Sunday, June 25, 2006

Partisan politics

Peter Steinfels, who writes the Beliefs column in the Saturday New York Times, writes:
For years, Roman Catholic bishops have struggled to find an effective way to deal with Catholic politicians who reject or ignore church teachings on abortion and other moral questions that the church considers fundamental.

To say nothing at all, the bishops were convinced, would signal that these moral principles did not really matter. Confrontation, on the other hand, often proved counterproductive. In different ways, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago, who died in 1996, and Cardinal John O'Connor of New York, who died in 2000, tried to resolve this dilemma.
. . .
Cardinal McCarrick, in his recent remarks, which were largely overshadowed by reports about the bishops' approval of altered translations of the prayers Catholics use at Mass, did not go back on the bishops' 2004 decision. "Bishops can come to different prudential and pastoral judgments in this area," he said.
. . .
In a final, more personal conclusion, he expressed "fear that the intense polarization and bitter battles of partisan politics may be seeping into the broader ecclesial life of our Catholic people and maybe even of our conference." Yes, the bishops are "called to teach the truth," he said, but "there should be no place in the Body of Christ for the brutality of partisan politics, the impugning of motives, or turning differences in pastoral judgment into fundamental disagreements on principle."

To which we say "Amen." The entire article is here.