Bishop Barron on Biden
Bishop Robert Barron has only been a diocesan bishop for a month, but, on August 5th, he used his Word on Fire media platform to wade in to perhaps the most controversial ecclesial argument in the US Church; that of Eucharistic coherence.
I say controversial, but of course, it really shouldn't be. It is blindingly obvious where the Church stands on the issue and what she teaches. This argument is also obvious in natural law and reason. But Pope Francis himself has made the issue controversial by very personal interventions against US bishops who are standing up for the integrity of Church teaching by upholding it. Most notably, Archbishop Cordileone. In an extraordinarily vicious move by the Argentinian Pontiff who talks a lot about devolving power to bishops, while, in truth, running one of the most restrictive Pontificates in history, undermined the Archbishop's authority, by receiving Pelosi in the Vatican after Archbishop Cordileone banned her from receiving Holy Communion, and allowing her to receive at a Mass he presided at.
Pope Francis has consistently spoken about the values of collegiality and decentralization associated with the Second Vatican Council, including calling for a “healthy decentralization” in the Church during a 2015 ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops.
Yet it is hard to see this as anything but a decentralizing papacy. Instead, we’ve seen sweeping assertions of papal authority and central control on multiple fronts, especially when it comes to clerical sexual abuse and finances.
He starts his argument by dismantling Biden's defence of his own position:
"Opposition to abortion is not a matter of doctrine in the strict sense of the term, but rather a conclusion drawn from moral reasoning and from the findings of objective science. It is an indisputable fact that human life—which is to say, a living human being with a distinctive genetic structure and identity—comes into existence at the moment of conception. It is furthermore a fundamental axiom of ethics that innocent human life ought never to be attacked. These insights and principles are the foundation of an argument against abortion that can and should be made in the public forum; they are decidedly not a matter of “dogma” peculiar to Catholicism. I fully understand that people might disagree with the line of reasoning that I’ve proposed. Fine, let’s argue the matter in the public forum and see which of us can garner majority support. But please don’t tell me that I’m imposing a dogma on you."He smashes through Biden's line that he does not want to impose his belief on others:
"The same goes for tax codes, anti-trust regulations, minimum wage requirements, civil rights statutes, etc. Laws don’t suggest; they impose. And behind every truly just law, there is some moral principle: preserving life, establishing greater justice, protecting the poor, fostering the common good, etc. So if you were to ask me whether I was working to impose on the entire society a law that would protect the rights of the unborn, I would say, “Yes.” And then I would add: “And what’s your point?”"He then moves on to the argument made by Mario Cuomo some 35 years ago and then oft repeated by all and sundry since: “I am personally opposed to abortion, but publicly I support it.”
"opposition to abortion, as we have just shown, is not a conviction born of “dogma” but rather of moral reasoning, it is utterly incoherent to claim that one can hold to the position privately but not defend it publicly. It would be precisely analogous to someone in the nineteenth century saying that though he personally finds slavery abhorrent, he will do nothing to eliminate it or even to stop its spread. It would also be precisely analogous to someone in the mid-twentieth century saying that though his personal conviction is that Jim Crow laws are morally repugnant, he will fight publicly to keep them in place."Bishop Barron does not mince his words in this wonderful article, which puts him squarely at odds with the progressive bishops and the Pope on this matter. He finishes by describing the President's position as "repellent":
I can't let this paragraph pass without some comment (sorry). It just strikes me that, here, the Pope is confused about what Church teaching on this matter is and so he misrepresents it with the intention of portraying the opposite of Church teaching as less "harsh" and a "gift". It seems to me this, in and of itself, is a great travesty and a complete betrayal of the office he holds. The Church teaches that the reason "those who are not in the community cannot take Communion" is because of 1 Cor 11:27:
Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink of the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and of the Blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself; and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eatheth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the Body of the Lord. (1 Cor 11:27–29).In his final encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Pope John Paul II quotes St. John Chrysostom:
I too raise my voice, I beseech, beg and implore that no one draw near to this sacred table with a sullied and corrupt conscience. Such an act, in fact, can never be called “communion,” not even were we to touch the Lord’s body a thousand times over, but “condemnation,” “torment,” and “increase of punishment.”John Paul II explains the reason why:
The celebration of the Eucharist … cannot be the starting-point for communion; it presupposes that communion already exists, a communion which it seeks to consolidate and bring to perfection. … Invisible communion, though by its nature always growing, presupposes the life of grace, by which we become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4), and the practice of the virtues of faith, hope and love. … Keeping these invisible bonds intact is a specific moral duty incumbent upon Christians who wish to participate fully in the Eucharist by receiving the body and blood of Christ. The Apostle Paul appeals to this duty when he warns: “Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (1 Cor 11:28). … I therefore desire to reaffirm that in the Church there remains in force, now and in the future, the rule by which the Council of Trent gave concrete expression to the Apostle Paul’s stern warning when it affirmed that, in order to receive the Eucharist in a worthy manner, “one must first confess one’s sins, when one is aware of mortal sin.” … Christ is the truth and he bears witness to the truth (cf. Jn 14:6; 18:37); the sacrament of his body and blood does not permit duplicity.
Thanks be to God we can rely on the Pope for some things - be grateful for small mercies I suppose! The problem is, he doesn't back this up with any action; in fact, his actions appear, to all and sundry, to tacitly contradict his words here. For Catholics like Pelosi and Biden, how hollow do his condemnations sound when they are welcomed and rewarded by him?
OK so I think what he is saying is that if you're not in Communion you can't expect to be treated like you are in Communion, BUT, the way to deal with this as a priest is to do nothing. Is that right? Be pastoral and not to do anything. Which is the opposite of Canon 915. Is that right? 🤷 Canon 915: "who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion."