One of the phrases being used in referring to the late Sen. Kennedy is that “He was a Catholic in good standing.”
This seems to me to be phrase that almost always pops up in referring to somebody who was at odds with the teachings of the Catholic Church. If can’t think of reading an article ever where this term was used in connection to someone totally faithful to the magisterium of the Catholic Church.
Now what exactly is a Catholic in good standing? Is there a list on the internet somewhere of good standing Catholics? If so where is the list of Catholics in bad standing? Is there some Catholic equivalent of Santa Clause out there compiling this list and checking it twice?
Now this term is often used in hiring by diocese, but the term itself does not seem to have a technical definition. Though you would think it means something like a person who is a faithful follower of Christ, accepts the authority of the Holy See, follows God’s law, and whose personal life gives evidence of this. Though dissenters that say the are “Catholics in good standing” like the infamous abortion advocate Francis Kissling and the way it is used in many articles I think that it means “A Catholic who is not excommunicated, yet.”
The term is used in such a way as saying that since the Catholic Church has not sanctioned me in any way then they must not have a problem with me as a Catholic. In many cases they are able to say this because their bishop has done little or nothing in regards to the public scandal these publicly dissenting Catholics have caused. Nancy Pelosi, another “Catholic in Good Standing” made outrageous comments on abortion and remains a strong abortocrat. Her bishop did have a talk with her on this that she finally got around to attending. I am all for bishops working to persuade those Catholic politicians by dialoging with them on a personal level. It just seems to be that the dialog never ends and the public figure goes on causing scandal with no repercussions. Why exactly was a figure like Sen. Kennedy able to flouted Church teaching and positively support intrinsic evil over a large period of his life and never experience a medicinal remedy like excommunication? So many Catholic politicians have done exactly the same thing and have been the impetus for the Culture of Death. Though there are also a lot of Catholic priests and theologians that gave these politicians cover by inventing justifications for allowing a Catholic to support abortion. Fr. Drinan and others have a large hand in this. Though Fr. Drinan was also called a “Catholic in good standing” despite his support of abortion.
I am quite glad that more and more bishops seem to be speaking out and I hope this continues to happen. I just hope more realize that the care of souls includes both stopping scandal and providing medicinal remedies as provided by Canon Law. If men could be excommunicated for resisting integration, then why does not the same happen when public figures support intrinsic evils? If this leads to repentance than they can actually say there are “Catholics in good standing” without the tone of “Haven’t got caught yet.”