Sometimes it is difficult to come to come up with a charitable explanation for something, either that or my charitable imagination is cynically tainted.
Previously Cardinal Theodore McCarrick mischaracterized a letter given him by Cardinal Ratzinger in relation to giving Communion to public pro-abortion supporters. Jamie Blosser previously looked at the comparison between what Cardinal Ratzinger wrote and what Cardinal McCarrick reported.
TM: "Having said this, Cardinal Ratzinger speaks about WHAT constitutes ‘manifest grave sin’ and ‘obstinate persistence’ in public life, stating that consistently campaigning for and voting for permissive laws on abortion and euthanasia could meet these criteria."
JR: "Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, etc . . ."
Now we have another similar situation along the same topic. In this case it was regards to the homosexual rights group called Rainbow Sash who do not hold to the Church’s teaching on homosexual acts and were basically daring Bishops to not give them Communion as a publicity ploy.
ROME (CNS) — Archbishop Harry J. Flynn of Minneapolis-St. Paul spoke to Vatican officials about gay rights proponents wearing rainbow sashes to Mass and receiving Communion.
Unlike some other bishops across the country, Archbishop Flynn has allowed Communion to be given to members of the group known as Rainbow Sash. That has prompted criticism by some Catholics in his archdiocese, and at one Mass a group of lay people tried to block the aisles to prevent sash-wearers from receiving Communion.
Archbishop Flynn said he discussed the issue in a private meeting in early December with Cardinal Francis Arinze, head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.
He said Cardinal Arinze agreed that it was a complex problem requiring clear teaching and pastoral sensitivity. The archbishop said he was not asked to change his policy.
"I got the clear understanding that this is recognized as a very complex pastoral issue which must constantly be looked at in all its ramifications," Archbishop Flynn said in an interview in mid-December [Source]
This sounded rather doubtful when this was reported on Dec 14, 2004. Catholic columnist Barbara Kralis must have had the same suspicions since she wrote Cardinal Arinze about this story. This is what she received in reply.
"Dear Ms. Kralis, His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze, asks me to thank you for your communication regarding a news release from the "Catholic News Service" dated December 14, 2004. It concerns the Cardinal’s private discussion with the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, His Excellency Archbishop Harry J. Flynn.
"Cardinal Arinze wants you to know that the report was not exact and does not show his stand. He has written Archbishop Flynn about it.
"Rainbow Sash wearers, the Cardinal says, are showing their opposition to Church teaching on a major issue of natural law and so disqualify themselves from being given Holy Communion.
"I wish you a happy New Year. Sincerely."
Barbara wrote me about this story and included a jpg of a photocopy this document which I have placed here.
So what we have here is two cases where a Bishop who was already predisposed to offering communion to public dissenters talks to the Vatican and in both cases mischaracterized the communication to make it appear that those Vatican officials agreed with them in substance. So what is it about this issue that makes some Bishops run in terror of being a shepherd that they are willing to go so far as to distort the information they were given? Both cases involve situations where Catholics are publicly and very openly dissenting against Church teaching and are involved in objectively grave sin. Why is it that possible fear of being seen as political or getting press attention can override their concern for people making sacrilegious Communions or to use the Communion rail to rail against Church teaching?
I have yet to hear a good prudential argument to justify Communion for public sinners that takes in account the good of that persons soul. Usually we only get obfuscation where they move the argument away from public sinners to individual sinners whose sins are not known and then try to make to make the case that we would have to deny Communion to the majority of Catholics. The argument can easily be made that Catholic who dissent from Church teaching should withhold themselves from Communion until such time as they have repented of their opposition. Until their Amen can fully mean Amen to all the Church teaching, but this has nothing to do with are responsibility towards public sinners receiving Communion.