Clarification to Remarks Made on CNN’s The Situation Room
Jun 15, 2006
Some remarks by Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, former Archbishop of Washington, that were made during an interview with Wolf Blitzer of CNN (air date June 7, 2006) were not clear and have been misinterpreted by some individuals. To prevent further confusion, the Cardinal issued the following clarification:
(adw.org, June 09, 2006) “I’m afraid that I misspoke last Wednesday when I was being interviewed on CNN.
“We were talking about the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment and the protection of marriage between a man and a woman. Here is what I said: ‘We really have to continue to define marriage as we have defined marriage for thousands of years as a union between a man and a woman.’
“After that, I spoke of the legislation as it had been proposed and that it would not eliminate the possibility of civil unions. I said, ‘If this is what the legislation would provide for, I think we can live with that.’
“My point was that the wording of the proposed legislation to protect marriage, which did not eliminate civil unions, might be necessary in order to have the votes needed to pass it. I added, ‘to say that you can take the concept of marriage and use it in ways that it has never been used before, as far as I know, in the history of the world, I think makes no sense.’
“When probed further on the question of civil unions, which came up because the wording of the constitutional amendment did not seem to eliminate them, I returned to the ideal – that everybody should be ‘able to enter a union with a man and a woman and that would bring children into the world and have the wonderful relationship of man and wife that is so mutually supportive and is really so much part of our society and what keeps society together.’
“I added, ‘If you fool around with the whole nature of marriage, then you are doing something which affects the whole culture and denigrates what is so important for us. Marriage is the basic foundation of our family structure and if we lose that, then I think we become a society that is in real trouble.’
“In trying to reply to a question, I mentioned people who may need the right to take care of each other when they are grievously ill and hospitalized, but it was always in the context of the proposed legislation and in no way in favor of a lifestyle that is contrary to the teaching of the Church and Scripture. I realized that my words could have given the wrong impression to someone who did not take my remarks in context.
“I regret any confusion my words may have caused because I did not make myself sufficiently clear.”
Getting diocese off the ground labeled future cardinal different breed
Jun 14, 2006
In January 1982, when Theodore McCarrick was the newly appointed bishop of Metuchen, he hosted a dinner for the permanent deacons of the diocese and their wives.
(Home News Tribune Online 05/22/06) Pat and I were sitting with McCarrick, and the conversation eventually touched on the fact that our daughter Tammy had turned 16 years old that day.
"Do you mean to tell me," the bishop said, "that because of this dinner your daughter is home alone on her 16th birthday?"
We assured him that birthdays in our family were moveable feasts, and that this one would be observed good and proper during the next weekend, but he was inconsolable, insisting that he had played a part in diminishing the importance of this day in Tammy's life.
When the dinner was breaking up, McCarrick took the floral centerpiece from the table and told us to give it to Tammy with his apologies.
Six months later, Pat and I took the kids to the annual Italian festival at St. Ann's parish in Raritan, and who should come wading through the crowd but the bishop.
When he spied us, he came directly over to the oldest of our three kids.
"Is this Tammy?" he asked, and then went on to apologize all over again for causing her parents to be away from home on her 16th birthday.
This was not unusual behavior for McCarrick, who was the first bishop of Metuchen, later served as archbishop of Newark, and has retired as cardinal archbishop of Washington, D.C.
He has a memory for names and information that is impressive in itself, but what has made him an unusually effective leader was the way he has put those skills to use.
His memory is no parlor trick; it plays a part in his knack for making each of the the many individual people he encounters in a pastoral way and the many people he works with feel significant.
When McCarrick came to Metuchen from New York City, the Metuchen diocese existed mostly as an abstract idea generated when the Holy See drew a line across the midsection of the former Diocese of Trenton and decreed that the four counties north of that line would now be a separate jurisdiction.
There was no chancery office, no cathedral, no diocesan staff.
McCarrick recruited a group of several dozen people, most of them volunteers, and built a diocese on the foundation of their response to his leadership. I was a member of that group. I had never heard of McCarrick before he was appointed. And after one meeting with him, his combination of intellect, wit, patience, common sense, and personal attention motivated me to do whatever I could to help him get the operation off the ground.
Like all Roman Catholic bishops, Theodore McCarrick was required to submit his resignation when he turned 75, and now the pope has named a successor for the post in Washington. I'm sure I join a lot of Catholics and non-Catholics in hoping that in some meaningful way his personality will continue to influence American life.
Torture 'morally intolerable,' says ad signed by Catholic cardinal, other religious leaders
Jun 14, 2006
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick joined with 26 other faith leaders June 13 in calling for a clear U.S. policy against torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of detainees.
WASHINGTON (CNS, 6/13/2006) – The cardinal, the retired archbishop of Washington, was among the signers of an ad in The New York Times sponsored by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.
"Torture violates the basic dignity of the human person that all religions, in their highest ideals, hold dear," the advertisement said. "Any policies that permit torture and inhumane treatment are shocking and morally intolerable."
In a news release, Cardinal McCarrick said every human being has "a special dignity... that comes from the fact that we are brothers and sisters in God's one human family."
"It is because of this that we all feel that torture is a dehumanizing and terrible attack against human nature and the respect we owe for each other," he added.
The release said that although torture has "long been banned by U.S. treaty obligations," a statement issued by President George W. Bush at the signing of the McCain Amendment banning the use of torture "implies that the president is not bound by the amendment in his role as commander in chief."
It was referring to Bush's signing statement, released Dec. 30, 2005, when he signed the amendment, which was attached to the Department of Defense Authorization bill. Such a statement is an official document in which the president outlines his interpretation of a new law. Regarding McCain, the president said he would view its limitations on interrogation in the context of protecting national security.
"As such, continued inhumane methods of interrogation remain a real possibility," the news release added.
Specifically, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture asked Congress and Bush to prohibit: "exemptions from the human rights standards of international law" for any arm of the government; the transfer of suspects to countries that allow torture; the existence of secret U.S. prisons around the world; and any denial of Red Cross access to U.S. detainees.
National religious leaders signing the ad included the Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; the Rev. Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches; Sayyid M. Syeed, national director of the Islamic Society of North America; Archbishop Demetrios, primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; and Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.
Among the other signers were Nobel laureates Elie Wiesel and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter; Jesuit Father William J. Byron, a professor at Loyola College in Maryland; Mary Ellen O'Connell, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame; Rev. Joseph Lowery, a co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Rabbi Jerome M. Epstein, executive vice president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism; and Maher Hathout of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
The National Religious Campaign Against Torture was launched in January at a conference in Princeton, N.J. It lists Pax Christi USA and Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns as participating members and the Conference of Major Superiors of Men as an endorsing member.
Cardinal McCarrick says he will stay busy in retirement
Jun 14, 2006
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the outgoing spiritual leader of the Archdiocese of Washington, said Monday that retirement won't bring an end to his active public life.
(Associated Press, Jun. 12, 2006) WASHINGTON - One of the most visible leaders in the U.S. Catholic Church is promising to continue speaking out on behalf of the poor, as well as issues such as immigration and family values.
McCarrick also said he will spend time traveling. He is scheduled to visit Rome at least three times between now and November, as well as Kazakhstan, Argentina, Canada, Montenegro and Moscow.
"I think I said yes to too many things," McCarrick said to reporters at a breakfast following Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew in Washington.
McCarrick will continue to serve on Vatican tribunals that deal with international justice and peace issues, refugee affairs, Christian unity and Latin America.
On Monday, he continued to speak out on behalf of the nation's immigrants, describing a bill approved by the House that calls for deportation of illegal workers as "unfortunate."
"You can't disrupt all those lives," McCarrick said.
Pope Benedict XVI accepted McCarrick's letter of resignation May 16 and appointed Pittsburgh Bishop Donald W. Wuerl as his successor.
McCarrick will celebrate his final Mass as head of the archdiocese Sunday at St. Matthew's. Wuerl will be installed at a ceremony at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on June 22 and celebrate his first Mass as archbishop at St. Matthew's three days later.
Over the past 25 years, McCarrick, 76, has run Catholic dioceses in New Jersey and the Washington, D.C., area. He served in Metuchen, N.J. from 1981-1985, before taking over the Archdiocese of Newark in 1986. He was installed as archbishop of Washington on Jan. 3, 2001.
As head of the Washington archdiocese, McCarrick has often met with members of Congress and other national leaders.
He has also visited the parishes where 560,000 Roman Catholics worship in the District of Columbia and five Maryland counties.
"I've really fallen in love with this crowd, and they've been my family," said McCarrick said, adding that he'll miss the crabs and oysters he often ate on visits to parishes near the Chesapeake Bay.
Wuerl, 65, is a native of Pittsburgh and has led the region's Catholic community of 800,000 for 18 years. During a farewell Mass at Pittsburgh's St. Paul's Cathedral on Sunday, he referred to the Church as a thread that runs through the community's fabric.
"All of us who are faithful, believing members of the Church are also part of the wider political, economic, social and cultural community," Wuerl said.
Like McCarrick, Wuerl has been described as a moderate conservative within the Church.
Same-Sex Civil Unions Acceptable
Jun 14, 2006
Cardinal Disapproves Of Same-Sex Marriages.
(The Associated Press, June 8, 2006) WASHINGTON -- Cardinal Theodore McCarrick says he could support same-sex civil unions, but not same-sex marriage.
McCarrick said believes marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and that altering that definition would denigrate society.
The Washington archbishop appeared on CNN Wednesday night to respond to the Senate's rejection of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
He did say however that it's acceptable for the government to allow civil unions of gay and lesbian couples.
McCarrick said although it's not his ideal, the government needs to protect the rights of same-sex couples to care for each other or visit each other in a hospital. He said allowing civil unions would protect those rights.
Bishop Wuerl Succeeding Cardinal McCarrick in D.C.
May 29, 2006
Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington and appointed Bishop Donald Wuerl of Pittsburgh as his successor.
WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 16, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The Pope also accepted the resignation of Bishop Joseph Imesch, 74, of Joliet, Illinois, and named Bishop J. Peter Sartain, 53, of Little Rock, Arkansas, to succeed him.
The announcement was published today by the Vatican press office.
Donald Wuerl was born in Pittsburgh on Nov. 12, 1940, and received graduate degrees from the Catholic University of America, the Gregorian University in Rome, and his doctorate in theology from the University of St. Thomas, the Angelicum, in Rome, in 1974.
Ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 17, 1966, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Seattle on Dec. 3, 1985 and ordained Jan. 6, 1986.
He was installed as the bishop of Pittsburgh on Feb. 12, 1988, where he is spiritual leader of some 800,000 Catholics in 214 parishes throughout southwestern Pennsylvania.
He was widely known from the television program "The Teaching of Christ," broadcast on the Christian Associates cable channel, and through its national syndication.
The prelates' best-selling adult catechism of the same name, now in its 30th year of publication, has been translated into more than 10 languages and is used throughout the world. His most recent publication, "The Catholic Way," was published by Doubleday in September 2001.
The now archbishop serves on numerous national and international bodies, is chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Catechesis, and serves on a number of boards including the Catholic University of America, the North American College in Rome, the National Catholic Bioethics Center, and the Pope John Paul II Intercultural Forum.
Bishop Wuerl had given ZENIT interviews on faithful citizenship (Dec. 18-19, 2003) and the Compendium of the Catechism (Nov. 22-23, 2005).
Theodore McCarrick was born in New York City on July 7, 1930. He was installed as archbishop of Washington on Jan. 4, 2001, and was elevated to the College of Cardinals the following month.
The Archdiocese of Washington comprises the District of Columbia and five counties in Maryland. It has a Catholic population of about 579,000 out of a total population of 2.6 million.
The new bishop of Joliet, James Peter Sartain, was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on June 6, 1952.
He began preparations for the priesthood at St. Meinrad Seminary, Indiana, and completed them at the North American College in Rome, where he attended the Angelicum. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Memphis on July 15, 1978.
Besides various parochial assignments, Father Sartain served the Memphis Diocese as director of vocations, secretary for priests and deacons, vicar for temporal administration and for clergy personnel, chancellor and moderator of the Curia, and vicar general. He was appointed bishop of Little Rock, on Jan. 4, 2000.
Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Imesch of Detroit was appointed bishop of Joliet on June 30, 1979, and installed the following Aug. 28.
The Diocese of Joliet has about 636,000 Catholics in a total population of 1.76 million.
Washington cardinal says retirement appears near
Apr 27, 2006
Washington Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick said, in an interview, that he believes his retirement is imminent.
WASHINGTON (Catholic Online, 4/20/2006) – Cardinal McCarrick submitted his resignation when he turned 75 last July, as is required by church law. He remains archbishop of the archdiocese that is composed of the District of Columbia and five counties of Maryland until his resignation is accepted by Pope Benedict XVI.
"I am getting the sense that this is going to happen soon," Cardinal McCarrick told The Washington Post April 19, 2006, in a luncheon interview with the paper’s editors and reporters.
The Vatican has yet to make any announcement about a date for the cardinal’s departure or about a successor.
Cardinal McCarrick has served as archbishop of Washington since 2000, serving previously as archbishop of Newark, N.J., from 1986 to 2000 and as bishop of Metuchen, N.J., from 1982 to 1986.
While not knowing who his successor will be, he said that person should be a “great leader,” a “holy man,” a “great teacher” who can teach more by example than words, not be afraid of the media and “be funny.”
Illegals Aren't Criminals, Cardinal McCarrick Says
Apr 27, 2006
The head of the Washington, D.C., Archdiocese on Monday criticized immigration reform legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives because it would hinder the Catholic Church's ability to help the needy, he said.
(CNSNews.com, Apr 12, 2006) - "The difficulty was that it made all these people who are illegal, criminals," Cardinal Theodore McCarrick told Cybercast News Service at a protest on the National Mall in Washington. "There's a big difference between being illegal and being criminal."
The Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act (H.R. 4437) would categorize illegal residency in the U.S. as a felony. Democrats inserted the "felony" language in an effort to undermine the bill, said the bill's sponsor, House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) said he and other Republicans wanted to make "unlawful presence" a misdemeanor, not a felony.
The House bill also would punish employers who hire undocumented workers. McCarrick said that particular provision would threaten religious workers who offer help to the needy.
"In that bill they said that you couldn't help people who weren't authorized to be in the country," he said. "If an old lady needs some medicine and comes to you, you'd have to say, 'Show me your papers first.'" See Video.
McCarrick added that "some say it doesn't read that way, but as far as we read it, it would be too dangerous for us to tell our people [to] continue to do everything you're doing."
Sensenbrenner recently complained that critics of his bill are spreading misconceptions about it. He called it "fear-mongering" and "absolutely false" to say that "clergy and good Samaritans will be thrown in jail." Targeting alien smuggling gangs is the intent -- and the effect -- of the House bill, Sensenbrenner says.
Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, also called McCarrick's characterization "nonsense."
"The provision of the law that he (McCarrick) is referring to is intended to go after those groups who, under the guise of religious organizations, are actively engaged in aiding and abetting people who are in the country illegally," Mehlman said.
"It does not affect people who feed somebody at a soup kitchen," he added. "It doesn't affect the priest who administers communion."
McCarrick said the Catholic Church supports immigration reform that would pave the way for illegal immigrants to obtain legal status in the U.S. The current system, he said, "has all kinds of holes in it; it's not fair."
McCarrick was one of many religious leaders at the protest. Representatives from numerous Christian denominations, as well as Jewish and Islamic leaders, attended.
The National Park Service does not provide estimates of the exact size of large protests, but event organizers expected "more than 100,000" people to attend. The event in Washington was one of at least 65 rallies scheduled around the country Monday to protest the House bill and show support for amnesty for illegal immigrants.
Richard Parkins, director of Episcopal Migration Ministries, told Cybercast News Service that the Episcopal Church has "taken a strong stand on rights for immigrants."
"Those who are here who have worked, supported their communities, have been law abiding residents of their communities, should be given a chance to remain legally," Parkins said.
In his address to the crowd, delivered mostly in Spanish, McCarrick compared the protest to civil rights marches of the 1960s. "We must still fight against racial discrimination in our land," he said, adding that Catholics are in "prayerful protest against discrimination ... of the immigrant who comes to our country seeking a better life for himself and his family."
'When Did We See You a Stranger?' Cardinal Theodore McCarrick on Immigration
Apr 27, 2006
A Catholic leader says that supporting immigrants' rights is what God wants him to do.
(believe.net, April 15 2006) Cardinal Theodore McCarrick Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is the Archbishop of Washington, D.C. and one of a growing number of religious leaders who advocate immigration reform. He spoke with Beliefnet recently about the U.S. Catholic bishops' stance on immigration and the criticism the bishops have faced.
In your speech at the D.C. rally on April 10, you said, "We do not deny that every government has the right and the duty to control its borders. We accept and defend that right, but we are not doing it today in a way that is either efficient or humane." What's a moral, humane way to control borders? If you were in charge of the laws and the border control, what would you do?
I'm very glad I'm not in charge, because it's a very difficult question. But we have experts who have to do that.
Everyone should be open to having other people come into their country, for good reason. We're America, a nation that only exists today because people were allowed to come in to try for a better life, to escape persecution or great poverty. Every nation should have some opportunity for people to come in; otherwise they become lost in being nativist, protectionist, and isolationist.
Once that is said, a nation should be able to say "I only want a certain number to come in," so that there is a natural growth and a natural flow. But because [we] have not had an effective policy, millions of people are living in a shadow.
That's where morality comes in. If they're doing bad things, obviously you can get rid of them. But if they're trying to raise a family, making a contribution to our economy by paying taxes, working in areas that other people don't want to work at, and bringing values to our country--values we sometimes tend to lose in our secular society--then you have to take another look at the immigration policies of the United States.
What, to you, are the most essential changes to make?
First of all, we need to cooperate with other countries so people can stay where they are. The most important right people have is the right to make it where they have roots planted. If that doesn't happen, often because of economic policies of well-developed nations, that's something we have to look at. We [should] help other countries develop economically themselves, so people aren't forced to look around [for] a place to find a better life.
Some people say that even if more fair-trade policies were implemented, it wouldn't benefit people in the Third World.
That is certainly said. But if we were to revise our trade policies to make it possible for other nations to find markets, I think we would be able to help improve the quality of life in other countries.
I'm convinced that this not the way God made the world--that some nations should be starving and others eating. We really have to find a way to close the chasm between the rich and poor.
That's number one. When it comes to our policies here, the most moral thing would be not to divide families. People who are documented and citizens sometimes have to wait a long time before their relatives and parents can come to this country.
It's been proposed that, if the Catholic Church feels strongly about welcoming immigrants, illegal immigrant children should be sent to Catholic schools at no cost, instead of public schools. And illegal immigrants who are ill should go to Catholic hospitals for free, not public ones. How would you respond to such proposals?
We'd love to do it. I'd love to have these youngsters in our schools, because they'd be a great blessing and treasure to us. If they came to our hospitals, that would be great. Obviously, there is a question of finances. I guess then they wouldn't pay taxes anymore, because taxes are what keep the public schools and hospitals open. If they weren't paying taxes, they could pay to go to Catholic schools and hospitals. But if they're going to pay taxes, it's only fair. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
If they're not paying taxes, then we have to work out some [way]--they really ought to be paying taxes. If they want to be part of our country, they have to support the country.
How do you respond to parents who have many children and feel strapped by taxes--who say they have a moral obligation to their own children first?
I would say they certainly do have an obligation to their own children. All this is based on the premise that these other people aren't paying taxes, and I don't think that's true. Not only are they paying taxes, they're keeping some of our operations alive that otherwise couldn't be kept alive.
Some people would say many illegal aliens work in the underground economy and don't pay taxes-they just receive cash for their services.
That kind of economy is immoral. We've forced that on them, because they can't go to a normal business. They are being immorally treated and not getting the money they need to live their own lives.
Many times, these people are working in an economy that our own people don't want to work in anymore. Someone said as a joke to me, "If we have to have this big wall [between the U.S. and Mexico], it's going to be [immigrants] who are building it."
Are you disturbed by the fact that many advocates of unlimited immigration are businesses looking for cheap labor and refuse to grant immigrants labor rights?
Very much so. When we speak of a reform of our immigration system, what we're looking for is the human rights of these people to do a decent job and get a decent salary for it. Anything else is not part of the program--to bring people in who will be always on the dole because they can't get a decent job. That's not the answer.
Is there a division between what Catholic leaders like you think about immigration, and what Catholic laypeople in the pews think?
I think there is, though not generally so. Many Catholic people in the pews do see the value of these people; [their] ancestors came within the last couple generations. My mother's people wouldn't have been here if we had this kind of legislation a hundred years ago.
There are some folks in the pews who do not agree with this. I certainly respect them. I'd like to have a chance to talk to them. I'd like them to read what the bishops are saying. I think if they read it and weren't just getting the propaganda, they will see it differently.
Has there been a personal cost to you in taking this stance?
There's always a personal cost if you try to espouse a cause that's not as popular as you'd like it to be. You try to do what you believe the Lord wants you to do, and what you believe the Church is teaching. I can't see how anyone could persuade me that this is not what the Lord is teaching. What I think is right, I have to do.
I did my column in the Catholic Standard on this question, because I know there are a number of our folks who weren't happy with my stand [in favor of immigrants' rights]. I have to preach what I think the Lord wants me to preach. If I'm wrong, he'll tell me.
What words of Jesus or events in the life of Jesus influence your stance on immigration?
The Lord says to people, "I was a stranger and you took me in." They say, "When did we see you a stranger?" [He replies,] "When you did it to the least of my brethren, then you took me in."
I think that's the way we should always react to people. It's not always the easy way, but it's what God asks us to do.
Llevarán caso Posadas al Congreso de EU
Apr 22, 2006
El cardenal Theodore McCarrick, arzobispo de Washington, presentará mañana jueves ante la Cámara de Representantes el asesinato del cardenal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo, ocurrido hace 13 años.
(El Universal, 5 de abril de 2006) El cardenal Theodore McCarrick, arzobispo de Washington, presentará mañana jueves ante la Cámara de Representantes de Estados Unidos el caso del asesinato del cardenal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo ocurrido hace 13 años.
Los integrantes del Subcomité de Derechos Humanos, que preside Christopher H. Smith, escucharán la versión de ese caso.
El panel “Fin a la impunidad: Investigaciones del asesinato del Cardenal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo” se realizará el 6 de abril a las 14:00 horas en el salón 2172 del Rayburn House Office Building.
Los miembros del Comité de Relaciones Internacionales también escucharán en ese espacio a Joy Olson, directora de la Oficina de Washington para Asuntos Latinoamericanos (WOLA), una Organización No Gubernamental que promueve los derechos humanos, la democracia y la justicia social en la política de Estados Unidos hacia América Latina y el Caribe.
Posadas Ocampo fue acribillado el 24 de mayo de 1993 en el aeropuerto de Guadalajara. El purpurado recibió más de 14 impactos de bala a una distancia menor de un metro, junto con su chofer Pedro Pérez Hernández.
Desde entonces se ha señalado que los autores del crimen fueron narcotraficantes junto con las redes que manejan el crimen organizado.
La hipótesis del “fuego cruzado” que en aquel entonces dieron las autoridades de la Procuraduría General de la República (PGR) fue descartada por los médicos forenses del estado de Jalisco.
Como coadyuvantes e integrantes de la Comisión Especial que da seguimiento a las investigaciones, tanto Ortega Sánchez como el diputado federal Guzmán Pérez Peláez han denunciado persecución y agresiones personales y a sus familias.
En la reunión con los legisladores estadounidenses los coadyuvantes del caso insistirán que el Departamento de Justicia les permita interrogar a los narcotraficantes Juan García Ábrego y Everardo Arturo Páez Martínez, alias El Kitty Páez.
Argumentarán que García Ábrego, recluido en el penal de alta seguridad Centenal Detention Facility, en Canon City, Colorado, tiene conocimiento de quién o quiénes ordenaron y ejecutaron la muerte de Juan Jesús Posadas y las razones que los motivaron.
De acuerdo con su relatoría, por esas fechas García Ábrego era el líder del Cártel del Golfo y tenía protección de algunas autoridades y políticos mexicanos, mientras que El Kitty Páezha declarado ante las autoridades norteamericanas que el ex Director General de la Policía Judicial, Rodolfo León Aragón, estuvo presente el día de los hechos dirigiendo las operaciones del homicidio.
Tanto Fernando Guzmán como José Antonio Ortega también insistirán en la declaración de Jesús Alberto Bayardo Robles, El Gori, detenido en el lugar de los hechos bajo el influjo de estupefacientes, quien puede aportar pruebas valiosas para dar con los culpables del crimen.
Junto con el Arzobispo de Washington, Theodore McCarrick, plantearán a los miembros de la Cámara de Representantes que durante los casi 13 años que han durado las investigaciones han recibido el apoyo de todos los cardenales norteamericanos, quienes exigen se esclarezca el homicidio.
Expondrán, además, que algunos cardenales latinoamericanos y el mismo Juan Pablo II, a través de la Secretaría del Estado del Vaticano, realizaron gestiones diplomáticas con el gobierno de México para el esclarecimiento de lo que ellos mismos consideran un “crimen de Estado”.
De igual forma solicitarán a los integrantes del Subcomité de Derechos Humanos apoyo de las autoridades norteamericanas para esclarecer el caso, abatir la impunidad en México y frenar al crimen organizado que afecta simultáneamente a los ciudadanos de ambos países.
Cardinal: Holy Land at critical stage
Mar 15, 2006
The Holy Land is at a critical moment in its history following the Hamas victory in Palestinian elections and preceding March 28 Israeli elections, said Washington Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick.
(Catholic News Service, 3/13/2006) Jerusalem – "There is the sense that this is a very crucial moment, and it will require an enormous amount of wisdom and courage and prayer because there are so many intangibles we just don't know," Cardinal McCarrick told Catholic News Service March 10, the final day of a three-day visit to the Holy Land.
The Washington cardinal said both elections could "very significantly change the equation" of keeping the peace in the Holy Land.
The elections also may make it more difficult for the U.S.-backed "road map" -- designed for a permanent, two-state solution for Israeli-Palestinian peace -- to move forward, he said. The cardinal said the U.S. Catholic Church is committed to the road map, developed in 2003.
Despite the challenges during this time of transition, the United States needs to be dedicated to a two-state solution that gives Israel "recognized borders and freedom from terrorism" while at the same time giving Palestinians a "viable and peaceful state," he said.
"Unquestionably, our country has a lot on its plate right now, but I believe the commitment the president made to the road map is a most important and essential one, and we still believe we have to follow (it) and encourage our government not to give up," he said.
"Our reaction to Hamas has always been that it is impossible to deal with someone who wants to drive you out," he added. "I am optimistic that now that Hamas is leading the government we will be able to see some change in that policy."
In turn, he said, the U.S. government should not react hastily to the new leadership of Hamas, a militant Islamic group, but should wait to see how leaders proceed once the new government is formed. But whatever happens, he said, humanitarian assistance is "absolutely necessary to avoid a human tragedy in the Palestinian territories."
Cardinal McCarrick was in the Holy Land to visit with Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops' international relief and development agency. He arrived in the area following a March 7 visit to Amman, Jordan, with King Abdullah II -- whom the cardinal referred to as "my friend" -- for further discussions about the Amman Message, a 2004 declaration recognizing the common principles of eight traditional schools of Islamic religious law.
The Amman Message is a "very good step" in dialogue and an important message to bring to people of faith, the cardinal said.
During his stay in Jerusalem, the cardinal met with Israeli President Moshe Katzav and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the U.S. consul general, Latin-rite Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem, other Catholic leaders, representatives of the Israel Defense Forces, the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Palestinian researchers.
Cardinal McCarrick, a member of the CRS board, visited a CRS kindergarten project in Bethlehem, West Bank. He also celebrated Mass at a parish in the West Bank village of Aboud.
He said the local Catholic community is worried about its future, and he noted that the population has "diminished extremely" since he was last in the Holy Land about five years ago. When he last visited, he said, he had hoped that when he returned certain issues would be resolved, but he noted in this visit the situation has become more difficult because of the Israeli separation barrier, a system of fences, trenches and walls designed to stop Palestinian terrorist attacks.
"One of our hopes is that what has been presented as temporary security protection will just be that when negotiations achieve final borders and that the fence will never be unreasonably or unjustly used for confiscating property," he said.
The barrier is one of the reasons cited for the decline in the Catholic population, he noted, and while it may have seemed necessary to the Israeli authorities, it seemed "harsh and unreasonable to those who have lost property." If completed as planned, the barrier were stretch nearly 400 miles and restrict the movements of 38 percent of residents of the West Bank.
The cardinal pointed specifically to Bethlehem as an example of a city whose lands have shrunk significantly because of Israeli security measures, causing many of the local businesses to close.
"I obviously worry about the economy of that very important town which always had a large Christian population," he said.
US Cardinal Mc Carrick Visits Aboud, Hopes Change of the Wall's Route
Mar 11, 2006
Cardinal Mc Carrick, President of the American Catholic Bishops Conference, visited Friday the West Bank Village of Aboud and asserted his hope for a change of the route of the Apartheid Wall.
RAMALLAH, March 10, 2006 (WAFA) - Speaking to the people in Aboud in presence of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and Holy Land Michel Sabbah and many Catholic priests of the Holy Land, Cardinal Mc Carrick said : "President of USA George W. Bush knows about Aboud and prayed with me for you."
Cardinal Mc Carrick, expressed his worry about the present route of the Wall near the village. He said: "I've spoken with President Bush about you, and I came here to pray with you for a sign of peace and justice by the High Court of Israel about the Wall in Aboud."
"As wrote in the Bible, Even if a mother could forget her baby, I will never forget you."
Later Cardinal Mc Carrick met Aboud Muslims and Christians men, and listened carefully to their speech on social and economic problems due to the Israeli Occupation and deepened by the building Wall.
He greeted them remembering "Christians, Jews and Muslims, are all sons and daughters of the same God, and brothers and sisters in the same father Abraham."
Cardinal McCarrick went in private visit to see the construction places of the Wall.
Since November 2005, Israel is building a Wall very close to Aboud village, taking one third of the whole land of Aboud and going to destroy hundreds of olive trees.
Aboud is 6 kilometers (3,5 miles) far from the 1967 borders between Israel and West Bank and already there is a wall on the borders making impossible to enter in Israel to anyone coming from West Bank.
The Wall in construction near Aboud is a secondary wall to surround the two colonies of Ofarim and Bet Arye and aims to connect them to the "Ariel bloc" in the north and in the future to annex them to the State of Israel.
President Abbas Receives Cardinal Mc Carrick
Mar 11, 2006
President Mahmoud Abbas received Friday in Ramallah Cardinal Mc Carrick, President of the American Catholic Bishops Conference.
RAMALLAH, March 10, 2006 (WAFA) - President Abbas briefed Cardinal Mc Carrick on the latest developments in the Palestinian territories in the wake of the legislative elections.
He also updated the Cardinal with the Israeli military escalation against the Palestinian people, Israel's continuation to build the Wall and assaults against holy places.
Cardinal Mc Carrick visited Aboud village in Ramallah to see the suffering of the Palestinians caused by the Israeli Apartheid Wall. He expressed his hope for a change of the route of the Apartheid Wall. He also visited Bethlehem.
Il Cardinal McCarrick si unisce alla richiesta di una riforma dell’emigrazione
Mar 04, 2006
Il Cardinale Theodore McCarrick ha esortato il Presidente George Bush e il Congresso degli Stati Uniti a lavorare insieme per la promulgazione di una riforma dell’immigrazione.
WASHINGTON, D.C., giovedì, 2 marzo 2006 (ZENIT.org).- L’Arcivescovo di Washington, durante una conferenza stampa interconfessionale svoltasi questo mercoledì, ha rivolto un appello per una riforma “che protegga la nostra sicurezza nazionale, rispetti la nostra comune umanità e rifletta i valori – giustizia, misericordia ed opportunità – sui quali la nostra Nazione è stata costruita”.
Il Cardinal McCarrick, 75 anni, è stato seguito da altri leader religiosi, tra i quali il reverendo Samuel Rodriguez, Jr., Presidente e responsabile esecutivo della National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, il Rabbino Scott Sperling, Direttore dell’Union for Reform Judaism's Mid-Atlantic Council, e il reverendo Robert Edgar, Segretario generale del National Council of the Churches of Christ.
Nella sua dichiarazione, il Cardinal McCarrick ha riconosciuto che l’immigrazione “non è un problema semplice, ma una questione che evoca forti passioni e dibattiti di sicurezza nazionale, economici, legali e sociali”.
Il porporato ha aggiunto che l’immigrazione è anche una questione umanitaria che “coinvolge la dignità fondamentale e la vita della persona, creata ad immagine e somiglianza di Dio. E’ a causa di questo impatto sulla dignità umana e sulla vita umana che crediamo che l’immigrazione sia in primo luogo una questione morale”.
Il Cardinal McCarrick ha chiesto l’adozione dei principi inclusi nel Secure America and Orderly Immigration Control Act del 2005 e di molti altri disegni di legge sull’immigrazione ora in sospeso presso il Senato statunitense.
“Ogni giorno, noi nella Chiesa cattolica vediamo le conseguenze umane di un sistema difettoso”, ha affermato il porporato. “Vediamo famiglie separate, lavoratori sfruttati, migranti abusati dai contrabbandieri e che a volte muoiono nel deserto”.
“Cambiare lo status quo è una questione di necessità morale”, ha spiegato. “La nostra Nazione deve creare una risposta umana all’immigrazione, servendo allo stesso tempo i nostri bisogni in fatto di sicurezza nazionale ed economia”.
At 75, a cardinal's duties grow ever more delicate
Jan 07, 2006
He says he is old and exhausted and wants more time to read and to fish at the Jersey Shore, but Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, the archbishop of Washington and the former head of both the Metuchen and Newark dioceses, just keeps working.
(The Star Ledger, December 19, 2005) "Most people my age are dead," he says. "I'm 75. Sometimes I feel like the portrait of Dorian Gray" -- a reference to the Oscar Wilde story of a man who remained young-looking while his face on a portrait drastically aged.
And, he said earlier this year, he is ready to retire. But the Vatican exempted him from the mandatory retirement age so he could continue, not only his work in Washington, but also in the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast and in China, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America.
Things like that happen to the cardinal. He serves, for example, on the national board of Catholic Relief Services. Completed the maximum permitted four terms.
"But then they changed their bylaws so I could keep working with them," he said. "I guess they think I am useful."
McCarrick is a very useful man, a very useful theologian, a very useful antidote to a Washington often bitterly divided. He is soft-spoken, rational, and modest, even when he becomes a lightning rod for conservatives inside and outside his church.
"We need civility in our public life," he said in a telephone interview marking the upcoming fifth anniversary of his appointment as the leader of Catholics in the nation's capital. "We do ourselves great damage if we cannot speak to each other."
He somehow manages to take positions that, while grounded in mainstream Catholic doctrine, reflect an understanding of more liberal views. McCarrick says it is essential to be "understanding and compassionate as well as strong."
The cardinal provoked the anger of some in the Catholic hierarchy when he met during the 2004 campaign with Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, a Catholic who supports abortion rights. Unlike other prelates, including his replacement in Newark, Archbishop John Myers, he refused to say such politicians should be denied communion, saying he was not going to have a "political confrontation at the altar railing."
"Of course, I talked with him and others," he said. "How do you change minds without talking to them?"
McCarrick condemns abortion as "judicial murder" and calls the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision "bad law." Yet, when asked directly whether the Supreme Court should overturn it, he said, "I certainly hope they give a good look at it."
He is, after all, now in an extraordinary position. The chief Catholic prelate in Washington at a time, a historic first, when a majority of the Supreme Court would, if Samuel Alito is confirmed, be Catholic.
"It certainly would put us in the limelight, whether that's a good or a bad thing, I'm not sure."
Although McCarrick called Chief Justice John Roberts "a great man" -- and although Alito is from New Jersey -- the cardinal said he didn't know Alito personally and didn't know his positions well enough to endorse his confirmation. He said he just wanted to see "civil" confirmation hearings.
McCarrick said he was hopeful a court with a Catholic majority would be "faithful to the values that made the republic strong."
When some Catholic leaders questioned the church's long-standing support of the study of evolution, McCarrick said Catholics could believe in evolution as long as they recognize "the guiding hand of God."
"If the Lord wished to develop the human race through evolution, He has the power to do that," said McCarrick.
He pointedly, however, refused to say he supported "intelligent design," often thought to be a cover for the reintroduction of creationism. "I'm not sure what intelligent design means," he said. "I'll just say I support Catholic doctrine."
McCarrick managed to keep a potentially explosive issue at Georgetown University, a Catholic school, from becoming a major controversy. A pro-life group charged researchers at the university's medical school were conducting studies using stem cells from aborted fetuses. It was true.
Once himself the president of a Catholic university in Puerto Rico, McCarrick asked the Jesuit school to look into the issue but did not directly intervene, even after the school decided to continue using the cells in order to avoid disrupting the research.
"We followed the advice of theologians who know far more about such things than I do," McCarrick said. There might be criticism, he admitted, "but it was a time to be strong."
He has spoken out against the death penalty, asking Congress not to expand crimes for which capital punishment would be used. He cited Pope John Paul II's views on the issue as support for his position.
McCarrick also cited the late Pope's opposition to the war in Iraq to say he believed the 2003 invasion "was not justified." The cardinal also refuses to give what amounts to an informal imprimatur to the war by saying he is not sure it could be considered "a just war."
Despite a more pacifist view of all wars developed by the church over the past few decades, it still clings to the doctrine of "just" war. McCarrick said he believed that, once the invasion occurred, "We face a different set of values and we have to take care of our kids there, of the people there, we just can't walk on."
McCarrick's position as the head of the church in the center of American power and politics has made him a far more visible prelate than he was in Newark, a much larger diocese. He travels frequently -- saying Mass to the faithful in China, meeting with Islamic religious leaders in Tehran -- travels "too frequently," he says.
Yet, when asked -- the first question he was asked -- what was the highlight of his nearly five years as Washington's cardinal, he didn't mention all his national duties or his ability to vote for the new Pope or his meetings with the President of the United States.
He spoke about how happy he was to be about to ordain 12 new priests.
"That's the largest ordination class we have had in 37 years," he said.
Because, he is, he says, in the end, a bishop, a pastor, a shepherd for his flock.
"To be in Washington," he says, "just makes it more complicated."
Cardinal McCarrick Looks Back on 2005
Jan 07, 2006
The Archbishop of Washington is reflecting on a tumultuous year that had him comforting victims of two natural disasters and dealing with the death of a beloved pope.
WASHINGTON (The Associated Press, December 30, 2005) - Cardinal Theodore McCarrick visited victims of the South Asian tsunami in early 2005. Later in the year, he traveled to Louisiana and Mississippi to meet with victims of Hurricane Katrina.
In a year end interview with The Associated Press, McCarrick said if there was any good that came out of those tragedies, it was that people of all faiths learned to work together. And he says much more help will be needed in the year ahead to rebuild people's lives.
McCarrick also reflected on the death of Pope John Paul.
McCarrick says it was "the end of an extraordinary chapter in the history of the Catholic Church and of the world." But he says the huge turnout for John Paul's funeral was a sign of how relevant the pope and his teachings are in modern times.
McCarrick is the spiritual leader of about 560,000 Roman Catholics in the District of Columbia and southern Maryland.
Cardinal encourages more respect and civility this Christmas
Jan 07, 2006
"Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas." Whatever greeting is used, the Archbishop of Washington wants people to celebrate without creating battle lines.
(Associated Press, Dec 23 2005) WASHINGTON - Cardinal Theodore McCarrick says Christmas should be a time for people across the country and the world to recommit to working together to solve problems, and simply be more civil to each other.
The Catholic leader says people shouldn't be afraid to fully celebrate and extend greetings. McCarrick says people should say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hanukkah." And, as he puts it: "To people who have no faith we should say 'Happy Holidays.'"
McCarrick adds he doesn't think anyone should say you can't say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hanukkah." He says "That is being narrow minded and not having respect for people."
Use of Aborted Fetal Cells Prompts Probe at Catholic Institution
Dec 04, 2005
The letter last fall from an antiabortion group posed an unexpected quandary for Georgetown University Medical Center .
(Washington Post, January 30, 2004) A Florida-based group wrote to Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington that some scientists at Georgetown , a Catholic university, were doing research using cells derived from aborted fetuses.
An in-house investigation verified the claim. But when 14 of the researchers involved said that ending the use of the cells in question would jeopardize years of work and funding, the matter was turned over to ethicists. In a recommendation that scholars said could mark a first in Catholic medical research in the United States , Georgetown has decided to let those researchers continue their work.
The Rev. Kevin T. FitzGerald, a university bioethicist, said he reasoned that the scientists did not know the cells had come from aborted fetuses when they began their work and should not be forced to abandon potentially lifesaving studies or risk forfeiting grants. The benefits to society, he said, far outweigh the harm done by using the cells, because the abortions were not performed for the purpose of providing the cells to scientists.
"The ideal would be not to be involved with [aborted fetal cells] at all," said FitzGerald, a Jesuit priest who holds a doctorate in molecular genetics. "Obviously, we don't live in an ideal world. We do the best we can."
Four other Georgetown researchers agreed to switch to other cell lines after determining they could do so without compromising their work. The medical center has removed the controversial frozen cell lines from its central repository on campus.
But those moves do not preclude a Georgetown researcher from using aborted fetal cells in the future if there are no alternatives. FitzGerald said each instance would have to be judged.
"We have to pull in the administrators at the university to say what sorts of things can we put in place as far as a screening process," he said. "We have to figure out who does it, where does the screening take place, how is it structured, who decides. I don't know what we're going to be able to do or not do. This is new ground."
John Haas, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Boston, said the ethical issues surrounding the use of fetal cells, embryonic stem cells and cloning are the most controversial facing the church. "I don't see the moral difficulty in using these cell lines, because you're not contributing in any way to the abortions, which took place decades ago," Haas said. "However, there is the risk of leading people to think that [some Catholic institutions do not] consider abortion to be a great evil and are indifferent to it and willing to work with tissue that result from that kind of action."
Haas said Georgetown is the first Catholic research institution that has addressed the issue publicly and said it is possible that others have made internal decisions that have not been disclosed.
Debra Vinnedge, executive director of Children of God for Life, who initiated the complaint, said she was dismayed to learn that Georgetown has made compromises in coping with a complex problem. She said McCarrick wrote to her last month to say her concerns "had been resolved," which she took to mean that the cell lines were no longer in use.
Vinnedge said she could understand Georgetown 's position. "Once you start your research, you can't start introducing variables," she said, adding that she hopes the institution will retire the cell lines once the particular research projects are completed. Susan Gibbs, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said McCarrick had asked Georgetown to look into the letter from Vinnedge and was satisfied with its response.
Some of the involved cell lines, which are widely used in medical research nationwide, were derived from cells that were harvested from aborted fetuses in Europe nearly 40 years ago, while others are more recent. Scientists say they prefer working with cells from fetuses because they can grow rapidly and adapt to new environments better than those from mature humans. Cell lines can be maintained indefinitely in the laboratory, leaving little need to extract new ones.
Some of Georgetown 's cells have been at the medical center for years, stored in a liquid nitrogen freezer. They are being used by scientists in studies on treatments for illnesses that include Alzheimer's disease, cancer, kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and heart disease, said Georgetown spokeswoman Amy DeMaria.
Fetal cells are not subject to federal restrictions, such as a ban on federal funding of research using embryonic stem cells created after August 2001. The Catholic church objects to research on cells from aborted fetuses, but it allows the use of cells from miscarried fetuses, including those from spontaneous abortions, because they were unplanned.
Vinnedge's organization, based in Clearwater , Fla. , was established to protest the use of aborted fetal cell lines in developing vaccines. From reading scientific journals, Vinnedge said, she had identified several cell lines said to have come from aborted fetuses. When she searched for them by code number on the Internet, she found them on a Georgetown Web site listing cell lines in use at the medical center.
"I've never seen anything like this at a Catholic university," she said in a telephone interview this week.
Vinnedge's letter to McCarrick triggered an unprecedented internal review by Georgetown bioethicists, university officials said.
In weighing how to handle the issue, Georgetown looked to the debate of a decade ago, when many Catholics became aware that cells from an aborted fetus were used to originate cultures used to manufacture chicken pox vaccine and measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. Since then, a measles-mumps-rubella vaccine has been developed without cells from an aborted fetus, but the chicken pox vaccine is still made with the same cell line.
Church officials concluded that the benefits of widespread immunization significantly outweighed the drawbacks of using aborted fetal cells, said FitzGerald.
"The connection to the abortion was distant and remote enough to say that this in no way encouraged or facilitated further abortions," he said. "The good was a proportionately strong enough argument to say, 'Do this.' "
Georgetown applied the same rationale to the new dilemma, reasoning that the work its scientists had been doing was too important "to throw all this good stuff out," FitzGerald said.
But FitzGerald acknowledged the practical challenge of avoiding the cell lines in future research projects. Investigators often must use a particular line of aborted fetal cells to qualify for a grant because the National Institutes of Health or other research funding agencies want to compare the results with other studies performed using the same source material. Using cells with different traits would make comparisons invalid, he said.
Fitzgerald said Georgetown scientists should not feel threatened by the university's actions. "We're not trying to roll back anybody's freedoms or disrupt anybody's research," he said.
'Protect the Interests of the Poor' in Trade Negotiations
Dec 04, 2005
In a private Oval Office meeting today Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington today urged President Bush to ensure that trade negotiations taking place this month in Hong Kong protect the interests of the poor around the world.
WASHINGTON, 12/1/2005 /U.S. Newswire/ -- "The fight against poverty around the world is vital to establishing solidarity among peoples and nations," said Cardinal McCarrick after the meeting. "Global trade rules, when framed from the perspective of the 'least among us,' can lead to more equitable prosperity and stability in a world where growing inequality and instability are very often dangerous realities."
Cardinal McCarrick's meeting with the President comes days before the sixth ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization, slated for Dec. 13-18 in Hong Kong. The current Doha Round of negotiations, begun in Doha, Qatar, in 2001, was expected to promote human development in poor countries through global trade, something critics claim is not currently happening.
Specifically, Cardinal McCarrick urged the President to work to "substantially reduce, if not eliminate, trade-distorting federal subsidies while protecting small and medium-sized farms in the United States." He comments echoed an October 21, 2005, letter to the President from Bishop William S. Skylstad, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (see http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/international/BushLetteronDoha.pdf ) urging the President to "go the extra mile on behalf of the United States in seeking a just outcome of the Doha Round for the world's poor."
The full text of Cardinal McCarrick's remarks to the White House media follow:
"I welcomed the opportunity to meet with President Bush today to discuss the importance of international trade in the fight against global poverty and hunger. I reiterated the words of Bishop William S. Skylstad, President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, who, in his letter of October 21, urged the President to 'fight not just for the interests of the people of the United States in current (trade) negotiations, but to protect the interests of the poor around the world who have too little access to the negotiating table.'
"Just a few days ago, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, issued a call to those participating in next month's meeting of World Trade Organization members in Hong Kong to focus on the needs of the poor and the disadvantaged. The Pope expressed his hope that 'a sense of responsibility and solidarity with the most disadvantaged will prevail, so that narrow interests and the logic of power will be set aside.'
"President Bush has proposed major changes in US agricultural policies that are important for establishing a more just global trading system. This is a courageous and necessary step in the right direction. The Church looks forward to working with the President and others to ensure that meaningful reforms are reflected in the next Farm Bill that substantially reduce, if not eliminate, trade-distorting federal subsidies while protecting small and medium-sized farms in the United States."
"The fight against poverty around the world is vital to establishing solidarity among peoples and nations. Global trade rules, when framed from the perspective of the 'least among us,' can lead to more equity, prosperity and stability in a world where growing inequality and instability are very often dangerous realities.
"At the same time, trade alone is not enough in the fight against poverty. Our U.S. Bishops' Catholic Campaign Against Global Poverty addresses trade, aid and debt relief. Poor countries need the support of more generous foreign aid and broader debt relief so that they can invest in education and health care for their people and in building their capacity for trade. On this World AIDS Day, we welcome the President's leadership in promoting more foreign aid and debt relief for poor countries, including funding for the fight against HIV-AIDS, and urge him to build on this work and to secure the necessary resources."
"There remain significant challenges in reaching a just outcome in the current round of trade negotiations. The Administration's proposals for Hong Kong head in the right direction, but the Conference hopes that the United States can help guarantee that increased trade benefits those whose needs are the greatest. In this regard, we urge creation of a flexible and equitable trade environment for poor countries through robust special and differential treatment. I echo the call of Bishop Skylstad: 'I urge (the President) to go the extra mile on behalf of the United States in seeking a just outcome of the Doha Round for the world's poor.'"
Red Mass Homily by Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick
Oct 03, 2005
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, delivered the homily below at the October 2, 2005 Red Mass, which was held at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, DC.
The Red Mass is a centuries-old tradition, invoking God’s blessings and guidance in the administration of justice under the power of the Holy Spirit. In Washington, the Red Mass is held on the Sunday before the start of the Supreme Court session each year.
This year's attendees included President George W. and Laura Bush, the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John G. Roberts, other members of the Administration and Supreme Court, as well as members of the federal, state and local judiciaries.
The Mass in Washington is sponsored by the John Carroll Society, an organization for professional Catholics that sponsors spiritual, social and charitable activities. Following the Mass, the organization presented the Pro Bono Legal Service Awards to several local attorneys and an administrative assistant who have donated time and legal expertise on behalf of low-income residents of the Washington metropolitan area through the Archdiocesan Legal Network.
Cardinal McCarrick's homily:
To preach this morning in the presence of the President of the United States, our new Chief Justice and many members of the Supreme Court, the other federal, state and local courts and the distinguished members of the Bench and the Bar is a very humbling thing for me and gives me an opportunity both to thank you all for your presence and so much more for your faithfulness to your awesome responsibilities, as well as to assure you on behalf of the Catholic people in this archdiocese of our fervent prayers for you as you help to guide our beloved nation in a challenging period of its history.
Our Gospel today is a very beautiful one. We are presented with Matthew’s narrative of one of the great parables of Jesus. It is the parable of the vineyard and of vine growers who forgot that they were not the lords of the vineyard, but only the workers there. What an awesome lesson for all of us. We all need to learn that we are just workers in God’s world who must be always conscious of His loving Presence as He guides and sustains every moment of our lives.
The parable of the vineyard has many meanings. This was probably clear to those who heard it and maybe not as clear to us. It speaks of the Father’s goodness, of His gift of this great vineyard and His entrusting it to the workers. The vineyard must yield good wine for the health and comfort of many people and the vineyard’s workers are given the chance to be part of this great accomplishment. It is a lesson not just to the people of Israel to whom the Lord spoke, but to all of us, as well. The parable also speaks of the rejection of the prophets, this sad history of God’s chosen people, for so much of their history. It speaks also ultimately of rejecting Jesus Himself, the Son, the Heir who comes to call the people back to faithfulness to the Father and is driven out of the vineyard and put to death. All of us share their guilt because ultimately we are all workers in the vineyard of the Lord. God has graced each one of us with a special role to play so that we may produce good things for Him and for our neighbor and that we might promote the Kingdom where He is Lord forever and ever.
Our Gospel has its roots in another parable, that of the prophet Isaiah who lived so many years before. This was the parable described in the first reading of the Mass. Isaiah describes another vineyard, a vineyard that God cared for so well and hoped it would bring forth a great crop to provide good wine for the tables of life. Yet this vineyard fails for other reasons, both man-made and reasons of nature. Isaiah makes it clear, and Jesus follows, that the vineyard is the house of Israel and, indeed, the vineyard is all of us.
It is sometimes difficult to have a great vineyard. It depends on so many things. Some of them are climactic and depend on the soil and the water and the sun. Others are man-made for they depend on the good care and loving concern of the vine keepers themselves. For a vineyard, there are good times and bad. There are times of plenty and times of challenge.
Life is like that, too. Isaiah preaches that message, also. The vineyard is the vineyard of the Lord. The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel. The vineyard of the Lord is all of us. In a deeper sense, the vineyard is this world in which we live in our own country, among our own people, in our own land.
For our vineyard, too, there are good times and bad. There are days of plenty and days of challenge. In this particular moment of the history of our lives, we walk our days in a time of great challenge. Let us count the ways:
· We are at war with international terrorism.
· We are facing a difficult conflict in Iraq; thank God, less so in Afghanistan.
· We are so clearly living in a world of conflicts, as in Darfur in the Sudan, in parts of Asia and Africa, in the Holy Land.
· We worry about AIDS in Africa and here in our own neighborhoods and poverty and hunger among so many people of our world.
· We worry about the poor at home, especially those who have lost so much in the wake of the Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
These are the times of challenge when the vine growers need to work together and be more aware of the responsibility they hold to bring the wine of sweetness and the wine of strength to ourselves and to all our people.
All of these troubles weigh heavily upon us. How could it be otherwise? We tend to blame each other, and the level of our discourse can sometimes become shrill and caustic and uneven. What happens in the vineyard can happen to us in our public life. We must be careful that we do not condemn the vineyard and harm to the vine growers. And yet, thanks be to God, in the last few days, we have witnessed a period of greater civility in the selection of our Chief Justice. I pray that that civility will continue because it is so important not just for good government, but for the good care of our people who look here to all of you and your colleagues for the kind of leadership that is not destructive or not too intensely partisan.
We know that we must become friends again, not agreeing on everything, of course, but striving to dialogue more gently, more positively; more careful to set the conversation within a forum of mutual respect by being willing to listen for the good points that are usually present in every reasonable discourse and so will help us learn again to build and not to tear down. During the past few weeks, many of us, myself included, have spoken about civility and the need for it in every part of our civil life, in every part of our society – and not excluding the Church itself.
You are perhaps aware of the initiative that some of our senior statesmen have proposed in what is called the National Committee to Unite a Divided America. They have presented a declaration that is a call to civility in government. I find it to be of special value today. The declaration begins with the words, I quote, “The coming years will demand greatness from our leaders and our citizens as we navigate through a time of domestic and international opportunities as well as challenges that threaten our security and long term prosperity. The difficulty of this task is magnified by our country’s political divisions, for today we are too much a house divided. Yet if we continue to achieve our common goals we will surely write a great chapter in America’s history.”
I find those words to be optimistic, challenging and comforting, and I hope we all do. The document continues to say that, “Civility does not require citizens to give up cherished beliefs or water down their convictions. Rather it requires respect, listening and dialogue when interacting with those who hold different points of view.” Indeed, there is no doubt that some of the great moments in our history have occurred when people of different points of view have agreed to differ in a respectful manner and try to work together to find a place where there will be sufficient accord to build a better world.
This is my prayer this day in a very special way as we celebrate the Red Mass here at St. Matthew’s Cathedral. I take heart, as well, from the second reading in today’s Mass. It comes from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians. It begins by encouraging us to dismiss all anxiety from our minds and to present our needs to God in every form of prayer and petition. The most striking of Paul’s admonitions in this reading is his good counsel that our thoughts – and our words – should be wholly directed to all that is true, all that deserves respect, all that is honest, pure, decent, virtuous or worthy of praise. Paul assures us as an apostle of the Lord that if we do this, if we speak and work in this way, the God of Peace will be with us.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful for our country, for each one of us, if our discourse could mirror that of the apostle and help change this vineyard of ours, so filled as it always is with promise and potential, into even more a place where good works can grow like precious grapes in the sunshine of a well-watered garden in the shade of a flourishing life. When all is said and done, we need to reflect on our own lives, our own mission and our own ministry, each one of us being called in a special way to exercise the talents which he and she has been given. The 80th Psalm, which we sang together this morning, proclaims this message as it sings of the vineyard of the Lord, “Give us new life and we will call upon your name. O Lord of hosts restore us. If you shine your face upon us, then we shall be saved!”
As we sang this great Psalm this morning, listening hopefully, each one with care to the challenge the psalmist gives us in the name of God Most High. You and I and all of us here who have our own responsibility in this vineyard are called to come together, each in his or her own way, to put our hands to that task so that the Lord of the vineyard might be pleased with our service and He might bless it with peace and plenty for ourselves and our neighbor and for all this beloved land of ours. Amen.
“Traditional Islam: The Path to Peace”
Sept 30, 2005
Address by King Abdullah II of Jordan. Remarks by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington and Catholic University of America Chancellor. The Catholic University of America - Columbus School of Law, Sept. 13, 2005
Your Majesty, King Abdullah
Your Majesty Queen Rania
Members of the delegation from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Distinguished guests from many faith communities
Dear friends all,
A few months ago, when I was privileged to pray for you on another occasion in this capital city, I asked Allah, the compassionate and merciful Lord of all the world, to bless you and to help you make your country a bridge across which all nations might walk in unity, fellowship and love. As I listened to your words today, I believe my prayer is being answered.
Indeed, the Amman Message of November of last year is a blueprint and a challenge not only to the great world of Islam, but to the whole human race. Your thoughtful leadership is a stirring invitation to all of us, especially to the people of the Book, the family of Abraham, who share so much and who are called to be brothers and sisters in God’s one human family.
You have taken to heart the words of Pope Benedict XVI when he addressed the Muslim leaders gathered with him in Germany last month and invited them all to join him in eliminating from all hearts any trace of rancor, in resisting every form of intolerance and in opposing every manifestation of violence. As you quoted in your splendid talk to us today, Pope Benedict called his listeners, in this way, to turn back the way of cruel fanaticism that endangers the lives of so many people and hinders progress for world peace.
Your Majesty’s call and that of the Holy Father are in so many ways the same. May Allah, the merciful and compassionate, continue to guide your steps along this noble path. May He guide and protect you, your family and your beloved country and may peace and justice come to all lands and all peoples through your efforts, your vision and your courage.
In the name of Allah, the merciful and compassionate God, we pray. Amen.
Washington's Cardinal to Serve Past 75
Sept 28, 2005
Some two months after Cardinal Theodore McCarrick submitted his resignation on his 75th birthday, as required by church law, the Vatican has issued this edict: Not so fast.
(Washington Post, September 6, 2005) WASHINGTON -- McCarrick will continue to serve as archbishop of Washington after Pope Benedict XVI turned down his resignation, the archdiocese announced Tuesday.
"I accept the Holy Father's decision with gratitude and confidence," McCarrick said in a statement.
The cardinal will likely serve another two years or so, said Susan Gibbs, spokeswoman for the archdiocese. During that time, McCarrick intends to continue the socially minded projects he's started over the years, such as reaching out to immigrant communities and offering tuition aid to low-income Washington residents, she said.
On Saturday, the archbishop will accompany a Vatican delegation to the Gulf states to survey hurricane damage.
"They can see what's needed and bring the pope's concerns," Gibbs said.
McCarrick was asked to join the delegation to heavily Catholic Louisiana because of his background in disaster relief, she said. In January, the cardinal visited Indonesia after the southeast Asian tsunami.
McCarrick was ordained as a priest 47 years ago and has been a bishop for 28 years. In 2001, he succeeded James A. Hickey as spiritual leader of the 500,000 Catholics in the District of Columbia and suburban Maryland.
Aug 06, 2005
You know that I write a lot about vocations to the priesthood. This year especially, with the extraordinary number of changes in priestly assignments caused by our smaller numbers, has made the increasingly fewer members of our archdiocesan priestly community abundantly clear. By Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick.
(Catholic Standard, July 28, 2005) Thanks be to God, the truth is that we are doing much better than most of the dioceses in our country. As a matter of fact, we have more than 60 seminarians. Relying on God's Providence, we trust that the future will see greater numbers of young men and those not so young entering the seminary and, indeed, next year's class of ordination may well more than double the numbers ordained this year.
And so now I want to write you about vocations to religious life and in particular to religious communities of women. (I promise to do a column in the near future about religious Brothers whose special vocation to teaching and to works of charity continue to make a profound contribution to holiness and apostolic life in this Archdiocese of Washington.)
The other day, I became so strikingly aware of women religious as I celebrated Mass in the cathedral on my birthday and had the blessing of the presence of dozens of Sisters who had come to pray with me and to wish me well. There were many young Sisters whose joyful smiles and enthusiasm for a life of service to the Lord was apparent and beautiful, and even catching in its joyful vigor. I recall the days of my own youth - yes, I can still remember - when many nuns of many congregations exemplified the life of our Church and its powerful call to the vows of religious life.
Those days are not over!
A couple of years ago, a number of young women approached me with the idea of establishing a diocesan community of women here in Washington, which would serve the faithful of this archdiocese. I talk a lot about the diocesan priesthood, and they presented the idea of a Diocesan Sisterhood, a group of women with the vows of religious life, living in community, praying together and accepting whatever apostolic mission the Archdiocese of Washington might require. We spoke of them going into campus ministry, pastoral service in the parishes, teaching in Catholic schools, parish visitations and of the myriad other forms of service that could be undertaken by this group.
Two years ago, seven single women began to meet together to test this idea. It is my hope that sometime in the fall, some of them will begin living together in community while each continues her own work for a while until a program of novitiate can be established. They are teachers, social workers, professional women of different fields, but they enter with the hope of discerning God's Will for them, and my prayer is that it will take the form of a new religious congregation in due time.
For young women who might sense the Lord's call to serve either in a new way, such as I have described, or in any of the many wonderful religious communities of Sisters already serving in this Archdiocese of Washington, I invite you to write me here at my office in the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center. I will put you in contact with our already established religious congregations or with the young women in this new adventure of grace, as you request.
Thinking of you and of God's wondrous grace that abounds here in this local Church of ours, I pray that many will hear His Voice and answer, "Yes, Lord, here I am!"
A Blessing for all of us
Jul 23, 2005
In my own life I remember having read his spiritual books, books of meditations, books that not only reveal his wisdom and brilliance but also his humility, his piety and his own personal goodness. .By Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington.
(30Days, May 2005) I think we are all really delighted that the Lord has given us this new Pope, Pope Benedict XVI. I think that the fact that the Conclave ended so quickly is that we were so impressed by this good man not only in the way he preached for our beloved Holy Father John Paul II, and not only by the way he carried out, humbly, gently, graciously, but with great goodness and with great dignity, his role as Dean of the Sacred College, during the days between the death of the Holy Father and the Conclave.
But also being with him we began to recall all the extraordinary things that he has done for the Church in the last 25 years at the side of the Holy Father, that he was in so wonderful a way the Holy Father’s theologian and the guardian of the doctrine of the Church, which was so important to John Paul II and so important to all of us. In their wisdom he and the Holy Father were a great team working together for the good of the Church and for the guidance of the faithful. I think that we came to remember as we watched him and listened to him that he is not just a good theologian but a man of faith.
In my own life I remember having read his spiritual books, books of meditations, books that not only reveal his wisdom and brilliance but also his humility, his piety and his own personal goodness. So that when we came to choose a new Pope, the first Pope to be elected in the third millennium, we found ourselves in the presence of a man who had impressed us by his leadership over three weeks and who reminded us by his goodness and by his holiness of the extraordinary gifts that he had already given to the Church, when he stood at the side of Pope John Paul II all those years. In today’s world he seemed to have the strength and the grace needed to guide us in the future.
This is why we all thought that the Holy Spirit had said to us: this is your man, choose him and follow him and be joyful in the fact that I have given you this new leader as your shepherd. Be faithful to him as you have tried to be to his predecessors.In the United States we have a custom when the new president is elected, he gives a State of the Union address and says this is where I am, this is where I think we are, this is where we’re going. I think the Holy Father did the same thing with great forethought in his first homily on 20 April. It could not have been prepared long beforehand because he did not know he was going to be Pope, but it was as if the Holy Spirit was speaking to him and saying: «Tell them what the Church has need of as it moves forward».
And then all the things he mentions and especially his willingness to build on the works of the Second Vatican Council, his willingness to build on those great documents. We’ve always realized that John Paul II was one of the great Fathers of the Council and played a major role in it, though Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, also played a major role as one of the great theologians of the Council. How blessed we are to have two men who can authentically interpret the Council for us and authentically lead us into following the great ideas, the great graces, the great visions of the Second Vatican Council. So I think we are very blessed in having this very good man.
Sometimes the media, (not 30Days of course!), puts a spin on somebody and oftentimes the spin on Cardinal Ratzinger was that he was a hard man, a strong man, not a man who worked with others. Well in the three weeks that we lived with him every day, we have seen his collegiality and his collaboration and his willingness to work with others and his kindness: there’s great kindness and great humility in him, in dealing with all his brother cardinals. We must thank God for having him as Pope, and I pray that the Lord will continue to bless him in his task as he leads the great flock of this great Catholic Church into the years that lie ahead.
The Pope explained to us that he had chosen the name Benedict because Pope Benedict XV was a man who worked for peace and for the reconciliation of the peoples of the world lacerated by the horrible First World War. And then he said he chose it because Saint Benedict was one of the great patrons of Europe, Europe that now must come together, to move on the right road into the years ahead. When I heard the name I thought for us it’s “Benedictus”, because he will be a blessing to the Church, a blessing to all of us. Not that he claimed to be. He will be. He will be a blessing for us in this very critical time in the life of the Church and the life of the world.
Thinking of You
Jul 15, 2005
Somehow, 75 seems to be a special number. My family talks about it a lot; so much so, that one of the littlest of the youngsters has started calling out Bingo every time the number is mentioned! By Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick.
(Catholic Standard, July 7, 2005) It is certainly a gift from God to have had 75 years of life and now, as far as I can tell, to be in good health and to have enough energy to do my work. As required by the canon law of the Church, I have sent my letter of resignation to the Holy Father and for now continue to serve as I await his pleasure.
People often ask whether I have any regrets. You know me well enough by now to know what they are. I wish I had tried harder to be a holy person so that I could be a better shepherd to all of you. After 47 years as a priest and 28 as a bishop, I should have prayed more, loved God more, been kinder and more generous, and become a better example to those whom, in God's mysterious Providence, I have been called to serve. As I look back over these long years, that's the one great regret.
In a real way, I have to say honestly that the regrets are balanced by a deep and confident joy. I know that you pray for me and that my love for all of you is so often wondrously returned by so many. Because of that, I trust that in whatever years or days God will continue to use me, I will try harder to get it right - to atone for my sins and my stupidities, to beg pardon for my faults and mistakes, to rejoice in God's overwhelming grace and to be a good father and brother and friend.
"The future is hidden from our eyes," as the beautiful old instruction at weddings used to say. We know that it will have its crosses and its sorrows, but we know too that if we bear those with a loving heart and with trust in God, we can carry them all with perfect joy. Thinking of you, as I cross the threshold of three-quarters of a century, I wish us all that same perfect joy.
Cardinal says Catholics can believe that God guided evolution
Jul 15, 2005
Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick says Catholics don’t have to believe in Creationism -- the Bible’s account of God creating Adam and Eve and the universe in six days.
(KRON 4 TV Washington DC, Juli 11 2005) Washington - McCarrick told reporters at the National Press Club that instead of what he called “the beautiful story of Genesis,” Catholics can believe in evolution -- as long as it's understood to have been guided by God rather than chance.
The archbishop of Washington said that was the view of the late Pope John Paul, which was echoed last week by a leading European cardinal.
Cardinal McCarrick said the Church cannot accept the belief that “this is all an accident.” But he added that “as long as in every understanding of evolution, the hand of God is recognized as being present, we can accept that.”
Cardinal Discusses Future of Catholic Church, New Pope
Jul 15, 2005
Pope Benedict XVI will continue the legacy of Pope John Paul II through open dialogue as he leads more than 1 billion Roman Catholics, said one of the 115 cardinals who helped elect him.
(FeaturesWashington, D.C. - Scripps Howard Foundation Wire – infoZine, July 12, 2005) - Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, described Pope Benedict as an "extraordinary man" at a National Press Club luncheon Monday.
McCarrick described Pope Benedict as "friendly, somewhat shy, engaging, utterly competent and humble," after spending time with him in the conclave where the cardinals worked together to elect the 265th pope. Pope Benedict XVI was elected April 19 after Pope John Paul II's April 2 death.
Pope Benedict had a "wonderful relationship" with Pope John Paul II, McCarrick said.
Many have asked whether the beliefs and teachings of Pope Benedict will differ from Pope John Paul II, but McCarrick noted the church's teachings cannot be changed and one pope's beliefs will not differ from another's.
McCarrick also discussed the conflict many Catholic Americans have between their faith and political beliefs, particularly on such "life issues" as the death penalty, euthanasia and abortion.
McCarrick said he hopes that Church leaders and its members can resolve their differences through dialogue. Pope Benedict will go about his papacy in a "dialogical" manner, aiming to keep an open relationship with bishops and cardinals, McCarrick said.
Despite other religious leaders' objections to evolution, the teachings put forward by Pope John Paul II argue that evolution can be accepted by the Catholic Church as long as the "hand of God is recognized as being present," McCarrick said.
Amid controversy surrounding priests who have refused communion to members with opposing viewpoints, McCarrick said he does not personally believe in denying communion to anyone, but said he hopes that communicants come to the church in "good faith."
The church is suffering from a diminishing numbers of priests, and McCarrick blamed society's lack of a sense of permanence.
"We are living in a world that is afraid of absolute," McCarrick said.
Divorces and the lack of men going into priesthood can both be attributed to young people's belief that "nothing is forever," McCarrick said.
While ordaining women is out of the question, their roles in the church continue to expand, McCarrick said. He noted that many of the top positions in the Washington diocese, such as the directors of communication and education, are held by women.
"I couldn't continue to work without them," McCarrick said.
Despite rumors that the pontiff might speed up the normal process for Pope John Paul II to be named a saint, McCarrick said that Pope Benedict began the beatification process but it will proceed without any exceptions that could destroy its validity.
Pope Benedict will be well-equipped for world travels, as he is fluent in English, German and Italian, and can speak French and Spanish well. While the pope does not have set travel plans, he will make an appearance at World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany, and might make trips to Istanbul, Turkey, and Israel, McCarrick said.
McCarrick described his experience in the conclave and voting for the next pope as "humbling" and "kind of scary."
When the cardinals were making their decisions, they asked themselves, "Lord, tell me which of my 114 brothers I should vote for," McCarrick said.
"In the course of a few moments, history changes," McCarrick said. The morning Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was chosen, McCarrick said he they chatted and enjoyed a meal together. By evening, Ratzinger was the pope.
La Iglesia en Estados Unidos es sumamente hispana y esto «es una bendición»
Jun 30, 2005
Del 23 al 26 de junio ha tenido lugar en El Paso, Texas, la histórica Conferencia Binacional de Obispos de México y Estados Unidos donde han participado cerca de 200 personas relacionadas con el fenómeno de la migración.
EL PASO, martes, 28 junio 2005 (ZENIT.org-El Observador).- La reunión, que tenía por lema «No más extraños: juntos en la jornada de esperanza», hunde sus raíces en la carta pastoral sobre migración emitida en forma conjunta por las conferencias de obispos de México y Estados Unidos en 2003, y ha tenido el propósito de evaluar las acciones emprendidas a raíz de dicho documento y analizar la situación actual de los migrantes.
La Hermana Sonia Delforno, misionera de San Carlos (Scalabrinianas) y secretaria ejecutiva de la Comisión Episcopal para la Pastoral de la Movilidad Humana (CEPMH), participante en la Conferencia, señaló a El Observador y Zenit: «La reunión partió analizando cómo se está poniendo en práctica la carta pastoral "Juntos en el camino de la esperanza ya no somos extranjeros", ya que el contenido y los alcances son muy amplios y es la que orienta la actividad para ambas comisiones de pastoral de la movilidad humana».
En el encuentro participaron una veintena de obispos de ambos países, entre los titulares de las diócesis de la franja fronteriza México-Estados Unidos, así como otros obispos de la diócesis de origen de los migrantes; además de unos 150 integrantes de comisiones diocesanas de pastoral de movilidad humana y de organizaciones que velan por los derechos de los inmigrantes, juntamente con académicos estudiosos del tema.
Durante la reunión hubo una serie de ponencias que buscaron iluminar la actividad pastoral; además de mesas de trabajo para reflexionar tópicos relacionados con el fenómeno migratorio. Entre estas mesas, cuatro reflexionaron en concreto sobre el trabajo pastoral de la Iglesia católica con relación a los migrantes; mientras que cuatro mesas más abordaron la cuestión de las políticas migratorias de ambos países.
Las mesas de trabajo fueron sobre desarrollo de las políticas migratorias de México y Estados Unidos; derechos de los indocumentados; servicios que se prestan a comunidades vulnerables que son víctimas de tráfico ilegal de seres humanos y temas relacionados sobre migración y esfuerzos encaminados por la Iglesia católica y la sociedad civil.
Otras dos mesas del Encuentro se vivieron a manera de taller de entrenamiento, desde un enfoque formativo para agentes de pastoral migratoria. Los temas tratados fueron sobre los medios de comunicación social y la migración, además de cómo romper las barreras en las comunidades que son divididas por el tema de la migración, dentro y fuera de las mismas comunidades.
Señaló la Hermana Delforno que «por las evaluaciones que se han tenido, éste fue un encuentro histórico, ya que anteriormente sólo se había trabajado conjuntamente en la elaboración de la Carta Pastoral y en análisis de realidad migratoria; siempre en pequeños grupos o comisiones; sin embargo este trabajo de ahora ha sido más amplio, donde ha imperado un clima de confianza, de compartir, de compromiso y entendimiento».
A favor de la justicia para los inmigrantes
Fruto de este encuentro han sido los tres grandes temas a trabajar: primero, la cuestión de las políticas migratorias, «porque México no tiene una ley para migrantes, tiene una Ley General de Población, pero no alguna específica; mientras que en Estados Unidos se insiste en reestructurar sus leyes sobre el tópico migratorio, como la "Real ID". En este sentido hay un trabajo arduo por delante para lograr que estas leyes sean más humanas, respetuosas de los derechos humanos, que tengan en cuenta la dignidad de la persona humana«, indicó la Hermana Sonia.
Por otro lado, el segundo tema tiene que ver con la cuestión pastoral: «Se habló de la campaña que la Conferencia de obispos de Estados Unidos ha lanzado en los medios de comunicación norteamericanos desde mayo pasado, como respuesta a la aparición de grupos “caza inmigrantes” y a la aprobación de la ley "Real ID"».
La campaña, con un enfoque pastoral-educativo, llamada «Justicia para los inmigrantes: una jornada de esperanza», tiene como finalidad influir en la reforma de tan controvertida ley, y parte de la premisa de que es necesario la conversión de los fieles católicos y la gente de buena voluntad hacia la causa del migrante; para, después, llegar a la sociedad civil, en todos los niveles posibles y así favorecer el cambio de mentalidad respecto al migrante, porque muchas veces es visto como un delincuente. De ahí, del cambio de mentalidad y de actitud hacia el migrante se busca el cambio de las leyes injustas, indicó la misionera scalabriniana.
«Además --acotó--, otro gran tema de trabajo es la labor específica con grupos vulnerables. Esto implica la conversión, la sensibilización de la sociedad civil y de la misma Iglesia para el cuidado pastoral de los inmigrantes».
«El punto de partida --dijo-- será siempre la comunión, porque Cristo nos enseña que somos hijos de un Padre común, por tanto hermanos; de esta realidad de comunión debemos llegar a la solidaridad».
Una llamada importante en este tema ha sido la insistencia en que la formación en los seminarios, en lo que toca a la formación pastoral, contemple la pastoral de la movilidad humana, específicamente el cuidado de los migrantes.
«Se insistió, de igual manera, en el incentivo, la animación y la promoción de las comisiones diocesanas de pastoral de migrantes, de tal manera que sean verdaderamente activas en lo pastoral. Igualmente se concluyó la importancia de varios sectores sumamente vulnerables: los migrantes indígenas, sobre todo, aquellos que no hablan español y que requieren una atención especial; además de las mujeres y de los niños que emprenden la travesía solos, revela la relgiosa.
En el rostro de los inmigrantes está el rostro de Cristo
Durante su participación, el cardenal Theodore McCarrick, arzobispo de Washington, señaló que la Iglesia católica de su país tiene una deuda con sus fieles hispanos que consiste en promover la reforma de las leyes migratorias, que a todas luces son atentatorias, y agregó que la Iglesia en Estados Unidos es sumamente hispana, y eso significa una bendición.
El cardenal McCarrick ponderó los valores que los inmigrantes traen a Estados Unidos y lo necesarios que son para el país del Norte. Además, iluminó el tema de la migración desde el ángulo de la fe, porque «en el rostro del migrante vemos a Cristo». Sin embargo señaló que «tristemente, la experiencia actual de la migración, de acuerdo con los obispos de ambos países, está lejos del Reino de Dios que Jesús proclamó».
Por su parte, Gerald Barnes, obispo de San Bernardino y presidente del Comité de Migración de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos, dijo que el actual estatus en la política migratoria es «inaceptable».
Ya, anteriormente, el obispo de Ciudad Juárez y presidente de la Comisión Episcopal para la Pastoral de la Movilidad Humana, de México, Renato Ascencio León se había pronunciado en el mismo tenor, mientras reconocía que los inmigrantes «son hermanos independientemente de raza, religión o nacionalidad».
Antes de dar inicio al encuentro binacional, los obispos y algunos de los participantes tuvieron la oportunidad de realizar un recorrido por el Centro de Procesamiento de El Paso, la prisión donde la Patrulla Fronteriza retiene a decenas de indocumentados mientras se sigue el proceso de su deportación.
Importante también fue la participación del secretario de Relaciones Exteriores de México, Luis Ernesto Derbez Bautista, quien señaló que los inmigrantes mexicanos en Estados Unidos no son terroristas y recalcó que son personas trabajadoras y honestas, «que hacen enormes sacrificios».
Por su parte, el senador republicano por Texas, John Connyn, ilustró una posible reforma de las leyes estadounidenses en materia de inmigración y tráfico humano.
Immigration reform Church goal
Jun 29, 2005
The time for immigration reform has come, U.S. and Mexican Catholic workers assembled in El Paso said as the groundbreaking Binational Migration Conference opened Thursday.
(El Paso Times, June 24, 2005) Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C., said the church owes it to its Hispanic faithful to push for change, as high-profile delegates gathered at the Camino Real Hotel.
"The church in the United States is very, very Hispanic and what a blessing that is. They (Hispanic immigrants) come with the values that are so needed in the United States today. When there is a moral issue that concerns so many of our people, we have to speak," McCarrick said, alternating between English and Spanish. "This is a special moment in the history of the Catholic church and the history of migration."
About 150 diocesan staff members attended the first day of the conference, the first ever along the U.S.-Mexico border. The conference will end Saturday.
Cynthia Colbert, the executive director of Catholic Charities for Central Texas, said she wanted to hear about strategies she can use back home in Austin. "We want to support the campaign (for immigration reform) through educating our own community on the benefits of immigration for all of us. It's a social justice issue for our brothers and sisters," she said.
In a training session Thursday, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops representatives outlined their plan for reform, which included:
# A path toward legalization for undocumented immigrants living in the United States.
# Permits for immigrants to work legally in the United States.
# Expedited family reunification. Now, processing of reunification visas can take five years.
San Bernardino, Calif., Bishop Gerald Barnes, chairman of the conference's migration committee, said, "The status quo is unacceptable."
McCarrick's keynote speech after dinner dealt with migration, including from the standpoint of the Gospels, the church and the bishops' conferences.
"The simple truth is clear: We must welcome the stranger, for in his or her face we see Christ," McCarrick said. "Sadly, the migration experience today, according to the bishops of both countries, is far from the Kingdom of God that Jesus proclaimed."
The conference started with a tour of the El Paso Processing Center, the immigration jail at Montana Avenue and Hawkins Boulevard, for the bishops of El Paso, Tucson and Orlando, Fla., and 27 other Catholic workers.
"This is probably one of the best facilities in the country," said Ouisa Davis, executive director of the Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso. "We wanted them to see how it can be done. ... So they have a basis of comparison when they go back to their sectors."
Cardinal McCarrickto seek retirement at 75
May 05, 2005
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, said yesterday he is interested in retiring when he turns 75 in July: "I'll be writing my [retirement] letter, and I'm certainly open to retirement. I have a thousand things I could do, or at least I think I could do," Cardinal McCarrick told The Washington Times yesterday.
(Washington Times, 2 April 2005) His retirement, however, is the pope's decision. In recent years, many cardinals have remained long past retirement age.
A bishop is required to submit his resignation to the Vatican when he turns 75, according to Church policy. The pope can accept the resignation, require him to stay on, or simply not acknowledge the letter for several years. Cardinals older than 80 are not eligible to vote in papal elections.
Cardinal McCarrick, a native New Yorker who will turn 75 July 7, has suffered health problems in the past few months. He underwent rotator cuff surgery about two months ago and had a bad cold during the conclave last month.
His retirement now is only speculation. In the meantime, Cardinal McCarrick will continue to minister across the United States.
Yesterday, he led a Mass of Thanksgiving for Pope Benedict XVI at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Northwest, where he spoke of the new pontiff's character.
"I have known him for probably 20 years," he said. "The new pope is a very humble, kind, gentle person, a little shy with a great smile and sense of humor."
Despite his quiet and withdrawn personality, Benedict is quickly coming into his own, Cardinal McCarrick said.
"Before [he became pope], you would never see him with his arms out" as they were when he greeted the crowd in St. Peter's Square after his election April 19.
"I was with him Monday after he was elected and at that time we were out. ... He was greeting the people and talking to a few sick who were there. He was very warm to them," Cardinal McCarrick told The Times before he celebrated Mass yesterday.
Cardinal McCarrick returned to the United States on Tuesday after a three-week stay in Rome.
He was one of 115 cardinals who elected Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany as the new pope in a secret conclave more than two weeks after the death of Pope John Paul II on April 2. He also attended the funeral of John Paul and the installation Mass for the new pope on April 24.
Cardinal McCarrick called his return to St. Matthew's a "homecoming." He told parishioners during the Mass, "I can say to you with all my heart, Rome is wonderful, but it's good to be back."
He spoke of Benedict's spiritual transformation during the conclave. "We know that he has always been a proclaimer of truth and a defender of faith. During the conclave, we saw him not only as a great theologian and a brilliant mind, but we found something many of us didn't know before: We found this new individual, so very respectful and charming," he said.
Cardinal McCarrick asked parishioners to pray for the new pope. "I believe we have a pope who we can follow with joy and confidence," he said.
Yesterday was the first time in more than a month that Cardinal McCarrick spoke at St. Matthew, which he considers his home parish. After the 10 a.m. Mass there, the cardinal celebrated a similar Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Northeast.
Parishioners seemed to agree with the cardinal's opinion.
"If I were not Catholic, I would become one," said Jeanine Cornell, 65, of Arlington. "I just love the new pope. He has a beautiful smile. As soon as he was elected pope, he was so transformed by the Holy Spirit. He's in good hands."
McCarrick invites pope to visit U.S.
May 02, 2005
Washington Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick said that while in Rome, he invited Pope Benedict XVI to visit the nation's capital "someday" soon.
(Washington Times, April 27, 2005) Speaking to reporters yesterday at Ronald Reagan National Airport after three weeks in Rome, the cardinal said he broached the topic during one of two brief conversations that he had with the new pontiff after the German cardinal was elected on the fourth ballot to head the Roman Catholic Church.
"Whatever God wills," Benedict is said to have responded.
Cardinal McCarrick -- whose marathon stay in Rome included the funeral of Pope John Paul II, the election of his successor and the installation Mass for Benedict on Sunday -- praised the new pope for his "clarity."
"There's never any doubt what Benedict teaches," he said. "I think he'll continue to be clear. He is so brilliant, he'll be able to speak on questions of war and peace, bioethics, globalization."
Although the 115 cardinals who selected the pope are sworn to secrecy, Cardinal McCarrick divulged a few more details of the swift conclave.
"There was some feeling of anxiety," he said, “as we wanted to do the right thing. We wanted to do what God wanted us to do."
Only two of the 115 cardinals were present at the election of John Paul II 26 years ago, so the cardinals read and reread the procedures for electing a pope "to make sure we were doing it right," Cardinal McCarrick said.
"Then a great prayerfulness came over us. We were saying, "Lord, will You help us do the right thing?'" he said. "We had prayerfulness with confidence the Lord was going to direct us, the Lord was going to guide us, and indeed I believe He did. I believe this Holy Father will be a great shepherd for the Church."
Cardinal McCarrick said he had a ground-floor room next to cardinals from Asia and South America in the Sanctae Marthae, a Vatican residence built in 1996 specifically for conclaves.
The gravity of the election was impressed on the cardinals with a requirement that each must lay their hand on a Bible while casting the ballot.
"You say, 'I call upon the Lord as my witness, the Lord who will be my judge, that I am voting for the person I truly believe, according to God, I should vote for,'" Cardinal McCarrick said. "Wow. If you did that during an election, that would make a big difference in the way we elect our officials today."
Contrary to some press speculation, there was not a lot of conversation between cardinals on who should be elected, he said.
"We were not talking that much," the cardinal said. "We saw there was a convergence in the house, and we saw this man will be good. As we got to know him, we could see a beautiful sense of humor, a great kindness, a great gentleness."
The cardinals realized that "this is the man who the Lord wants us to call to the ministry of Peter," the first pope, Cardinal McCarrick said. But he demurred when asked how he voted.
"I was very happy with the election," he said.
Cardinal Would Allow Pro-Abortion Politicians to Speak. Would He Allow White Supremacists?
Apr 28, 2005
The Boston Globe reports today that Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has said he supports allowing politicians who disagree with Church teaching on issues such as abortion to speak at Catholic colleges.
WASHINGTON, March 4, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Cardinal is heading a special task force on implementation of a United States of Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) statement agreed upon last June. The statement, "Catholics in Political Life," says pro-abortion politicians should not be honored by Catholic communities and institutions. "They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions," says the statement.
However , the interpretation of not giving ‘platforms’ to pro-abortion politicians seems to be weakening. “McCarrick said he will argue that politicians who disagree with church teachings should be allowed to speak at Catholic colleges but should not receive honorary degrees,” reports the Globe.
The news came as a disappointment to Catholic pro-life activists even outside the US. Surresh Dominic, spokesman for Canada’s Campaign Life Catholic told LifeSiteNews.com “It’s totally inappropriate for a Catholic institution to give a platform to someone who supports what the church teaches is murder of the innocent.”
Dominic added, “I doubt the Cardinal would even consider having a white supremacist come and speak at a Catholic college since such a person would rightly be viewed as a supporter of discrimination based on race, which the church condemns. However, according to the Catholic church, abortion is at least as evil as racism.”
Dominic concluded, “And besides, abortion, like racism, is all about discrimination. It’s discrimination based on age, size and dependency.”
Cardinal McCarrick confident in new Pope's "collegial" approach
Apr 24, 2005
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, who clashed with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger last year in a controversy over administering Communion to pro-abortion politicians, has urged the media not to pre-judge the newly elected Pope Benedict XVI.
Rome, Apr. 20 2005(CWNews.com) - At a press conference in Rome on April 20, the American prelate expressed confidence that the new Pontiff would be "collegial" in his approach to Church governance. "He wants the counsel of the cardinals," he said. "He will want to talk with the bishops." At the same time, Cardinal McCarrick observed that the new Pope "has the authority to guide and lead the Church."
The American cardinal said that analysts would be wrong to picture Pope Benedict as a man unwilling to engage in dialogue. That view is "misleading," he insisted. He voiced his confidence that the new Pope would find a way to lead the Church through "collaboration and collegiality."
Asked for the cardinals' reasons for choosing the German prelate, Cardinal McCarrick said that when Cardinal Ratzinger preached the homily at the funeral for Pope John Paul II, it became clear that the long-time ally of Pope John Paul II was the right man to guide the Church today.
Address to the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, Washington
Mar 21, 2005
Address to the Union of American Hebrew Congregations on the Occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, Washington Hebrew Congregation, Washington, DC. March 11, 2001. By Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick.
I am truly honored and privileged to be able to speak to you today. I am very conscious of the fact that there are gathered here some of the most important Rabbinic and lay leaders in the Jewish community of this country. You are a very important and influential force in American society and I am truly delighted to be able to speak to you.
You may not fully realize it, but your work is a model for many others who try to influence United States policy. I cannot tell you how many times I have been in strategy meetings with Catholic leaders when someone says, "Why can’t we mobilize around (fill in the blank) with as much sophistication and success as the Jewish community?" If anyone doubts that religion can be a positive force for justice and peace, they need look no further than the work you have done on religious freedom and other human rights, nuclear weapons, Third World debt and a host of other pressing issues. (I sometimes wish you could be a little less effective on the few issues where we do not see eye to eye, but we can talk about that later.)
I have been privileged to work with Rabbi David Saperstein on a number of issues over the years and, as you know, we are currently both members of the Commission on International Religious Freedom. I can say to you – what you already know – he truly personifies what I am talking about. He is as effective and persuasive a religious leader as you will find and, under his leadership, so much good has come out of this city which is not always synonymous with good things.
One reason that my friend, Rabbi David, the Religious Action Center and all of you are so respected and effective in working for justice here and abroad is that you have modeled a collaborative, interfaith approach to work for peace and justice. You have recognized that none of us can be credible and effective if we are off "doing our own thing," mired in a conviction that collaboration must always mean unacceptable compromise. We know that this is not true and history shows that we are right.
My association with the leadership of our nation’s Jewish community in the area of human rights and religious freedom has been twofold. Years ago, I became associated with the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, led so admirably by Rabbi Arthur Schneier. I traveled with him in Soviet Russia, Communist Romania, China and the Balkans. I was always struck by his concern not just for Jewish causes but for the religious freedom and human rights of all people. In Russia, for example, we were all concerned about the fate of the Jewish Refusniks and I was happy to be able to raise my voice as a Catholic bishop in their defense, but my Jewish colleagues were equally strong in defending the religious rights of Lithuanian Catholics or Orthodox Old Believers. In China, my Jewish friends achieved the wonderful result of the reopening of the historic synagogue in Shanghai, but they spoke with equal eloquence for the rights of the underground Catholic Church and the rights of the Protestant home churches.
I have seen Rabbi David just as forceful in defending Bahai believers in the Middle East as he strove for the protection of Jews in Iran and as he thoughtfully took up the cause of religious peace in Nazareth when it was threatened by fundamentalists on the one hand and political opportunism on the other. Rabbi David and so many others from the Jewish communities have been a wonderful example to me, indeed a learning experience for me as I have witnessed the goodness of good people reaching out to those whose rights are denied or thwarted, whatever their personal beliefs or their faith affiliation. I am constantly edified and encouraged by these brothers and sisters of mine in the Jewish community.
I doubt that there is any place on earth where Jews and Catholics work so closely as here in the United States. Much of this collaborative work has been on behalf of justice and peace. During the conflict in Bosnia, we worked together with Protestant and Muslim leaders on national days of prayer for peace and in support of the more serious efforts on the part of the international community to stop the genocide. I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that, if not for the collaboration between the Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the Religious Action Center, we would not now have a law on religious freedom abroad, or at least it would have been a very different kind of legislation. Similarly, our interfaith efforts have convinced our government to provide debt relief for the poorest countries of a magnitude no one would have thought imaginable only a few years ago. Moreover, our ongoing Jewish-Catholic dialogue has led to joint appeals for an end to the death penalty and greater protection for our children from toxic elements in the environment.
It is necessary for us always to know we have differences. We have different priorities, but it is important we always have dialogue. We will not be effective in our work for justice and peace and we will not be a leaven in the larger society if we cannot engage in serious and respectful dialogue. We can and should be as effective and influential as possible in working together on the many issues on which we agree. But, we truly demonstrate the maturity of our relationship and truly serve as a sign of hope for the wider society when we can engage in respectful dialogue even when we do not agree on matters about which we feel most deeply, such as abortion, school choice and some aspects of church and state. It is so important that we always try to speak the same language: the language of the heart and the language of total honesty. It is an honesty that is always fostered and enhanced by love, by understanding and by the deepest respect. The best sign of the health of our relationship is how we work together whenever possible and disagree respectfully where necessary.
Let us now for a few moments look at what is being accomplished on the stage of the world by the religious communities of our land. I believe we can look with some satisfaction at a few areas of real achievement. I do believe that the values we care about are really making a difference in the world and that the world is increasingly recognizing the central place of non-governmental organizations, especially religion and religious-based social mission, in addressing some of its most intractable problems. Truly, a new focus on religion and religious freedom is entering the diplomacy of our own country. I already alluded to the law passed in 1998 which established a Federal Commission on International Religious Freedom of which Rabbi Saperstein was the first elected chairman and on which I am also privileged to serve.
This group is a careful observer of what is going on in the countries around the world and seeks to ensure that our diplomacy and foreign policy is sensitive to these questions of religious liberty. This new law, and in a special way the work of the Commission, is also having a special influence on changing the kind of preparation for foreign service in our country. Now, men and women who will serve in posts around the world as representatives of our nation must also become familiar with the religious situation in those countries and be conscious of the important role of religion in the life of that nation and in the relations which that nation will have with the United States. We are helping to shape the public debate on justice and peace issues relative to religious freedom and we are able to make policy recommendations in areas of social injustice and conflict.
Let me mention a few other areas where our religious communities have been active and where I believe we have made some progress. Landmines have long been silent killers, but within five years from the start of an international campaign to highlight this humanitarian nightmare, more than 100 countries agreed to ban anti-personnel landmines. This landmark treaty was not primarily the work of diplomats but of peace and human rights groups, especially including religious groups. Many of you in this room helped to make this possible.
Human rights is another area in which we can take some small satisfaction. It is worth remembering that religious groups were in the forefront of the effort in the 1970’s to make human rights considerations an integral part of United States foreign policy. Jewish religious and lay leaders, in particular, are leaders of many of the most well-known and effective human rights efforts in this country and around the world. What a tremendous tribute to you, to your faith and to your courage.
Another development which should give us hope is the extraordinary and unexpected success we have had in convincing our government and the international financial institutions to provide debt relief for the poorest countries. Five years ago, people thought we were naïve and quixotic to think that the biblical call for debt forgiveness, which used to be a concern only of scripture scholars, could become the basis for a global movement to relive the debilitating burden of debt on the poor countries. But, much as the landmines campaign, this largely religious-based movement succeeded in moving the most powerful economic institutions of the world to act on behalf of the poorest people and nations in ways that everyone said was impossible. We knew we were making progress when members of the House Banking Committee began quoting Leviticus as they considered legislation that religious groups helped to draft.
There is another sign of hope, but one which begins with sadness. I refer to the terrible legacy and reality of anti-Semitism in the world and my own community of faith. Pope John Paul II has done many wonderful things over the past two decades, but among the most important has been his call to Catholics all over the world to face and repudiate the evil of anti-Semitism in all its forms and in every place, especially in our own community. No leader has done more to acknowledge our failings and to reach out for understanding and in solidarity than the present Holy Father.
Today, there is a lot of vigorous debate about faith-based initiatives. Whatever one thinks about the wisdom of revising the relationship between government and religious programs, we should be encouraged that this country may be rediscovering the role of faith communities in dealing with some of the most intractable problems of our society.
Of course, there are still challenges on the road ahead and our American religious communities cannot relax in their struggle for a just and peaceful world. Our world has always been divided between "haves" and "have nots," but today the world is increasingly divided between zones of peace and prosperity and zones of violence and deprivation. What is particularly worrisome is that this division is increasingly defined by winners and losers in a global economic system where lives are lost, dignity is denied and hope is gone. Too often, those in the zones of peace and prosperity are friends, partners and objects of our admiration and envy, while those in the zones of violence and deprivation are mostly objects of pity or studied indifference.
What could make this divide permanent is that it is based increasingly on a gap between the technologically sophisticated winners and the technologically illiterate losers. It is no accident that in 1960 the world’s richest twenty percent had incomes thirty times higher than the world’s poorest twenty percent. Today, the richest twenty percent have almost ninety times the income of the poorest fifth of the world’s population. It is no accident that the three richest people in the world have assets that exceed the combined Gross Domestic Product of the 48 least developed countries. The United Nations estimates that for $40 billion a year, the poor of the world could have adequate water, food, sanitation, health care and education. This would require the world’s 225 richest people to contribute just four percent of their wealth. This disparity in income is a moral scandal and the fear is it is only likely to get worse.
We suffer from a failure of solidarity. A failure of solidarity is due, in part, to a preoccupation with the United States’ self interest in foreign policy and an individualistic and materialistic cultural libertarianism at home. Even when we care, in an intellectual and even emotional way, about those in the zones of violence and deprivation, too many have long since given up hope that anything can be done. So many remain indifferent or we seek to wall ourselves off from them — whether in gated communities or in neo-isolationist policies.
As believers whose faith is grounded in the fundamental dignity of every human person and the fundamental unity of the human family, the cultural challenge is to combat excessive individualism and rampant consumerism while we face the political challenge of helping our nation rediscover the common good. We cannot rest content with the success of the American experiment while a fifth of our own children grow up in poverty. We cannot be content with exercising preeminent United States’ power in the world if our country fails to exercise its responsibility to use that power for the global common good. We Catholic bishops said back in 1993, "liberty and justice for all is not only a profound national pledge; it is a worthy goal for a world leader." I subscribe to that and I suspect that you do too.
I truly believe that in this complex modern world, there is an increased interest in the role of religion in solving our nation’s and the world’s problems. Done properly and with respect for our traditions of pluralism, this is an opportunity to further civil society and recognize the importance of religion in any social order; however, "faith-based" programs, with their indispensable roles must not just be another way to privatize public obligations, an excuse for government to abandon its own responsibilities for the poor. I welcome the assurances from our Administration that this effort seeks to build up religious and community efforts and not to discharge government from its responsibilities. Religious overseas relief and development agencies should play major roles in post-conflict reconstruction, but its work cannot be a substitute for building up the capacity of the United Nations and other international organizations to fill their mandate in these areas.
I have visited around the world at refugee camps and the development projects run by Catholic Relief Services. I am always impressed by what these young Americans who work in the projects have accomplished. They can truly make us proud, but as you look at the problems they face, it is evident that they cannot do it alone; that they need the continuing support of government together with all our efforts in order to accomplish the things that they do best. Similarly at home, Catholic Charities and other faith-based organizations are and should be providing and playing a major role in providing social services, but they cannot be a surrogate or substitute for government policies which must also promote decent work and just wages, health care and an adequate safety net. I do want to say, on the other hand, in the toughest communities and on the toughest problems, we need to be more open to the roles and results of faith-based institutions helping people overcome addiction, poverty and violence.
Another challenge that we, as people of faith, have a special responsibility for addressing is the religious dimensions of ethnic, nationalist conflicts. I have spent a lot of time in places like Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, East Timor and the Middle East. If I have learned one thing from these visits and the time I have spent on these conflicts, it is that they are terribly complicated. It really is true that the more you know about these places, the more you know how little you know. My own sense is that secular experts often exaggerate the role that religious differences play in these conflicts while they often underestimate the positive role that religion can and does play in resolving or at least mitigating the deep gulf that often exists between different ethnic and national groups.
As religious leaders, we need to constantly remind the experts that religion is not mostly a problem to be solved by marginalizing or privatizing it. At the same time, we need to do everything we can to make sure that we do nothing to exacerbate religious tensions in these areas of conflict and that we do everything we can to support those religious leaders who are trying to promote peace and reconciliation.
Nowhere is this more true than the Middle East. The events of the last seven months have shattered many of the hopes for a just peace that had seemed so very near. At a time marked by so much hatred, violence, pain and disillusionment, it is up to the communities of faith to insist that the season of peace in the Middle East has not passed, that Israelis and Palestinians are not inevitably destined for yet more years of conflict. But our insistence that peace is possible will ring hollow unless we are able to reach beyond our own people and bridge the deep communal divide. I think Pope John Paul modeled this kind of witness for peace during his historic visit to the Holy Land one year ago. To be sure, he defended the role and importance of the Christian presence, whose future is so precarious. Yet he did much more than that. He also stood with the Israeli Jews in affirming Israel’s right to exist in peace and security, and he stood with Palestinians, Muslims and Christians alike in their claim to an independent homeland in which they can live in dignity and freedom.
If there is a silver lining in the events of the past seven months it is that those who would have liked to turn this conflict into a religious war have failed. It is our job to make sure that they continue to fail, and the best way we do that is to avoid being simply chaplains to our own communities by standing in solidarity with each other and with religious and national groups whose rights and legitimate aspirations deserve support.
This is not easy when threats and attacks are made on innocent people on an almost daily basis. This moment requires Jewish leaders who should not only continue to passionately defen Israel and her people, but to also to advocate for the legitimate aspirations of Palestinians to live in their own place with dignity. This moment requires Palestinian leaders who not only advocate a state of their own, but also are far more clear about Israel’s right to peace and security and the imperative to end all violence. And we need Christians who are working not just to defend their place in the Middle East, but to bring about a future of dignity, security and peace for both their neighbors.
These are not good days. The leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority apparently at this time cannot find the path towards a just peace. We have new governments in the United States and Israel, but all of us must have one message. Non-violence, dialogue and negotiation are the only ways forward. I believe the path is clear — real security for the state of Israel, a genuine state for Palestinians, an agreement on Jerusalem which protects the rights of all God’s people — Jews, Muslims and Christians alike — and a future of cooperation and accommodation, instead of terrorism and occupation. We must all pray for better days ahead, for solutions based on human rights and human dignity, on justice and on peace.
Finally, if I might mention one other challenge which is much less familiar than the Middle East to most of us, but at this point in our lives, it is in need of much more attention than we currently give it. I want to speak for just a moment about Africa. Africa is a wonderful part of a world; there is much to be hopeful about in terms of economic and political progress, not to mention religious vibrancy. Yet, from the HIV/AIDS pandemic and endemic underdevelopment to deadly conflict in Sudan, Sierra Leone and Congo, Africa also faces problems of a magnitude not seen in other parts of the world. Many Americans know little about the human tragedy taking place in parts of Africa and too many seem to care even less. As religious bodies and as a nation, we need to put Africa back on the map. We need to do more to stop genocide in Sudan, to combat AIDS and other diseases that are destroying tens of millions of lives, and to rectify scandalously low support for development. As religious leaders, we must do more to overcome the widespread ignorance and apathy about Africa, and make Africa a higher priority in our nation’s foreign policy.
People like me, who are the products of a strong and vibrant Judeo-Christian tradition, tend to see religion as a necessary force for good in the world. We are the children of the prophets and the rabbis, of the scholars and the saints. We learned years ago in the words of the psalmist that the earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it and that only in Him can we find our peace. We believe that this is true, not only for us as individuals but also as members of a global world community. I thank God for the presence, in this national and international struggle for religious freedom and human rights, of the Religious Action Center of Reformed Judaism and of so many other faith-based Jewish organizations. Your role is essential and your accomplishments are legion. May God continue to bless you all and may He help us continue to work together for a better world and a better future.
Thank you very much.
No Expansion of the Death Penalty
Oct 27, 2004
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has urged U.S. House and Senate conferees working on post-9/11 legislation to report out a final bill without the expansion of the death penalty for terrorists.
(Zenit, Oct. 26, 2004) Washington, D.C. - Cardinal McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, is chairman of the U.S. bishop's Domestic Policy Committee.
The cardinal's letter to conferees concerned the National Intelligence Reform Act and the House-passed version of the measure, the 9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act. The Senate version of the bill does not contain any death penalty provisions.
"The cowardly acts of September 11 and their tragic human costs still haunt our nation," Cardinal McCarrick said. "There can be no diminishing the horror of terrorism or the responsibility of those who employ wanton violence on the innocent."
"Based on our Catholic teaching, however, we oppose expanding the death penalty even for terrorists," the cardinal continued.
"Catholic teaching on capital punishment is clear: If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person," he said.
"Secondly, we feel strongly that suicidal terrorists are not going to be deterred by the death penalty," the cardinal added. "In fact, many terrorists believe that if they die committing an act of terrorism they will become martyrs. At the very least, it would seem that executing terrorists could make them heroes in the minds of other like-minded advocates of terror."
"As pastors, we believe that the use of the death penalty under any circumstances diminishes us as human beings," Cardinal McCarrick stated. "As we said in 'Confronting a Culture of Violence': 'We cannot teach that killing is wrong by killing.'"
October, the Respect Life Month
Oct 18, 2004
As we get deep into this month, I wanted to remind all of us that October has always been Respect Life Month in a very special way. There are three areas that I would like to bring to your attention: abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. By Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
(Catholic Standard, October 14, 2004 ) All we have learned about human life and its beginnings underlines the fact that there truly is life in the womb from the moment of conception. One of the most powerful photos I have ever seen is that of an incredibly small hand trying to hold on to a doctor's finger as he attempts a remedial surgical operation on a little fetus. The baby - for that indeed is what it is - naturally reached out to a protecting adult as if to say, "Hey, here I am, don't let them lose me!" How can anyone kill a baby like this - yet it's even done in the third trimester when a baby is half-born! It is not always easy to be pro-life in today's society, but we who believe have no choice.
Secondly, the question of assisted suicide is something we must think about. This was never an issue when I was a young man. We believed that God determined how long we were to live, and with our freedom of will we determined what kind of life we would live. Killing oneself is, I guess, the next step in a culture of death in which people too often take the lives of other people through violence or capital punishment. I know that pain is often so hard to bear, but as a priest who has sat at many sick beds, I know too that those who bear it for the sake of others can be filled with the deepest sense of satisfaction that enables them even to find joy in their suffering and release from their fears. Assisted suicide is always a slippery slope and the old, the poor, the handicapped and the disadvantaged are ready targets. What society must do is reach out to help those in need and in pain, not to develop ways to get rid of them.
Finally, I want to talk about stem cell research. I truly believe it is a phony issue. The Church is not opposed to adult stem cell research. As a matter of fact, that kind of research has already helped hundreds of thousands of people over many years. This research should be encouraged and supported by public and private funds alike because it has proven to be useful and beneficial to human beings and does not destroy the lives of anyone.
Embryonic stem cell research does not have that kind of track record. It really has no track record in human patients at all. It has become the darling of some research groups and the multi-billion-dollar biotechnology industry. Do not take their exaggerated claims for granted. Ask the right questions and learn the difference between fact and fiction.
Adult stem cell research is continuing its healing work. So far, it looks as if it can do the trick in so many ways of curing people's diseases. Let us not snuff out the lives of little humans through embryonic cell research in the desperate hope that there will be a miracle cure, especially since we already have started to find cures through adult stem cell research.
Respect Life Month reminds me to be thinking of you and to call your attention to all the things we need to see clearly.
Card. McCarrick vs. Card. Arinze
Sept 18, 2004
You may remember that in April, Cardinal Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments issued at the Pope's request an Eucharistic instruction, "Redemptionis Sacramentum.' He warned that manifest persons who are 'unambiguously pro-abortion" must be refused Communion.
(The Wanderer, 6 July 2004) Cardinal McCarrick within hours of the released instruction contradicted Arinze's and the Pope's teaching, saying, "I have not gotten to the stage where I'm comfortable denying the Eucharist."
Shortly afterward, we remember the poignant ad by American Life League, asking Cardinal McCarrick if he was "comfortable now."
Extract from: What Ratzinger Said The Minister Of Communion "Must" Do. By Barbara Kralis. The Wanderer July 15, 2004.
Leading the House of Representatives in Prayer
Sept 16, 2004
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access, 16 October 2001.
HIS EMINENCE, THEODORE CARDINAL McCARRICK, ARCHBISHOP OF WASHINGTON
(Mrs. MORELLA asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend her remarks.)
Mrs. MORELLA. Madam Speaker, it is my honor and privilege this afternoon to welcome His Eminence, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington. I want to thank him for offering the opening prayer.
Cardinal McCarrick has a long and distinguished record of service to the Church in New York, Puerto Rico, New Jersey, and now here in Washington, which includes my district of Montgomery County, Maryland. He certainly is a gift to the Archdiocese of Washington. The Archdiocese is very diverse with a population that has both common and also specific needs. Upon being named to the College of Cardinals this year, he said that his new responsibilities will not change his pledge to reach out “to serve the poor and the stranger among us with all my heart and strength.” And he has been doing just that.
Ordained as a priest for the Archdiocese of New York in 1958, Cardinal McCarrick received a Ph.D. from and held several posts at the Catholic University of America here in Washington. He has served as the President of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico, auxiliary bishop of New York, the first Bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey, and Archbishop of Newark.
He was installed as Archbishop of Washington on January 3, 2001; and 7 weeks later, he was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul II. He is known for his efforts on behalf of international human rights, religious freedom and migration, and serves on the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom. He also speaks many languages.
Madam Speaker, on behalf of my colleagues, I thank Cardinal McCarrick for leading us in prayer today. I welcome him to the United States House of Representatives. We appreciate his presence, his guidance and his blessing on this House as we begin our critical work today.
Patrick J. Buchanan on Card. McCarrick
Sept 15, 2004
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has set up, under Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, a seven-member task force to study what the sanction should be for Catholic politicians who vote to fund abortions and vote against judges who believe the unborn have a right to life.
(July 7 2004) But what is there to study, Your Eminence?
The Church has always taught that abortion is the killing of the innocent and intrinsically evil. When some of us were growing up, men in organized crime were denied burial in sacred ground. What are these abortion clinics other than killing houses?
Catholicism used to produce a different kind of prelate. In 1953, Archbishop Joseph Rummel of New Orleans issued a pastoral letter: "(L)et there be no further discrimination or segregation in the pews, at the Communion rail, at the confessional and in parish meetings, just as there will be no segregation in the kingdom of heaven."
Resistance to integration of the parochial schools was fierce. The battle went on for a decade. Catholics appealed to the Vatican. Pius XII backed up the archbishop. In the Louisiana Legislature, bills were introduced forbidding integration of the Catholic schools, bills supported by Catholic legislators. The archbishop's response was to threaten the Catholic lawmakers with excommunication.
When the rabid segregationist Leander Perez of Plaquemine Parish persisted, Archbishop Rummel excommunicated him and the head of the Citizens Council of Louisiana for "continuing to provoke the devoted people of this venerable archdiocese to disobedience or rebellion in the matter of opening our schools to all Catholic children."
Now, there was an archbishop.
Yet, serious as segregation was, it does not compare in evil with 40 million abortions since Roe v. Wade, many of which have been funded through federal programs voted for by Catholic legislators.
Forty-eight Catholic members of Congress have written to Cardinal McCarrick, warning of "great harm" to the Church and a backlash against Catholics should bishops begin denying the Holy Eucharist to congressmen who vote to support and fund abortions.
Cardinal McCarrick should take this as a challenge – and ask himself how St. Thomas More would have reacted to this threat. Then, go forth and do likewise, Your Eminence.
Cardinal McCarrick and America’s Bishops Do Not Follow Card. Ratzinger
Sept 14, 2004
America’s bishops have chosen not to follow Vatican guidelines over the distribution of Communion to pro-abortion politicians, it emerged this week.
(The Tablet, 10 July 2004) A leaked memorandum sent by the prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith to American bishops takes a significantly different line from the one adopted by the bishops meeting recently in Denver, Colorado.
“Catholics in Political Life”, a document agreed by 183 bishops with only six dissenters at last month’s meeting of the US bishops’ conference (USCCB), made clear that the decision to refuse Communion to politicians who consistently defy Catholic teaching in their voting records rested “with the individual bishop in accord with established canonical and pastoral principles”.
During the Denver meeting, the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who heads a committee of bishops set up to look into the issue, read the confidential Ratzinger memorandum to fellow bishops. “It is up to us as bishops in the United States to discern and act on our responsibilities as teachers, pastors and leaders in our nation”, he told them. He said Cardinal Ratzinger “clearly leaves to us as teachers, pastors and leaders whether to pursue this path” of denying the Eucharist to pro-abortion politicians.
But Ratzinger’s memorandum, entitled “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles”, appears to make no mention of this. Instead, he advises American bishops to speak privately with prominent Catholics who defy church teachings on key issues involving the sanctity of life, alert them to the gravity of their offences, and warn them that they should not receive Communion. If these warnings are not heeded, Ratzinger’s memorandum continues, “and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it”.
Sandro Magister, the veteran vaticanista who obtained the memorandum and published it in the Italian weekly, L’Espresso, described it as “what Ratzinger wanted, but didn’t get”.
On Tuesday, Cardinal McCarrick said that the leaked text of Ratzinger’s letter was “incomplete and partial” and did not reflect “the full message I received”.
The US bishops’ resistance to Rome shows their determination not to allow the question of Communion bars on politicians to become an issue in November’s presidential elections. The Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry, is a practising Catholic who receives weekly Communion, but consistently votes against church teaching in favour of abortion, euthanasia, cloning, and same-sex unions.
Card McCarrick Downplays Ratzinger Letter on Denying Holy Communion
Sept 12, 2004
Washington Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick downplayed a letter to the U.S. Catholic bishops from the Vatican's chief doctrinal watchdog on whether priests should refuse Communion to pro-choice Catholic politicians.
(The Washington Times, 7 July 2004) Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger sent his letter in early June to Cardinal McCarrick and Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in the context of dealing with Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, a Catholic whose positions on several issues, including abortion, contradict church teachings.
But its full text, which was published Saturday in the Italian newspaper L'Expresso, contains much stronger language than Cardinal McCarrick used last month at a meeting of the country's Catholic bishops near Denver.
Cardinal McCarrick's nuanced speech during the meeting from June 14 to 19 paraphrased the Ratzinger letter to say that the Vatican had left the issue of Communion in the hands of the U.S. bishops.
As the chairman of a task force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, it was his job to convey what Vatican officials had told him during meetings in Rome.
"I would emphasize that Cardinal Ratzinger clearly leaves to us as teachers, pastors and leaders WHETHER to pursue this path" of denying Communion, Cardinal McCarrick told the bishops in his speech, the text of which is posted at the U.S. bishops' Web site, on www.usccb.org.
"The question for us is not simply whether denial of Communion is possible, but whether it is pastorally wise and prudent," the cardinal said.
As a result, bishops voted 183-6 on a compromise statement allowing each bishop to decide whether to give Communion to pro-choice politicians.
Before the meeting, 15 bishops had released statements suggesting that pro-choice politicians refrain from taking the Eucharist, and four bishops forbade such politicians from doing so.
However, the Ratzinger letter says that denial of Communion is obligatory "regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia."
Cardinal Ratzinger also says a priest should warn "the person in question" of the consequences, including the denial of Communion.
If "the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it," Cardinal Ratzinger wrote.
The letter's last paragraph also takes on Catholics who vote for candidates because of their pro-choice stance.
"If he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate's permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia," that Catholic too "would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion," it reads.
That statement supports Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan, who on May 1 sent out a letter to his diocese saying Catholics who vote for candidates who support abortion, stem-cell research or euthanasia also should not take Communion.
But Catholics who vote for that politician on other grounds should not be penalized, the Ratzinger letter adds.
"Ratzinger's letter was stronger and firmer than we were led to believe," said Michael Novak, a Catholic theologian and author of many books on the church, who is in Italy this week. "It's pretty dynamite stuff."
Before leaving for Italy, he had heard of "dissatisfaction" in Rome over how Cardinal McCarrick was representing the church's teachings.
"I had heard Rome was much tougher than Cardinal McCarrick was letting on," he said. "Some people in the Vatican were upset that McCarrick was putting on too kind a face on it."
Cardinal McCarrick was out of town yesterday, but a spokeswoman released a statement saying he had not read L'Expresso reporter Sandro Magister's report on the letter.
"From what I have heard, it may represent an incomplete and partial leak of a private communication from Cardinal Ratzinger, and it may not accurately reflect the full message I received," the cardinal said.
"Our task force's dialogue with the Holy See on these matters has been extensive, in person, by phone and in writing. I should note I was specifically requested by the cardinal not to publish his written materials, and I will honor that request."
Raymond Flynn, the ambassador to the Vatican from 1993 to 1997, said American prelates often downplay the Vatican's instructions.
"The American church has been reluctant to speak out forcefully on a lot of these issues, whereas Pope John Paul II has instructed the Catholic Church to be more assertive," said Mr. Flynn, a conservative Democrat and former mayor of Boston.
"A lot of these American bishops aren't willing to get involved because of the backlash, because it's not politically correct, and the criticism they will receive from the liberal media," he said.