By Judie Brown
A recent article regarding Church teaching and the Eucharist really rattled me. It carried the good news that Chile’s retired cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez stated publicly that “Catholic politicians who voted to legalize abortion in Chile cannot receive the sacraments until they show public signs of repentance.” Yet it also carried the distressful news that left-wing Jesuit Fr. Felipe Berrios responded by suggesting that the cardinal’s words of instruction to pro-abortion politicians were “heartless” and examples of “pastoral terrorism.” Another Chilean commentator excused the pro-abortion politicians by saying: “We must say no to the right to freely have an abortion, but at the same time learn to trust in the mature consciences of our brethren.”
How can a Catholic experience the proper formation of conscience if those responsible for that task through education in Catholic magisterial teaching and Church law excuse public sin? We must turn to those in the clergy who teach the truth.
For many years I have called for the Church to enforce its own laws, particularly Canon 915—the Church law cited by Cardinal Estevez. It states in simple terms: “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.” (emphasis added)
Cardinal Estevez was enforcing Church law, while those who disparage him contribute further to a confusion that, according to Cardinal Raymond Burke, is growing daily. Too many Catholic leaders in the Church are misleading souls instead of following the examples of these two heroic cardinals who have never backed away from the truth.
We live in an age of confusion, an age of deception, and an age of falsehoods being bantered about as new and alternative truths. As Cardinal Burke made clear, such Church leaders—beginning with Pope Francis—have muddied the lines between the undeniable and unchanging truth of the natural law and their personal aspirations that emphasize pastoral care at the expense of avoiding magisterial teaching. Such actions, whether intended or not, cause tremendous damage to Catholic souls. Confusing truth with so-called pastoral care marginalizes those who struggle and work to be faithful while it emboldens those who would see the church embrace adultery, sodomy, contraception, homosexual marriage, and abortion.
But such machinations will not succeed, as they cannot alter the truth. And the absolute truth is that Christ is present in the Holy Eucharist. The absolute truth is that a child is present body and soul at the moment of creation/conception. These two truths are inseparable. These two truths are at the very heart of what it means to be a Catholic. To deny either, to refute either, to oppose either, or to minimize either results in the loss of your Catholic identity before God.
In an hour when people are routinely beheaded, run over by vans, stabbed, shot, blown up, raped, and murdered by actual terrorists, a term like Father Berrios’ “pastoral terrorism” is shameful, embarrassing, and a sign of the confusion Pope Francis has created.
Pray for our church and for its shepherds, but recognize the hour we are in, and have no fear of defending the preborn, Christ in the Eucharist, or His holy Church.
Holy zeal is required of us at this hour. Reflect upon these words of Pope Benedict XVI:
Dear friends! God guides His Church, maintains her always, and especially in difficult times. Let us never lose this vision of faith, which is the only true vision of the way of the Church and the world. In our heart, in the heart of each of you, let there be always the joyous certainty that the Lord is near, that He does not abandon us, that He is near to us and that He surrounds us with His love.
Christ is with us! Be not afraid.