Friday, January 20, 2012
"Catholic" Politicians: Selling Out the Church
LifeSiteNews reported on January 20 that:
Of course, she’s not the only “Catholic” politician who has taken part in the sell-out of the Catholic Church in the public square. She’s foremost in my mind right now, though, because she stands so clearly against the moral values of the Church on this issue which threatens to force true Catholics to “figure out how to violate our conscience”, in the words of Cardinal-elect Timothy Dolan.
Last October, Michael Voris said on a Vortex episode (“Obama and Traitorous Catholics”):
The horrendous moral path that America has marched down has been disproportionately led by Catholics – bad Catholics who have betrayed the faith.
...[P]ractically every institutionalized immorality present in America – and by extension because of the US’s cultural influence, all around the globe – is present because of a handful of traitorous Catholics here and there in key positions at critical times.
The writing has been on the wall for some time, of course. Hindsight is 20/20, but the bishops have had plenty of warning signs and plenty of time to correct Catholic politicians over the past 8 to 10 years. The issue of whether or not these politicians should be given Holy Communion has been bantered about for years. Remember back in 2004 when the bishops withheld that important letter from then-Cardinal Ratzinger regarding this issue? I hope the bishops remember, and I hope they begin to rectify the situation.
More from Voris in that October 2011 Vortex episode:
…The political traitors as well as ecclesial traitors must be dealt with and dealt with fast and in no uncertain terms. Their evil must be exposed and they must suffer the consequences for it – both for the sake of their own souls as well as the sake of others. That is THE definition of charity.
One of the things that confirms the alleged “Catholic” identity of these traitorous politicians is their reception of Holy Communion at Mass. It is the continued apparent acceptance of the validity of their claim to be “Catholic” by priests and bishops – because the bishops do not correct them, do not “call them out”. And so scandal results, because the Catholic faithful, seeing these “Catholic” politicians espousing anti-Catholic ideas and practices, think that they too can embrace these philosophies and still be part of the Body of Christ.
What does it mean to be a member of the Body of Christ? Pope Pius XII, in his encyclical Mystici Corpus Christi (1943) establishes that Christ is the Head of His Body – the Church – and that if we view the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ, certain truths follow:
· Christ is the Head, but is so present in the Body that the Church is, “as it were, another Christ.” (MCC, §53)
· All of the parts of the Body are joined with one another and the Head. (MCC, §57)
· While we are all members and are therefore important to the Body, certain members carry more authority. In particular, Bishops, while under the authority of the Pope, are nonetheless “to be revered by the faithful as divinely appointed successors of the Apostles.” (MCC, §42)
· The “bonds of union” that hold the Mystical Body together are “vastly superior” to those that bind the members of a physical body or a social/moral body. (MCC, §62)
Following this line of reasoning, we can conclude that, since Christ is both the Head of the Church and is perfectly present in the Body of the Church, then Christ’s authority permeates every act of teaching, governing, and leading. Christ alone has the authority to rule and govern the Church, but “our Redeemer also governs His Mystical Body in a visible and normal way through His Vicar on earth” (MCC, §40). In other words, the Pope, because he is Christ’s representative on earth, also has authority to rule, govern, and teach; and through him, so do the Bishops.
Being a member of the Body, then, means accepting Church teaching, which today we receive through Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church. In uniting ourselves with Christ in the Holy Eucharist, we also unite ourselves with each other “by a divine, ineffable bond” (MCC, §19). Though our personal relationship with the Lord is very important, it’s not just a matter of “me and Jesus” – it’s “we and Jesus.” And the “we” is very important:
…only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized, profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed…And therefore, if a man refuse to hear the church, let him be considered – so the Lord commands – as a heathen and a publican. (MCC, §22, emphasis added)
Pope Pius XII remarks that, in a natural, physical body, a member (appendage or organ) may possibly be healed or cured if it is still in fact an integral part of the body. However, if a member has been “cut off” from the body, it can’t be healed or cured (MCC, §22). Members of the Mystical Body of Christ who refuse to accept Church teaching – such as some “Catholic” politicians” – may be approaching this point of separation.
The following conclusions can be validly drawn from the points made above: First, a person cannot be in grave sin and receive communion “worthily.” Second, a person who does not hold to Church teaching is not in communion with Christ, his representatives, or his Body. Finally, bishops are responsible for the health and well-being of their flock – their part of the Body. They must keep the strong parts strong in order to help the weak – they cannot allow the weak parts to bring the strong to ill health.
When outspoken pro-abortion (or pro-homosexual “marriage”) politicians present themselves for Holy Communion, they are not in a position to receive worthily. They are out of communion with both the Head and the Body of the Church. According to Blessed John Paul II,
…the unity of the church is damaged not only by Christians who reject or distort the truths of faith but also by those who disregard [their] moral obligation…And ever since Apostolic times, the Church’s Pastors have unambiguously condemned the behavior of those who fostered division by their teaching or their actions (Veritatis Splendor, §26).
Surely politicians who call themselves Catholic and yet publicly proclaim their support for laws that clearly violate Catholic teaching fall into this category. And surely, they should have been “unambiguously condemned” for their behavior, starting a number of years ago.
But, they weren’t. And sadly, it seems that the time has come and gone for correction of errant “Catholic” politicians. They are running amok, and the Obama administration has used them to further anti-Catholic laws and policies that undermine religious freedom in this country.
Still…better late than never. Even if our nation is entering a dark period of persecution and immorality, at least some souls can still be saved if our shepherds will begin to truly to their job.
(Portions of the above are from my paper, “Catholic Politicians and Holy Communion”, published in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, November 2007)