San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has blasted the 60 “Catholic” Democrat congressmembers who published a defense of their public support for abortion.
In their open “Statement of Principles,” the 60 Democrats assert that the U.S. bishops should not deny Holy Communion to professed Catholics who promote abortion.
The open letter was published online on June 18 to coincide with the June meeting of the bishops, who discussed, among other things, the question of “Eucharistic coherence” and conditions under which a Catholic should not present himself to receive Holy Communion.
In their letter, the Catholic Democrats insisted they “seek the Church’s guidance and assistance but believe also in the primacy of conscience.”
“In recognizing the Church’s role in providing moral leadership, we acknowledge and accept the tension that comes with being in disagreement with the Church in some areas,” they declare.
In his response, Cordileone notes that the statement “raises many troubling questions” and that “the public nature of the statement invites a public response and provides an excellent opportunity for candid dialogue.”
“A ‘consistent moral framework for life’ would logically seem to exclude laws that enable the killing of the most vulnerable and innocent in society: the unborn,” he declares in his June 23 essay in First Things.
“Surely the members of Congress know, as committed Catholics, that the early Church described abortion as a form of homicide,” he adds, “and that the Christian community condemned abortion as early as the first century in the Didache.”
While the Catholic Democrats insist that they are “committed to making real the basic principles that are at the heart of Catholic social teaching,” he states, they ignore one of the most basic principles of Catholic belief: “Don’t intentionally kill, or collude in enabling others to kill, innocent human life.”
The archbishops saves some of his choicest expressions for the heart of his response, underscoring the hypocrisy of the signers of the statement.
Replying to the statement’s claim that in all these issues, “we seek the Church’s guidance and assistance but believe also in the primacy of conscience,” Cordileone declares, “It’s hard to see this passage as anything less than evasion.”
“Conscience is not deciding what’s right or wrong for oneself,” he states. “We don’t invent truth; we search it out with ‘the Church’s guidance,’ and then submit ourselves to it.”
“The abortion issue involves not just a tactical disagreement on a policy matter,” he continues. “This is a heinous evil. It’s comparable to ‘disagreeing’ on the evil of lynching or human trafficking.”
It is the statement’s signers and not the bishops who “weaponize” the Eucharist, the archbishop declares, “precisely by issuing their public letter.”
The letter is, in fact, an exercise in “calculated cynicism,” Cordileone contends, whereas the bishops’ motivation is pastoral: “the salvation of souls and reparation of scandal.”
“There is nothing punitive in stating and restating the truth of Catholic belief, and its implications for an authentically Catholic life,” he states.