Sunday, July 11, 2004

Pontifications on the distinctly "Anglican" approach of the U.S. Bishops

The Anglican blog Pontifications has some harsh and very apt words to say as it analyzes the dilemma of the Catholic Church in America created by the recent publication of Cardinal Ratzinger's memorandum to the U.S. Bishops:

. . . This memo was sent to Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, who apparently miscommunicated the contents of Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter to the American bishops. As a result, the American bishops adopted a policy of local option–each bishop deciding what do do according to his own conscience. How very Anglican of them!

An Episcopalian is hardly in a position to throw stones; but from the viewpoint of the Pontificator, this has all the look of a public relations debacle. The Catholic bishops had an opportunity to take an important and courageous political position, but instead they adopted a position of pragmatic cowardice. If the Catholic understanding of abortion truly expresses the divine will, then any Catholic who actively supports a public policy that supports abortion must be counted as a traitor to the faith of Christ. The Catholic bishops should have come clean on this years ago. The chickens of catechesis-failure are coming home to roost, and now the Catholic bishops are confronted with the sad spectacle of Catholic politicians who publicly advocate public policies that the Catholic Church deems as intrinsically evil. And the bishops are unsure how to respond. One thing for sure. The problem ain’t going to go away. What are they going to do a year from now when President Kerry shows up for Mass!

American Catholicism is faced with a crucial decision: Is it going to be American or is it going to be Catholic? Before it decides to be the former, I hope it will carefully look at ECUSA, which long ago decided to be chaplain to the public religion of America. I suppose there is always a place for a Catholic bishop at the National Cathedral.

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