A tale of two bishops

May 21, 2007 09:00 AM

While it is true that all Catholic bishops are shepherds of their flocks and successors to the Apostles, it baffles me that some bishops take strong stands on behalf of the faith, but others seek wiggle room and search for ways to compromise.

In Hartford, Connecticut, Archbishop Henry Mansell is still trying to work out a compromise over a new state law that requires hospitals to provide so-called emergency contraception to victims of sexual assault. Such treatment carries a high likelihood that a newly-conceived human being could be destroyed, and therefore church teaching absolutely forbids its use. But sources say the archdiocese is trying to work out a deal whereby emergency contraception would be offered to assault victims at Catholic hospitals-but the offer would come from a third party that is not an employee of the Catholic institution. There's still a problem, however; there can be no compromise with evil. Such an arrangement does not permit the archdiocese to wash its hands of involvement; it is still permitting the distribution of drugs that violate the teachings of the faith. Just with a nudge and a wink.


In Honduras, Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga had told Time magazine that he could not deny Holy Communion to a pro-abortion politician. But then Cardinal Rodriguez heard from pro-life leaders, who showed him the letter Pope Benedict (then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) wrote in 2004, which noted that obstinately pro-abortion Catholic politicians, after being duly instructed and warned, "must" be denied Communion. Cardinal Rodriguez basically admitted his earlier statements were wrong, and citing the Vatican ’s authority, stated that “one who is against life and who is clearly opposed to the message of the Lord Jesus, as is an abortion supporter, cannot be in Communion with Holy Mother Church.” Clearly, there is no hint of compromise in this message from Honduras.


If only Archbishop Mansell would see and be inspired by the example of his brother bishop in Central America!


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