At Last! A Voice From the Wilderness

Commenting that politicians lost no time in reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision to let the Texas abortion law go into effect, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco wasted no time in taking the teachings of the Catholic Church into the fray. After all, several of the politicians complaining were described as Catholic, including President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. And Cordileone brought his commentary to their backyard, with an Op Ed piece in the Washington Post.

Simply put, he said, “I see matters differently.”

“As a faith leader in the Catholic community, I find it especially disturbing that so many of the politicians on the wrong side of the preeminent human rights issue of our time are self-professed Catholics. This is a perennial challenge for bishops in the United States: This summer, we provoked an uproar by discussing whether public officials who support abortion should receive the sacrament of the Eucharist. We were accused of inappropriately injecting religion into politics, of butting in where we didn’t belong.”

Cordileone, Salvatore J., Opinion: Our duty to challenge Catholic politicians who support abortion rights, Washington Post, 5 Sept 2021

Archbishop then went on to describe what he called “this country’s last great human rights movement” and the evils of racism. Noting that in 1948, Archbishop Joseph Rummel of New Orleans “did not ‘stay in his lane’,” he took aim at segregationist White Catholics with a long effort of moral persuasion:

  • In 1948, two Black students were admitted to the Notre Dame Seminary;
  • In 1951, white and colored signs were removed from Catholic churches;
  • In 1953, he ordered an end to segregation in the diocese, pointing out Catholics of color, “share…the same spiritual life and destiny”;
  • In 1955, he closed a church for refusing to accept a Black priest; and,
  • In 1956, he wrote a pastoral letter condemning racial segregation.

Archbishop Rummel threatened opponents of desegregation with excommunication and in fact, in 1962, excommunicated 3 segregationists.

“Was that wrong? Was that weaponizing the Eucharist?” Archbishop Cordileone asked. “No. Rummel recognized that prominent, high-profile public advocacy for racism was scandalous: It violated core Catholic teachings and basic principles of justice, and also led others to sin.”

He went on to say, “abortion is the…most pressing human rights challenge of our time,” the blood of 60 million innocent American children “cries out for justice” And he also made note of the part of the Texas law that opponents have so far ignored: Texas is investing $100 million towards funding pregnancy centers, adoption, maternity homes, and free services such as counseling, as well as diapers, formula and job training for mothers who choose life.

“You cannot be a good Catholic and support expanding a government-approved right to kill innocent human beings,” he wrote. “This is hardly inappropriate for a pastor to say. If anything, Catholic political leaders’ response to the situation in Texas highlights the need for us to say it all the louder.”

Well said, Archbishop! Well said!

This article, At Last! A Voice From the Wilderness is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
Do not repost the entire article without written permission. Reasonable excerpts may be reposted so long as it is linked to this page.

Phillip Neri

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