Let me begin in San Francisco, which is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is also one of the most salacious. It wasn’t too long ago, last October to be exact, that we read about Archbishop George Niederauer giving the body and blood of Christ in Holy Eucharist to two members of the ‘Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.’ After several Catholics expressed outrage, the Archbishop claimed he didn’t notice the garb these two men were wearing when they approached him for the sacrament during the Mass. While his apology was certainly appropriate, his original action boggles my simple little mind.
I almost believed that he had honestly not noticed the outrageous face makeup and costuming worn by the two gay "nuns." But that was then and this is now.
Just yesterday I learned that when Catholic Charities hosted its annual banquet this past Friday, the Archbishop was scheduled to present an award to George Marcus, a real estate investment mogul who is a large supporter of Planned Parenthood.
In selecting George Marcus as a 2008 honoree, Archbishop Niederauer stated, "Through his passion for philanthropy, interfaith collaboration and insistence on making life more beautiful for all people, George M. Marcus is an example of how a single individual can positively impact the lives of many."
Are we to suspect that the Archbishop simply didn’t know about Marcus’ involvement with the world’s leading promoter of abortion? I think not.
As if this April 11th news was not enough, I also learned that a coalition of Catholics described as liberals are mobilizing behind the scenes to provide Barack Obama with support for his campaign. As soon as Deal Hudson revealed this story to the media, Alexis Kelley and Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, of Catholics in Alliance responded that Mr. Hudson was mistaken. They wrote that the organization they represent is a "non-partisan, nonprofit organization that promotes the fullness of Catholic social teaching."
But I would suggest to you that these ladies are protesting too much, and that it is quite certain that Hudson is not far off the mark with his comments.
Now why would I say this? Because these women represent the same organization that issued a call for "civility in politics" last November. While they have subsequently removed the document from their website, due in large part to our exposing the effort for what it truly was—a statement lacking all respect for the sacrament of Holy Eucharist—the fact remains that the group did issue it and that is a recorded fact.
I welcome you to read my commentary on this ridiculous statement and our call for the signers to remove their names. As I wrote in this column:
The first point in their series of bulleted statements reads, "As Catholics we should not enlist the Church’s moral endorsement of our political preferences. We should do this out of respect for our fellow Catholics of equally good will but differing political convictions and our interest in protecting the clergy from being drawn into partisan political to the detriment of the Church’s integrity and objectivity."
This is the most inane representation of alleged acts of civility that I have ever seen; in fact I dare say it is purely evil in its intent. American Life League has repeatedly called for bishops, priests, deacons and Eucharistic ministers to protect Christ from sacrilege by denying the sacrament to public figures who claim to be Catholic while also supporting abortion. The group’s statement characterizes our actions as somehow exhibiting disrespect for our Church leaders who have been ordained to serve Christ. It is completely irrational to propose that out of respect for those who favor child killing, or as this group puts it, “Catholics of equally good will but differing political convictions,” we would withdraw our campaign to make sure that Christ, truly present in the sacrament of Holy Eucharist, is protected from sacrilege.
In light of these facts I believe that Hudson is right and the women are simply attempting to back down from what in my humble opinion is their political agenda at the current moment.
How can Catholics do such things? Why are such actions tolerated? Well, don’t ask Archbishop Niederauer.
I suppose you may be scratching your head and wondering what in the world is going on with “Catholics” these days? I must tell you that if I knew, perhaps I could sleep better at night. Sadly, it would appear these examples represent a trend that has no end in sight, at least for the foreseeable future. Moral relativism has crept into the statements and actions of even those called to lead Catholics and teach them. Such a situation should sadden each of us beyond description.
The antidote is, of course, total faith in Christ and resolve to defend the Catholic Church and her teaching regardless of the scandalous comments and behavior we see around us. And we should recall those ageless comments of Pope Benedict XVI, who said:
The human race—every one of us—is the sheep lost in the desert which no longer knows the way. The Son of God will not let this happen; he cannot abandon humanity in so wretched a condition. He leaps to his feet and abandons the glory of Heaven, in order to go in search of the sheep and pursue it, all the way to the Cross. He takes it upon his shoulders and carries our humanity; he carries us all—he is the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep.
Inauguration as Pope, April 2005,
Let us pray for the Holy Father and be confident that in God’s time all of the chaos within the Church will be exposed, and souls will be healed and brought into full union with Christ, our Shepherd.