Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cardinal Pell Not The Right Bishop To Tackle Australia’s Problems

This posting is the final in a three part series reporting on Cardinal Pell’s altercations through the media with Catholic politicians defying Church teaching.

Follow the link to read the first posting entitled Dear Pope Benedict, Cardinal Pell Needs Help. Please Send Archbishop Burke

The second is Cardinal Pell’s Shabby Interview On June 17 With Sunday Profile

Cardinal Pell did a terrific job bringing the truth about ESCR (embryonic stem cell research) into the public light. He clarified the Church’s teaching for anyone who wanted to know. But keep in mind though that the Church’s teaching is no secret. Anyone who wanted to find out the truth could have found it easily. Hey, anyone could have called the Cardinal in fact. I have a feeling he would have been glad to answer anyone’s questions.

However, the real difficulty here was with the Cardinal’s own people, not the general public. After all, it wasn’t the general public that was voting on the bill in the Australian parliament anyway. It was the politicians. If all Catholic politicians had voted on the side of Church teaching and against the ESCR legislation, Australia would have been protected from that evil and that would have been the end of the matter. The general public really didn’t have to get involved in that sense.

This was a Catholic scandal and the Cardinal chose to make it an Australian scandal. By going public as he did, he was inviting all Australians into the fray…and many entered and had their say. And in the end what was accomplished? Were renegade politicians disciplined? None that we know of. Some even flaunted the fact that they received Holy Communion after defying the Cardinal and their Church!

Do the politicians even understand any better now what the general principles are for disciplining Catholic politicians who go against Catholic teaching? I’d say no on the basis of the Cardinal’s last interview. He carefully avoided the Pope’s explicit and clear Church teaching, never once spelling it out, despite having multitudes of opportunities.

The Cardinal would have been far better off to concentrate his efforts on his own priests, some of whom, according to reports, sided with the politicians against Church teaching. If priests are well taught and disciplined in regard to Church doctrine, the people will likely be as well, and that includes Catholic politicians. But that’s really getting closer to the heart of the problem and I’m not so sure the Cardinal really wants to pay the price to go that route. So maybe he was hoping for a quick solution to the problem by going public like he did.

But there are no shortcuts to spiritual growth and conversion to Christ and one cannot pick and choose doctrines nor sacraments. The weak link in the chain here is the lack of the watchful eye of an orthodox Roman Catholic priest over those of his flock, some of whom are ordinary people practicing a contraceptive lifestyle, some of whom are doctors who perform abortions, some of whom are politicians voting for ESCR, and many of whom are living in other kinds of mortal sin. There is no substitute for a faithful pastor and priest who can help them find strength from Christ to overcome their sin and Cardinal Pell must know this. But does he believe it enough to ensure every parish has such a priest? That would be the goal of an authentic Catholic Bishop.

Apparently the Cardinal has no problem denying Holy Communion to those who wear rainbow sashes [and rightly so] but when it comes to influential and well respected politicians who vote to kill innocent unborn children he seems to have insurmountable problems. Is it respect of persons or is it simply easier and less unpopular to control parishioners who openly confess to sodomy?

Cardinal Pell’s approach stands in stark contrast to that of Archbishop Burke of St. Louis. According to “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion,” a pastor is to first meet with his parishioner when such questions arise, “instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.”

From an article on Church Canon Law #915, we read about the approach of Archbishop Burke under similar circumstances, an approach in total conformity with Church instruction.

As Bishop of the over 200,000 Catholics in the diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin for the past nine years, Raymond L. Burke, D.D., J.C.D., a doctor of canon law, first conducted private communications to three 'Catholic' legislators, imploring them, "to make their consciences correct with Magisterial teachings."

After all three politicians refused to meet with him, saying they instead reject the Church's infallible teachings, Archbishop Burke, as 'Priest, Prophet and King,' then took the necessary steps to issue the four paragraph 'canonical notification' to address the scandal they were causing in his diocese by their conduct 'which is seriously, clearly and steadfastly contrary to the moral norm' (EE n.37).

The notification declares: "...Catholic legislators who are members of the faithful of the Diocese of La Crosse and who continue to support procured abortion or euthanasia may not present themselves to receive Holy Communion. They are not to be admitted to Holy Communion, should they present themselves, until such time as they publicly renounce their support of these most unjust practices" (canon 915).

Archbishop Burke exhorted, "No good bishops could stand by and let this happen. These public legislators are in grave sin."

In fact, on February 2, 2004, Archbishop Burke, with apostolic daring, challenged Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley, stating that if leading Democratic presidential candidate, pro-abortion ‘Catholic’ John Kerry, a Massachusetts senator, came up to [Burke] for the Eucharist, he [Burke] would deny him Communion. Archbishop O'Malley still held to his false policy that Kerry would not be denied Communion in the Boston diocese.

Archbishop Burke saw the problem as an internal Catholic one, a problem between a shepherd and his stray sheep, and one that demanded resolution not only to address scandal but also to save a soul from damnation. Archbishop Burke has made the Catholic position clear every step along the way. We have yet to hear such clarification from Cardinal Pell. If the Cardinal is ashamed to even state the Church’s position, who wants to bet that he will ever actually discipline renegade Catholic politicians? According to his own words, he has not yet called or met with politicians.

And according to articles like these here, here and here, failure to discipline Catholic politicians (and ALL renegade Catholics) is the chief contributing factor to the moral corruption of society.

Everyone in Australia, particularly Catholics, ought to be very concerned about the implications of Cardinal Pell’s failure.

By all means, pray for Cardinal Pell.

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