Oh wait – the bishops are not targeting terrorists and those who spur them on, but rather the President of the United States and other Catholic politicians who support the right to abortion?
It would be tempting to channel an iconic character from Saturday Night Live and say “Whatever.” In fact, this answer is appropriate in a way that bishops do not intend: no matter the antics of the wacky corner of their conference. Putting aside the faulty moral mathematics of the Catholic right (terminating a pregnancy = unforgivable; fascist violence against democracy = you can live with it), the episcopal right blows smoke, and not that of a censer. He lost the culture war.
Mitigation of the pandemic has meant the joy of coming back to my church in person and hearing my pastor say my name while offering “the body of Christ”. It is communion with the divine and with my community of faith. Joe Biden’s dismissive reaction when asked if he’s worried about losing that privilege – “I don’t think that’s going to happen.” – is well founded. A parishioner’s bishop, or the pope, has the final say as to whether he receives Communion, and the Archbishop of Washington has made it clear that he has no intention of blocking the path of Biden towards the altar railing.
As for the Pope, Francis warned the American bishops, some of whom did not bother to control pedophilia, not to play the cop of the Eucharist. Hard-line supporters aren’t just out of step with the Vatican; many lay Catholics reject their positions on questions of homosexuality with contraception Yes indeed, Abortion.
It’s not that I share Biden’s point of view on abortion. I mostly side with the Church’s position, which stems from the simple biology summarized by the honest pro-choice who wrote that abortion “”kill an unborn baby. “But too many people on my bench are blind to the morally ambiguous shadows of this debate – how most women contemplating abortion painfully grapple with conflicting consciences – as if it were an open and closed mistake. as well as, say, white supremacy and its murderous violence, in Charlottesville, Georgia, Minneapolis and, on January 6, the capital.
Guns, hit-and-run and racism’s knees on the neck aren’t the only rejections of Church teaching that right-wing bishops seem to deem insufficiently horrific. Why not refuse the Eucharist to Catholics who support the death penalty, which Francis called “inadmissible”? What about the xenophobes and Scrooges who dismiss the Church’s welcome for immigrants and approval of the safety net? Why the fixation on abortion?
What about the xenophobes and Scrooges who dismiss the Church’s welcome for immigrants and approval of the safety net? Why the fixation on abortion?
Simple. While terminating a pregnancy involves glowing moral questions, it also, to put it mildly, involves sex. And as the former priest turned author James Carroll is persuasive argues, Patrolling the boundaries of gender is one of the pillars of clericalism, the Church’s culture of priestly privilege and power. Restricting the ranks of the clergy by gender is another pillar.
Clericalism is not a bogeyman that haunts only ex-priests like Carroll; my pastor also preached against it, with good reason. The pedophile scandal was the catastrophic fallout of clericalism. Parents would admit predators into their homes or send their children to haunts in churches and parsonages, because they trusted men whose necklaces, they mistakenly believed, inoculated them with human vice. What the Bishop of San Diego rightly calls the “militarization of the Eucharist “ against pro-choice, therefore, is more than a hypocritical contempt of other dissent in Church teaching. He supports this unhealthy cult of the almighty priest.
“The fact that Mr. Biden’s views on abortion are even a topic of public discussion is already a victory for conservative Catholics,” The New York Times reported. In fact, the fact that presidential views on just about everything are open to debate reflects a victory for a free society. The real victories of conservative Catholics lie elsewhere, one of which escapes their attention.
Namely, the whining about pro-choicers receiving Communion overlooks the wide leeway states have been given – and exercised – to restrict abortion over the past 30 years. The reds ran their statutory engines to do the procedure all but unavailable in places. If the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, it would only codify the authority of states in this matter.
A second conservative victory affects Catholics. As James Carroll notes, even Pope Francis cannot break the chains of the mindset of clericalism. The lasting blow to the moral authority of the Church by the sexual abuse scandal is, for now, the only operational constraint on this state of mind, reminding lay Catholics and all others that the men in black are just that: men only, not the God who infuses the Eucharist.