Monday, May 24, 2004

Whose Battlefield Is It Anyway?

There is a popular assumption among Catholics in America, that when a member of the Kennedy family speaks on matters of faith, they are well-informed. Ms Victoria Reggie Kennedy, wife of Senator Edward Kennedy (who keeps getting re-elected in spite of everything), is not.

In an opinion piece in yesterday's Washington Post, she displays her militant naivete for all the world to see:

"As a Catholic, I am deeply saddened and concerned by the threatened denial of Communion to pro-choice Catholic politicians. This course of action takes both the church and political discourse in this country to a new and dangerous place, and I urge that it be rejected... So, then, what is the alleged violation of church law that would subject some politicians to de facto excommunication? Essentially, proponents of this harsh penalty make the flawed and intellectually dishonest argument that a vote not to criminalize abortion is the moral and church law equivalent of the act of abortion itself."

Not saddened enough, I suspect.

I could go on, but there are so many mistakes in these two paragraphs alone. She knows full well the "alleged violation of church law" is cooperation in grave sin, which is not "intellectually dishonest," but is indeed "equivalent of the act." Furthermore, the Church has neverbeen shy about saying who can and cannot receive communion. The beginning is a good place to start:

"For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, 'This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.' For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes. Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying. If we discerned ourselves, we would not be under judgment; but since we are judged by (the) Lord, we are being disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world." (1 Cor 11: 23-32)

It seems there weren't any Kennedys around to set Saint Paul straight, when he had the unmitigated gall to speak on behalf of Mother Church in this way. In the two millenia since, She has muddled through somehow.

And She will keep on muddling through, long after this would-be dynasty has fallen.

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