…Last week, La Crosser Bishop Raymond Burke, soon to become archbishop of St. Louis, all but banned some Catholic lawmakers from receiving the sacraments, based on their position on a single issue: abortion. Burke issued a decree saying that Catholic lawmakers who support abortion rights can no longer receive Holy Communion, the universal sign of oneness with the church. Among those affected are state Sen. Julie Lassa of Stevens Point and U.S. Rep. David Obey of Wausau.
The edict is binding on priests, and it looks to be the first step in weeding out members of the church. Indeed, spokespeople for the diocese also said last week that women who are using birth control measures should not take Communion. That will surely mean a lot fewer people in the pews. But a rule’s a rule, as they say, and the good bishop wants people to follow his rules.
…As a Catholic, though, I am confused and saddened.
It always amazes me to see professed Catholics who can’t make distinctions on even the most basic levels. The moral law becomes just a rule, as if thou shall not kill and a traffic law was something equivalent. Also these “rules” are assigned to just being from the good bishop; that they are not founded in the teaching authority of the universal church. Then there is the obligatory scare tactic of no one will come to the church if you persist in these rules. Also comes the “single issue” slant, again more relativism where one rule is equivalent to another. I wonder what he thinks about people going to jail for the single issue of murder or rape.
Even so, it’s confusing to watch the current goings-on, which seem all too orchestrated and politically driven. The only message that a Catholic can take from this is, if you don’t believe the church line on everything, you are culled from the flock of the Diocese of La Crosser.
In addition to politicians who support abortion rights and women who take birth control measures, this would logically have to include people who support the war in Iraq, since the pope opposed it; those who fail to feed and shelter the poor; those who favor the death penalty; those who support the rights of others to choose when it is time to die; and those who differ with the church on a whole host of other friction points.
I believe one of the Greek philosophers said that a sign of intelligence was to be able to make proper distinctions and that most people do not make proper distinctions. Normally it is the liberal that accuses more conservative religious believers that they only see things in black and white. Yet here abortion is lumped together with the death penalty and sheltering the poor. No distinction is made between dogmatic and definitive statements and questions that require prudential judgments.
Awhile back, I wrote out a check to my friend Julie Lassa, supporting her election fund. Now that she has been turned away from the altar, it only takes a bit of extrapolation to figure out that those who support her have also been ousted. This is why many Catholics in the Diocese of La Crosser are saddened today. We have been culled, and we feel no longer welcome in the church where we were baptized.
Sorry, you have not been culled but your consciences have been dulled. Either the Catholic Church is guided by the Holy Spirit in its teaching authority or it is not. The Holy Spirit does not work part time on the Church and magisterial teachings do not intermix truth with error. The problem for Catholics is that you must find out what your faith actually teaches. To learn what is taught dogmatically and what is theological conjecture.