At The Catholic Thing my good friend Fr. Murray has an exemplary piece about the FACT of public scandal created by Joe Biden and the FACT that the bishops of these USA haven’t given him the pastoral care that their vocations demand.
Can. 915 and can. 916 exist not for kicks but for the sake of souls.
That’s my summary. Fr. Murray expresses it his way.
My emphases and comments.
President Biden and Public Scandal
Should President Joseph Biden be admitted to Holy Communion when he attends Mass? The simple answer is, “No,” owing to his public and unwavering support for legalized abortion. [NB: “public and unwavering”] Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law states: “Those. . .obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.” Abortion, the killing of innocent unborn children, is a grave sin, as is the legalization and promotion of this heinous practice. It’s a criminal violation of an unborn person’s right to life. [What it Biden were publicly promoting, say, harsh child labor or even slavery. Would there be a hew and cry?]
In the 2002 Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life, Cardinal Ratzinger, then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), stated: “John Paul II, continuing the constant teaching of the Church, has reiterated many times that 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.” [emphasis in original]
In the 2004 Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles Ratzinger specifically instructed the U.S. bishops that a Catholic politician engages in formal cooperation with the sin of abortion when he consistently campaigns and votes for permissive abortion laws. President Biden obviously promotes the abortion license and has directed that taxpayers’ dollars pay for abortions. He’s an unapologetic and determined promoter of this immoral attack on human life. This is an indisputable fact. Just ask his supporters at Planned Parenthood and NARAL.
Ratzinger told the U.S. bishops that, dealing with such a politician, “his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.” He also cited a 2002 Declaration from the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts: “When ‘these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible,’ and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, ‘the minster of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it.’” (Emphasis in original)
The Declaration explains: “The decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgment on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.” [And it is NOT POLITICAL. What IS political, and cynically so, is for a catholic politician who knows what the Church teaches, defies the Church, and presents herself for Communion, like Pelosi and Biden do. THAT’s political.]
An objective situation of sin is scandalous in this case because such a Catholic politician who consistently promotes abortion by that very conduct actively encourages others to fall into the same sin. [That’s the point of scandal: Your sinful action leads someone else to sin. You become a “stumbling block” someone else trips on and then falls.] In Biden’s case, his well-known campaign promises to keep abortion legal and federally funded is clear evidence of his rejection of Catholic moral teaching. He plainly intended to convince other Catholics to join him in gravely sinful behavior. Such conduct renders him publicly unworthy to receive Holy Communion. [Again, this isn’t a matter of having special insight about the state of Biden’s soul… whatever that might be in his case these days. His OUTWARD ACTIONS that we don’t have to guess about are the point. Outward actions hint at the interior, the soul, but the outward actions are what we have to go by in this matter.]
The facts, and the applicability of canon 915 to those facts, are indisputable. [And yet here were are with another article trying to explain this to the mostly willingly obtuse, such as those who don’t accept that human personhood begins at conception.]
For this reason, the recent Letter of the CDF Prefect, Cardinal Ladaria, to the American bishops is disappointing, even confounding. Remarkably, he never mentions canon 915. He calls for dialogue among the bishops “so that they could agree as a Conference that support of pro-choice legislation is not compatible with Catholic teaching.” But the matter is already beyond question. Any bishop who does not agree “that support of pro-choice legislation is not compatible with Catholic teaching” should change his mind or his job. [And there’s also the Bux Protocol.]
Ladaria then calls for dialogue with Catholic politicians “who adopt a pro-choice position. . .as a means of understanding their positions and their comprehension of Catholic teaching.” Really? After almost 50 years of legalized abortion, the “pro-choice” position needs no further study. Let alone “dialogue.” It is hard to imagine that President Biden and other Catholic advocates of legalized abortion are unaware of what the Church teaches about the sanctity of human life. They just don’t follow it. [Dear Father, what we are dealing with here, as you well know, is sheer cowardice. Plain and simple.]
Ladaria calls for further dialogue among the bishops, with other episcopal conferences, and further consultation with his office. How long would this process take? It’s a needless delay in tackling a major scandal.
The Church has a duty to teach God’s law and to sanction members who egregiously and continuously exempt themselves from obedience to that law – and encourage others to do the same. Depriving them of Holy Communion, we may hope, will jar them into reforming their conduct and their opposition to God’s binding law for all mankind. [That’s the point of censures: to jar… to awaken, and not in the sense of “woke”. Censures have the purpose of slapping a person into consciousness, to get their attention and make them address the problem they’ve gotten themselves into. The Church has the obligation to do this for the sake of that person’s soul, for the sake of protecting other who might be scandalized (lured into sinning in a similar way because of the bad example that was set), and for the sake of defending the doctrine or important discipline the Church is bound to uphold.]
Public [PUBLIC] defiance of God’s prohibition of unjust killing is an attack upon the faith and unity of the Church. The Church has a responsibility before God to lead the flock away from diabolical disobedience and into grace-filled obedience.
A Catholic who falls into immoral behavior, knowing that the Church has condemned it, should be presumed by his pastor to be imperiling his soul and the souls of those he is influencing. He needs to be told that his objectively sinful behavior constitutes a culpable offense for which he needs to seek pardon after repenting. [The pastor who does NOT tell a member of his flock that he is in peril is himself at risk of GOING TO HELL.]
The American bishops should act as a group, and individually in their dioceses, to end the scandal of the continued administration of Our Lord’s Most Holy Body and Blood to the highest public official in our land. To fail to do so amounts to a refusal to uphold the Church’s canon law, to the grave harms of souls. It would be a negligent passivity, a failure to defend the sanctity of the Christ’s greatest gift to his Church.
And it would communicate to all the message that God may be mocked without consequence when an important Catholic public figure decides to support, not God’s law, but rather the gruesome linchpin of the sexual revolution, unfettered legal abortion.
I am reminded of St. Augustine’s mighty sermon about Ezekiel on bad shepherds.
Augustine, in s. 17, spoke about the heavy responsibility of teaching a message that was hard for people to hear and accept. He invoked the stern warning in Ezekiel 3 about negligent pastors, and forged ahead. Finally, Augustine began to explain himself, tell his people why he was teaching and being so tough.
Here is some of s. 17.2.
I am saying this to you and I am saving my soul. If I will have kept silent, I won’t be in great danger, I’ll be rather in utter ruin. But when I will have spoken, and when I will have fulfilled my duty, pay attention then to your own danger. What, after all, do I want? What do I desire? What do I long for? Why am I talking? Why am I sitting here? Why am I even alive, except for this intention: in order that we may live together with Christ. That’s my desire, that’s my honor, that’s my treasured possession, this is my joy, that’s my glory. But if you will not listen to me and if I haven’t been silent, I will save my soul. But I don’t want to be saved without you (Sed nolo esse salvus sine vobis.)
Sometimes, nay rather, more and more often priests and especially bishops are called on to stand up in the public square as well as their pulpits and teach the truth as the Church and nature instruct us.
If they don’t, there are eternal consequences for those priests and bishops, because they have endangered their flocks either by lack of instruction or by false instruction.
Priests and bishops who don’t teach the truth are in danger of eternal damnation.
They have to preach the truth, whether people listen or not, for their own sake if for no other reason.
In the case of catholic politicians who manifestly and consistently promote abortion, even in the face of clear teaching, the Church’s can. 915 must be applied.