Canonist Ed Peters has a post concerning Cdl. McCarrick approach to the scandal of pro-abortion Catholic politicians compared to Archbishop Burke’s. The Cardinal recently talked about preaching the pro-life message to presidential candidates and said that while he respected Archbishop’s Burke’s position to would rather focus on persuasion.
…But in disagreeing with Burke, I think that McCarrick mischaracterized the question and Burke’s compelling answer to it.
I think this is exactly right. It is not an either/or situation of persuasion or refusing Communion. Obviously persuasion is the first step before taking further actions exactly as outlined in Matthew 18:15-17. Archbishop Burke has acted precisely in this order when addressing pro-abortion Catholic politicians within his diocese. If persuasion and catechesis fails then there must be a further step to help the individual understanding the gravity of his supporting objectively grave sin. To stop and to go no further undermines the gravity of the sin.
…To be sure, important questions such as the point at which one’s pro-abortion voting record constitutes objective grave sin, or exactly which ministers of Holy Communion are charged with assessing public conduct, must be addressed. But how can such questions even be broached when the most fundamental points of Eucharistic discipline have become so muddled?
We are living through a terrible, perhaps unprecedented, unraveling of respect for Jesus in the Eucharist. Such a crisis compels all of us, I think, to examine our consciences for how our sins might have contributed to this disaster. But in the meantime (and though he might cringe to hear such praise) let me suggest that Abp. Raymond Burke has emerged as the most articulate defender of our Eucharistic Lord among our bishops, and that his leadership is valued more widely than he can possibly imagine.
It just seems to me that the way so many bishops handle this is to just totally ignore Canon 915 and effectively say that there is no situation where this Canon would apply. Where exactly is the concern for the souls of those receiving Communion sacrilegiously? Sure denying Communion in these cases might not have the desired effect of their conversion, but it would certainly be harder for them to believe that they are in communion with the Church. These punitive measures are ordered towards repentance and it just isn’t right to not try to help them out in this manner.