The DeLauro Democrats and the Bishops

The issue here is not something on which reasonable people can conscientiously differ, like tax policy, environmental policy, or immigration policy.

A full moon rises over the U.S. Capitol building in Washington Jan. 28, 2021. (CNS photo/Tom Brenner, Reuters)

At 1 p.m. EDT on June 18, it was announced that three-quarters of the U.S. bishops had voted to develop a statement on the eucharistic integrity of the Church and the eucharistic coherence of Catholics. Within an hour, a “Statement of Principles” was released by 60 Catholic Members of Congress, all Democrats and led by Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut. Addressed to the bishops, the statement was respectful in tone. Shortly after its release, however, one of the signatories, Rep. Ted Lieu of California, tweeted that he was a Catholic who supported a “woman’s right to choose,” adding, “Next time I go to church, I dare you to deny me communion.”  Congressman Lieu’s spluttering rather gave the game away: the purpose of the Members’ “Statement of Principles” was to intimidate the bishops.

It isn’t going to work, any more than the bombast from the Catholic Left before the bishops’ vote made a difference. And the abominable reporting after the bishops’ vote, which is certain to continue, won’t make a difference to the statement the bishops will consider in November. The days are past when the American hierarchy could be cowed by the political and journalistic principalities and powers and the “progressive” Catholic media.

The DeLauro “Statement of Principles” unfortunately contributed to the confusions that bedevil the public discussion of abortion. The Members said that that debate “often fails to reflect and encompass the depth and complexity of these issues.” There’s a truth lurking within the complexity dodge here: every unwanted pregnancy is unique and emotionally wrenching. But some things are not complex: a scientific fact; a basic moral principle; and a truly humane response to “these issues.” The scientific fact, which can be learned from a high school biology textbook, is that the product of human conception is a human being. The moral principle is that, in a just society, innocent human life is protected in law. And a truly humane response to unwanted pregnancy would offer a woman compassionate care and assistance, not a “technological” fix that often leaves lifelong emotional scars.

The Members who signed the DeLauro statement profess their belief in “the primacy of conscience” — another confusion avoiding the real issue. For a rightly-formed conscience recognizes the basic moral principle that innocent life is not to be willfully taken. If the Members don’t understand that, then they are poorly catechized or indifferent to an elementary principle of justice. Why does the party of “social justice” and “equity” not recognize this?

Part of the answer reflects the fact that Big Abortion — Planned Parenthood and its allies — is a major funder of the Democratic Party. Then there is the surreal claim that the “right” to terminate an unborn life — a “right” that’s been a great boon to predatory, irresponsible, and callous men — is essential to the equality of women. Yet another part of the answer involves the shameful congressional career of the late Father Robert Drinan, SJ (D-MA), whose consistent votes to support the abortion license decreed in Roe v. Wade provided cover for fellow-Catholic legislators to conform themselves to the spirit of the age rather than the truths of the Gospel. Decades of ineffective religious education and timid preaching are also involved.

And then there’s the lay responsibility for all this: How many Catholic laity have urged fellow-Catholic Members of Congress to stop surrendering to the mantra of “choice,” which always avoids the crucial question — choose what? The issue here, after all, is not something on which reasonable people can conscientiously differ, like tax policy, environmental policy, or immigration policy. It’s the sanctity of life and its protection in law. Lay leadership in confronting wayward politicians is every bit as important as episcopal spine.

The Second Vatican Council taught that various Christian communities are in different degrees of communion with the Catholic Church. The same truth would seem to apply analogously within the Church. Catholics who reject the ancient Christian teaching on the grave moral evil of abortion and facilitate its practice — a teaching affirmed and a practice condemned by every pope in Rep. DeLauro’s lifetime, including Pope Francis — are not in full communion with the Church. They are always welcome at Mass. But their own integrity demands that they refrain from receiving holy communion until they are no longer in a gravely defective state of communion with the Church.

And that is the sad condition of the signatories of the DeLauro “Statement of Principles” who were in Congress last year. For each of them “earned” a 100% 2020 NARAL-Pro Choice America voting record in the House of Representatives.

Each of them. 100%.


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About George Weigel 346 Articles
George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies. He is the author of over twenty books, including Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II (1999), The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II—The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy (2010), and The Irony of Modern Catholic History: How the Church Rediscovered Itself and Challenged the Modern World to Reform. His most recent books are The Next Pope: The Office of Peter and a Church in Mission (2020), and Not Forgotten: Elegies for, and Reminiscences of, a Diverse Cast of Characters, Most of Them Admirable (Ignatius, 2021).

56 Comments

  1. “The days are past when the American hierarchy could be cowed by the political and journalistic principalities and powers and the ‘progressive Catholic media.”

    Really? You sure could have fooled me.

    2 Questions – of those 60 so-called ‘Catholics’ – how many do you you think went to Communion last week, and how many do you think were refused?

    • Absolutely right, Terrance.

      Abortion is the eighth sacrament of the American Catholic Church.

      If Catholics — who make up about 20 percent of the electorate— had consistently voted their faith for the past half century, abortion would be an impossible position for any candidate to take, or even mention.

      It would be radioactive.

      Abortion exists in America because of Catholics. Period.

      • There is some truth in your last statement. The 1973 supreme court is responsible for making abortion the law in America. And abortion existed even before America existed. However, the truth is that unfaithful catholics, from bishops, priest, deacons, and laity, are responsible for the present diabolical state of affairs brought on by the democratic party, and electing Biden as president.

    • Spot on, Terence.

      The mere fact that the Bishops have not already enforced the long-time existing clear as a bell Canon Law and informed all priests to do the same (and seriously discipline any priest who refuses) tells us just how truly weak they really are. What do they need to “learn” or “figure out” over the next 4 months or so to put together a document about something already known? This is malevolently ridiculous.

      The Bishops’ approach also reminds me in part of what St. Augustine ultimately recognized was sinful behavior when he could not yet fully commit to faithfully serving God prior to his full conversion, and so he made the following plea: “Lord, give me chastity, but not yet.” In the wimpy Bishops case it’s “Lord, give me some fortitude to stand up for you in the Holy Sacrament, but not yet.” The big difference here is that St. Augustine recognized the sinfulness of his plea and changed his evil ways while the Bishops do not recognize any sinfulness in theirs, and too many of them do not feel any need to defend the Holy Sacrament at any time. But, as always, there is no legitimate excuse for any delays in standing up for the Truth.

      This also has a poignant application to Archbishop Cordileone (and all others who concur with him on the Church teaching and Canon Law in this regard). Nice and powerful words have come from the Archbishop, but they have not yet been backed up by necessary actions he should have already taken on his own authority granted to him. Why hasn’t he already advised Nancy Pelosi and the priests who may see her in Church that Communion MUST be withheld from her unless she openly repents and stops her support for abortion? Call her in to the chancery for some much needed catechesis (not dialogue for crying out loud; nothing to dialogue here), and if such falls on likely deaf ears, then let her cry to the media all she wants once she is told that doctrinal issues and practices are not up to any of us to determine what they mean as she claims she has a right to do. This is a completely false and obtuse application of conscience (as she specifically claims) that she needs to be called out on for her own good (and the good of many others) while also informing her that she can no longer receive Holy Communion unless she changes her unholy actions regarding abortion, and that “pro-choice” is UNACCEPTABLE.

      Until Bishops and Priests act as they should in enforcing Canon Law and standing up for Christ in the form of the Holy Eucharist, then all of them are either pure hypocrites or abject cowards or both. Pray for them to see what they must do, repent of their errors, seek more strength from God, and then act accordingly, but if such is not to be for any of them, then pray that these individuals be promptly removed from their offices because of their serious dereliction of holy duty.

  2. There were 60 so-called “catholics” who signed the ‘statement of principles’ within an hour of the announcement that the Bishops would actually discuss the issue of ‘Eucharistic coherence’. This makes it obvious that they knew in advance that it was coming, so they were ready for it.

    This raises a few questions – 1) Who told them beforehand what was coming? and 2) How many other ‘Catholic’ members of Congress refused to sign, or weren’t even asked?

  3. If you believe that abortion is the gravest moral issue of our day, and want to take a stand to declare that, then go to the website declaration-for-life.org and sign the pledge. Then act accordingly.

    • Agree for the most part. An excellent analysis. Just two caveats/concerns. Cannot yet share George’s confidence in the USCCB. Worried that the ultimate Eucharistic coherence guidance will be will not definitively and emphatically state the truth. Also question the reference to Pope Francis. Yes he has made orthodox statements about abortion but what does he really emphasize? When Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize, her acceptance speech spoke the truth to power about abortion. When Pope Francis addressed the US Congress, his speech did not. Also, Pope Francis surely knows that Biden is using him for political cover on abortion yet he says nothing. Very disturbing.

  4. Weigel writes, “The days are past when the American hierarchy could be cowed by the political and journalistic principalities and powers and the “progressive” Catholic media.” The exact opposite is true. The days are here when the President of the United States declares himself a “devout Catholic,” totally denies Church teaching on moral issues, and is blindly supported by the progressive mainstream and some Catholic media. He is a role-model for politicians who identify as Catholics in government and private life, causing scandal in the Church. The majority of the members of the USCCB aren’t cowed, but the vote on writing a document should have been unanimous, if the bishops aren’t “cowed” by political figures. No bishop worthy of eternal life would vote against promoting and clarifying Church teaching.

    • Excellent points indeed, but your calling Joe Biden a ‘role-model’ scares me, even though it is probably true.

  5. It is not very inspiring to see Mr. Weigel declaring victory “at half-time” for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, or USCCB.

    Mr. Weigel apparently intends that Catholic readers can believe that “this time” the USCCB is going to take a stand against the wolves outside and inside the Church. Are Catholic readers expected to believe that Mr. Weigel is somehow in a position to already know what the USCCB will do come November 2021? Mr. Weigel triumphantly declares: “The days are past when the American hierarchy could be cowed by the political and journalistic principalities and powers and the “progressive” Catholic media.”

    Oh…really?

    Let’s take note that right now, and since the summer of 2004, the very same USCCB that Mr. Weigel is purporting to speak for has quietly confected an outright lie and implemented what candid Catholic writers, like Phillip Lawler and canon lawyer Dr. Ed Peters and others have called “the McCarrick Doctrine of the Eucharist.” Here is a recent article explaining how McCarrick (and the USCCB machine) deceitfully confected the current and long-standing “default-do-nothing-Eucharist-policy” for the USCCB, in 2004:

    https://www.cal-catholic.com/how-mccarrick-pulled-a-fast-one-on-his-brother-bishops/

    Let that sink in: the current default position on the Eucharist for most US Bishops is to implement the policy confected by the sociopath sex abuser and fraud McCarrick.

    Indeed, the “McCarrick Doctrine” is much broader, and is very persuasively described as governing everything for the vast majority of U.S. Bishops, as argued here:

    https://the-american-catholic.com/2019/01/27/the-mccarrick-doctrine/

    So let’s stop a moment and think about what Mr. Weigel is asking readers to believe. Mr. Weigel is declaring that the USCCB is now somehow changed, and is fed up with “the Catholic Left” and will now do something meaningful about defending the sanctity of Holy Communion.

    But what that meaningful thing might be, Mr. Weigel dares not approach. No, no, no.

    While Mr. Weigel’s manifesto begins with a BANG, it’s real purpose may be hinted at, when he ends with a WHIMPER.

    But it is actually worse than a whimper, it may be a self-delusion, or even worse than that, a very subtle form of self-deception.

    What do I mean? Note what Mr. Weigel declares at the end of his essay: “Catholics who reject the ancient Christian teaching on the grave moral evil of abortion and facilitate its practice… [should] refrain from receiving holy communion.”

    The assertion that Catholics publicly supporting abortion (etc etc etc) should obey Canon 916 and “refrain from Holy Communion” is none other than “the McCarrick Doctrine of the Eucharist.”

    Oh yes, its true, that is the McCarrick Doctrine: Bishops all agree that the faithful ought to obey Canon 916 out of respect for the sanctity of the Eucharistic, and the corollary is that Bishops need not bother themselves with their own duties under Canon Law. Nice trick by McCarrick and Company, is it not?

    The actually Catholic policy (you know, the policy that McCarrick and company lied about in 2004 and ignored, which was the subject of the Ratizinger letter that McCarrick and then-USCCB Presdient Bishop Gregory withheld and lied about), is that not just the faithful, but even the Bishops themselves, must obey Canon Law, and defend the Eucharist.

    What, Bishops should themselves do something, what would that be?

    Oh, you mean obey the Canon Law 915, and withhold the Eucharist from Biden and Pelosi etc etc etc?

    Yes, that would be BISHOPS OBEYING ANON LAW…you know BISHOPS DOING SOMETHING (other than talking). In fact, candid Catholic writers like Dr. Peters and Phliip Lawler note that the duty of Bishops to WITHOLD Holy Communion comes BEFORE the duty of the faithful to refrain from Communion. You know, in the way the number 915 precedes the number 916, as argued here:

    https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/canon-915-comes-first/

    But alas, Mr. Weigel doesn’t want Catholic readers to contemplate what Bishops ought to be doing now under Canon Law.

    Alas, one can read Mr. Weigel here and begin to conclude that his intention is nothing more than “sanctifying” the USCCB’s long-standing McCarrick Doctrine of the Eucharist, in the hopes that faithful Catholics will believe that the USCCB are really being good shepherds, and now everthing is set right.

    Alas…could it be that Mr. Weigel, who has long declared himself as being against “Catholic-Lite,” is actually (wittingly or unwittingly) its spokesman?

    • Chris, you first create a straw man of Mr. Weigel. Then, you proceed to tear your straw man to shreds. You have learned well from the modern culture you profess to disdain.

      • Tom:

        You are very much mistaken.

        I have created no strawman whatsoever. I can only assume you are simply not I aware of the long history in this case.

        Readers of the journal First Things who were reading in 2004 have watched this story unfold since the summer of 2004, when Mr. Weigel’s boss, the late Fr. Richard Neuhaus, publicly called Cardinal McCarrick a liar in the print edition, and exposed what McCarrick and the leading members of the USCCB, that is, those led by then-Bishop Gregory, then-President of the USCCB did.

        I assume you do not know the story, so I will recount it in short:

        A. A small group of faithful bishops asked for a clarification from the Vatican about what Bishops should do about Holy Communion for John Kerry, who was running for President and like Biden publicly promoted abortion.

        B. In response, Cardinal Ratzinger if the CDF replied in writing stating that it was the duty of Bishops to enforce Canon 916 and withold Holy Communion from any such Catholic in the publicly known position of doing or promoting grave evil.

        C. The written memo or letter from Ratzinger was entrusted to McCarrick to deliver to the US Bishops.

        D. McCarrick and Gregory withheld the letter from Ratzinger, and at the Zjuly 2004 USCCB Conference, he publicly lied by omitting Ratzinger’s main point on Bishops duty to enforce Canon 916, but should instead remind the faithful about refraining from Communion (Canon 916) and otherwise handle the matter as each Bishops prefers (called by Phillip Lawler and other critics of the USCCB “the McCarrick Doctrine”).

        E. It is notable that Mr. Weigel was working as a member of First Things under Fr. Neuhaus when Neuhaus exposed McCarrick and the fraud and called McCarrick and Gregory liars (and by implication called liars all other Bishops for whom M and G were lying).

        So you see, Mr. Weigel knows very well what the real issue here is, just as Dr. Peters and Phillip Lawler have noted, and then-Cardinal Ratzinger directed. Bishops have a duty to ENFORCE CANNON 915 and withhold Holy Communion. They cannot merely get away with bleating about faithful obeying Canon 916 and refraining from presenting themselves for a Communion.

        So you see, Mr. Weigel knows that the real issue is about Bishops duty to enforce Canon 915, and yet, he is silent on the real issue, and just reiterates that Communion integrity is a matter of laity obeying Canon 916.

        And there you have it, Mr. Weigel is very subtly siding against Ratzinger and the few faithful Bishops, and surrendering the field to the McCarrick Establishment.

        In sum, W’s essay here is full of found and fury, but signifies nothing.

        Come November, I will be exceedingly happy and astonished if US Bishops declare that they will enforce Canon 915 and withhold Holy Communion from Biden and Pelosi etc.

        And I will say that I am so glad I was wrong.

        But the likelihood of that happening is as remote as the possibility that Mr. Weigel might even mention that this is their duty, which we can both see, he explicitly avoids doing.

        The most likely outcome is an abstract condemnation of politicians supporting abortion etc, and no action whatsoever by USCCB declaring that “we Bishops” intend to individually enforce Canon 915.

        Reality is reality, and this reality is rather ugly in its display of cowardice, unfortunately.

        • Point D – “McGarrick & Gregory withheld the letter from Ratzinger” – Since Ratzinger WROTE the letter, how is it possible for them to withhold it from him?

          If you mean that the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger was never delivered to the Bishops – how is this possible? Would Cardinal Ratzinger not have known about this?

          • Terence –

            Here’s how it went, as reported by Fr. Neuhaus and others since the summer of 2004:

            A. A few US Bishops, Burke among others, in advance of the July USCCB meeting, wrote to the CDF (Ratzinger) asking him to help resolve the debate among US Bishops about Communion for abortion promoting politicians like John Kerry, who was running for President in November 2004.

            B. The letter in response was signed by Ratzinger and entrusted to Cardinal McCarrick, who was asked to share the letter with the US Bishops.

            C. Instead of sharing the letter, which reminded Bishops of their duty as Bishops to enforce Canon 915, and withhold Communion in these public cases of grave evil, McCarrick and Gregory withheld the letter, and McCarrick simply read parts of it at the July USCCB meeting, omitting the reminder to Bishops to enforce Canon 915. Instead, McCarrick lied and asserted that Ratzinger merely stated it was a matter for Bishops to decide for themselves.

            D. The US Bishops who originally requested the guidance from Ratzinger protested that McCarrick was witholding the actual letter, and would not let Bishops see it. They suspected McCarrick was lying.

            E. They sent word to the CDF in Rome telling what happened, and asking CDF for a copy of the letter that McCarrick refused to disseminate.

            F. They got the copy, and alerted Fr. Neuhaus at First Things that the letter had urged the Bishops to enforce Canon 915, and that McCarrick had deceived the faithful Bishops by lying and saying the letter had no such admonition.

            G. Neuhaus published the whole affair in the print Journal of First Things, later in summer of 2004.

            I can send you links that recount this, OK?

    • Alas…could it be that Chris in Maryland, who needlessly and repeatedly attacks George Weigel and who mentions McCarrick in every single post of his, whether the article topic refers to him or not, might be better served by examining his own heart, motives, and faith before casting the first stones at others. It’s all getting a little old at this point. “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

      • My dear Athanasius /

        I simply prefer to face the real facts at issue, rather thsn cheer lead for “opinion leaders” like Mr. W, as you always do.

        Mr. Weigel is thevstandard-bearer of what he claims to oppose, the so-called “Catholic Lite.”

        He cannot be candid about the Holy Communion issue and Canon 915, because he actually dudes with the McCarrick Establishment’s position.

        Years ago, reading Mr. W, one might think him a conservative man, in the best sense of the word, that he was committed to conserving the wholesome endowments and traditions of the Catholic Faith.

        Alas, he is probably nothing more than a conformist. Which is exactly what the McCarrick Establishment and the Pontiff Francis need in order to “continue their reform.”

        • Alas, you missed the point of my post, and in doing so, you inadvertently proved my essential point. I was not looking for another explanation or justification of your position. I was encouraging you to take all of the time, effort, and energy that you are investing in constantly judging others and apply that to the unaddressed issues that are clearly festering in your own heart. Your obsession with both Weigel and McCarrick borders on the pathological, and it would be wise for you to take a step back and reflect on that.

          • Athanasius-

            If you want to offer your psychological advice, try looking for the little niche market that will appreciate your services. Perhaps some of the “moderate Bishops” of the USCCB, you know, the type that McCarrick always claimed to be leader of.

            I’m sure they will welcome your services.

            And remember, “We have to get this story behind us.” (your own Uncle Ted, your very own inspiration)

      • Athanasius,

        What Chris is reflecting on is very enlightening, to say the least, and I would’ve thought that Mr. Weigel would have went to the heart of matter, as Chris has. I mean, how can you analyze this situation without taking into account what Pope Benedict had explicitly submitted to the Bishops in America at that time, but sadly the Bishops did not get the memo because of by Theodore McCarrick. How Mr. Weigel can write about this topic without including the background of what Chris references to the facts, seems to be very shoddy research on Mr. Weigel’s part.

        • Thanks for the response. I hear what you are are saying. My point was simply to address the question behind the question, so to speak, which is Chris in Maryland’s near pathological obsession with Weigel and McCarrick, independently of the truth of his assertions. This is a clear and persistent pattern in most of his posts on this site. If Weigel was writing about the Model T Ford, C in M would somehow turn that back to McCarrick. It’s very odd, to say the least.

          • Dear Athanasius,I certainly hope the name of McCarrick is contantly refrerred to and brought up to remind us of what is wrong in the Church.

      • Sorry, Athanasius. The dark cloud of McCarrick is all over this crisis. Not just sexual predation or his clout in the USCCB when he was active, but there is little question that certain media outlets (secular) have blackmailed higher-ups in the USCCB, threatening to let loose what they have accumulated (and probably fabricated) about current hierarchs’ close and knowing ties with McCarrick. Too many of them owe their careers to McCarrick. If those bishops do not toe the line on Biden, LGBTQ stuff and other woke-ness, there will be front page stories about those who dare to stray. And bishops know it. McCarrick casts a long and dark shadow.

  6. I agree with Mr. Weigel’s statement that this foolishness was intended to intimidate the Bishops, but to me it raises this rhetorical question – At its very heart, at its very core – isn’t this more than a just a bit – childish?

  7. I suggest that Mr. Weigel go to the USCCB website to get an update on what the bishops plan. They have already been intimidated, or, they never really planned to address the scandal of prominent catholic politicians who promote abortion and still receive the Eucharist. The bishops now state that they only intend to issue a general statement addressed to all catholics. Read the USCCB Q&A on the subject.

    • We are long past the time and need for a Thomas More moment( many are needed). Let’s face it the Magisterium has utterly failed the church and for tooooo long. I’ve said it many times, the Catholic Church allowed abortion into law when Roe v was established. It was our moment in time and Catholics had their opportunity. Instead what we got was years and years of one step forward two steps back.
      I blame the church. It will not deter me from my faith though. I’m just more realistic now about who they are and what moves them..

  8. Many of us have written off the bishops often subject to ugly insult. Of course it was wrong. But did that continuous hail of incoming have a motivational effect. I should think so. During a moral quandary when relief is nowhere in sight including, actually especially from the Vatican, and considering his Holiness’s obtuse, vagaries etiquette is up for grabs. What matters is a voice. And there were many that didn’t entirely give up on the bishops including George Weigel who always looked to some future moment for a USCCB comeback. This is that moment. Fr Drinan SJ spearheaded the moral corruption of Am politics as did two other Catholics Justice Anthony Kennedy in Planned Parenthood v Casey on Liberty and its entrenchment as an inviolable conscience right sans any mention of moral restriction in Humanae dignitatis. Congresswoman DeLauro is the child of that legacy of corruption of natural law principles, especially the preeminent right to life of the innocent. No vicious dagger to the heart of Catholicism has been thrust than that by DeLauro, Pelosi, Biden, and the host of signatories to the “Statement”, whose real mission shown by Weigel is to intimidate bishops. Unfortunately a craven body already exists within the USCCB whose braintrust is Bishop McElroy, pleading respect of conscience in a pluralistic society in defense of the law as written despite our disfavor of abortion. An appeal to sentiment rather than Justice, in favor of written law that reeks of arrogant dismissal of a right to life, a law that is not lawful, a law that is a principle of evil injustice. If the Vatican desires unity and peace there can be none with such monumental evil. This is what DeRosa and entourage shockingly defend “100%”. This injustice must be condemned by the bishops 100%.

  9. Read and weep (https://www.usccb.org/resources/Q&A%20on%20Eucharist%20Document.pdf). This is not surprising. Talk about a cowardly (or malicious) “flip-flop.”

    It is amazing that people can be so blind regarding the “Catholic” Church. However, the media makes sure that certain truths don’t ever find their way into publication. And as has been said before, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” One can only hope that people aren’t culpably ignorant.

    However, I will say this. In 1534, 50% of bishops (or all clergy?) vowed themselves to recognize The King Henry VIII as their leader instead of the Pope. It is highly doubtful that the bishops were ignorant.

  10. Giving such acknowledgement and praise to the USCCB is ludicrous. The conference of bishops has no authority about this issue. The bishop of each diocese in the United States is the sole and lawful authority in his diocese. Each bishop by the oath they take upon becoming a bishop gives them the grave and sacred duty to prevent all public so called catholic politicians to receive Holy Communion. It is a simple as that. There never was any need for discussion.

  11. It seems a great number of our Catholic prelates have been operating somewhere above the stratosphere, unaware that Catholic catechesis has been in shambles for decades—- that baby Americans and babies around the world have been the target of population controllers—that Catholic organizations and ministries have been working hand in glove with those who promote perversion of Catholic Doctrine—-inside and outside of governments—-inside and outside of Catholic hierarchy—accepting funding from those whose very goal is dismantling Christian thought. Now finally, we are to believe that the of heads over the stratosphere are descending, fully aware of their aberration of duty? Now they hit the ground running, ready to deal with the conundrum they allowed to develop? Well, take it to the bank, their muscles have become atrophied and maybe their spiritual lives too. There is heavy lifting ahead and they better root out the slackers. Meanwhile, our Eucharistic Lord awaits in the Garden. His apostles have been sleeping. The time is at hand.

    Ted Lieu and the Anti-Church
    By Judie Brown
    June 23, 2021
    “The hour of Mr. Lieu was foretold by St. John Paul II in 1976 when, as Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, he stated:

    “We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine Providence; it is trial which the whole Church . . . must take up. It is a trial of not only our nation and the Church, but, in a sense, a test of 2,000 years of culture and Christian civilization with all of its consequences for human dignity, individual rights, human rights and the rights of nations.” See:
    http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/brown/210623

  12. A joint reply to Tom and Athanasius, who join in appealing for. Weigel:

    If you can find any statement by Mr. Weigel where he asserts that Bishops should enforce Csnon 915, then I will be delighted to say that you are right to have defended him, and so was wrong to attack his position.

    And if you cannot, then you are just defending, wittingly or unwittingly, the status quo (aka the McCarrick Doctrine).

    My wish for the sake of our Church is that I am found to be wrong.

    Perhaps you will prove me mistaken?

    We shall see what you find…

    • Chris, now you have made me into a straw man who supports Mr. McCarrick or the “McCarrick Doctrine” (whatever that is) when I have never done so in my life. I stand by my earlier post.

      • Tom –

        If want to pretend that the issue is not about the duty of Bishops to enforce Canon 915, the topic that Mr. Weigel knows that his own magazine asserted in writing in 2004, then you can stand where you are, but you are not standing in reality.

  13. Recently Teddy Lieu publicly DARED anyone to refuse him Holy Communion.
    Excuse me for going over the top with this one but – please notice that he waited 16 years to be sure that JPII was deceased to make this infantile remark.

    And to the best of my knowledge Pope Francis has had nothing to say about this. They are trying more and more desperately to keep this from exploding in their faces but they can’t – and they know it.

    If it takes a Schism to right this ship, that’s what will happen.

    • Either his actions are born out of evil or else he is clueless about his Catholic faith and the Eucharistic Lord. I pray for Congress everyday. At first it was difficult, now I look forward to include them in my prayer.

      • Agreed, I want to consider him clueless, which is patently obvious and just leave it at that but, taking into consideration his attack on Candace Rose as a supporter of Hitler, I would say both.

  14. Some of the Bishops who voted to move to deny communion to President Biden – and those Catholics who are of the same mind and heart as these Bishops – are best reminded with this Facebook message gone viral.
    https://www.facebook.com/586335321424338/photos/a.601932513197952/4237586522965848/?type=3
    The post message to the Bishops is reproduced here:
    “I want to write a longer piece about those bishops who seek to keep some from the table of Christ, but for now I will say this: it is not your table (nor mine). Bishops, priests, etc. are neither the hosts nor the bouncers nor the ones who wrote the guest list. The Eucharist is the resurrected body of Christ given for the life of the world. Jesus Christ is the one who invites the guests (“all you who labor”); he is the host of those who come; he is the setter of the table; and he is the feast which is shared (“Take this, all of you. . .this is my body, this is my blood”). We are guests at the meal, and sometimes (by his calling) servers. So stay in your lane, please. The wait staff doesn’t get to exclude those who want to come. If you don’t like the company Christ calls (and, admittedly, it is a rag tag bunch of sinners, one and all), it’s you who need to leave the table, not them.”

    • Whoever wrote this ridiculous and sarcastic piece about tables and servers flunked Catechism 101. What is author is saying is that everyone has a “right” to communion. Which of course, they do not, any more than illegal aliens have the “right” to illegally enter the USA. “Refusing (Lieu & other like) him is not “punishing” them’ it is an act of protecting Christ from sacrilege.” (per Judie Brown) Ms. Brown is correct. While the snarky FB post (who cares if it went viral- that means nothing) sounds cute, it has no foundation in fact or Catholic teaching. In fact, the whole posting is condescending. Whoever wrote the post is showing that they don’t understand that in order to take communion – hopefully you go to confession to prepare a pure heart for Jesus to enter – and you abide by what Jesus taught. Jesus didn’t teach any of the things that Lieu and the other 60 disgraceful Demonrats believe to be the true teaching of Jesus Christ. Let’s pray that the general public sees the FB post for what is really is – a distraction from the truth.

  15. This so-called ‘statement of principles’ was released on June 18. Here it is July 1, which begs the question – has there been any response to this from the Bishops as a group, or from any particular Bishop?

  16. This is an excellent article, but I don’t remember the USCCB, as a group, ever displaying “episcopal spine” during my adult life. I hope rumors of the existence of that legendary organ prove true and at least two thirds of our bishops are suddenly and miracously found to possess it. I will continue praying for that.

  17. Terence above: Abp. Cordileone gave a rather forceful point-by-point rebuttal to the so-called Statement of Principles. I believe it was in First Things.

  18. We do all need to grow in holiness and become fully alive. We need the truth to accomplish this wonderful ideal. I so much appreciate when the truth is expressed. To you who express it, my thankfulness is unabounding. To those of you who don’t, as Christ says “forgive them for they know not what they do.” We live in the “valley of tears”. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all else will be given unto you.” Father Spitzer says “Deep happiness is a result of living a contemplative life.” We need the truth to feed us to live this contemplative life. Again, thanks be to God for the courageous who express the truth.

  19. Some good news today at least on a state level for a Democrat politician:

    “BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Doctors should offer scientifically questionable information to women taking the abortion pill suggesting that terminating the pregnancy termination could be stopped midway through the process, according to a bill Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed Friday.

    The Democratic anti-abortion governor signed into law the measure by Republican Rep. Beryl Amedee, of Houma. The Republican-backed bill, which won some support from Democrats, will take effect Aug. 1.

    The nonsurgical medication abortion works during the first nine weeks of pregnancy.”

  20. Just looking over some of these comments.
    Chris in Maryland – First Things published the letter McCarrick withheld? In 2004 yet? News to me. Thanks.
    And nothing happened??

    • Dear Gilberta, although I like some others felt Chris in Maryland’s repetitious references to McCarrick were excessive, the following is in defense of Chris’ allegation regarding knowledge, at the time of the letter’s issue, of McCarrick’s conspiracy to redact Ratzinger’s 2004 letter omitting the Eucharistic coherence issue: “The Ratzinger letter and how McCarrick used it is the subject of lively discussion. No bishop wanted to say that McCarrick misrepresented Ratzinger’s message but, as one put it, The charitable thing to say is that he did not tell us the whole truth. It appears, although it is not certain, that the letter was sent only to McCarrick and the papal nuncio, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, who was, of course, present at the meeting. At least a few bishops, however, were apprised of the full text and were less than pleased with McCarrick’s presentation of what Ratzinger had to say. When the full text was later made public, first in an Italian newspaper, McCarrick suggested to the press that there were other communications with Ratzinger that put the letter in context, justifying the interpretation he had offered the bishops. Back at the June meeting, the bishops had, despite McCarrick’s resistance, made up their minds. There needed to be a clear and firm statement that unmistakably underscored the utterly distinctive status of abortion and euthanasia in Catholic teaching, and that approved, but did not mandate, specific pastoral approaches, including the denial of Communion to the obdurate. Striking Differences. The Ratzinger letter speaks decisively to those who misleadingly weave a seamless garment of Catholic concerns: ‘Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not with regard to abortion and euthanasia'” (Ratzinger quoted in John Neuhaus Bishops at a Turning Point First Things October 2004).

      • Fr. Morello:

        Thank you for your comments both supporting the specific topic (the Canon 915 issue), and expressing your concern that my “repetitious references to McCarrick were excessive.”

        I take your comment to heart, and I will ponder how to try to remain on topic, while not being off-putting.

        The challenge is that the problem I am trying to point out is that the crisis in the Church in the US is not because of the singular man McCarrick, but rather, that it seems that the typical Archbishops and Cardinals of the US Church generally seem to be aligned with what McCarrick lived and worked for all his life, which is it seems to me is a hollowed-out, counterfeit cult masquerading as Catholic Christianity.

        Much is made of the very recent 2018-21 sex predator revelations about McCarrick.

        Going back further I am trying to show readers how the current crisis of Holy Communion is rooted in what seems obvious to be that since 2004, the majority of Bishops were quite happy to have McCarrick orchestrate the deception about Canon 915 and Holy Communion, to let them off the hook.

        I can join to this the first phase of sex abuse crisis in 2003-4, when McCarrick launched the VIRTUS program in our diocese of Washington where our family then resided, and McCarrick forced all parents active in parishes to take the VIRTUS “training,” which McCarrick and his Washington DC Archdiocesan gestapo opened on day one by declaring false the findings of the National Review Board that over 80% of the sex abuse in the Church was homosexual predation. The classroom of parent from several different parishes immediately pushed back and stated that we had all read the National Review Board Report, and that it was obvious that the VIRTUS program was being run to lie to the face of Catholic parents and prohibit any discussion of what the Review Board itself admitted was the central problem. The VIRTUS Program was and remains a form of “grooming” by men and women of the Church who promote the lie told by McCarrick.

        Yet we can go further back, way back, and observe what the Cardinal Newman Society calls the wasteland of formerly Catholic Universities, 90% of which cannot be recommended to Catholic parents to faithfully teach the Catholic faith or help form the young adults. And those of us who have lived long enough know that the source of this in our day was the 1967 Land of Lakes Statement, where “Catholic” University presidents openly declared that they were not bound to “any authority,” and the signatories included then Rev. McCarrick, President of the University of Puerto Rico.

        Now many self-styled “conservative” voices in the Church (with I generally think good intentions, but whose good intentions are not matched by close attention to facts), will urge us all to keep faith as modeled by Pope John Paul II, and rest assured that the majority of US Bishops are following the example of JP2.

        But we have facts that show that such trust is misplaced. In fact, if we simply take the well-established 90% collapse of the Catholic University system as a benchmark, we can begin to surmise just how many of our contemporary Archbishops and Bishops are unfaithful the kind of teaching done by men like JP2, and we can surmise its probably on the scale of the same 90%. How is that?

        Well we know that JP2 published Ex Corde Ecclesiae in the 1990s to counter the rejection of Catholic teaching emerging world-wide across “Catholic” universities, such as was declared by McCarrick and Company in 1967 in their Land of Lakes Statement. JP2 asked Bishops to issue mandatums to teachers of theology, to protect the rights of parents and their young adult children and shield them from harm caused by men like McCarrick, who rejected Catholic authority.

        After the publication of Ex Corde Ecclesiae (ECC) in 1990, the USCCB then set a committee to “implement” ECC in the US.

        30 years hence ECC, in 2021, the Cardinal Newman Society reports that only 10% of “Catholic” Universities can be recommended, mainly because: the Bishops presiding in the dioceses of 90% of these universities are NOT requiring the universities to publish the mandatums expected of Catholic theologians under ECC.

        So this brings us across an arc of 50 years, from 1967 to today, where we can see that in matters of Catholic Education, Catholic sexual morality, “the politicization” of Holy Communion, and the sex abuse crisis (etc), we have the rather obvious situation that most of the Catholic education and episcopal establishment thinks and acts in accord with the thoughts and actions of McCarrick.

        So the problem seems to be that McCarrick is quite simply a fair representative of the US Catholic education and episcopal establishment.

        And if that is the stark reality, then the problem may not really be “excessive talk about McCarrick.” The problem becomes that “the mind of Christ” is traduced in favor of “the mind of McCarrick.”

    • Gilberta:

      As I indicated, Fr. Neuhaus publicized the whole story.

      (I did not say he published the letter ftom R, though his story includes extracts from it, those being be ones about Canon 915, that McCarrick withheld, along with keeping back the letter.

      The story is retained on the web version of FT for October 2004, ftom the final section of this he journal called The Public Square, and entitled “Bishops at a Crossroads.” The McCarrick deceit is described in the last 12 paragraphs, in 3 subsections entitled : Catholics in Political Life, A Beleaguered Cardinal and Striking Differences (where Bishops “charitably” declare that McCarrick “didn’t tell the whole truth” about the Ratzinger letter.

      Here is the link at FT on line:

      https://www.firstthings.com/article/2004/10/bishops-at-a-turning-point

  21. Coming in late, and responding to the thread above, I’m simply not sure what Weigel might or might not have written about Canon 915. There are things that any overblown conference of bishops (as an administrative convenience) simply cannot do relative to responsible (or irresponsible) individual bishops. (In the United States we will not be backed into a national Church as is being attempted more directly in Germania with its synodal path.)

    Regarding enforcement of Canon 915, do find a similar situation in 1968, long prior to the Ratzinger letter of 2004, when dissenters (to Humanae Vitae, HV) were eventually (1971) given a green light by the Vatican?

    In the so-called “Truce of 1968,” Washington D.C.’s Cardinal O’Boyle found no Vatican support for disciplining of his priests who publicly protested against Humanae Vitae (my recollections: by signing the broader protest in the New York Times, even before the HV document was publicly released; and that several later left the priesthood).

    Wrote Weigel, recently: “The Truce of 1968 taught theologians, priests, and other Church professionals that dissent from authoritative teaching was, essentially, cost-free.” Here’s the link to an article by Mr. Weigel: https://eppc.org/publication/the-truce-of-1968-once-again

    Out of curiosity, what are the similarities (a) between that 1968-71 scenario and the current USCCB initiative toward Eucharistic coherence, (b) between the letter from Ratzinger in 2004, and the very carefully crafted and public letter from Cardinal Ladaria to the USCCB early this year, (c) between Pope Paul VI’s imprudent decision to hang Cardinal O’Boyle out to dry and what might-or-might-not happen if the members of the USCCB this time discover the needed backbone to protect the Church itself (!), and (d) even between the politics/pre-emptive timing of the 1968 New York Times protest letter and the politics/pre-emptive timing of the 2021 DeLauro so-called “Statement of Principles”?

    Been there, done that. Weigel’s analysis, within this longer-term landscape, does not make him a toady to Catholic-Lite.

    • Peter:

      I certainly agree that national conferences do not and should not have any authority.

      My observations are that the only purpose ultimately served by national conferences of Bishops is to provide cover for Bishops who prefer NOT doing their duty and exercising proper authority, in this case enforcing Canon 915.

      It can clearly be seen here that the issue at hand in 2004 was to enforce Canon 915, per the article by Fr. Neuhaus, “Bishops at a Turning Point,” the last 3 sections, 12 paragraphs, linked here:

      https://www.firstthings.com/article/2004/10/bishops-at-a-turning-point

      McCarrick is charitably described as “not telling the whole truth.”

      The outcome in 2004 was that the McCarrick Doctrine (not enforcing Canon 915) was established by the vast majority of US Bishops.

      So what is our situation 17 years later? Same situation. The McCarrick Doctrine prevails.

      It becomes clear, and indeed is in ample evidence, that one or more Bishops can speak loudly and frequently about “abortion-promoting- politicians” obeying Canon 916, and “not presenting themselves,” while at the same time silently implementing the McCarrick Doctrine and never enforcing Canon 915.

      Do the question gets clarified when we ask: “Is not Catholic Lite exemplified by the long-standing McCarrick Doctrine?”

      The answer is YES (that is, if we are to hold that thebterm “Catholic Lite” means anything).

      And I observe that the only thing Mr. Weigel is saying in his essay is the abortion-promoting-politicians should not present themselves for Communion (they should obey Canon 916). Meanwhile, Mr. Weigel completely ignores the duty of Bishops under Canon 915 (to withold Communion), which was the very issue and crossroads asserted by Mr. Weigel’s boss 17 years ago.

      Unfortunately, Mr. Weigrl is simply arguing that Bishops should simply repeat as bauseum that abortion-promoting Catholic politicians should obey Canon 916. He never says what his boss and others have said for 17 plus years: Bishops should be obeying Canon 915.

      Unfortunately, Mr. Weigel’s argument never extends to pointing out the higher and prior duty if the Bishops (or as Phillip Lawler and Ed Peters etc have quipped, Canon 915 comes BEFORE Canon 916).

      It’s phony posturing to castigate abortion-promoting-Catholic-politicians, while never deviating from the McCarrick Doctrine on forgetting Canon 915.

  22. Historically the Cardinal O’Boyle debacle was an apparent choice between enforcement of sanction and likelihood of widespread clergy and laity disobedience, possible schism, and the unfortunate result. Bishops still had the obligation to inform their dioceses of the prohibition. Disobedience to a pronounced condemnation today is a given, considering the large number of bishops and the many presbyters, laity opposed. It’s sufficient to make the sanction against communion for the obdurate heard. Latae sententiae then understood as the penalty. Again it’s the pronouncement that confirms the legality of 915 that counts during this crisis. To let matters stand worsens the crisis and plays into the agenda of those who desire radical change.

  23. Thanks to several commentators above for filling me in on some of this background (which I lived through but didn’t fully grasp the ramifications of at the time).
    Terence above – Who reads First Things? You have a point but the online articles are very accessible and very worthwhile. Just saying.

  24. P.S. to Terence above – I just looked up Abp. Cordileone’s response to the so-called Statement of Principles. He made it in the Diocesan newspaper and in First Things, and The Catholic Thing linked to the First Things article. (And if The Catholic Thing is not on your must-read list, I have nothing further to say).

  25. For those still wondering how the Democrats were so ready with their so-called Statement of Principles, pillarcatholic.com has just pointed out that the 2021 Statement is virtually identical to their 2006 version, except for one “slight” difference.

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