Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lord, Hear our Prayer!

San Francisco’s Catholic weekly (September 18) carried a
Guest Commentary, By George Wesolek: “The Kennedy Catholic legacy.”.
Here is a selection from his insightful message

His death and his position on abortion as a Catholic politician highlight the great divide in American Catholicism and underscored the great tension and conflict that the bishops have on their shoulders.

On the one hand, Bishops must unify the Church. Their first job is to be pastors of their people, signs of compassion and forgiveness. I believe, contrary to some, that it would have been a tragic mistake to deny him a Catholic funeral – a harsh judgment out of keeping with that mercy and compassion that all of us, sinners that we are, look toward at the time of our deaths.
On the other hand, without any clear, public message from the Bishops about the truth of his very public life and position, the status quo in American Catholicism remains. Prominent Catholic politicians like Kennedy, Pelosi and Biden, in effect, continue to give the strong, public message to American Catholics and others that their position is somehow sanctioned, different perhaps, progressive perhaps, but well within the parameters of the Catholic faith. It is not.

And even though the Bishops speak out clearly and often about the true Catholic position on abortion, their statements are trumped, time and again, by these powerful and influential politicians who are revered by average Catholics who often don’t have a clear and sound understanding of the abortion issue.

Thus these “false prophets” lead the national abortion debate in politics and society with a much more powerful impact than the Church’s bishops. Indeed, these politicians “catechize” millions of American Catholics by their stance - -a failure-proof formula for more divisiveness.
Solving this conundrum requires reflection and discussion in the spirit of patience and respect. Still, we have the light of truth to guide us: All Catholics – bishops, clergy, religious and laity -- must speak with one voice on the issues of life and the dignity of the human person.


DDPGH said...

What keeps getting mis-represented is the documented fact that critics of the Kennedy funeral debacle unanimously, except for a relatively very few anonymous know-nothings, do indeed believe that Ted Kennedy should have been given, and indeed was entitled to by virtue of his baptism, a Catholic funeral Mass. A private Mass. It was the public spectacle of liturgical distortion that his funeral Mass was allowed to become that is disappointing, divisive, and untruthful. Yet this criticism was clearly, and respectfully, stated in lay Catholic blogs and news sites over and over and over. What does it take to be heard?

DDPGH said...

Then again, speaking at the Sept 14th Annual Partnership Dinner in Washington DC about Catholic politicians who support abortion or same-sex marriage, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, and highly regarded canon lawyer, unequivocally declared that "Neither Holy Communion nor funeral rites should be administered to such politicians...To deny these is not a judgment of the soul, but a recognition of the scandal and its effects."
Archbishop Burke has consistently shown himself to be a competent, faithful, and gently charitable authority. So this commenter stands corrected that entitlement to a funeral Mass is not solely a matter of one's baptism but is dependent on the ritual's benefit to the whole Church in incidences of prominent Catholics having given public support for abortion, active genital homosexuality, or other grave sins.