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Cardinal McCarrick, Sacrilege Is A Bad Choice for “Pro-Choice” Kerry

 April 18, 2004  For immediate release

     In early April,  Pope John Paul II met with a group of U.S. bishops during their ad limina visits. He called them to reform saying, "In the life of every bishop the challenge of interior renewal must involve an integral understanding of his service as 'pastor gregis' (pastor of the flock), entrusted by Christ's will with a specific ministry of pastoral governance in the Church and the responsibility and apostolic power which accompany that ministry."

     The pope's call for bishops to exercise responsibility and "apostolic power" is necessary and welcome. There is much to concern faithful Catholics about the actions, or rather inaction, of our bishops. Just take one cleric, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of the Archdiocese of Washington, formerly of Newark, NJ.   The Cardinal met privately with presidential candidate Senator John Kerry two days after discussing his views on Kerry and the Eucharist with Newsweek reporter Melinda Henneberger.
     A believing Catholic who loves the Eucharist could hope that Cardinal McCarrick admonished the senator and told him he would not allow him to commit sacrilege in his diocese by receiving Our Lord while he repudiates His teaching by consistently voting for abortion.
The Cardinal could tell the senator he must take this action because of his love for Our Lord and his personal concern for Kerry's soul. A possible scenario? Well yes, anything is possible. Likely? Not in view of the cardinal's past actions.

     When he was Archbishop of Newark, McCarrick allowed his Cathedral church to be used by pro-abortion Governor Christine Todd Whitman for an interfaith prayer service as part of her inaugural events. His recorded remarks are chilling in their detachment and courteous indifference. It reminds one of Cardinal Bernardin’s use of the "seamless garment" to undercut efforts to defend the unborn. (Yes, killing babies is wrong, but.... )

      The Cardinal also has allowed AFL-CIO head John Sweeney, a radical pro-abort, to be honored and feted at more than one Catholic function in D.C.  Continuous opposition from courageous local Catholics about this and other scandals has no apparent impact on the Cardinal's support for prominent figures who publicly reject Church teachings. Can one believe the Cardinal's words defending the unborn when he treats those who advocate their murder as honored guests? Hardly -- rather it appears those with money and power can do almost anything without fear of serious censure.
     Melinda Henneberger’s Newsweek interview with Cardinal McCarrick, if accurate, is particularly troubling.  She quotes the cardinal:

"'I would find it hard to use the Eucharist as a sanction,' he said gently. 'You don’t know what’s in anyone’s heart when they come before you. It’s important that everyone know what our principles are, but you’d have to be very sure someone had a malicious intent [before denying him communion.]' McCarrick is surprisingly humble, and a reluctant judge. 'It’s between the person and God,’ he said. Should Kerry or someone in his campaign seek counsel on Catholic protocol? 'What they do,' he demurred, 'is really their business and not mine.' The archdiocese has gotten some calls on the subject from rank-and-file Catholics, but he declined to characterize the faithful as a monolith: 'Obviously, we run the spectrum in the Catholic Church, from people who feel very annoyed with their politicians to those who are very supportive.'"

     This is language to make faithful Catholics weep. Are we not the flock? Is the state of our souls not a concern for our shepherds? Is it not the business of the shepherd to go after the lost sheep and protect the flock from wolves? Is not "admonish the sinner" one of our corporal works of mercy? Do we measure the "spectrum" of belief among the faithful before taking action? Is this a servant of the people of God speaking or a Church politician?
     Cardinal McCarrick has been selected to head the bishops' task force on how to deal with pro-abortion Catholics who hold public office. As Catholic leader of the nation's capitol he is perhaps an appropriate selection. On the other hand, the cardinal unquestionably hobnobs with the rich and famous of D.C.'s political establishment and the liberal elite. It is a heady atmosphere offering grave temptations to base decisions on human respect.
     Remember also that Cardinal McCarrick is the same cleric who held the secret meeting of dissenters at the Catholic Cultural Center last year. He was out of the country when it was  arranged and claimed he didn't know about it, but it is hard to reconcile that level of naiveté with
the shrewd and polished individual he appears to be. As a senior government executive said, "Staff members set up meetings according to what they believe their boss wants."

     And so we return to the question at hand. Should John Kerry be denied Communion? Unquestionably yes. Canon 915 says nothing about "malicious intent." It reads,  those "who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion." Kerry has been warned and admonished and he "obstinately persists in manifest grave sin." To give him  Communion sacrilegiously is condemned by the Church. It is also a serious public scandal that will probably lead others into sin. If that doesn't concern the cardinal it certainly should!

     There are many couples in invalid marriages who long to return to the Sacraments but do not because of their irregular situations and their respect for what the Church teaches. What does it say to them when John Kerry (who Catholic League head, William Donohue, points out may not  be validly married in the Church) is allowed to receive Communion? What does it say to all of us that so-called Catholic politicians crucify Our Lord in his tiny babies and then sacrilegiously receive Holy Communion? Is it any wonder that three quarters of professed Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist? How many among those disbelievers are bishops of our Church?

     We urge Cardinal McCarrick and all bishops to listen to the Holy Father and to exercise their apostolic power to defend the faith.  It is the highest form of charity to do so. 


Mary Ann Kreitzer
Les Femmes
Woodstock, VA       
Diocese of Arlington

Cecilia H. Martin, Ed.  
The Catholic Advocate  
Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida    

Georgene Sorenson, President
Romans in the Desert
Diocese of Tucson  

Betty L. Gudat  
Defenders of the Magisterium  
San Antonio, Texas

Valerie Lubitz, President
Los Pequenos de Cristo
P.O. Box 16117
Albuquerque, NM 87191-6117

Michael and Donna Marek
Ogdensburg, NY  

Diocese of Ogdensburg

Orlando Truth  
P.O. Box 495  
Tangerine, FL 32777

Katherine A. Parker
Women at the Cross
Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama