Monday, November 29, 2004

Archbishop Raymond Burke, Diocese of St. Louis, MO

Archbishop James Burke of St. Louis, the leader among the US bishops in the drive to refuse Holy Communion to public dissenters from essential teachings of the Catholic religion, said this week that the battle in the US Catholic Church is not over. During the run-up to the election, Burke was the most prominent among a minority of bishops who said they would be willing to uphold Church Law that requires that, 'manifest grave sinners,' be refused communion until they recant.

Burke said from Rome, "These are questions that are at the very foundation of the life of our country. We just simply have to continue to address them." He told CNS news, "There's no sense on my part of having accomplished something and now being finished with it." . . .

Burke said that the high proportion of those polled on election day who said they voted on 'moral issues' is a heartening note. "That is encouraging to me," he said. "It is also a great challenge, because now it falls to the church and to other moral leaders to continue to raise these questions, to write about them, to engage in civic discourse so that they continue to have that priority."

"Let's just be honest, the application of the church's discipline in this regard is weak," he said.

Source: Archbishop Burke Pledges to Continue Fight over Pro-Abortion "Catholic" Politicians. LifeSiteNews.com, Nov. 29, 2004.

Full article by Catholic News Service here.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Bishop Paul S. Loverde - Diocese of Arlington

. . . To be a faithful Catholic necessarily means that one is pro-life and not pro-choice. As my brother bishops and I said in our statement "Catholics in Political Life" this past June, "Failing to protect the lives of the innocent and defenseless members of the human race is to sin against justice." To be pro-choice essentially means supporting the right of a woman to terminate the life of her baby, either pre-born or partially born. No Catholic can claim to be a faithful member of the Church while advocating for, or actively supporting, direct attacks on innocent human life. In reality, protecting human life from conception to natural death is more than a Catholic issue. It is an issue of fundamental morality, rooted in both the natural law and the divine law. . . .

. . . In our common life together in society, it is sometimes not possible to avoid entirely all cooperation with evil. This may be the case in electing to office our state and national leaders. In certain circumstances, it is morally permissible to vote for a candidate who supports some immoral practices while opposing other immoral practices. This is called material cooperation with evil. In order for material cooperation to be morally permissible, however, there must be a proportionate reason for such cooperation. Proportionate reason does not mean that each issue carries the same moral weight; intrinsically evil acts such as abortion or research on stem cells taken from human embryos cannot be placed on the same level as debates over war or capital punishment, for example. It is simply not possible to serve and promote the common good of our nation by voting for a candidate who, once in office, will do nothing to limit or restrict the deliberate destruction of innocent human life.

If, however, a candidate supports abortion in a limited number of cases but opposes it otherwise, a Catholic may vote for such a candidate over another, more unsuitable candidate who is unwilling to place any restrictions on abortion. In this case, the voter makes an effort to limit the circumstances in which procured abortion would be deemed legal. This is not a question of choosing a lesser evil, but rather the Catholic, by his or her vote, expresses the intention to limit all the evil that one is able to limit at the time.

"Pre-Election Letter to the People of Arlington" by the Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde, Bishop of Arlington.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Bishop Michael Saltarelli - Diocese of Wilmington

Wilmington, Delaware, October 19, 2004. The bishop of Wilmington Del. has asked Catholics to pray to St. Thomas More for the conversion of pro-abortion "Catholic" politicians. Bishop Michael Saltarelli has composed a litany to St. Thomas More for his intercession to make politicians "courageous and effective in their defense and promotion of the sanctity of human life."

Thomas More, a layman and lawyer, was the Chancellor of England to King Henry VIII. When he refused to ratify the king's divorce from Catherine of Aragon and the king's establishment as head of a new religion, More was beheaded. He was canonized by the Catholic Church for his defense of his faith and in 2000 was declared patron of statesmen and politicians by Pope John Paul II.

The practice of asking for the saints' intercession with God is central to Catholic spiritual practice. "Our hope is to lead our people back to prayer and to the basic tenets of this great nation 'In God We Trust,' 'One Nation Under God,' 'God who is the author of all life,'" Bishop Saltarelli said in the diocesan newspaper. "We will storm heaven with our prayers..."

The prayer has been distributed to parishes and schools in the Wilmington diocese. The bishop has met with dissenting Catholic politicians and asked them not to present themselves for communion in Catholic churches. "Thomas More knew the consequences of his choice. He knew the world would view him as politically incorrect," he said.

Source: Catholic Bishop Prays to Martyred Politician for Kerry Conversion LifeSiteNews.com. Oct. 19, 2004.

Litany of St. Thomas More, Martyr and Patron Saint of Statesmen, Politicians and Lawyers (PDF file).

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Cardinal Francis George - Diocese of Chicago

. . . that abortion is intrinsically immoral is clear to many and is clearly taught to all Catholics. Some Catholics would argue, however, that not everything immoral need be illegal and that abortion, while always immoral, is so fundamentally ensconced in our American way of life that any attempt to outlaw it now would destroy social peace. It must therefore be tolerated precisely for the common good.

That argument makes its point, however, only if the one making it is working actively to change attitudes toward abortion with a view of eventually coming to protect in law every unborn child. Because it is hard to see how one can make the argument in good conscience while proclaiming abortion a "right" and vowing to protect it all costs, many Catholics have lost patience with politicians who claim to share their faith while piling up a completely "pro-choice" voting record. The U.S. Bishops last June, bringing once again the question of conscience to participation in political life, said that voting to protect legal abortion is a form of cooperating in the evil of abortion itself.

Do all Catholic politicians understand their obligations in conscience? Apparently not, which means that their pastors have to take the time to speak with them personally. A pastoral conversation about the formation of conscience is not an interference in the political process. It is an exercise in pastoral charity, motivated by a desire for a politician's salvation. The politician will someday be asked by the Lord: "What did you do to the least of my brothers and sisters?" And the pastor will be asked by the same Lord: "What did you do to warn them? How did you help them form their conscience?" Like Lazarus, the poor man ignored by the rich man until it was too late for the rich man to be saved (Luke 16: 19-31), those killed in their mother's womb will be at the gates of paradise but unable to come to the assistance of those condemned to hell because they killed unborn children or supported their being killed. . . .

"Catholic participation in political life, revisited" Catholic New World Oct. 10, 2004.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Bishop Rene Henry Gracida, DD, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas

Denying Holy Communion - A Case History, by Bishop Rene Henry Gracida, DD, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Archbishop John Donoghue of Atlanta, Georgia

Voters who cast a ballot for a candidate because of his pro-abortion stance are guilty of formal cooperation in the latter's evil political acts, an archbishop reminded his flock.

In a pastoral letter on conscientious voting dated last Thursday, Archbishop John Donoghue of Atlanta reminded the faithful of their duties as citizens.

"A few years ago," he wrote, "the Bishops of the United States wrote these words to our people, and they remain true: 'We encourage all citizens, particularly Catholics, to embrace their citizenship not merely as a duty and privilege, but as an opportunity meaningfully to participate in building the culture of life.'"

"The Church holds her members to acceptance, complete acceptance of her teaching on matters of faith and morals," Archbishop Donoghue said. . . . READ MORE

"Voters Cautioned About Favoring Pro-Abortion Candidates" Zenit.org. Sept. 21, 2004.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger - Diocese of Evansville, IA

Another Catholic bishop has lined up on the side of Vatican direction and stated that he would refuse communion to politicians who publicly deny their faith on abortion or homosexuality. Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger of Evansville Indiana said in a talk to the local Rotarians, that Catholic politicians who vocally support abortion rights or gay marriage are not in communion with Catholic teachings.

Gettelfinger said that though Catholic voters had the responsibility of voting in accordance with Catholic principles, reception of communion was up to the conscience of the individual. However, politicians or other public figures who publicly supported abortion, and criticized the teachings of the Church would be refused. The bishop added that no one in his diocese would be refused under those conditions. "I know of no one who would be so brash in this community. No one," he said in an interview with Philip Elliott, the Faith and Values Reporter at The Evansville Courier & Press.

He called on Catholic politicians to guard their integrity. "At the risk of losing your jobs, I insist that you be driven by personal integrity. ... Be true at the risk of defeat."

Source: Evansville Bishop Would Refuse Communion to Public Dissenters from Catholic Teachings. Sept. 15, 2004.

Related Links

Friday, August 20, 2004

Bishop John M. Smith - Diocese of Trenton, NJ

BRIELLE, New Jersey (AP) -- An 8-year-old girl who suffers from a rare digestive disorder and cannot eat wheat has had her first Holy Communion declared invalid because the wafer contained no wheat, violating Roman Catholic doctrine.

Now, Haley Waldman's mother is pushing the Diocese of Trenton and the Vatican to make an exception, saying the girl's condition should not exclude her from the sacrament . . . "It's just not a viable option. How does it corrupt the tradition of the Last Supper? It's just rice versus wheat," said Elizabeth Pelly-Waldman.

Church doctrine holds that Communion wafers, like the bread served at the Last Supper, must have at least some unleavened wheat. Church leaders are reluctant to change anything about the sacrament.

"This is not an issue to be determined at the diocesan or parish level, but has already been decided for the Roman Catholic Church throughout the world by Vatican authority," Trenton Bishop John M. Smith said in a statement last week.

Source: "Wheat-allergic girl denied Communion", CNN. August 20, 2004.

Related Links:

Monday, August 16, 2004

Bishop Peter Jugis of Charlotte, North Carolina

The pro-abortion Catholic lawmakers are creating scandal in the Church by saying they are practicing Catholics and receiving Holy Communion, while at the same time promoting abortion legislation -- promoting what is gravely evil. Since they have chosen, on a very, very grave matter, to separate themselves from the communion of the faith of their Church, they cannot come to Holy Communion until they have had a change of heart.

The focus of the statement this week was admittedly very narrow indeed -- only pro-abortion Catholic lawmakers.

I am grateful for people's calls and letters this past week. Some people have also reminded me not to forget the other important moral issues -- euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, death penalty, preemptive war, health care. I assure you, the Church will continue to speak on all these moral issues, while realizing that not all moral issues have the same moral weight.

Procured abortion is always intrinsically evil and can never be justified. It is a direct attack on an innocent human life. The pope wrote in the encyclical on the Gospel of Life in 1995 that today many people have lost a sense of how grave abortion is. Because it is accepted in the popular mind, in behavior, and in the law, people are losing the ability to distinguish between good and evil, even on so fundamental an issue as the right to life of the unborn.

The destruction of human embryos for stem-cell research is also intrinsically evil, as is euthanasia, and can never be justified because all these directly target and destroy innocent human life. The Catechism reminds us: The death penalty may be justified in very limited instances: "in cases of absolute necessity ... when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society ... (and today) such cases are very rare, if not practically nonexistent (Gospel of Life, 56)." War also may be justified under certain defined conditions (Catechism, 2309).

But procured abortion may never be justified. Euthanasia may never be justified. Destruction of human embryos for stem-cell research may never be justified.

There is a lot of work for the church to do on many fronts.

Bishop Peter Jugis of Charlotte, North Carolina, explaining in a sermon why he signed a recent statement barring pro-abortion Catholics from communion.

Excerpt published in the Charlotte Observer. The entire text can be found here [PDF].

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Bishop Bernard Schmitt - Diocese of Wheeling, West Virginia

As a bishop, I have a duty both to my God and to my nation to give witness to the truth. An essential truth that has been marginalized in our political dialogue is the God-given sanctity of human life.

The absolute inviolability of all innocent human life is not a matter of mere personal opinion or private belief. Indeed, this principle -- enshrined in the Ten Commandments and in the Declaration of Independence -- is the cornerstone of civilization itself.

The Catholic Church, as a faithful witness to God's plan of creation and salvation, has a supreme obligation to call Catholics and all people of good will to the defense of innocent human life, from conception to natural death.

I join with Pope John Paul II, who has reiterated the constant teaching of the church that all legislators have a "grave and clear obligation to oppose" any law that attacks human life.

It is morally inconsistent for them, as for any Catholic, to promote such laws or to vote for them; it is a grave, objective evil for them to vote against laws that would restrict abortion and other attacks on innocent human life.

The Holy Father has taught that "an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality."

At the same time, a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit a legislator to vote for an individual law that attacks innocent human life or to vote against a law aimed at protecting innocent human life.

It is morally inconsistent to claim to be personally opposed to abortion but to take no concrete legislative step to protect the sanctity of human life.

Some say that decisions should not be made at the ballot box on a single issue. I respond to that with the absolute statement that the Gospel of Life is not a "single issue," it is the single most important issue.

Source: Commentary Bishop Bernard W. Schmitt to the Charleston Daily Mail
August 11, 2004.

[The bishop was writing his commentary in response to an incident in which a priest of the diocese gave the invocation at Kerry-Edwards event and some commentators took that to mean an endorsement by Bishop Schmitt. But the bishop says the priest spoke without his prior knowledge and permission and would not have given it had he known. - Thanks Domenico Bettenelli, Jr.]

Bishop Rene Henry Gracida - Corpus Christi, TX

It is never permissible for a Catholic to vote for a pro-abortion candidate because the candidate is pro-abortion. Such a vote would be formal cooperation in the serious sin of the candidate who, upon being elected, would vote for legislation making possible the taking of innocent human life through procured abortion.

When a Catholic does not share a candidate's stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons strictly defined.

Since abortion and euthanasia have been defined by the Church as the most serious sins prevalent in our society, what kind of reasons could possibly be considered proportionate enough to justify a Catholic voting for a candidate who is known to be pro-abortion? None of the reasons commonly suggested could even begin to be proportionate enough to justify a Catholic voting for such a candidate. Reasons such as the candidate's position on war, or taxes, or the death penalty, or immigration, or a national health plan, or social security, or aids, or homosexuality, or marriage, or any similar burning societal issues of our time are simply lacking in proportionality.

There is only one thing that could be considered proportionate enough to justify a Catholic voting for a candidate who is known to be pro-abortion, and that is the protection of innocent human life. . . . READ MORE

Source: Statement of Bishop Emeritus Rene Henry Gracida on Voting for Pro-Abortion Candidates. Catholic Online Exclusive (catholic.org).

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt - Diocese of Greensburg, PA

. . . An established pattern of voting in favor of abortion legislation and an established pattern of public rejection of a core teaching of the Church amount to being a person who is engaged in public cooperation with a grave moral evil. It means, furthermore, also having separated oneself in a fundamental way from the Catholic Church because one is no longer sharing the covenant of core beliefs and values which identify a person as Catholic.

Any public official who says, "I can vote for abortion and still be a Catholic in good standing," is being intellectually condescending to every Catholic by making himself or herself the sole judge of what "Catholic" means. For a public official or a person campaigning for public office to say, "I can be in favor of abortion and still be a good Catholic," is asking us to believe that his or her position is just as valid as the position of the Catholic Church, which is diametrically opposed to it. This must be viewed as intellectual sleight of hand! This is also demeaning to the intelligence of any informed Catholic. When such candidates or public officials renew publicly and in church, during the Easter season, their baptismal vows, by affirming that they "believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church …," then such a declaration, in the minds of very many, is bearing false witness to the Catholic faith. . . .

A public pattern of cooperation in a grave evil, which affects the lives of millions of people, and a public pattern of rejection of a core doctrinal holding of the Catholic Church, have a direct bearing on one's proper dispositions for receiving Holy Communion. A pattern of public cooperation in grave evil inevitably calls into extreme question one's worthiness to receive Holy Communion. To do so nonetheless, as Saint Paul says, profanes the Body and Blood of Christ (1 Cor. 11:27). A pattern of public rejection of a core doctrinal holding of the Catholic Church separates one in a fundamental way from the communion of faith which is the Catholic Church. What sense then does receiving the effective sign of that oneness in a communion of faith, which is the Eucharist, have in such a situation? None, because it is a contradiction in terms. The Eucharist is aptly called Holy Communion because, of its nature, it reflects a communion or unity of belief on the part of those receiving it. Here the words of the second-century martyr Saint Justin are appropriate: "No one may share the Eucharist with us unless he believes what we teach is true, unless he is washed in the regenerating waters of baptism for the remission of his sins, and unless he lives in accordance with the principles given us by Christ." The reception of the Eucharist by those who enable grave evil and publicly support it is offensive to every committed Catholic in the Church because such individuals have proven that they have repudiated what we are because of what they do. To receive Holy Communion under these circumstances is not only offensive to committed Catholics, but it is also offensive to pro-life Catholic public officials who often risk their public careers to fight for the pro-life cause. It is also offensive to those Catholic public officials who voluntarily refrain from receiving the Eucharist because of their recognition of their compromised status. . . .

Source: Pastoral Letter given by The Most Reverend Lawrence E. Brandt, JCD, PhD
Bishop of Greensburg
Given at the Chancery, August 10, 2004.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Archbishop Raymond Burke, Diocese of St. Louis, MO

Archbishop Raymond Burke this week said that in light of canon law and in order to educate the faithful about the role of the pastor, he has temporarily removed two priests from a local parish.

In a letter to the parishioners of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church on Tuesday, the archbishop explained that regular Sunday Masses will not be celebrated in the church "until a reconciliation has taken place" between the archdiocese and St. Stanislaus' board of directors.

He also said he would not assign another priest to the parish until the board "conforms to Church discipline."

The archdiocese states that St. Stanislaus' structure as an independently incorporated nonprofit group, run by a lay board, is contrary to canon law, reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch . . . . The St. Louis parish has taken on a structure similar to that in Protestant congregations, which gives authority in the church to a lay committee and effectively turns the pastor into an employee. . . . READ MORE.

Source: Dispute over parish control leads to removal of priests" Catholic World News August 6, 2004.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Bishop Michael Sheridan - Diocese of Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, August 5, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Bishop Michael J. Sheridan's August column decrying same-sex unions did more than sound a warning note. After sketching the Catholic Church's teaching about marriage, the Colorado Springs prelate extended an open invitation to a series of in-depth explanations on the issue. The issue is certainly crucial to the bishop's vision of Church and society, as he refuses to delegate the sessions to co-workers. All are welcome to attend Bishop Sheridan's talks at four locations throughout the diocese over the course of the next three months. . . .

The sessions will all follow the same format, beginning at 7:00 pm and concluding at 8:30 pm. The Bishop will give a brief presentation, and then there will be ample opportunity for questions and discussion. Bishop Sheridan's column on marriage sported both theological reasons and common sense. All who were enlightened, cheered, puzzled or offended by it are likely to be back for more.

Source: "Colorado Bishop to meet all comers in marriage debate" Lifesite.Net.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Archbishop John F. Donahue (Atlanta), Bishop Peter Jugis (Charlotte NC) & Bishop Robert J. Baker (Charleston, SC)

"We also take this opportunity to address all Catholics whose beliefs and conduct do not correspond to the Gospel and to Church teaching. To receive the great gift of God -- the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ -- we must approach Holy Communion free from mortal sin. Those who are conscious of being in a state of grave sin should avail themselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to Holy Communion. To partake of the Eucharist is to partake of Christ Himself, and to enter into sacramental communion with our Lord we must all be properly disposed.

Because of the influence that Catholics in public life have on the conduct of our daily lives and on the formation of our nation's future, we declare that Catholics serving in public life espousing positions contrary to the teaching of the Church on the sanctity and inviolability of human life, especially those running for or elected to public office are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in any Catholic church within our jurisdictions: the Archdiocese of Atlanta, the Dioceses of Charleston and Charlotte. Only after reconciliation with the Church has occurred, with the knowledge and consent of the local bishop, and public disavowal of former support for procured abortion, will the individual be permitted to approach the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist."

Source: SpiritDaily.com. Joint statement from Bishop Peter Jugis of the diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, who joined John F. Donoghue, the archbishop of Atlanta and Robert J. Baker, bishop of Charleston, South Carolina, in issuing a statement that essentially bars pro-abortion politicians from reception of the Eucharist.

Related Sources:

Bishop Michael Sheridan - Diocese of Colorado Springs

Marriage was created by God and must not be used to promote a "homosexual political agenda," Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan writes in the August issue of the diocesan newspaper.

What's more, civil authorities "should consider it a sacred duty" to acknowledge man-woman marriage and protect it against the movement to legalize same-sex unions, Sheridan writes in his monthly column, which appears today in The Catholic Herald.

"If marriage means only what any given person says it means, it means nothing," Sheridan writes. "This opens the door to polygamy and any number of other perversions . . . there will be no turning back."

READ MORE.

Source: Springs bishop urges protection of man-woman union, Jean Torkelson
Rocky Mountain News August 4, 2004

Friday, July 30, 2004

Bishop Robert J. Carlson - Diocese of Sioux Falls

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle is a pro-abortion, Catholic Democrat and up for reelection this year. Of late, the matter of Catholic politicians who do not subscribe to the Church's pro-life stance and teachings on abortion has become a hot political topic. With the November elections quickly approaching, candidates like Daschle and John Kerry (also a pro-abortion Catholic) are finding themselves in a sticky situation.

Daschle, who hails from the conservative state of South Dakota, really has his hands full trying to trick his constituents into thinking he is, if not conservative, at least moderate. This recent article from Most. Rev. Robert J. Carlson Bishop of Sioux Falls will be published in Monday's "Bishop's Bulletin," and it won't be helpful to Daschle's reelection efforts.

SOURCE: "Daschle's Bishop: Don't Vote for Pro-Abortion Politicians"July 30, 2004.

Related Links: "Bishop Carlson says make abortion prime consideration" CWNews.com/LifeSiteNews.com. August 10, 2004.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Bishop Robert F. Vasa - Diocese of Baker, OR

A faithful and courageous prelate, Bishop Robert Francis Vasa, M.Div., J.C.L.,[1] Bishop of Baker, Oregon, kindly granted Catholic Online and this writer a recent interview.

During this conversation, Bishop Vasa (pronounced Va'.sha) helped reinforce Church teachings regarding the scandal of the sacrilegious reception of Holy Communion by persons who obstinately persist in their manifest grave sin.

In answer to the question, 'If the pro-abortion 'Catholic' Senator John Kerry came up to you for Holy Communion, would you deny him,' Bishop Vasa quickly replied:

"Absolutely. I would agree, certainly, with Archbishop Burke and Bishop Bruskewitz in their own actions in this matter. I literally could not give Holy Communion to a professed and actively committed pro-choice politician." . . . [READ MORE].

SOURCE: "Bishop Vasa - a shepherd for our time", by Barbara Kralis. Catholic Online. July 17, 2004.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Bishop Victor Galeone - Diocese of St. Augustine, FL

"Can an avid proponent of abortion-on-demand be at the same time a Catholic in good standing with the church?" I answer that question by asking another: Can an avowed racist be a member in good standing of the NAACP? For similar reasons, there are some positions so extreme that they would bar one from being considered a good Catholic, not because a specifically Catholic teaching is being denied, but because a basic tenet of the natural law is being trashed. As members of the human family, we must obey the natural law, written on our hearts: "You shall not take an innocent life."

Source: "Can A Catholic Politician Be Pro-Choice?", by Bishop Victor Galeone. St. Augustine Catholic (Online diocesian magazine). July 2004.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput - Denver CO

Denver's Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput was interviewed on Colorado Public Radio about his position in the debate over giving communion for Catholic public officials who support abortion. He wrote a column, one of a continuing series, in which he said that Catholics' who support abortion are not really Catholics, but "a very different kind of creature."

A local political candidate accused his archbishop of crossing the line between Church and State and said that Catholic prelates should not preach to Catholic politicians. However, in the interview the Archbishop, defended his statement saying, "If you don't accept what the Church teaches on issues of faith and morals you can't claim to be a Catholic." He went on to say, "I would say if you're in favour of the choice to kill babies it isn't compatible with Catholic faith."

Throughout the interview Chaput avoided the question of whether he would directly refuse someone like John Kerry communion if he should present himself in a Denver-area Catholic church. "One cannot be a pro-choice catholic," he said. "There are Catholics who don't understand that and think they're Catholics… We believe that if you don't accept what the church teaches in the grave matters of faith and morals, and we know what those are in the Catholic Church, then you're not in communion with what the Church teaches and therefore you shouldn't go to communion. Communion isn't about personal worthiness, it's about faith, what you believe."

When asked about the issue of separation of Church and State that is frequently used to attempt to silence Catholic or other Christian voices, the Archbishop became emphatic. He said that the tactic was unscrupulous and un-American and would never have been used against Church leaders who spoke out against slavery or segregation. "(Separation of Church and State) doesn't mean that the Church should be silent. It doesn't mean that a politician should tell me to shut up. It doesn't mean that any member of the Church can't talk about the issues that are important to the Church."

"Abortion is a matter of human dignity and human rights," Chaput said.

He then became more blunt. "It's not a religious principle; we're not against abortion for religious reasons. We're against it because it kills babies. No one should tell us to be quiet about that any more than we were quiet about segregation. It's very important that we're active; we encourage our people to vote their conscience. That's not interfering with the government."

Source: "Denver Archbishop says those who Support Abortion "Rights" Cannot be Catholic" LifesiteNews.com. July 14, 2004.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo - Diocese of Richmond

Six weeks after taking office, Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo is reshaping the Diocese of Richmond to bring it into close conformity with the policies of Pope John Paul II and orthodox Catholic teaching.

That intention is most obvious with DiLorenzo's announcement last month that no one can be invited by parishes as a guest speaker without first being approved by the diocesan theologian, a post re-established by the bishop.

The bishop has also decided not to reactivate the diocesan "sexual minorities" commission that had advised former Bishop Walter F. Sullivan on gay and lesbian concerns.

Additionally, DiLorenzo removed a Virginia Beach woman from the diocesan women's commission because her support for ordaining women as priests conflicted with the Vatican's policy of restricting the priesthood to men. . . . READ MORE.

SOURCE: "New bishop conforms to strict Catholic law", by Steven J. Vegh. The Virginian-Pilot July 10, 2004.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Bishop Bernard Harrington - Diocese of Winona

(Winona-AP) -- The Bishop of the Winona Diocese says Catholics who support abortion rights shouldn't receive Communion.

Bishop Bernard Harrington says in a statement that any Roman Catholic who supports abortion rights defies church teachings.

He says "It is time we recognize that morality and ethics -- not our political parties -- determine what we believe.'' Harrington made his comments in the July edition of the diocese's official newspaper.

Harrington's statement came weeks after a national bishops' task force he served on said bishops have the authority to deny Communion to politicians who support abortion rights.

Harrington says individual Catholics must determine if they are worthy to receive Communion. But he stopped short of repeating threats made by some U-S bishops to deny Communion to politicians who support abortion rights.

Source: Associated Press. July 7, 2004.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Bishop Michael Saltarelli - Diocese of Wilmington

WILMINGTON -- Wilmington Bishop Michael Saltarelli said Thursday that all Catholics who actively support abortion, not just lawmakers, should voluntarily refrain from taking Holy Communion.

Saltarelli's statement does not prohibit public servants or lay Catholics from receiving the Eucharist, however. It does ask Catholic institutions not to honor "Catholic politicians who take pro-abortion legislative po-sitions or invite them to speak at our functions and schools."

"The overarching message in this statement is that all Catholics need to be in a state of grace and free from mortal sin when they receive the Eucharist," said Wilmington diocese spokesman Bob Krebs. "It's reminding all of us to fully examine our consciences before receiving Christ in the Eucharist."

The statement also said that the "promotion of abortion by any Catholic is a grave and serious matter" and said it would be "more spiritually beneficial" for Catholics who promote abortion to abstain from receiving Holy Communion. In the sacrament, Catholicism's central act of worship, parishioners receive the consecrated bread and wine of the Eucharist, believed to contain the body and blood of Christ. . . . [READ MORE]

Source: "Pro-choicers shouldn't take Communion, bishop says", by Victor Greto. The News Journal July 2, 2004.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Cardinal Thomas S. Williams - New Zealand

In a strongly worded essay entitled "The Spiritual Bankruptcy of Liberalism", Cardinal Tom Williams yesterday attacked a string of policy changes - from the Civil Union Bill to prostitution law reform - and likened modern politicians to barbarians.

"The perennial work of the barbarian is to tear down existing standards, and to debase ideals that have come to characterise a society built on sound moral principle," he said.

"The modern barbarian may be soberly suited and stylishly presented, their weapon the skilful use of spin doctors to dupe the unwary, the unsuspecting and the uninformed. The outcome is no different." . . . [READ MORE]

SOURCE: "Cardinal laments descent to 'moral wasteland'", by Eugene Bingham.
New Zealand Herald June 26, 2004.

Archbishop Raymond Burke, Diocese of St. Louis, MO

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Archbishop Raymond Burke, who sparked a national debate when he said he would deny Holy Communion to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, now says Catholic voters who back abortion rights should go to confession before taking the sacrament.

Burke told KMOX Radio in St. Louis on Thursday that Catholics cannot vote for candidates or policies in support of abortion and be worthy to receive Communion.

"We always have to remember that it’s objectively wrong to vote for a pro-choice politician," Burke said. "People could be in ignorance of how serious this is. But once they understand and know this and then willingly do it, vote for a pro-choice candidate, then they need to confess that."

SOURCE: "Burke blasts Catholics who support abortion" Columbia Tribune June 26, 2004.

Bishop Wilton Gregory - U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops yesterday endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban marriage for gays. He urged all Roman Catholics to lobby for its passage.

The statement from Bishop Wilton Gregory was the first from the American church backing a specific amendment that would deny recognition of same-sex marriages.

In a letter this week to his fellow bishops, Gregory wrote that the Senate leadership had asked them to "formally register support" for the legislation.

Introduced by Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., the measure defines marriage as "the union of a man and a woman" and is expected to come before the Senate around July 12.

Gregory asked bishops to urge their senators to get behind the amendment, and to encourage priests and parishioners to do the same.

"This situation challenges Catholics -- and all who seek the truth -- to think deeply about the meaning of marriage, its purposes and its value to individuals, families and society," Gregory wrote.

SOURCE: "Top bishop endorses gay marriage ban" Associated Press. June 26, 2004.

Archbishop Raymond Burke, Diocese of St. Louis, MO

ST. LOUIS -- The archbishop of St. Louis, who has said he would deny Holy Communion to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, now says Roman Catholic voters who support abortion rights should go to confession before taking the sacrament.

Archbishop Raymond Burke said Thursday that Catholics cannot vote for candidates or policies in support of abortion and be worthy to receive Communion.

"We always have to remember that it's objectively wrong to vote for a pro-choice politician," Burke told KMOX Radio. “People could be in ignorance of how serious this is. But once they understand and know this and then willingly do it, vote for a pro-choice candidate, then they need to confess that."

His remarks came a week after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops adopted a statement warning lawmakers at odds with church teaching that they were "cooperating in evil." The statement left it up to each bishop to decide whether to deny Communion. Under church law, bishops adapt Catholic teaching in their own dioceses.

Source: "" Detroit News June 26, 2004.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Bishop Ronald Gainer - Diocese of Lexington, KY

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Lexington Bishop Ronald Gainer wants politicians who support abortion rights to voluntarily refrain from taking Communion in his diocese. But two politicians whose views on abortion are contrary to church teaching say they plan to continue taking the sacrament.

Gainer is the only Kentucky bishop so far to publicly question whether Catholic politicians who back abortion rights should receive Communion.

His admonition didn't change Lexington Mayor Teresa Isaac's mind.

"I plan to continue taking Communion and would love to receive it from a woman priest some day soon," she said in a written statement.

State Sen. Ernesto Scorsone, D-Lexington, also said the bishop's statement wouldn't keep him from taking the Eucharist. Scorsone said anti-abortion advocates don't have a monopoly on the faith.

"I certainly believe there are a lot of good American Catholics who believe in choice," he said. "I certainly believe in a woman's right to choose."

Bishops in a handful of U.S. dioceses recently asked Catholic leaders who support abortion rights to abstain from taking the sacraments. Gainer also wants them to voluntarily refrain from taking communion, said Lexington diocesan spokesman Tom Shaughnessy.

"A professing Catholic who has taken public stands against what the church teaches should disqualify himself or herself from receiving the Eucharist because they cannot receive in good faith," Shaughnessy told the Lexington Herald-Leader, quoting the bishop.

"Were there to be such a person under his pastoral care, (Gainer) would ask to meet them privately as a pastor and attempt to challenge them to change their public position before he would take any public action."

Source: "Bishop urges abortion-rights politicians to not take Communion". Associated Press, June 24, 2004.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Archbishop Raymond Burke, Diocese of St. Louis, MO

Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis Missouri, who last November announced to priests that pro-abortion Catholic politicians should be refused Communion, has said that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) could not force him to back down from his stand. "I have to do what I know to be right" he said.

In a conversation with media, Bishop Burke acknowledged there were starkly different opinions among the bishops on how to address pro-abortion Catholic politicians receiving Communion. He speculated however that a joint statement on the issue would be forthcoming from the USCCB.

"There is a difference of opinion, I guess it would be fair to say," said the Bishop. He suggested a joint statement could be neutral. "If the statement says that it's the responsibility of each bishop (to act) with regard to the legislators in his pastoral care - that's fine. I've said that repeatedly."

Catholic Bishops' conferences are only consultative and administrative church organizations and have no formal church teaching authority. Individual bishops have full authority and responsibility for teaching and evangelizing efforts in their individual dioceses and are obliged to do so in union with the pope and authentic teachings of the church, not the bishops' conference.

Source: "Bishop Burke Says U.S. Conference Can't Force Him to Back Down from Refusing Communion to Abortion Supporters". LifeSiteNews.com June 18, 2004.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput - Denver CO 

On the eve of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' special assembly in Denver, The Denver Post submitted to Archbishop Chaput by email a list of questions pertaining to the matter of communion. Here is his response.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Bishop Gregory Aymond - Diocese of Austin, TX

Editor: When the document was issued, it created some controversy regarding Catholic politicians. Could you explain?

Bishop Aymond: The issue is whether or not politicians and others who do not believe in the teachings of the Catholic Church should be given communion by the priest, deacon or the extraordinary minister of holy Communion. I would like to pose another question.

Anyone who seriously disagrees with the teachings of the church has chosen for their own personal reasons not to be in communion with the church. The real question, it seems to me, is "should a person who is not in communion with the teachings of the church present himself or herself for holy Communion?" That question makes a great deal more sense than placing the bishop, priest or extraordinary minister of holy Communion in the position of refusing the Body and Blood of Christ to someone or having to make a public spectacle of the situation.

In such a situation, the minister of Communion should first speak privately to the person and exhort them not to present themselves because of scandal. If the person persists and protests, then it could be cause to give them a blessing instead of Communion. All of this needs to be done in a spirit of charity. As I have said before, conversations behind closed doors are ways in which we can help people change their heart and have a clearer understanding of what God expects of us as the followers of Jesus. God never gives up on anyone and we should do our best to help people change their heart.

Source: Interview w/ Bishop Aymond for the diocesian newspaper The Catholic Spirit. June 2004.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Archbishop Anthony Meagher - Kingston, Ontario

KINGSTON, ON, June 14, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Archbishop of Kingston, has spoken out on Catholics in political life saying that "if they claim any right to be called Catholic: they must unequivocally and publicly state their opposition to abortion."

Writing in the current June/July 2004 edition of the diocesan paper, The Journey, Archbishop Anthony Meagher says: "It is never appropriate for Catholic leaders to claim that acceptance of such denial of human dignity - for example abortion on demand - is a sign of Canada's tolerance and goodness. It is not; it is simply cowardice."

Speaking of Canadian Catholic political leaders the Archbishop says, "I am positive they can and must do, if they claim any right to be called Catholic: they must unequivocally and publicly state their opposition to abortion, and be willing to do what can be done to protect the dignity of all human life." The Archbishop added, that in order to call themselves Catholic they must act on marriage and euthanasia. "They must also ask themselves honestly if it is reasonable to equate the value to society of a same-sex union with the union of a man and a woman who will give life to and nourish a family. Similarly, in order to be faithful to Christ, they must never fail to protect those nearing the end of their lives."

While his remarks apply most obviously to Prime Minister Paul Martin, Archbishop Meagher broadened the application of his letter saying, "To which leaders am I referring? Actually, I am being no more specific than saying that, 'if the shoe fits, wear it.'"

SOURCE: "Another Canadian Bishop Speaks out on Politicians and Abortion". LifeSite News.com. June 14, 2004.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Cardinal Francis George - Diocese of Chicago

Catholic lay ministers who disagree with the church's teachings should not be allowed to continue in their ministries or assist in distributing communion, according to a letter sent by Cardinal Francis George to pastors in the Chicago Archdiocese earlier this month.

"If a minister should manifest his/her disagreement with Church teaching," George wrote, "he/she should not continue in active ministry until such time that the minister is reconciled to the Church's teaching."

Though this has been the policy of the archdiocese all along, George said he was writing in response to questions posed to the church and in the media "about the appropriateness of Catholics serving as lay ministers who do not profess or believe authentic Church teaching."

[READ MORE]

SOURCE: "George says lay ministers must agree with church", by Art Golab. Staff Reporter. June 10, 2004.

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted - Diocese of Phoenix, AZ 

Catholic politicians who unambiguously support a woman's right to choose should not receive communion, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted said Wednesday. But he declined to say he would deny communion to politicians who do not follow church teaching on abortion.

Asked directly about what he would do if Sen. John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president who is a Catholic and supports abortion rights, came to him for communion, the leader of the Diocese of Phoenix said, "I would hope that would not happen."

"If he asked about it," he said, "I would tell him he should not receive communion."

Olmsted, who met with The Arizona Republic editorial board on Wednesday, also said that his role is to continue to teach politicians and other Catholics about the church's position.

"We need to be in conversation for as long as possible to help people see the contradiction in their lives, that (support for abortion) is bad for them and a scandal for others. There could be a stage where we go farther, but we haven't reached that stage."

Asked if he could understand a politician who says he opposes abortion but also opposes government intervention in the matter, Olmsted said, "I would want to see what else they have to say, but it is hard to understand that language. There is something not genuine, something untrue, something dishonest in it. It may not be culpably dishonest.

"We all have times when we do not connect the dots, but the dots are there. How can I be opposed to something, but not oppose it?"

He said the same restrictions on communion would apply to others, including people who have divorced and remarried. "Anyone who says they are a Catholic but is living contrary to that should not receive communion.

Source: Bishop cautions politicians, Michael Clancy. The Arizona Republic Jun. 10, 2004 12:00.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Bishop Michael Sheridan - Diocese of Colorado Springs

Clarification from Bishop Sheridan;
The most serious misrepresentation of my letter was the conclusion drawn by many that I or other ministers of Holy Communion would refuse the sacrament to people who voted in a particular way. Nowhere in the letter do I say this or even suggest it. The intent of the letter was to appeal to the consciences of Catholic people as they prepare to vote in November. I called upon Catholics to recognize that our vote, while always a private act, has public consequences for good or evil. This means that my vote must be cast with a conscience well-informed as to good and evil. This, I believe, is sound Catholic teaching and common sense.

The Church has taught from the beginning that when Catholics sin seriously they must refrain from receiving Holy Communion until they have repented and been absolved in the Sacrament of Penance (confession). In fact this teaching has been repeated in the most recent writings of the Holy Father on the relationship between the Eucharist and Penance. If a Catholic votes in bad conscience, especially in matters that have to do with the sanctity of life (e.g. abortion), how can this be anything other than a participation in that sinful act? It is at this point that the Church calls upon sinners to withhold themselves from receiving Holy Communion until they have been forgiven of their sins. This is a far cry from denying someone Communion. How, in fact, could I deny anyone Holy Communion since I would not know the condition of the communicant’s soul?

It seems that an incorrect notion of conscience is at the bottom of much of the misunderstanding . . . . [READ MORE]

SOURCE: Bishop Sheridan responds to his critics without backing down. CatholicCitizens.Org.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Bishop Michael Sheridan - Diocese of Colorado Springs

Politicians and voters aren't the only ones being pressured by Bishop Michael Sheridan to take a stand against abortion and gay marriage.

Local charities that rely on contributions from the Colorado Springs Catholic Diocese are under the gun, too.

The Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission, an anti-war group with ties to the church, is facing the loss of funding from the diocese unless it condemns abortion and pledges to uphold Catholic teachings, including opposition to same-sex marriage.

"I am asking that the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission explicitly acknowledge its commitment to defend life at every moment from conception to natural death, in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church," Sheridan wrote to the group on April 12, in response to a request from the commission for financial support.

Other groups are facing similar demands.

SOURCE: "Bishop threatens peace group", by Terje Langeland.
Colorado Springs Independent May 7-June 2, 2004.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted - Diocese of Phoenix, AZ

The only Catholic priest to decline to remove his name from a statement affirming the rights of homosexuals has been suspended from priestly ministry.

The Rev. Andre Boulanger, who is retired, said Friday he got word of the suspension Thursday in a letter from Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted. Mary Jo West, Olmsted's public information officer, confirmed the letter was sent, . . . [READ MORE]

Source: "Bishop punishes priest for signing gay-rights letter", by Michael Clancy.
The Arizona Republic, May. 29, 2004.

Archbishop Henry J. Mansell - Diocese of Hartford, CT

. . . The teaching of the Catholic Church on abortion has been constant, going back to the first century Didache, "You should not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish." As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation."

Church teaching, therefore, is clear, but we are involved here with more than Church teaching. The taking of an innocent human life is a violation of the natural law. The right to life does not represent a concession made by society and the state. It belongs to human nature and is inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his or her origin.

We speak about natural law, but another issue of concern arises when people say that religious convictions should not influence political positions. Yet our foundational document, the Declaration of Independence, states that we are all endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, and that among those are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is a religious conviction.

When we ask public officials to leave their religious convictions at the door, are we not depriving them of what is foundational in their existential makeup? Are we not asking them to be fundamentally schizophrenic? Are not our religious convictions basic to our identity?

Source: "Religious Convictions and Public Policy", Archbishop Henry J. Mansell.
The Catholic Transcript June 2004.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Bishop Robert McManus - Diocese of Worcester

Rhe new leader of the Catholic Diocese of Worcester stunned gay rights supporters by writing in a church newsletter that Catholics, especially public officials, pushing to legalize same-sex marriage are "in cooperation with evil."' . . .

Responding to Worcester City Clerk David Rushford's public statements that allowing gays and lesbians to marry is in line with church teachings on inclusivity, Worcester Bishop Robert McManus penned a "pastoral note of clarification'' published Friday.

After recognizing gays and lesbians as "brothers and sisters in the human family,'' the note ends with a bombshell: ``Moreover, it must be pointed out that Catholics, especially public officials, who willingly and with approval facilitate the legal sanctioning of same-sex unions are involving themselves in cooperation with evil.'' . . . [READ MORE]

Source: "Worcester bishop shocks gays with `evil' statement"
by Thomas Caywood. Boston Herald May 25, 2004.

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Cardinal Francis George - Diocese of Chicago

Gay Catholics who plan to identify themselves by wearing a rainbow sash in church Sunday should be denied communion, according to a memo Cardinal Francis George has written to all pastors in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

The wearing of the sash is sponsored by the Rainbow Sash Movement, which has several chapters across the country and plans to show up Sunday at Holy Name Cathedral.

"We wear the sash because it is a symbol of the gifts that we bring to the church as gay and lesbian people," said Joe Murray of Chicago. "It's a symbol that we need to also be ministered to as gay and lesbian people and we can't be ministered to in the clerical closet."

But the cardinal wrote that wearing the sash indicates disagreement with church teaching that gay sexual relations are sinful, and therefore those who wear the sash should not receive communion. . . . [READ MORE]

Source: "Cardinal says no communion for gay protesters Sunday"
by Art Golab, Staff Reporter.
Chicago Sun-Times, May 25, 2004.

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Saturday, May 22, 2004

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted - Diocese of Phoenix, AZ

Statement by Bishop Olmsted in response to misrepresentation by the Arizona Republic:
The headline in the Arizona Republic (5/21/04), "Bishops won’t link politics, Communion" misrepresents my position. Abortion is the killing of a completely innocent life and thus bad news for both unborn children and their mothers. It is a horrible wrong. It is intrinsically evil. We have a serious obligation to protect human life, and especially the most innocent and vulnerable. Whoever fails to do this, especially when they are able to do so, commit serious sins of omission. They jeopardize their own spiritual wellbeing and they are a source of scandal for others. Should they be Catholics, they should not receive Holy Communion.

No one who is conscious of having committed a serious sin should receive Holy Communion. For the Eucharist is the very Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, our most precious gift in the Church. And St. Paul warns us (I Cor 11:27-29): "Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself."

I call upon all Catholics, especially those in public life, to examine their consciences, and to refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they are unambiguously pro-abortion. As a bishop, I shall continue to pray for an end to abortion and other sins against life; I shall stand up for the life and dignity of every human person and I urge all people of good will to do the same. Should some Catholic politicians who are presently pro-abortion obstinately persist in this contradiction to our faith, this becomes a source of scandal and measures beyond those of moral persuasion would be needed. As God tells us in the Book of Leviticus (19:16), "You shall not stand by idly when your neighbor’s life is at stake."

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Bishop Fred Henry - Diocese of Calgary, Canada

What is unacceptable is political duplicity. All too many politicians try to hide behind, statements such as: "I'm personally opposed to abortion, but I will not impose my belief or morality on others" or "Because abortion is so controversial, I must remain neutral and let each person decide on their own."

If someone said: "I'm personally opposed to child abuse and rape, but I will not impose that belief on potential child abusers and rapists," we wouldn't let them hide behind such nonsense. Nor should we let politicians hide behind similar nonsense in the case of abortion.

The U.S. bishops set up a committee to discuss possible disciplinary sanctions for defiant Catholic politicians. I am anxiously awaiting the outcome of their discussions. In the meantime, I believe the question, "If a dissident Catholic leader obstinately persists in opposing fundamental Church teaching, should he or she be turned away if they present themselves for Communion," has to be answered, "Yes."

Source: No communion for John Kerry, by Bishop Fred Henry. Western Catholic Reporter May 19, 2004.

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Monday, May 17, 2004

Archbishop Alfred Hughes - New Orleans

One day before the nation's first state-sanctioned same-sex marriages began, New Orleans Archbishop Alfred Hughes declared his stand on two bills due to come before Louisiana legislators this week, including one seeking to define marriage in the state Constitution as the "union of one man and one woman." As clerks in Massachusetts prepared to hand out marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples today, Hughes held a news conference at the archdiocese offices Sunday to discuss same-sex marriage and embryonic stem cell research, two issues of moral concern to the Catholic Church that continue to divide politicians and voters around the state and country. "When the Catholic Church takes a stand on public policy, it's not because it's something the church teaches," Hughes said. "It's because it sheds light on and reinforces the truth present in the world. It is the natural law that transcends any differences in religious teachings or the teachings of any group." . . . [READ MORE] Source: "Archbishop Backs Gay Marriage Ban; Discusses Stem-Cell Research"
by Sarah Brown. Times-Picayune, Monday, May 17, 2004

Bishop Gregory Aymond - Diocese of Austin, TX

Following decision of a Texas girl scout troop to drop it's sponsorship of Planned Parenthood's "Nobody's Fool" sexual education conference for teens, one Catholic bishop [said] scouts affiliated with the Catholic Church can't have any ties to Planned Parenthood.

"Scouting troops associated with the diocesan entities will not support, encourage or in any way endorse the activities and programs of Planned Parenthood or any other organization espousing similar beliefs and practices," stated Bishop Gregory Aymond of the Diocese of Austin, in a letter to Catholic school principals and pastors in his diocese.

"Any scouting unit or troop not embracing the above directives shall not be permitted use of parish or school facilities … or indicate association with the Catholic Diocese of Austin. Whether or not we will be able to continue our association with Girl Scouts of America is still questionable," Aymond explained.

There are 25 to 30 troops that meet at Catholic schools or parishes in the diocese, and Bishop Aymond said he is further concerned about the Nobody's Fool sex-education program, which gives no direction on right or wrong and has no Christian morals.

"We have a Catholic scouting program nationally and it would be a shame to lose that link," Bishop Aymond said, "but as Catholics we must stand for Catholic moral principles. I don't see this as a resolved issue."

Source: "Texas Bishop: Catholic Scouts Can't Associate With Planned Parenthood", by Paul Nowak. LifeNews.com Staff Writer. May 17, 2004.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Archbishop John Vlazny - Portland, OR.

PORTLAND -- Archbishop John G. Vlazny says all Catholics -- not just Sen. John Kerry -- should avoid taking Holy Communion if they publicly disagree with church teachings. Vlazny, leader of almost 300,000 Roman Catholics in western Oregon, weighed in on the issue as reporters note that Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate, receives Communion even though he believes women should have the right to choose an abortion. . . . Vlazny decided to go on record last week, in his regular column in The Catholic Sentinel. In an interview with The Oregonian, he said he's had letters asking him to speak out on who should and should not take Communion and whether Catholics may vote for an abortion-rights candidate. His comments do not have the weight of the pope or of the U.S. bishops behind them, he says. "Catholics who publicly disagree with serious church teaching on such matters as abortion or same-sex marriage should refrain from receiving Holy Communion," he wrote in his May 6 column. The phrase "publicly disagree" means just that he said, not speaking privately to family or friends. "Catholics who are not in communion with the Church (for example, divorced and remarried Catholics who have not received annulments from previous Catholic marriages) must similarly refrain from receiving the Eucharist," he wrote. "All Catholics in the state of mortal sin who are unrepentant also should refrain from the reception of the Eucharist." Source: "Archbishop says some should refrain from Communion", Associated Press. New Statesmen Journal

Related Links

Bishop Michael Sheridan - Diocese of Colorado Springs

Catholics who vote for politicians who support abortion rights or gay marriage will be banned from Communion until they have "recanted their positions" and confessed their sin, a Colorado bishop warned. Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs said any Catholic who does not reflect church teaching in the voting booth "makes a mockery of that faith and belies his identity as a Catholic." Sheridan's May 1 directive is believed to be the first in the nation that would apply to voters the same controversial sanctions proposed by some bishops against abortion-rights Catholic politicians. It is also one of the most drastic -- equating a particular vote with sinful activity. Sheridan's order applies only to his diocese of 785,000 Catholics. "As in the matter of abortion, any Catholic politician who would promote so-called `same-sex marriage' and any Catholic who would vote for that political candidate place themselves outside the full communion of the church and may not receive Holy Communion until they have recanted their positions and been reconciled by the Sacrament of Penance," Sheridan said. . . . [READ MORE]. Source: Bishop Bans Pro-Choice Voters From Communion , Beliefnet.com. May 13, 2004. Related Links

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Bishop Thomas Wenski - Diocese of Orlando, FL

In a special letter to the Orlando Sentinel:
Bishops as teachers of the faith have no special competencies in the world of business or politics -- and in those worlds we have no regulatory or legal powers. But precisely as teachers of the Catholic faith we do have competence to tell businessmen or politicians or anyone else for that matter what is required to be a Catholic. It is totally within our competence to say that one cannot be complicit in the injustice of denying the right to life of an unborn child or an invalid elder and still consider oneself a good Catholic.

To be a Catholic is to strive after holiness. This is a daunting task for us all -- impossible without the saving grace that embraces us through our turning to the Lord and walking in his company. The Lord is patient with us -- after all, we all are still just "practicing." He warns his disciples not to be too ready to pull out the tares lest we damage the wheat. For this reason, when rebukes are necessary, pastors generally strive to give them in private.

....If the whole point of being a Catholic is to grow in holiness -- admittedly by practicing a whole lot and making some errors along the way -- then it would be, as John Paul II reminds us, "a contradiction to settle for a life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalist ethic and a sentimental religiosity." You cannot have your "waffle" and your "wafer," too. Those pro-abortion politicians who insist on calling themselves Catholics without seeing the contradiction between what they say they believe and their anti-life stance have to do a lot more "practicing." They need to get it right before they approach the Eucharistic table.

Source: "Wenski: No 'wafer' if you 'waffle'"
Orlando Sentinel, May 11, 2004.

(With thanks to Open Book)

Related Links:

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Rev. Larry Wieseler of Baudette, MN.

A gay couple in northern Minnesota is angry and upset over being told they no longer should take communion or sing in the choir at their church because of their lifestyle.

[READ MORE].

Source: Associated Press.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Bishop-Elect Robert J. McManus - Diocese of Worcester, MA

Worcester Diocese wants to make certain every priest, parishioner, and Catholic politician in the county understands precisely what it means to be a Catholic. "Rejecting that teaching can have certain spiritual consequences," said Bishop Robert J. McManus, who views his new role as a way to help solidify authentic Catholic identity. McManus said he also wants local Catholic politicians to know when they stray from church teaching, especially on issues that have the highest "moral valence." "The most fundamental human right is the right to life, and it is most obviously attacked by abortion," McManus said. "You become complicit in doing evil, and that's a very serious matter." . . . McManus traveled to the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and wrote a 500-page thesis on the relationship between the church and Catholic politicians in America. His conclusion: For a public official to say he or she is "personally opposed" to an issue, such as abortion, but promote any policy that deviates from that belief, is "absolutely unacceptable." McManus, 52, is the auxiliary bishop of Providence, and will be installed on Friday to replace retiring Bishop Daniel P. Reilly, 75. He said during an interview in his native city that he hopes to inspire the faithful in the diocese by encouraging "psychologically and emotionally sound men" to enter the priesthood. "One of my main concerns in Worcester is I really am going to put a lot of my efforts into promoting vocations into the priesthood," McManus said. "The vibrancy of a parish, the vibrancy of a church, depends on a vibrant priesthood." [SOURCE: Bishop-Elect Knocks Politicians, by Matt O'Brien. Sentinel and Enterprise. May 8, 2004.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Bishop Samuel J. Aquila - Diocese of Fargo, North Dakota

In a four-page homily delivered Sunday and posted on the diocesan website, Bishop Aquila said, "In the light of the last few days and all of the media coverage regarding John Kerry's unambiguous support of abortion rights, his personal opposition to abortion, and his insistence on the separation of his Catholic faith from his professional life, I, as a successor of the apostles, cannot remain silent. I, as an apostle, must speak with the apostles and obey God rather than man and present to you the teaching of the Church on the proper relationship between our faith and professional life." Addressing all Catholics and especially "'pro-choice' Catholics," and "'Catholics for a free choice,'" the bishop said, "Jesus Christ has warned clearly within the Gospel that hell is a reality and that we are free to choose it. Catholics who separate their faith life from their professional and social activities are putting the salvation of their souls in jeopardy. They risk the possibility of hell" "The grave error that has come about, the grave error that the Father of Lies has planted in the hearts of many is the lie of thinking that we can have one foot with God and one foot with the world. . . . We must always put the law of God above the law of man, especially as it concerns the dignity of the human person and the life of the unborn," said the Bishop. On the point of reception of Communion, Bishop Aquila said: "In regard to the question of sanctions for Catholics who are 'pro-choice', who say that they are personally opposed to abortion but whose words and actions speak otherwise in their support of abortion rights, I would share with them the words from St. Justin Martyr in today's Office of Readings. This was in 165 A.D. They shared the same problems we do today. 'No one may share the Eucharist with us unless he believes that what we teach is true, unless he is washed in the regenerating waters of baptism for the remission of his sins, and unless he lives in accordance with the principles given us by Christ.'"

Source: LifeSite News

Related Links:

  • Bishop Aquila's homily can be read in full here. [PDF Format]

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Archbishop John J. Myers - Newark, NJ

In his pastoral letter "A Time for Honesty", the Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark, delivers a stirring message on the public responsibility of the Catholic politician:
"There is no right more fundamental than the right to be born and reared with all the dignity the human person deserves. On this grave issue, public officials cannot hold themselves excused from their duties, especially if they claim to be Catholic. Every faithful Catholic must be not only "personally opposed" to abortion, but also must live that opposition in his or her actions. In Robert Bolt's play A Man for All Seasons, St. Thomas More remarks, "I believe, when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties . . . they lead their country by a short route to chaos." Sadly, too few follow the example of St. Thomas More. As voters, Catholics are under an obligation to avoid implicating themselves in abortion, which is one of the gravest of injustices. Certainly, there are other injustices, which must be addressed, but the unjust killing of the innocent is foremost among them."

Justice and human dignity. It applies to all persons. Some justify their actions by saying that they must respect the consciences of others. But this "respect" for another's conscience should never require abandoning one’s own properly formed conscience. Conscientious opposition to abortion, rooted in an understanding of the sanctity of human life, may not be sacrificed simply because others, whose consciences are gravely mistaken, would unjustly take the life of an unborn baby.

UPDATE - STATUS INCONCLUSIVE This report has been challenged by recent readers in light of the following update from the New York Times (5/22/04):

Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark said on Friday that he was "deeply disappointed" that his recent criticism of Roman Catholic elected officials who supported abortion rights had been interpreted by some New Jerseyans as a political slap at Gov. James E. McGreevey.

In an interview, Archbishop Myers said Mr. McGreevey was not the target of statements he had made in a pastoral letter saying that Catholic officeholders who did not share the Vatican's opposition to abortion should not seek communion. He said he had apologized to the governor for any misperception by the public.

"I didn't name him specifically in the letter,'' Archbishop Myers said. "We have an understanding that I won't personally criticize him. And we are working together on a lot of issues, like providing social services for the poor and helping people with H.I.V. So I think we reached an understanding. I actually like him, and I think we have a cordial relationship."

Likewise, according to the Newark Star-Ledger, Bishop Myers took pains to identify himself as a "moderate," saying that communion should not be denied to publicly pro-choice Catholic politicians if they request it.

As a pro-choice Catholic akin to Senator Kerry, one might assume that the bishop's criticism in his letter would apply to Gov. McGreevey. The bishop's assertion that he has a "understanding" with the governor rendering him immune from any criticism of his pro-choice position certainly casts doubt on this blog's previous sighting of spinal evolution.

We refer our readers to the Catholic Kerry Watch for further commentary.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Indiana Catholic high school withdraws invitation to Governor (w/ Bishop's approval)

Governor Joe Kernan's high school alma mater has withdrawn a commencement speaking invitation to Kernan based on Kernan's policy statements on abortion. South Bend St. Joseph High School withdrew the invitation at the direction of Bishop John M. D'Arcy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, who has direct authority over the school. D'Arcy, who confirmed his actions in conversation and a written statement Friday, said theology teachers at the school believed that Kernan's appearance would directly contradict the moral truths they teach and expect students to embrace. "I am in full agreement with these teachers," D'Arcy said. He then directed school Principal Kathleen Ratliff to withdraw the invitation in writing and to inform Kernan that D'Arcy had requested the action.

"St. Joe retracts Kernan invitation", by Martin DeAgostino.
South Bend Tribune, May 1, 2004.

Friday, April 30, 2004

Bishop Joseph Galante, Diocese of Camden, NJ

Bishop Joseph Galante, incoming leader of the Camden Catholic diocese, said yesterday that he would deny communion to Gov. McGreevey if he sought it at Galante's installation Mass today. "If he comes to communion, I'd give him a blessing," Galante told a news conference in Camden. "In his case, he can't go to communion." Galante said he was taking the stance primarily because the divorced governor, who is Catholic, remarried without receiving a church annulment. Also, he said, McGreevey's record of "pushing" for legalized abortion, stem-cell research, and other positions the church views as immoral "is almost like he throws the gauntlet down." Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

Related Links:

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, Phoenix AZ

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted privately has ordered nine Catholic priests to withdraw their support from an interfaith statement supporting gay rights. Two of the nine priests who signed the Phoenix Declaration in January 2003 confirmed they received "personal and confidential" letters from the bishop last week. In the letter, Olmsted tells the priests and one religious brother to remove their names "under obedience" to him. No consequences are spelled out for those who decline. . . . Olmsted said the declaration came to his attention "a few weeks ago," leading him to invite the priests "to talk with me personally about this serious pastoral matter." . . . Olmsted's predecessors, Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien and Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan, both knew of the declaration but declined to take action against the priests who signed it. O'Brien led a bishops committee in 1997 that drafted "Always Our Children." "Don't back gays, bishop tells priests", by Michael Clancy.
The Arizona Republic April 28, 2004.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Bishop Anthony Pilla - Diocese of Cleveland

An influential group of liberal-minded Catholic reformers is debating a response to Bishop Anthony Pilla, who recently banned the organization from meeting on Diocese of Cleveland property.

Future Church, which claims more than 800 members locally, advocates allowing priests to marry and women to be ordained as the best ways to alleviate clergy shortages.

The group had operated unrestricted in the Cleveland diocese for more than a decade. But the truce ended unexpectedly April 1 after Pilla issued an edict to all pastors.

"Future Church is not an organization affiliated with the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, nor does it have the support or approval of the bishop of the diocese," Pilla's warning read.

"Future Church is an independent organization of individuals who promote an agenda that is not consistent with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church," the statement continued, and the group's activities are "not appropriate" at church institutions or facilities. . . . [READ MORE.

SOURCE: "Catholic reformers contest new edict". Cleveland Plain Dealer, by James F. McCarty. April 26, 2004.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, Denver CO

In this week's column for the Denver Catholic Register, Denver Archbishop Chaput corrects dissenting Catholics on "what Vatican II did, and didn't, teach about conscience":
Vatican II can never be invoked as an alibi for Catholics ignoring grave public evil or failing to act on their faith in the political sphere. That's a distortion of the council's message. It also misreads the U.S. Constitution. America's Founding Fathers did not say, and never intended, that religious faith should be excluded from civic debate. They intended one thing only: to prevent the establishment of an official state church. A purely secular interpretation of the "separation of church and state" would actually result in the "separation of state and morality." And that would be a catastrophe for real pluralism and the democratic process.

If we're sincere about our faith, "conscience" can never be used as an excuse for dismissing what the Church teaches by pointing to her theological critics, voter surveys or public opinion polls, and then doing what we find more convenient. That's dishonest. And God made us for something better than that.

Chaput's latest column, by the way, appears to be motivated by the overwhelming response (positive and negative) from Denver Catholics to his previous column.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, Denver, CO

In a column for the Denver Catholic Register, Archbishop Chaput reminds his flock to "Think with the Church as we look toward November": "If it quacks like a duck and looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it's probably a duck. A fox can claim to be a duck all day long. But he's still a fox." We've all heard that saying, or some version of it, a thousand times. The reason is simple: It's true. Our actions prove who we are. If a gulf exists between what we say, how we look and what we do, we're not living in a spirit of truth. A fox, even if he quacks, is still a fox. Sooner or later, it becomes obvious. I remembered this last week as I read yet another news report about candidates who claim to be Catholic and then prominently ignore their own faith on matters of public policy. We've come a long way from John F. Kennedy, who merely locked his faith in the closet. Now we have Catholic senators who take pride in arguing for legislation that threatens and destroys life -- and who then also take Communion. The kindest explanation for this sort of behavior is that a lot of Catholic candidates don't know their own faith. And that's why, in a spirit of charity, the Holy See offered its guidance and encouragement in a little document last year On Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Public Life. Nothing in this Roman document is new. But it offers a vision of public service filled with common sense. First, quoting John Paul II, it reminds us that, "man cannot be separated from God, nor politics from morality." In other words, unless our personal faith shapes our public choices and actions, it's just a pious delusion. Private faith, if it's genuine, always becomes public witness -- including political witness. Second, while Christians "must recognize the legitimacy of differing points of view about the organization of worldly affairs," they are also "called to reject, as injurious to democratic life, a conception of pluralism that reflects moral relativism." Appeals to a phony definition of pluralism and tolerance can never excuse inaction in the face of grave evil -- including attacks on the sanctity of life. Catholics can only ensure real pluralism by "living and acting in conformity" with their religious convictions so that, "through political life, society will become more just and more consistent with the dignity of the human person." Third, "(democracy) only succeeds to the extent that it is based on a correct understanding of the human person." Catholic lawmakers who do not vigorously seek to protect human dignity and the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death are not serving democracy. They are betraying it. Fourth, "those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a `grave and clear obligation to oppose' any law that attacks human life. For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them." Politics is the exercise of power. Power always has moral implications. And God will hold each of us accountable -- from the average voter to senators and presidents -- for how well we have used our political power to serve the common good and the human person. "Pro-choice" candidates who claim to be Catholic bring all of us to a crossroads in this election year. Many Catholics, including some Church leaders, argue that "(we) should not limit (our) concern to one issue, no matter how fundamental that issue is." That's true -- but it can also be misleading. Catholics have a duty to work tirelessly for human dignity at every stage of life, and to demand the same of their lawmakers. But some issues are jugular. Some issues take priority. Abortion, immigration law, international trade policy, the death penalty and housing for the poor are all vitally important issues. But no amount of calculating can make them equal in gravity. The right to life comes first. It precedes and undergirds every other social issue or group of issues. This is why Blessed John XXIII listed it as the first human right in his great encyclical on world peace, Pacem in Terris. And as the U.S. bishops stressed in their 1998 pastoral letter Living the Gospel of Life, the right to life is the foundation of every other right. The humorist James Thurber once wrote that "you can fool too many of the people too much of the time." Our job as Catholics this election year -- if we're serious about our faith -- is to not get fooled. Candidates who claim to be "Catholic" but who publicly ignore Catholic teaching about the sanctity of human life are offering a dishonest public witness. They may try to look Catholic and sound Catholic, but unless they act Catholic in their public service and political choices, they're really a very different kind of creature. And real Catholics should vote accordingly.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Bishop John M. Smith of Trenton, NJ

Bishop John M. Smith of Trenton, NJ recently took a stand for the faith, informing his flock that the questionable politics of Catholic governor McGreevey are not those "of a devout Catholic":
Smith, in a speech excerpted on the diocese's Web site, did not specify what "respect life issues" were giving him "great annoyance."

"When he refers to himself as a devout Catholic and supports legislation and programs that are contrary to the teaching of the Holy Father and the bishops, he is not a devout Catholic," Smith said, according to the Web site. "He cannot compromise what it means to be a Catholic. I speak, as your bishop, for the devout Catholics of the Diocese of Trenton. (Gov.) Jim McGreevey does not."

Smith made the remarks during his homily March 27 at a Mass at St. James Church in Red Bank, reported the online version of the diocese newspaper, The Monitor.

SOURCE: Associated Press

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz - Diocese of Lincoln, NE

On April 6, 2004, Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz, D.D., S.T.D., of the Lincoln, Ne. diocese, stated through his office to this writer that his diocese would deny Holy Communion to any manifest, persistent, obstinate sinner.

Referring to canon 915, Bruskewitz said, "We agree completely with Archbishop Raymond Burke in the action he has taken and we would take the same action in the diocese of Lincoln with regard to manifest, persistent, obstinate sinners, including politicians, regardless of which diocese they are from."

Bishop Bruskewitz of Lincoln in May 15, 1996 issued a successful diocesan synodal law, still enforced today, which carries an automatic penalty of excommunication. Informing all Catholics in his diocese of the list of dissenting organizations whose activities are contrary to the Catholic Faith, Bruskewitz has literally 'cleaned house.' Until today, however, it was unknown if he would deny the Eucharist to any manifest, persistent, obstinate sinner.

Bruskewitz's Vicar General, Monsignor Timothy J. Thorburn, J.C.L., addressed my question of whether this applied to legislators from other dioceses who were manifestly pro abortion, saying it's best for ministers to err on the side of reverence of the Eucharist, "If I had denied Holy Communion to someone who is known to be manifest, persistent, and obstinate in his sin and he later demonstrates that he had, in fact, publicly denied his promotion of, say, abortion, I then would publicly apologize to him."

Source: Bishop Bruskewitz will deny Kerry the Eucharist, by Barbara Kralis. renewamerica.us. April 6, 2004.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Bishop John C. Nienstedt of New Ulm, MN

The Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt, Bishop of New Ulm, has posted to the diocesian website a statement on the book Revelation and the Church: Vatican II in the Twenty-first Century, due to claims that it had been co-edited by his predecessor, Bishop Raymond A. Lucker:
I have been asked to comment on the work, Revelation and the Church: Vatican II in the Twenty-first Century because it claims to have been co-edited by my predecessor, Bishop Raymond A. Lucker. Actually, the "Preface" explains that Bishop Lucker died before any of the articles were written. But clearly, from the text, the inspiration for the work was his own.

Fundamentally, the book challenges the Church’s own understanding of herself as being authoritatively charged under the direction of the Holy Spirit to teach in the name of Jesus Christ on matters of faith and morals that are not infallibly defined. Because the issues here transcend the confines of any one diocese, I referred the matter to the Doctrine Committee of the United States Bishops’ Conference, asking them to render a statement on the contents of the work. The Doctrine Committee responded by sending me a book review by a systematic theologian whom they had consulted. . . . [READ MORE]

Reported by Benjamin Blosser.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Bishop Robert F. Vasa - Diocese of Baker, OR

As I have reflected and prayed about these matters for the past year I have become increasing convinced that there may be another much more subtle form of episcopal negligence which also has the potential to harm children, not only emotionally and physically, but primarily spiritually. When our Lord warned about causing His little ones to stumble He certainly would have known, with great sorrow, of the present circumstances. I am convinced that causing the little ones to stumble could also apply when those commissioned by the Church to be witnesses to and examples for them give witness to values or beliefs incompatible with the authentic teachings of the Church. Even if these persons accurately teach the truths of the Church in their words, the witness of their lives and their expression of ‘personal opinions’ contrary to Church teaching speak much more loudly and children are led, if not completely astray, at least into confusion. . . .

Bishops are now severely criticized for their failure to hold priests to a strict and appropriate code of conduct. Some suggest that the widespread legitimization of dissent from Catholic teaching plays a part in this scandal. This is an opinion with which I would agree. The scandal is focused on evil and sinful actions and I believe it is necessary to look more deeply at the underlying spiritual causes. While we are intent on eliminating sources of possible harm to the physical and emotional well being of children we must also be intent on eliminating the possible sources of spiritual harm; scandal, false teaching, bad example, and the like. These have the power to lead little ones spiritually astray and in our desire to protect children we cannot overlook them. We cannot dismiss the importance of the moral uprightness, the “outstanding moral character”, of those who hold positions of esteem in our Parishes and in our Schools.

SOURCE: "Giving Testimony to the Truth" A Pastoral Letter for Diocesan Lay Ministers.
The Most Reverend Robert F. Vasa Bishop of Baker, April 2004. Attached to the letter is an Affirmation of Personal Faith to which Bishop Vasa asks all lay ministers to give their personal consent.