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.