MSM attacks Archbishop Vigneron with the help of liberal Catholic collaborators

Some days ago Archbp. Alan Vigneron of Detroit stirred the anthill (which is what bishops are supposed to do when it comes to faith and morals). He reaffirmed that Catholics who actively, publicly promote unnatural, same-sex “marriage” are acting in contradiction to the Catholic Faith they otherwise claim to support. Therefore, being in interior conflict with the Faith and being in open, public conflict with the Faith, they should not receive Holy Communion. Archbp. Vigneron did not say that, from that time onward, Communion would be denied to public supporters of immoral things. He likened their choice to receive as perjury.

It seems to me that Vigneron simply asked them to be honest with themselves and the Church they profess they belong to.  He asked them to act like adults rather than self-centered children.  (My words, not his.) For more see HERE and HERE

Over at Catholic Vote Stephen Kokx looks at how the mainstream media has weighed in, with the collaboration of liberal Catholcis.  The MSM, using liberal Catholics in support, tries to turn people against the Church and portray Archbp. Vigneron and all who agree with him as a knuckle-dragging “gay”bashers.  They drag the issue away from the spiritual and doctrinal into the ditch of the political.

Let’s have a look with my emphases and comments.


Since when do outlets like Slate, Huffington Post, CNN, Esquire, and USA Today care about who receives Holy Communion? They rarely, if ever, concern themselves with the inner-workings of Jewish or Muslim worship services. [Because hating Catholics is the last acceptable prejudice.] Well, since Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron said Catholics who support redefining marriage should not receive Holy Communion, a number of secular news outlets have seen to it to let their readers know just how unpopular some Catholics think his decision is.

Here’s what Archbishop Vigneron said that’s got everybody up in arms:

For a Catholic to receive holy Communion and still deny the revelation Christ entrusted to the church is to try to say two contradictory things at once: ‘I believe the church offers the saving truth of Jesus, and I reject what the church teaches.’ In effect, they would contradict themselves. This sort of behavior would result in publicly renouncing one’s integrity and logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury.

Some Catholics respond to a situation like this by arguing Holy Communion should not be used as a political weapon. If a politician who promotes principles antithetical to Church teaching presents themselves for Communion, they should not be denied, because ultimately it is God who will decide if that politicians’ actions are right or wrong. Not the priest.

This argument is wrong on a number of fronts. Archbishop Vigneron oversees the Archdiocese of Detroit, home to 1.3 million Catholics. That’s 1.3 million souls he is responsible for getting into heaven. It’s a responsibility I would not want to have at this point in my life. As the Book of James reminds us, “not many of you should become teachers… for you will be judged more strictly.” [I am glad he brought in this point about cura animarum… the care of souls.]

As such, Archbishop Vigneron is responsible for doing everything he can to make sure those 1.3 million Catholics are not in danger of losing their souls to eternal damnation. He will be judged more strictly for his actions than the rest of us. Therefore, he is responsible for making sure, among other things, that the deposit of faith is upheld. He is also responsible for making sure those 1.3 million Catholics are able to go to confession on a regular basis, that they are able to attend Mass as frequently as possible, and that they are in a state of grace while attending Mass so they can worthily receive Holy Communion, lest they further compound their sins and offend God even more.

Outlets like Esquire and the Huffington Post are trying to turn this into a political issue by arguing Catholics can support redefining marriage if their conscience tells them, and that this is nothing more than a conservative Archbishop trying to punish liberal Catholics. [When liberals play the “political” card when they advocate dissent, they are helping the Church’s enemies.  Some, like Sr. Simone Campbell, do so pretty openly, as she did HERE.]

Nothing could be further from the truth.

[… The analysis continues with Ed Peters, the canonist… ]

Be that as it may, the Detroit Free Press made Peters seem like he was but one of a handful of supporters of Archbishop Vigneron’s statement. The Free Press quotes Fr. Thomas Reese of Georgetown University as saying “Most American bishops do not favor denying either politicians or voters Communion [Notice how he conflates “politicians” (who are public figures) with “voters” (who usually are not).] because of their positions on controversial issues.” Fr. Reese added that only about “30 or so bishops have said that pro-choice or pro-gay-marriage Catholics should not present themselves for Communion.” [A good example of governing the Church by polling and what the majority think.  Never mind right or wrong.]

Again, by citing Fr. Reese, the Free Press is attempting to undermine Archbishop Vigneron and Peters’ arguments. But as Peters points out on his blog, Fr. Reese’s statement is misleading: “Reese is commenting on how bishops act whereas I am commenting on how canon law expects bishops and others to act. Reese’s claim about bishops’ (in)action, even if true, would not make my views (actually, the 1983 Code’s views, resting on settled Church teaching) wrong, it would simply mark them as ignored.[Exactly.]

Interestingly enough, CNN also makes it seem like Peters – who[m] Esquire calls a “nuisance” and claims is merely relying on his own opinions and not Canon Law – is on the wrong side of history. At the end of the CNN article, readers are conveniently reminded that “a majority of Catholics, according to polling, disagree with [Peters’] view of Communion.” To which I would respond, thank God we don’t decide what is right and wrong in the Catholic Church based on polling data. [“politics” and “polling”]

In an effort to make Peters and Archbishop Vigneron appear even more off base, Slate interviewed the reliably left-leaning Michael Sean Winters. “The principal threat to our Catholic teaching about traditional marriage is not gay marriage,” Winters argued. “The principal threat [to our Catholic teaching about traditional marriage] is divorce.


During a wartime, hostile occupation, there will always be collaborators.

Go there and see the rest.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Titus says:

    There is commentary on canon law coming from . . . Esquire? Does this mean I should be reading the Acta Apostolicae Sedis for trite fashion advice?

  2. Ed the Roman says:

    Divorce was a twelve hour artillery barrage.

    SSM is the Sturmtruppen.

  3. Nancy D. says:

    Men and women are designed in such a way that engaging in same-sex sexual acts will always demean the inherent personal and relational Dignity of the human person. There is nothing that precludes the Pope and Bishops from mandating that before every Catholic Mass, a statement be read that those who are not in communion with The Catholic Church because they are not in a state of Grace, including those who deny The Sanctity of Human Life from the moment of conception, and deny The Sanctity of Marriage and The Family, through their condoning abortion, same-sex sexual relationships, and same-sex “marriage”, should not present themselves to receive Holy Communion.

  4. Charles E Flynn says:

    I suspect that many of the Catholics who disagree with Dr. Peters heard the new English translation of the mass for the first time last Christmas.

  5. marylise says:

    When the Church harbours heretics in her midst, she is like a mother clutching an adder to her bosom. The suckling adder steals milk from the children and poisons the mother. Everyone gets sick except the heretics who cannot get sick because they are already dead.

  6. aviva meriam says:

    Since when do outlets like Slate, Huffington Post, CNN, Esquire, and USA Today care about who receives Holy Communion? They rarely, if ever, concern themselves with the inner-workings of Jewish or Muslim worship services. [Because hating Catholics is the last acceptable prejudice.]

    I’m exhausted with this. In many protestant churches, it is expected that anyone who is NOT in their definition of a state of grace would exercise self control and NOT go forward for communion. It does not require public knowledge. My protestant friends openly acknowledge this.

    In a traditional Jewish congregation, don’t expect to be asked to participate or lead prayer (with any honors or aliyot) if one is an open proponent of something contrary to the faith.

    Why are Catholics castigated (and those from within are used by those from without) for upholding Catholic beliefs?

    Why are we surprised when a Bishop or a Pope is, in Fact Catholic?
    And how long before those on the left understand how they’re being used by the church’s enemies?

  7. Jim R says:

    A small aside: while no fan of Michael Sean Winters, I can’t really disagree that divorce is the bigger issue. Even if that is wrong, it is hardly being “off in left field” (so to speak) to hold divorce is the bigger issue.

    What strikes me as noteworthy is that MSW would come up with such a position at all…. Based on a few of his more recent posts, I honestly think the man is actually struggling with his Catholicism, and needs a bit of gentle support as he returns to the faith.

  8. TomG says:

    Jim R.: you really ought to go to Dr. Peters’ blog and check out his interaction with Winters re: SSM vs. divorce.

  9. yatzer says:

    At first I was a bit confused, thinking Georgetown was the place where a priest shocked some students by affirming Catholic teaching on homosexual behavior. But that was at George Washington University, so the priest there is maintaining his integrity and the integrity of the Faith. I still don’t understand why doing so is considered controversial in some places.

  10. BLB Oregon says:

    –“I suspect that many of the Catholics who disagree with Dr. Peters heard the new English translation of the mass for the first time last Christmas.”–

    It is not the “many” who are the greater problem. It is the dissenters living deeper in the tissue, the consecrated religious and the sacristans and the choir directors and the faculty and staff of the Catholic schools, devout Mass-goers all, who are the greater threat when infected with this kind of falsehood. They are the ones the children and young people will believe.

    I don’t believe this assault will bring down the Church, but I think it will come on harder before the tide is turned. We could lose as much real estate and suffer as much strife and apostasy as when King Henry and the princes of Germany went their own ways. (I do not mean so much outright bloodshed as that; the lie now is that there is no falsehood or wrongdoing possible, if blood is not shed and the important people are not offended.)

    The persecutors are setting the game board so that some of the good will sit on their hands and watch while the assault is carried out. Others who are otherwise very faithful are being deceived! I do not mean to sound paranoid, but it is a very bad situation, and unspeakably sad.

  11. jflare says:

    I notice one of the comments there declared that canon law changes frequently. I think he probably does not realize how long canon law has been in place in it’s present state.

  12. Bob B. says:

    “In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.” – “Considerations Regarding Proposals to give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons” approved by John Paul II in 2003.
    Seems like Bishop Gumbelton, Cardinal Schoenborn, Slate, Huffington Post, CNN, Esquire, and USA Today, et al, need to understand this, as well.

  13. drea916 says:

    I think most people would be shocked and have their feathers ruffled if it was stressed that you cannot go to communion if you are not in a state of Grace. PERIOD. These other issues aren’t really a shock if you keep that in mind.

  14. Cantor says:

    There are about 450 Roman Catholic Bishops in the US alone. How many excommunications have been declared in the past 20 years? How many people have been denied Holy Communion? Yes, there was one instance in which a priest denied it to an admitted practicing lesbian, and the priest was punished for his action.

    Priests and lawyers are welcome to their opinions, but is not the teaching Magisterium of the Church speaking quite loudly every day?

  15. Jackie L says:

    It doesn’t help when one of Detroit’s retired auxiliary bishop’s, responds within days telling everyone to continue to receive.

  16. Nancy D. says:

    Catholic Canon 750 makes it clear that those who deny The Sanctity of Human Life, and The Sanctity of Marriage and The Family are no longer in communion with The Catholic Church. To deny the personal and relational essence of the human person, who from the moment of conception, has been created in The Image and Likeness of God, equal in Dignity, while being complementary as male and female, is to deny the essence of God, and makes one an apostate to The Catholic Faith.

  17. Giuseppe says:

    Nancy D, your clarity is impressive. If priests and bishops were this clear, we would never need EMHCs, as there would only be a dozen or so people receiving communion at each mass.

  18. gjp says:

    Jackie L: Just Gumbleton being Gumbleton.

    Gumbleton popping up allows me to reset this little blast from the past:

  19. Kathleen10 says:

    JimR, at the risk of misinterpreting what you commented, I would suggest that divorce is in no way comparable to same-sex marriage. Divorce has a destructive result, particularly if children are involved, but it is far, far less of an effect than what accepting as a society, what same-sex marriage brings. We are in the early stages of this Brave New World of same-sex marriage, and what is to come is unknown, entirely, because it’s uncharted territory. No society has been here, so no one can advise on what to expect, except maybe God’s rightful wrath, and we might be seeing that already. We do know what God has said about it, despite some denomination’s claims that “God is still talking”, that part of it seems clear enough.
    In divorce in the traditional sense, the parties the usual suspects, a man and a woman. It is a paradigm that may not have worked well in that case, but, we can say the involved aspects of a right and true relationship are there. “Male and female He created them”. Children are the issue of such relationships, also part of God’s great plan. This of course cannot be said of same-sex relationships, and that makes all the difference. In our current climate of the dominant culture storming and fussing and threatening everyone into virtual silence, children are already caught in the crosshairs. I feel sick when I think of how many children are being used as pawns in this, as happened apparently, the other day on some American morning program, where the hostess brought her five year old daughter out onto the stage and asked her on tv, what she would do if she wanted to marry a girl? This is ugly stuff, and it’s going to get uglier. (See the website MassResistance to get a hint) But when good people start to question themselves if they are being intolerant, unfair, mean-spirited, and even (God forbid!) bigots, then we need to all step back and stiffen up our spines! The last thing to do is to make moral equivocations between what God intended going wrong, and what God did NOT intend and is evil. Anyway, when people mention divorce in this context it is a ploy to get you off balance and quickly remind you that hey, you people DIVORCE and that is very damaging to society and God’s plan, so what are YOU talking about. It’s an attempt to make you back off, basically, and that you should remember the dirt that heterosexuals have kicked up (hopefully your own) and to make you feel a little contrite. It works! Most people don’t know what to say to that except acknowledge divorce is damaging, but it isn’t half as damaging as putting homosexual couples on an equal footing with heterosexual couples! One is natural, created and ordained by God. The other is an aberration, unnatural and mentioned specifically in Scripture as an “abomination”.

    Quick point about Holy Communion? Suffice to say, I know nothing of Canon Law, Rites, and such. But, aside from the horrifying words of that retired bishop in Detroit, who reassured the people they should still go to Holy Communion, based on their FEELINGS, I would like to ask if it isn’t even a tad MORE important that we do not commit sacrilege by approaching Holy Communion and receiving Jesus in body, blood, soul, and divinity when we are in a mortal state of sin, and that this receiving is an insult to Him, and ought to be the bigger consideration than even our important “feelings”. In other words, the emphasis I see is on the emotions of the laity, when that ought to be second to ensuring that our God is not received in a poor manner or by someone who ought not for reasons that are known. This is what I would think would be job one for all clergy! In my case this only goes to prove that being completely jaded can actually go along with also being completely naive, because I really would think that job one.

    In order to support the good Bishop in Detroit (Jurgenen)?, I have found his contact information. No doubt the Bishop could really use some support and encouragement right about now, especially if you live in Illinois. Personally I don’t always say where I’m from. Keeps em guessing. I will say it if in fact I live in the area in question. Sometimes I lie and put their states initials.
    Anyway the poor bishop’s general email address is:

  20. Pingback: The Slide Toward State Control - BIG PULPIT

  21. veritasmeister says:

    Kathleen10, I think we need to take a full, comprehensive perspective regarding the issue, as this isn’t simply about homosexuality.

    Rod Dreher states in an intriguing recent article that this battle was lost decades ago when we in effect allowed marriage to be cheapend, denigrated and effectively re-interpreted in light of 1960s sensibilities. Yes, this has set the stage for greater acceptance of gay relationships. And while divorce itself may not measure up in severity, divorce/remarriage of Christians without a genuine annulment constitutes adultery, a real whopper of a sin.

    Eucharistic sacrilege is a grave matter, and the good bishop is to be commended for taking this stand. But again, we seem to have dug ourselves into a hole. Why shouldn’t somebody like William Bennett be denied Eucharist by similar considerations? Since when is it in keeping with the traditional teachings of the faith to publicly claim that a particular secularized country, not the Catholic Church, is the world’s last best hope, and that the separation of church and state is a laudable state of affairs? How many conservative American Catholics in recent years have openly opined that the state is incompetent to make theological judgments and commitments and to enact the Social Reign of Christ?

  22. Magash says:

    As one of my fellow catechists tells the youth under our charge:It is promised by Christ that the Universal Church will never fail, no where did Christ promise that the Church in America will not be wiped out. We are always one generation away from failure.
    So no, Cantor, the failure of the American bishops to act against Modernism is no more the Magisterium speaking than the failure of the eastern bishops in the fifth century to act against Arianism was the Magisterium speaking at that time. Bishops and even college of bishops speak as the Magisterium only when they speak in concert with the Pope and the Universal Church.
    As for Michael Sean Winters even a broken clock can be right twice a day. Easy Divorce is the greatest problem. Along with contraception it has laid the groundwork for the destruction of the family. Same-sex “marriage” is just the final destruction of the foundation. Once marriage becomes about “me”. Once sex becomes about “me”, about recreation and separated from the creation of children then concepts like same-sex “marriage” are almost inevitable. Logically there is no reason to prohibit them.
    Fear not, though. We are on the right side of history. I firmly believe Cardinal George correct. It is just a matter of time. God does not impose arbitrary rules on us. If he prohibits something it is because those things are bad for us. Bad for our souls in eternity, bad for ourselves in the material world too. A country, a civilization that destroys the family, that sacrifices its own children to the god of convenience, destroys also its own economy. Destroys its future. It will fall, and when it does the Church, no matter how far it has been pushed underground will still be, and will be there to help in its reconstruction. This isn’t our first rodeo. We have been here before.

  23. eben says:

    I’m no expert in Cannon Law, but I’d have to lend my support to the comment above by Nancy D. It certainly expresses my sentiment and beliefs on this subject. Ever curious, I searched for and may have found an interesting resource for reading about Cannon Law:

    Heavy lifting there.
    As to this continued assault on the Church vis-a-vis the un-natural marriage lobby, I’m impressed by Fr. Z’s comment concerning Liberal Catholics collaborating with the MSM agenda pushers. This all calls to my mind that one of the principle tools in the arsenal of the Evil is division; the subtle technique of divide to conquer. I pray we’ll see nothing less than a miracle result from this in that the harder the Secular Humanists push and to the extent they appear to be ever more successful, they will simultaneously harden the core (“nut”) of Orthodoxy and then watch in dismay as that core slowly enlarges as more and more find their faith renewed in the struggle. We may well be seeing the beginnings of this; at my Parish, we’re certainly experiencing a marvelous resurgence. So marvelous its getting difficult to find a parking space! Or, more simply put, that which doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger!

  24. future_sister says:

    Actually got an awesome homily at my liberal parish here on campus last night. The priest explained that the Eucharist is not a symbol but that by a miracle when the priest speaks the words of consecration Jesus Christ is truly present and as such we must be in a state of grace in order to receive, and we must go to confession regularly. I was shocked, usually the homilies are the “feel good” type, but this is the same priest who will hear confessions no matter when you ask him, even 5 mins before Mass (I don’t bug him that close to Mass but others do all the time)

  25. Matthew the Wayfarer says:

    It is a shame that the Holy Spirit isn’t still zapping those who partake of the Holy Mysteries while in a sinful state. People would be dropping like flies and maybe convince people that GOD is real and still on HIS Throne! I know know that sounds mean but hey, why not?

  26. veritasmeister says:

    With regard to The Slide Toward State Control pingback, Donald DeMarco merits a ‘good grief’ response for his assertion that separation of church and state is meant to protect the church. What it really means is the state does not have to take heed of church teaching, so is unfettered and free to do as it wishes, including encroachments upon the church. As Fr. Chad Ripperger [FSSP until a couple of years ago] has aptly stated, separation of church and state means the state has already harnessed and hamstrung the church by declaring that the church is forbidden to pursue the Social Reign of Christ.

  27. JMody says:

    The excellent word for people like this is “Quisling” – after the Norwegian politician who collaborated with the Nazis.

  28. Cantor says:

    Magash – You’re correct about the issue of Arianism. It’s a problem that plagued the Church for three centuries. And it was eventually resolved after conflicting prouncements, and interventions by civil authorities taking sides.

    I’m sorry, but when the Magisterium remains silent, it speaks loudly. Can you cite 50 bishops in the world who have acted to deny the Eucharist? 20? 10? Are there no righteous bishops in the Church? Is it only Jean Valjean who reminds us that to be silent is to be damned?

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