Two California bishops represent divided state of abortion-Communion debate

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco and Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego disagree on a life-and-death issue that the U.S. bishops need to address clearly, directly, and immediately.

Left: Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco (Archdiocese of San Francisco); right: Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego (CNA)

On May 1st, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco issued his pastoral letter “Before I Formed You in the Womb—I Knew You”. It is an exhaustive and unprecedented tome laying out nearly every argument why Catholics in public life who advocate legalized abortion should be denied Holy Communion.

Four days later, an essay in America by Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego presented reasons why such Catholics should not be denied the Eucharist. Not only are these two bishops in California on opposite ends of their state, they could not be much further apart in terms of ecclesial and sacramental principles on the worthiness to receive the Lord’s Body and Blood. Their clash of viewpoints is a preview of fireworks that may be set off at the bishops’ June assembly, if the issue that divides them even comes up for discussion after all.

McElroy opposes the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ teaching that “abortion remains our preeminent priority” as found in its document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. At the November 2019 annual Fall bishops’ assembly McElroy stood up and clearly voiced his objection: “It is not Catholic that abortion is the preeminent issue that we face as a world in Catholic social teaching. It is not.”

Here I offer a systematic rebuttal of the arguments Bishop McElroy presents in his recent attempt to urge the bishops to back away from a proposal to deny Holy Communion to those who, as he even admits, “clearly depart from the teaching of the Church on an extremely grave moral issue.”

Playing politics?

To McElroy’s credit he characterized abortion as “a pivotal moral issue” and laments that with the election of Biden and a Democratic Congress we cannot expect progress in defense of the unborn at the federal level. Though his America piece reflects a poor—and one could even say a revisionist Eucharistic theology—McElroy is right that this debate on whether or not to refuse the Eucharist to pro-abortion Catholic public figures is not about abortion per se, but about the meaning of the Eucharist itself.

Early in his essay McElroy cites the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Art. 1325: “The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God’s action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through him to the Father in the Holy Spirit.” He also quotes article 1323 that characterizes the Eucharist as the “sacrament of love, the bond of unity, the sign of charity.” He accuses those who would exclude certain Catholic politicians from receiving the Sacrament of using what is “sacred in nature” as an instrument “for a political end,” stating: “The Eucharist is being weaponized and deployed as a tool in political warfare.”

The question needs to be asked: what is the “political end” and what is the “political warfare” served by denying Holy Communion to Catholic pro-abortion politicians? The employment of such military jargon can only mean that McElroy accuses those who advocate denying pro-abortion Catholic politicians reception of the Eucharist of partisan politics—as if those advocates were “weaponizing” the Eucharist simply to discredit the Democratic Party in favor of the Republican Party. What other political end could McElroy have in mind?

This is hardly the goal of bishops such as Cordileone. Indeed, the concern is precisely what McElroy himself quotes in the Catechism. It is about Eucharistic integrity and the very essence of worship. It is not about politics. When someone facilitates abortion, as does President Biden, that person acts contrary to the very meaning of “communion in the divine life,” the “unity of the people of God,” “the worship men offer to Christ,” the Eucharist as “sign of unity” and “bond of charity.” Though Biden may be receiving the Sacrament, he does so in contradiction to its meaning. And as Cordileone stated in his pastoral letter: “To publicly affirm the Catholic faith while at the same time rejecting one of its most fundamental teachings is simply dishonest.”

McElroy described Biden’s failure to embrace the whole of Catholic teaching, which he agrees is a pre-requisite for worthy reception, as a mere rejection of “the moral obligation to seek laws protecting the unborn.” Here is one of the McElroy’s greatest errors. He completely misrepresents the actual evil caused by President Biden. The objective evil is not simply that Biden does not support laws to end abortion. Nor is the evil not simply that Biden doesn’t agree with Catholic teaching that the civil ruler has an obligation to protect life. Rather, Biden actively facilitates the extermination of an entire class of people. He supports legalized abortion for the full nine months of pregnancy and has personally initiated public policies that expand the killing of innocent persons—all contrary to the faith he claims to profess!

These are not sins of omission—as bad as those are—but sins of commission, for which he is morally responsible. What he does is such a grievous violation of love of neighbor, his reception of Holy Communion actually contradicts the meaning of the Sacrament in which he seeks to participate. One cannot murder the innocent and honor the Lord’s Supper as “sign of unity” and “bond of charity.” As I have said before—the incongruity is staggering!

Furthermore, since McElroy believes denying the Eucharist to pro-abortion Catholic politicians “weaponizes” the Sacrament, Catholic politicians, by the mere fact that they are politicians, are effectively shielded from ecclesial discipline. McElroy has created an exemption for them, since to deny politicians the Eucharist is to desecrate what is sacred for “politic ends.” But, as we shall see, McElroy’s Eucharistic theology ultimately creates an exemption for everyone.

Worthiness and discipline

McElroy provides an analysis of what he calls a “traditional theology of Eucharistic worthiness” based on three points rooted in the teaching of St. Paul: “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily sins against the Body and Blood of the Lord” (1 Cor. 11: 26). According to McElroy, the Pauline doctrine simultaneously contains three elements: 1) exhortation 2) recognition of human weakness and 3) discipline. As an exhortation, all who approach the altar are called to “conform their lives more fully to the person of Christ.” The second element means that all are sinners, yet “the grace and mercy of God abounds.” And three, Catholics conscious of grave sin should go to Confession and receive forgiveness “before receiving the Eucharist.”

McElroy accuses proponents of a national policy of Eucharistic exclusion of deemphasizing the first two elements of so-called “traditional theology” in favor of the third. McElroy, however, characterizes the teaching of Paul as a mere exhortation when indeed it is much more. Paul actually describes the grave offense given to Christ Himself when His Body and Blood are received unworthily. The Pauline teaching is the basis upon which ecclesial discipline rests in protecting Eucharistic integrity and coherency. Furthermore, completely absent from McElroy’s third point is any formal ecclesial discipline. Discipline is completely private as those who go to Confession are privately motivated to do so.

Would that the Bidens and Pelosis would avail themselves of this sacrament, confess their advocacy of abortion and be reformed. But first they would have to recognize that such advocacy is a sin—which they do not. The proper discipline omitted by McElroy is articulated in The Code of Canon Law. Canon 915 which states: “Those … obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion” would seem to apply in this case.

Here we come to the core of McElroy’s Eucharistic theology. He affirms that worthiness to receive Holy Communion “requires integral union with all the major teachings of the Catholic Faith.” He goes further and even states that to embrace Church teachings is a “moral obligation.” Yet, he argues that “failure in fulfilling that obligation in its fullness cannot be the measure of eucharistic worthiness in a Church of sinners.” Whatever is meant by “eucharistic worthiness” not only applies to Catholic politicians, but applies to “all Catholics.” Since most Catholics fail, in various ways, to embrace the whole of Church teaching, have their doubts, are “questioners” and “face intense pressures and complexities in their daily lives”, no one is really capable of “Eucharistic worthiness.”

So, we may conclude from McElroy’s spiritual doctrine, either everyone should be excluded from the Eucharist, or based on this egalitarian notion of unworthiness, no one can be excluded. This egalitarian notion of universal sinfulness fails to recognize that there are variable qualities of evils committed by sinners and variable contexts in which personal sinfulness occurs and thus various levels of culpability. It is one thing for a Catholic to privately disagree with Church teaching on such an important doctrine as the inviolability of innocent human life, and hopefully wrestle with that disagreement—and quite another to publicly support the killing of the innocent and actually cause such killing to occur.

At the minimum, McElroy’s spiritual doctrine ignores such distinctions by which a bishop may, in doing his duty, make a judgment that Catholic politicians who facilitate the killing of the unborn should be denied Holy Communion. Cordileone, however, acknowledges that there are kinds and degrees of cooperation in evil. He states:

Most of the time this is a private matter. There are, however, circumstances in which such is not the case, occasions when those in public life violate the boundaries of justifiable cooperation. In the case of public figures who profess to be Catholic and promote abortion, we are not dealing with a sin committed in human weakness or a moral lapse: this is a matter of persistent, obdurate, and public rejection of Catholic teaching. This adds an even greater responsibility to the role of the Church’s pastors in caring for the salvation of souls.

McElroy also faults the proponents of Eucharistic exclusion for being selectively focused on the evil of abortion and asks: “Why hasn’t racism been included in the call for eucharistic sanctions against political leaders?” Here McElroy has introduced a straw man. Show me the Catholic political leader who advocates and facilitates active discrimination against minorities and that Catholic too should be excommunicated—discipline McElroy may well endorse! And indeed, as Cordileone noted in his pastoral, Catholics guilty of racism has been one of the few sins that, in the history of American Catholicism, resulted in actual formal excommunications of those who committed that sin.

Racism is a true evil and continues to exist today—undoubtedly, even among Catholics. While recognizing other grave forms of oppression, right now there is only one people-group legally declared non-persons who may be put to death with the sanction of law, are slaughtered at the rate of 2,500 per day in the United States—who lives are reduced to the level of so much trash—namely, completely helpless unborn children. The problem of the evil of abortion, even among Catholics, is that it is often treated as a mere idea, an abstract concept, the inviolability of innocent human life simply a doctrine that Catholics such as Biden simply fail to accept. Our moral imaginations fail to grasp that abortion actually kills people! And they are killed in acts of horrendous violence.

The great pro-life leader Joseph Scheidler, who died earlier this year, once told me that upon the birth of his first daughter, watching the miracle of life emerge from the womb, he came to know that abortion is the closest thing to killing God. If there is any truth to this spiritual insight—then surely we can see why reception of Holy Communion by those who cause such killing is a complete spiritual contradiction. For the sake of their own spiritual integrity the bishops must, at the very least, admonish pro-abortion Catholic politicians to not present themselves for reception of Christ’s Body and Blood—that Body once conceived and dwelt in the womb of Mary.

The bishops need to act

The bishops have been set to discuss and vote on a proposal that Catholic public figures who support and facilitate abortion be excluded from receiving the Eucharist—this discussion and vote to occur at their June assembly. However, Cardinal Luis F. Ladaria, Vatican Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, sent a letter dated May 7th to Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the USCCB. Due to this letter, Bishop McElroy may get his wish that the above proposal will fail—or at least be seriously postponed. Ladaria noted the potential for divisions such a proposal may cause and “advised that dialogue be undertaken to preserve unity … in the face of disagreements over this controversial topic.” Ladaria highlighted the potential for “discord” and any proposal needed to “express a true consensus of the bishops on this matter.”

Furthermore, the conference would need to “respect the rights of individual ordinaries in their own dioceses and the prerogatives of the Holy See.” What might Ladaria mean by “true consensus?” If the words mean “complete” consensus, such agreement will certainly not happen. Already Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, tried to spin Ladaria’s letter to her own advantage. Pelosi, who also happens to reside in Cordileone’s diocese, stated in a May 13 news conference: “I’m pleased with what the Vatican put out on that subject … it basically said don’t be divisive on the subject.” CWR’s Carl E. Olson provides an analysis of how Ladaria’s letter is actually small comfort for pro-abortion Catholics like Pelosi. Nonetheless, is it possible that McElroy and other bishops who share his view can exploit the lack of such consensus to derail the success of the bishops’ proposal to finally sanction Catholic politicians who promote abortion?

Ladaria stated that whatever the bishops propose, they must avoid the impression that abortion, as well as euthanasia, “alone constitute the only grave matters of Catholic moral and social teaching that demand the fullest accountability on the part of Catholics.” This too, could perhaps be exploited by bishops who oppose Eucharistic exclusion. In any case, it is fair to say that the Ladaria letter at least potentially burdens the process by which a favorable decision can be made by the bishops to even simply exhort Catholics like Biden not to present himself for Communion.

McElroy is correct that many both within and outside the Church will see any formal sanctioning of pro-abortion Catholic politicians as politically motivated as “to limit the impact of exclusion to the Democratic Party.” However, the Church’s need to discipline cannot be held up by a kind of blackmail—by the expected negative fall-out that is sure to follow. Frankly, this negative reaction can be mitigated to a certain extent by the bishops accompanying the discipline with clear and sound catechesis widely disseminated in various ways. The bishops, as successors of the apostles are commission by their crucified Lord to preach the gospel in season and out. That preaching may require the exercise of discipline. And that moment is now.


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About Monica Migliorino Miller 6 Articles
Monica Migliorino Miller is Director of Citizens for a Pro-life Society, teacher of theology at Father Gabriel Richard High School, Ann Arbor and Sacred Heart Major Seminary, and the author of several books, including The Authority of Women in the Catholic Church (Emmaus Road) and Abandoned: The Untold Story of the Abortion Wars (St. Benedict Press).

44 Comments

  1. A good exposition of Bishop McElroy’s Pauline theology of the Eucharist. Exhortation, weakness, discipline the last discipline is in McElroy’s perception what causes division. But that is essentially the thesis of Amoris Laetitia, that the weak are denied the Eucharist by overemphasis of ‘rules’. McElroy presents an intelligent morally compelling argument that we deter the sinful in a Church of sinners based on a concept of Eucharistic worthiness inclusive of politicians. This [McElroy’s] interpretation of a realistic worthiness presumes it’s the consumption of the Eucharist that transforms grievous sinner to sanctification, whereas Catholicism has perennially taught that it is grace that transforms the egregious sinner and prepares him, now repentant to receive the strengthening power of Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist. For example, McElroy blurs the difference of the manifest adulterer from the repentant striving for sanctification. Insofar as the Ladaria Process, that is the June conference in stages of discussion there seems no hope of arriving at a “true consensus” in favor of exclusion as Migliorino Miller agrees. What it amounts to under Cardinal Ladaria’s tutelage and guidance is nothing more than the German Synodal process in the guise of a democratic forum. She’s correct that the Church shouldn’t be blackmailed from issuing that sanction while providing increased catechesis “bishops accompanying the discipline with clear and sound catechesis widely disseminated”.

  2. Of Eucharistic coherence, we read: “Frankly, [a] negative reaction [among non-Catholics] can be mitigated to a certain extent by the bishops accompanying the discipline with clear and sound catechesis widely disseminated in various ways.”

    In the interests of multiculturalism, one of the “various ways” might be to compare today’s late-term abortions with a not-to-distant custom in New Guinea…Part of the mandatory PRE-MODERN ethic was for new mothers to feed their first child to the pigs, and then in their place to suckle the sow’s piglets. Similarly-disrupted mothers then grouped together to share and even participate in each other’s trauma.

    As today, the de facto message is that routine abortion is an initiation into the POST-MODERN world; and then therapeutic socialization is supplied through euphemisms, government ATM-style funding, political groupings, and the mainstream and social media. As for suckling the sow’s substituted piglets, the post-modern equivalent is activist entitlement at the government trough.

    With a conscience less culturally misinformed, deformed and euthenized, St. Augustine lamented stealing a few pears and, because they were not really wanted, “throw[ing] them to the pigs.” He did it “for the simple reason that it was forbidden” (Confessions, Bk 2, Ch. 4:9).

    • “ : “Why hasn’t racism been included in the call for eucharistic sanctions against political leaders?”

      Perhaps in part because, unlike abortion, racism makes a handy weapon to use against anyone whether that person is actually racist or not; to be accused is to be guilty. And murder of innocents is far mor evil than even real racism.

      Two bishops divided indeed; sort of like Judas was divided from the rest of the Apostles.

      • Brilliant comment Leslie. I might add that this “controversy” is no controversy at all among sober Catholics. If every sane lay Catholic knows they must receive absolution for their mortal sins prior to presenting themselves for the Eucharist, why is this so difficult for a bishop to comprehend the self-evident?
        The fact that they can’t is a form of scandal that, to use modern parlance, sends a message throughout the world that the Church is NOT the witness to the authentic voice of God, and we can all just follow those capricious little voices of personal selfish desire that we like to lie to ourselves by calling them “our conscience.” And since so many dimwitted theologians and prelates in the Church for decades have told us to “discern” and to follow “our conscience” without any forceful admonishments whatsoever about avoiding the most common of human experiences, self-delusion, probably because they’re so busy exercising so much of it themselves, we live with the inevitable rotten fruit of amoral pseudo-Catholic public figures mocking the faith and being defended by bishops who should be excommunicated themselves.

  3. In their desire to be universally loved and approved of, too many Bishops have declined to guide their flock appropriately. McElroy is one of them. As a lector I can name quite a few passages from the Bible in which St. Paul laced into errant congregations, or provided guidelines to churches which were drifting. It would appear to me he feared disobedience to God’s word more than he feared loss of popularity. Surely the Bishops cannot imagine more parishioners will leave if they assert themselves. That group has already been largely cleared out by the recent sex scandal. The rest will not be returning after the Bishops meekly and recklessly handed the gov control over control of the church during covid, to the extent that Easter in 2020 was CANCELLED, churches were shuttered for months, singing is still prohibited, and the Sunday obligation looks a year away at best. At this point, those who have abandoned communal worship and the Eucharist will likely continue to simply watch Mass on computer from home in their pj’s. Because this is all about Christianity being EASY, right?? Or at least not “mean”, secular society’s most important value. It’s hard to imagine that the Bishops’ appalling surrender of the church could be worse than it already is. But this issue on abortion and communion, now having been insistently raised , provides one last opportunity for them to weaken the church further still.This refusal to demand adherence to standards and truth from ALL Catholics no matter their stature, is why we now face a schism in Germany too.

    • So true! I feel helpless! What can I do to get the Bishops to wake up and realize the precious gift of the Body and Blood shouldn’t be handed out just because a person comes up in line! I am so discouraged. What is happening to our Catholic Faith?

  4. “For the sake of their own integrity bishops must…”

    And there in lies the problem : most bishops have zero integrity. More to the point they are hardly Catholic despite the garb. It’s all about power and money and sex. God help us!

    • From the 2nd Epistle (chap 3) of St Paul to Timothy:

      But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 6

    • As a priest my mission is to strengthen the faithful in the faith, and with God’s grace secure their salvation. Many of us are stricken with anxiety, dismay during this darkest time within the Church. Brothers, be assured Christ remains with us that we remain steadfast. Laity, despite the failure of so many presbyters and bishops, have as your mission the willingness to suffer, offer sacrifice and prayer for the weaker members of the Mystical Body, and for the conversion of those whose souls are in dire jeopardy because of their promotion of evil. “Know that whoever brings back a sinner will save his soul from death, and cover a multitude of sins” (‎James 5:20). That satisfies Our Lord greatly. Be assured with that effort for the salvation of others our recompense will be great.

      • I always find wisdom in your comments. And I just read this after posting my remarks of discouragement posted above. It is just what I needed to read, especially since, after my post, I reflected on the fact that I at least have had the gift of an opportunity to gain the confidence of at least one bishop, somewhat liberal, to have an ongoing correspondence with him, a grace I should not be taking for granted. I’m trying to encourage him to be more traditional. Thank You.

  5. Do we not have history as a guide to assess precedence? The Roman Catholic Church is quite old and has a rich and long history of participation in the Enslavement of Africans and white supremacy. This even in the iconography of figures from scripture. So this might be instructive. Were Catholics and even those in the clergy denied communion from 1619-1978 when explicit racism was the norm in the Church and throughout American culture? If not, why? Too, why deny now, if that grave and centuries old practice lasted 5-6 times longer and resulted in rape, kidnapping, denial of personhood , refusal of neighbor love and child separation as well as the annihilation of the nuclear family?

    • Guy,

      I’m not denying your contention that the Church leaders should have done more to address racism. Some did try to, many did not.

      But, please. If you are looking for the organization *most* responsible for the establishment and furtherance of racism in America — from slavery to lynchings to Bull Connor’s fire hosing of demonstrators to the demise of the black family — then look no further than the Democratic Party.

      Unlike the Catholic Church, the Democratic Party was totally committed to the preservation of slavery as an institution. Indeed, promoting the interests of slave-owners was the Democratic Party’s primary reason for existence from the 1820’s onward.

      They press for escaped slaves to be returned to the owners. And for the new states formed by the nation’s expansion to be forced to accept slavery.

      Then, after the Civil War, the Democratic Party founded the KKK to act as the party’s militia in order to instill terror in its enemies — anyone and everyone seeking to promote the rights of black citizens.

      The Democratic Party, not the Catholic Church, was the party of Jim Crow, of black schools, black churches, black restaurants and black hotels.

      The Democratic Party was the party of Strom Thurmond, Lester Maddox, George Wallace and Robert Byrd — to mention only a few — along with the “Dixiecrats” in the “Solid South” who fought tooth-and-nail against integration.

      Now, you might think that the Democrats’ racism is a thing of the past. But the policies that the Democrats have put in place have been even more devastating to the black community over the past 60 years than in all the years before.

      More than 20 million black children have been slaughtered since Roe v. Wade. Indeed, in that time, more blacks have been killed by abortion than by every other cause of death combined.

      I repeat: Since 1973, more blacks have been killed by abortion than by every other cause of death combined.

      In fact, in a number of black communities — New York City is a noteworthy example — abortions of black children outnumber black children’s births.

      In large part because the policies implemented by the Democratic Party — welfare, food stamps and other forms of government oversight — have destroyed black families in America, often making it preferable for fathers to be absent, rendering mothers and children dependent on government “benefits”.

      Here’s a telling statistic: In 1965, when the so-called Great Society legislation was passed, the out-of-wedlock birthrate was 25 percent among blacks.

      Thirty years later, 70 percent of Black children were born to unmarried mothers.

      And today, more than 75 percent of African-American births are to unmarried women. The illegitimacy rate of the rest of the country, meanwhile, is 42 percent.

      The Democratic Party’s monstrous policies — from slavery, to Jim Crow, to genocidal abortion, to ADC — have devastated black lives and families for nearly 200 years.

      There’s no question that, for all of that time, the American Catholic Church should have done more to thwart the diabolical Democratic Party cabal.

      But holding the Church responsible for slavery is absurd. It would be like blaming the editor of CWR for the illogic of some of the website’s comments.

      • As usual brineyman, excellently articulated. Blacks and other minorities, according to present democrat policy, are incapable of much other than dependence upon the government, and its condescending and enlightened progressive flank (democrats).

        Even slavery and Jim Crow don’t hold a candle to the devastation to African Americans wrought by the Great Society and its welfare requirements.

        Perhaps it is because the Church has been traditionally tied to the Democrat party that it did not do more to thwart the devastation.

      • “It was the democrats all along!”
        ^this is one of the earliest signs you can tell someone has decided to worship american politics above their church

    • The Church was the first Western institution to expressly condemn chattel slavery, and did so through various papal pronouncements starting hundreds of years before there was an America to speak of. Individual Catholics, including bishops and priests, failed to challenge the culture of their day, likely out of fear since we were not a Catholic nation and Catholics were too eager to “fit in”. There is no excuse now regarding the greatest human rights abuse in history, bar none, nor a need to mimic the timidity of times long past.

    • Many of us are very tired of hearing about slavery, gone these past 200 years ( it was abolished in 1827 in New York, well before the Civil War) and not a factor at all in how people today function or succeed. The United States has no lock on the institution of slavery, well known in Egypt thousands of years ago, where NEITHER their Jewish and other slaves nor owner would have been considered “white”. Race was sometimes a component of this issue but not always. Romans kept slaves and BOTH parties were often white. Ditto the black tribal leaders who sold their slave captives to slavers heading to North America. Ditto Native American tribes who routinely kept as slaves members of the Native tribes they conquered, as well as enslaving the odd white settler female, whose narratives have survived them. The world is what it is at any point in time. For much of human history that included slavery, human sacrifice and other noxious practices. Life changes, people change, societies change. I recall St. Paul writing an owner on behalf of a slave who had escaped his owner to follow Paul and pleading for him to be treated fairly. Doubtless he knew it would be impossible to advocate for the abolishment of the practice as a whole at that point in history, and instead made what changes he could by slow example and encouragement. It is unhelpful in the extreme, if not totally absurd, to attempt to re-write history or cast blame on today’s groups/ races for what happened hundreds of years ago.This goes for blaming the church for living in their own time and place thousands of years ago. Judging people of yesterday by today’s standards is an idea that is both unfair and offensive.

      • “I am very tired of hearing about these immoral acts that have 0 bearing on me because I haven’t stopped to think about them for more than 5 minutes as they make me uncomfortable”

        • It doesnt make me uncomfortable. It has nothing to do with me. It is an historic fact from the past. Period. I am white but have black family members. To a person they are educated family people who have good jobs, own homes, and have children who are accomplished and doing well in school. They are not looking to use history to blame current day people , who were NEVER slave owners, for personal failures. Such people are looking for someone other than themselves to blame for their life dissatisfaction. It most certainly wont be me. Slavery means no more to me than the War of the Roses or the moon landing. Those looking for willing victims to blame for the past can look elsewhere.

  6. Yes, most of the people still left in the pews simply assume that they are not part of the bishops’ “audience.” Catholic bishops seem not to care what struggling parents, the elderly, young people think. The bishops’ attention seems focused exclusively on “administrative” things – money, managing relationships with the powerful and wealthy, etc. Meanwhile the people still left in the pews place their hope in the Eucharist they can receive at this moment. Bishops don’t matter in the lives and thoughts of your average parishioner. Better to meditate on Scripture and join a Bible study group in order to receive the word of God. A Catholic bishop is the last person one would go to for help in one’s faith.

  7. McElroy contends that excluding politicians from Communion when they publicly promote abortion is “weaponizing the Eucharist.” He thinks it’s a political move against the Democrats, but find a “devout” Catholic Republican who promotes abortion and apply the same consequence. This is not about political parties, although one might suspect it is, given the predominantly Democrat support of killing the unborn innocents by the millions. That devout Catholic Republican who promotes abortion, whoever that may be, isn’t doing so publicly as are Nancy and Chairman Joe and other Democrat politicians. At least Judas recognized his sin in denying Christ. His true sin was in believing that he couldn’t be forgiven.

  8. It seems pretty clear that for Catholics to privately disagree with Church Teaching on one or more issues is ONE thing, to PUBLICTLY disagree with Church Teaching, especially from the President of the United States, who professes to be a’ Catholic in good standing’ is a very serious matter. He should respectfully abstain from reception of the Eucharist and take a class in Catholic Moral Theology.

  9. All of the discussion back and forth, whether to enforce moral truths, is so much background chatter to the truth! As Dr Miller wrote, “Our moral imaginations fail to grasp that abortion actually kills people! And they are killed in acts of horrendous violence.” And that continues, day after day, while we continue to discuss, send letters, voice opinions, etc. Have we asked ourselves how God sees this whole “disagreement”? It’s more than a disagreement. It’s betrayal of the most vulnerable of all human life who deserve to live.

    • Agreed. The other offense is the denial of understanding how an “unwanted” child comes to exist. Each couple surely knows the possible consequence of a sexual coupling. Is a night (or 15 minutes) of sexual pleasure worth the guilt of killing the consequence? Iin fact, the consequence can never be killed. A life is a life is a life, eternal because made in God’s image. Planned Parenthood may talk all it wants about its tissueblobs.

      When God’s image is attacked, ALL right-thinking people ought be willing to war for the sake of God and His civilization. Why are we not putting on our armor of God? Is it because we do not believe he lives in us who believe and receive Him each week?

      For the poster above who equates slavery to abortion, let he contemplate whether he’d prefer to be a living or a dead slave.

  10. Catholics have the mandate to preach Jesus. It is not determined by convenience but by mission.It details the framework of the life of a Catholic. In this context the political impact of a spiritual commitment is to be faced with conviction of God’s will. The discipline of the church encourages discernment by the person that one grows in the spirit together with others. This responsibility of the community to the individual and the responsibility of the individual to the community will remain inclusive for all to be definite with practices in-spite of the divergence of interpretation of the theory.It makes in fact every life worthy of respect.

  11. There is so much to appreciate here in Ms. Miller’s brilliantly clear and devastatingly effective analysis.

    But will remain with me is Joseph Scheidler’s epiphany upon witnessing the birth of his child:

    That abortion is the closest thing to killing God.

    This fact so succinctly stated sums up everything there is to say about the left in America over past half century.

    Monica continues to be the scourge of mushy-thinking, blood-ravening politicos and bishops alike.

    Godspeed, worthy warrior!

  12. Is it not Joseph Biden, who politicizes the Eucharist by presenting himself, the most prominent public official contradicting the Church’s teaching, for communion?

  13. Is it not Joseph Biden, the most prominent public official contradicting the Church’s teaching, who politicizes the Eucharist by presenting himself for communion?

  14. The USCCB has been avoiding this issue – as in NOT FACING IT – for years now, long after the gum-chewing public – we the laity – came to the only possible conclusion – life begins at conception, so to end a life is to commit murder.

    It’s really NOT that complicated.

    Thanks to stalwarts like Archbishop Cordileone (I’ll bet Nancy HATES having him in charge in San Francisco) – they’re running out of wiggle room. By now just about everyone knows what the definition of ‘Is’ is.

    The day is coming – Some prominent pro-choice ‘catholic’ (small c) like President Biden will present himself or herself for Holy Communion – and will be refused. What follows – no one knows, but it is inevitable, so let’s get on with it.

  15. Why are bishops or priests suspected of politicizing the eucharist if they deny communion to abortion advocates, but those who decline to do so, somehow presumed innocent of the exact same charge? At a minimum it would seem the same would hold true either way.

    If there is politicization of the eucharist, I think it’s being done by abortion promoting politicians themselves.

  16. Two bishops divided on this issue I am sure there are other issues they are divided on and that means we have a divided church

    • Ever since they started relaxing the rules on marriage dissolutions and remarriages there has been division – that’s what I remember growing up in 70’s

  17. A Catholic who is willing to pay for a womans abortion and drive them there – when confronted with the argument that this is a mortal sin and they should not receive communion replies that if it were really that serious Biden and Pelosi would be denied Communion and excommunicated. How should one respond to the counter the position that actions speak loudly, words matter little?

  18. To correct any possible ambiguity about the last reply. Actions speak more loudly than words refer to the Bishops actions defending or not speak more loudly than their words.

  19. Pelosi reportedly said “I’m pleased with what the Vatican put out on that subject … it basically said don’t be divisive on the subject.”

    We say to Pelosi: You are dividing, mincing, parsing, and wishfully misconstruing Church teaching. Church teaching has said from the beginning that murder is wrong. Claiming, then, to be a ‘Catholic’ while furthering laws which oppose Church teaching is wrong. It is a contradiction in terms. Words which disregard the Word of the Lord or perennial Church teaching will not be ignored by the Lord of the Word. No matter what some mealy-mouthed worldly church leader may say in support of sinful words. All of you will be spit out of the mouth of The Holy One. Mark my words. The day will come when the wish for repentance will arrive too late.

  20. It would appear at the heart of the matter is a failure by Bishop McElroy and his political sycophants to understand the first year theology principle of intrinsic evil. That such people could rise so high in authority is a reflection either of incredible ignorance or a malevolence that is inexplicable.

    • True, Mr Link. But Bishop McElroy is loathe to give up his impeccable Leftist views for the sake of church teachings. I don’t think he would know what to do with himself if he did. Community organizer, more than likely.

  21. The difference between the two men is simple; Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone is a Bishop. McElroy is a scheming ecclesial bureaucrat with reliably leftist perspective. Too few of the former, too many of the latter.

    Or, if you please we have the dichotomy between the Church Militant and the Church Milquetoast.

  22. Of these two bishops, only one is right. And Rome has spoken. This author’s and article’s position siding with Cordileone is wrong. McElroy is right. Those who disagree, disagree with Rome!

  23. If even the bishops don’t know the truth – that giving communion to someone in mortal sin (all those who approve of abortion, included) is a sin also, then our Church is in real trouble! How did these dissenters get ordained, much less elevated to bishop??? We need holy men to lead us, not the devil in disguise!

  24. Excellent article on this timely topic! I would like to humbly offer a few points:

    – Canon law (c 1398) specifically assigns a penalty of excommunication latae sententiae to one who procures an abortion, while canon 1329 extends that penalty to those who knowingly assists someone to do so; so the question becomes, are Catholic politicians who pass laws or sign executive orders to incur this automatic excommunication by virtue of the fact that they have materially aided and abetted not just a single person who procures an abortion, but many millions of persons?

    – If the Catholic Church would impose such a penalty on individual women and their helpers who procure an abortion, would not the Church open itself up to charges of hypocrisy if the bishops did NOT impose a similar penalty on Catholic politicians who make it easier to procure an abortion?

    – The charge by Cardinal Ladaria and Bishop McElroy that imposing denial of the reception of the Eucharist to Catholic politicians who support abortion is ludicrous. Those same Catholic politicians have already divided the Church by first claiming that they are “devout” Catholics, and staging photo ops of themselves attending Mass and receiving Communion, thereby trolling for Catholic votes among the unwitting. This is what we used to call scandalizing the Church

  25. Abortion is characteristic of a barbaric society, and as such, is a crime against humanity. Any Catholic politician that publicly supports abortion is giving scandal to the faith he professes, but is also spreading confusion among the faithful. President Biden deepens his disdain for Catholic moral teaching by promoting abortion and threatening to codify Roe Vs. Wade into law. He further shows disregard for Catholic moral teaching by promoting same-sex marriage, as witnessed by his personally conducting a same-set ceremony. Under these circumstances denial of the Holy Eucharist is perfectly justified and has absolutely nothing to do with politics. Any politician displaying the same deep public disregard for Catholic moral teaching should be denied the Eucharist.

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