Saturday, June 09, 2007

Cardinal Pell Continues To Generate A Robust Moral Debate

Sunday in Australia. The Cardinal again gets his say in the Sunday Telegraph.

The chain of events unfolding in Australia are very illuminating--the Catholic Church is pushing back.

Cardinal Pell has succeeded in doing something extraordinary in Australia. He has generated a veritable storm of protest and publicity over the scandal of self professed Catholic politicians supporting legislation that will result in the deaths of embryonic human beings.

And surprisingly, as the dust appears to settle--if in fact it's not premature to say it--the major media players are lining up in defense and in respect of the Cardinal's stand, and even insisting that all points of view must be heard.
It is not only healthy but necessary. These crucial moral dilemmas should never be taken lightly.
I doubt very much whether in the end the Cardinal will actually withhold Holy Communion from any of these politicians. I said that before with sadness. But I give His Eminence great credit for dealing with the public aspects of the scandal and reiterating to an entire continent the unchanging position of the Church on major moral issues, particularly the gravity of supporting the killing of embryos for research.

This is a definite, notable step forward and it will certainly pave the way for a new spiritual discipline among Catholics in Australia, one that may eventually lead to true and proper respect for the Eucharist by all Catholics, not simply politicians who are easy targets. It is hoped that the Cardinal plans to aggressively pursue such a goal and that he may in fact eventually start implementing Church Canon law for obstinate sinners of all stripes by withholding the Eucharist.

Cardinal Pell is providing a real education to Canada's Bishops and provides a brilliant model of the course of action that must be taken in public by Bishops when high profile Catholics defy Church teaching. Think what an incredible opportunity the Canadian Bishops lost during the recent visit by California Governor Schwarzenegger, a visit saturated in the politics of stem cell research.

Canada is the loser for the Bishops' short sightedness, neglect and cowardice. But the ones who continue--and will continue-- to pay the supreme price are the Unborn. Pity the Bishops! They must live with that, both here and on the other side of eternity.

Here's the Cardinal's editorial from the Sunday Telegraph.

Question of conscience

By Cardinal George Pell

June 10, 2007 12:00

Article from: The Sunday Telegraph

THE Catholic Church supports adult stem cell research and remains opposed to the destruction of human life at any stage after conception.

Embryonic stem cell research requires such destruction.

While I regret the Legislative Assembly passed the cloning bill and hope the Legislative Council will decide differently, we all accept the parliament makes the laws.

Some supporters of the cloning bill made little attempt to argue that it was right to create and then destroy human embryos, but claimed that this evil was outweighed by the cures for diseases which would follow.

This is not a justifiable line of argumentation, but the promised cures have nowhere materialised from embryos.

Seventy-two diseases and conditions have been helped by stem cells, but they were all adult stem cells.

As well as arguments about whether it is right to destroy early human life for some real or hoped-for gain, another controversy erupted over whether bishops, or the Pope, have any rights to point out Catholic teaching to the public and remind the politicians, especially Catholics, that public acts usually bring public consequences.

Some seemed to suggest that while a football club, a political party or a business certainly could in some circumstances sack or exclude a member or employee, it was totally out of order to suggest a Christian church might even consider a similar possibility.

Certainly, Pope Benedict teaches that an unrepentant abortionist should not receive Communion.

A few intolerant politicians want to ban religious argument in public life, so that the only permissible reasoning will be irreligious or anti-religious.

The views of Barry Hickey, the Catholic Archbishop of Perth, which are similar to Pope Benedict's, have been referred to the WA state parliamentary privileges committee for investigation by the speaker Fred Riebeling, who sees the possible application of Catholic discipline as a "threat''.

The debate also raised interesting questions about what it means to be a Catholic follower of Jesus Christ.

A few politicians trumpeted their Catholicity as they publicly rejected Catholic teachings; this is not good logic.

The Catholic Church is not a duty-free assembly of free-thinkers. Neither is it a group of people who loyally follow their conscience. Every person has to do that.

A Catholic is someone who believes Christ is Son of God, accepts His teachings and lives a life of worship, service and duty in the community. Catholics are not created by the accident of birth to remain only because their tribe has an interesting history.

All Catholics who continue to reject important Catholic teachings - even in areas such as sexuality, family, marriage, abortion, euthanasia, cloning where "liberals'' claim the primacy of conscience rules - should expect to be confronted, gently and consistently, rather than comforted and encouraged in their wrongdoing.

Certainly, every Catholic politician who voted for this bill should think twice and examine his or her conscience before next receiving Communion.


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