…if you are trying to think through the question of abortion, “Eucharistic coherence”, voting and all that, particularly in light of the possibility that SCOTUS is about to finally hand the “prolife” movement the pyrrhic victory of overturning Roe. The fantasy that this will magick away abortion is of a piece with the entire right wing fantasy that law can change hearts and minds. It will not. So if you are a Catholic who wants to actually think with the Church, or a prolifer who wants to actually save lives and not simply impose a regime founded on force, fear, blood, and iron that will, soon and very soon, be destroyed by a democracy that has had it up to here with MAGA antichrist religion, this is my crie de coeur. It is directed to those Catholics who still a) think with the Church and not with the GOP talking points and b) still think that before a democracy changes, free citizens have to be persuaded, not have policies rammed down their throats by fanatics.
Only 13% of Americans want to outlaw abortion. As long as that remains the case, the entire project of trying ram it down the throats of 87% of their fellow citizens will remain an inherently authoritarian project as doomed as Prohibition. Here’s just the start, but please read the whole piece and give it some thought:
American Bishops are struggling with the idea of “eucharistic coherence.” The issue presented to them is, in a nutshell, what to do about politicians (most obviously, the observant Catholic President Joseph Biden) who hold a pro-choice position on the question of abortion. Should they be subject to some as-yet-to-be-defined discipline?
The argument put forward seems very simple to a portion of American Catholics: How can you square what the proponents of this move term “support for abortion” with a Catholic faith that teaches abortion to be an “abominable crime” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2271)?
On the other hand, many Catholics see the move as an attempt to politicize and even weaponize the Eucharist on behalf of a shortsighted political agenda that does not deal with the enormous social, political, theological, and moral complexities of the American Church.
Among this latter group would appear to be the pope himself. In a recent interview, when he was asked about “bishops who want to deny Communion to the president and others who hold office,” Pope Francis flatly declared: “I have never refused the Eucharist to anyone, to anyone. I don’t know if anyone in that condition came, but I never, never refused the Eucharist. As a priest, that is. Never.”
Pope Francis then added: “The problem is not the theological problem—that is simple—the problem is the pastoral problem: How do we bishops deal with this principle pastorally? And if we look at the history of the Church, we will see that every time the bishops have dealt with a problem not as pastors, they have taken a political stance on a political problem. . . . What must the pastor do? Be a pastor. Be a pastor and don’t go around condemning. . . . But if he goes out of the pastoral dimension of the Church, he immediately becomes a politician: You see this in all the accusations, in all the non-pastoral condemnations the Church makes.”
I am not a bishop and will not presume to tell them their job. But I am, I hope, a faithful member of the flock—as well as a citizen of the United States charged by the Church with the job of actively participating in our democracy. As a layperson, it actually falls to me, far more than to the Church’s shepherds, to do the work of sanctifying the secular order. I do this out of a desire to protect human life from conception to natural death as the Church teaches.
At the altar, the priest presides. But in the world, we laity preside. So when the bishops contemplate barring a president of a secular nation-state from the Eucharist on the grounds of “eucharistic coherence,” this directly impinges on what the Church itself declares to be my proper sphere of authority as a layman and citizen called to involvement in our political process.
The rest is here. My prayer is that this will help contribute to a national conversation that is long past due in the Church. Let me know what you think in the comboxes.