By Hugh McNichol
His Excellence, Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Wasington D.C.
May 8, 2008 - Archbishop Wuerl is the latest Catholic bishop to shift the responsibility regarding the improper reception of Holy Communion by pro-abortion politicians when Benedict XVI visited Washington, D.C. The Most Reverend Donald Wuerl has recently stated the responsibility of informing the errant politicians belongs to the respective bishops of their own dioceses.
Well, that is complete nonsense.
As the Archbishop of Washington, D.C., there is a unique responsibility incumbent upon the Archbishop to especially make sure Catholic Church teachings are observed.
Not only is the Washington D.C the home of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, it is the political and governmental center of the country. The responsibility falls with the Archbishop of that city to not only preserve and protect Catholic teachings, but also deepen its appreciation for all visitors to this unique “archdiocese” that spiritually ministers to seat of the of the United States Government. Consistent applications of the Church’s teachings against politicians that publicly favor pro-abortion rights and maintain their Catholic individuality is critically important for the Church’s mission against such wavering political vacillation.
In his Archdiocese, Archbishop Wuerl is the figure that personifies all of the moral and ethical teachings of the Catholic Church. For him to disown the responsibility of keeping the proper applications of Church teachings regarding the necessary disposition towards the reception of Holy Eucharist is the type of political maneuverings for which politicians are known. It is not something we would expect from a Catholic Bishop.
It is time for the Catholic Bishops in the U.S. to take off their political correctness buttons and replace them with a miter, the symbol of teaching authority held by the office of bishop.
Catholics are looking to their Bishops, as pastoral leaders, for examples and direction regarding serious moral and ethical questions that persistently undermine our real and authentic Catholic identity. The preservation of the sanctity of our Eucharistic Lord in Holy Communion should be the top priority for all Catholic faithful, especially our Bishops.
We need to be perfectly clear about our Catholic Church’s teachings on the proper disposition individuals should have towards the reception of Holy Eucharist. Politicians especially cannot and should not receive Eucharist if they politically and publicly hold a position that contradicts the right to life teachings of the Catholic Church.
Most importantly, if they attempt to receive Eucharist they should be refused this opportunity, unless there is a public retraction of their erroneous message against Catholic teachings. This common sense approach applies to all Catholics, if you do not believe what we maintain in our Catholic deposit of faith; you have taken yourself out of the proper requirements necessary for the reception of Holy Eucharist. This message is something our American Bishops need to stress very clearly and publicly.
Archbishop Wuerl’s proclamation of “other bishop’s” responsibility is just another good example of the failure of the American Bishops to collectively accept responsibility for all of the Church’s moral, ethical and social teachings. Subjective relativism based on the juridical boundaries of an Archdiocese is the excuse used in this case.
Last week, Cardinal Egan of New York passed the Episcopal buck regarding the improper reception of Communion by Rudy Giuliani during the Papal events. His Eminence indicated that it was about the former New York mayor’s pro-choice political views - - not about his multiple invalid marriages. Once again, selective relativism is at work.
American Catholics need to demand their American hierarchy stop selectively shortchanging our Catholic ideals and principles and start teaching the authentic Catholic message intended by our Catholic traditions and apostolic heritage.
Last week, Cardinal Egan should have known better. This week, His Excellency, Archbishop Wuerl should know better as well.
Hugh McNichol is a Catholic author that writes on Catholic religious topics and subjects. His articles can be found at www.catholicnewsagency.com and verbumcarofactumest.blogspot.com and www.pewsitter.com