Theodore Edgar Cardinal McCarrick Theodore Edgar Cardinal McCarrick
Archbishop of Washington, D.C., USA
Cardinal Priest of Santi Nereo e Achilleo
Jul 07, 1930
Feb 21, 2001
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English 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."

( 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."
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