Christ among the Doctors of the Law



Friday, March 12, 2010

Abps. Dolan and Listecki on holy Communion for pro-aborts

Archbishops Dolan of New York and Listecki of Milwaukee recently came under fire for comments they made seeming to express reluctance to withhold holy Communion from Catholic politicians under various conditions. Particularly in open-forum comment boxes (always to be taken with shovel-fulls of salt, those!), there's a lot of sky-is-falling carping against the prelates for shirking their duties, abandoning babies, betraying Pope Benedict, and so on. Hogwash.

Neither prelate -- whose commitments to and sacrifices for Church teaching dwarf the puny gestures of most of us -- has announced a Communion policy at all. Instead, both made informal remarks to reporters in the midst of addressing other topics. Listecki's comments, for that matter, expressly refrain from making a decision in concrete cases, and Dolan's make the totally-correct points that withholding Communion should not be a pastor's first response and that he intends to follow the lead of prior popes in this area. Now, if that "lead" is, among other things, Ratzinger/Benedict's 2004 directions that Communion can be withheld under certain circumstances, who can complain? In any case, time will tell.

Words are important, to be sure, and in the modern world major prelates need to be constantly vigilant about their words; but actions speak louder than words, and, in the end, what bishops do in regard to the Eucharist and manifest public sinners is more important than what they might or might not have said about the Eucharist and manifest public sinners.