Church

A Catholic Bishop Threatening Excommunication Over Immigration Policy?

Deal W. Hudson
June 20, 2018

Last week, Bishop Edward Weisenburger of Tucson called upon his fellow bishops to issue a “prophetic statement” on immigration that would support “canonical penalties for Catholics who are involved” in implementing President Trump’s immigration policy.

Why would the thought of excommunication even enter the mind of Bishop Weisenburger? Does he mean to say that any Catholic Border Patrol Agent or ICE Officers enforcing the law are “obstinately preserving in manifest grave sin”?

If so, what is the “grave sin” that meets the criterion of excommunication according to Canon 915?

The 19,500 employees of the U. S. Border Control and the 20,000 of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have the job of enforcing the law of securing our national borders. (There are approximately 20,000 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcements Officers. Of the 19,437 Border Agents, 16,605 are assigned to the Southwest Border.) None of these are responsible for our nation’s immigration laws or for the administrative policies of implementing them.

These are the same agents and officers who, under President Obama, deported a record 2.4 million immigrants between 2009 and 2016. Janet Murguia, the president of the National Council of La Raza called Obama the “Deporter-In-Chief.”

Where was the bishop’s outrage then, towards President Obama or the ICE and the Border Patrol employees enforcing his policies?

Bishop Weisenburger believes that these same employees, working under President Trump, are now in spiritual danger; canonical penalties are needed “for the salvation of those people’s souls.” It should be noted that Bishop Weisenburger mentioned other “border bishops” who shared his pastoral concern.

Imagine being a Border Patrol officer reading the paper at breakfast and learning you are targeted for “canonical penalties” just for doing your job. He asks himself, “Do I have to confess my occupation to my priest in confession?”

So much for the “who am I to judge” spirit expressed by Pope Francis.

The Bishops have already started preparation to deny President Trump a second term in office. I’m sure I’m not the only Catholic to think it unnecessary, even cruel, to threaten all the Catholics among the 39,500 federal employees of ICE and the Border Patrol with excommunication.

Some bishops justify their high dudgeon by arguing that asylum is a life issue, “an instrument to preserve the right life.” By using the term “asylum,” the bishops are trying to link immigration directly with escape from torture or persecution.

That argument digs the Bishop’s hole deeper. Let’s assume immigration actually has the status of a life issue. If so, where are the bishop’s public threats of excommunication toward all the Catholics in Congress who support abortion-on-demand and the funding of Planned Parenthood? (Only two of the 89 Catholic Democrats in Congress are pro-life.)

Let’s face it, the bishops have lost all credibility when it comes to abortion. Any attempt to connect the moral seriousness of abortion to immigration is a non-starter. The laity won’t buy it any more than they did in the 2016 election.

Bishop Weisenburger himself resides in a state where three of its Catholic members of Congress are rated 100 percent pro-abortion by Planned Parenthood (Tom O’Halleran, Raul Grijalva, and Ruben Gallego, all Democrats). Has he publicly stated any concern for the salvation of their souls?

What makes the situation all the more absurd is the fact that immigration is not a life issue the way abortion is a life issue. There is no single solution to the immigration problem — it’s a prudential matter allowing disagreement among Catholics regarding law and policy, including disagreements with the Bishops.

Many bishops have become dismissive of this point when it is raised. Newark’s Cardinal Tobin thinks those who call immigration a prudential matter are seeking to reduce its importance, concluding, “I don’t have a whole lot of time for people who reduce things to prudential judgment.”

What does the Cardinal think about the Catechism’s teaching on just war?

“The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good” (2309). Immigration policy is precisely that kind of issue. Abortion, however, is wrong “under any circumstance” (2258).

Cardinal Tobin has no time for such distinctions.

However, the crucial distinction is alive and well in the 2015 “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” — “Decisions about candidates and choices about public policies require clear commitment to moral principles, careful discernment and prudential judgments based on the values of our faith.”

The intention of using excommunication to force Catholics into line about immigration policy is demeaning. It won’t be viewed as an opportunity for spiritual healing but as punishment for being part of the Trump administration.

For decades, pro-life Catholics have begged the bishops to get tough with pro-abortion politicians. A few stepped up to the plate only to be scorned and isolated by their brother bishops (Bishop Gracida, Bishop Bruskewitz, and Cardinal Burke).

This level of hostility towards Trump, his staff, employees, and supporters is dividing even further an already divided Church. I’ve yet to hear a single bishop object to threats of excommunication over disagreements on immigration policy.

None of them, evidently, wants to disrupt the episcopal momentum towards the defeat of President Trump in 2020.

Read Newsmax: A Catholic Bishop Threatening Excommunication Over Immigration Policy? | Newsmax.com
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Catholic Bishops Gear Up to Beat Trump in 2020

Deal W. Hudson
June 18, 2018

The Catholic bishops met in Fort Lauderdale a few days ago. The dominating topic of discussion was politics, specifically, their official guide to Catholic voters, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.

The Pope Francis faction, led by Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago, called for a complete rewriting of the document since it no longer represented “the new body of teaching” as taught by the present pontiff, specifically mentioning climate change, poverty, and immigration.

Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego went a step further saying the present document doesn’t represent “Catholic teaching as it is now.”

These two are not the only ones who believe that in the space of five years, since Bergoglio’s 2013 election, the moral and social teaching of the Church has been so fundamentally altered Faithful Citizenship no longer speaks with the true voice of the Church. So much for an institution considered slow to change.

Other leading bishops, however, including Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles, opposed writing a new document, arguing what was needed was a more straightforward, significantly redacted version of Faithful Citizenship along with an accompanying video for YouTube, etc.

When the votes were tallied, 77 percent of the bishops voted for the creation of shorter materials — a letter, video, and other “resources” to supplement Faithful Citizenship.

During this discussion there was no mention of Trump being the most pro-life president in our nation’s history. It should not surprise us at that omission since the intent behind the beefing up of Faithful Citizenship is to deny Trump a second term in office.

The bishop’s present silence about the president’s achievement is only another iteration of their attempt during the campaign itself to camouflage Hillary Clinton’s pro-abortion stance by arranging with moral indictments Trump about “The Wall.”

The strategy didn’t work. Faithful Catholics would not be bullied into seeing moral equivalence between killing the unborn and insisting on secure national borders.

Trump/Pence won 52 percent of all Catholic votes and 56 percent of mass-attending Catholics. In the election aftermath, the weeping and wailing at the USCCB must have matched that of Hollywood, the EU, and the mass media.

As it stands, the 2015 version of Faithful Citizenship is a flawed document. A close reading of it offers the Catholic voters several loopholes allowing them to ignore a candidate’s abortion stand if other “morally grave reasons” prevail. It remains to be seen, whether the new supplements will magnify these flaws or keep them buried in theological mumbo-jumbo where they belong.

We can fully expect, however, the redacted version of Faithful Citizenship to put the immigration issue front and center. This placement will create the impression of a de facto moral equivalence with settled life issues such as abortion. The bishops approved language that virtually guaranteed these new shorter materials will “apply the teachings of Pope Francis to our day.”

But just as in 2016 when the bishops pressed the immigration issue, it won’t work in 2020. For one thing, Pope Francis has spent all the capital of good will created by his election and his successful U.S. visit. Pope Francis, as it were, has no ‘coattails.’

If the bishops produce election materials that recast Faithful Citizenship to fit the Pope’s vision, it will only create greater distance between the bishops and their faithful. They will be relegating themselves to becoming just another cadre of grumpy Never-Trumpers.

At the very least, the bishops could have expressed common ground with the Trump administration on his efforts to defuse the nuclear threat posed by North Korea. After all, doesn’t this come under the rubric of “world peace”?

The bishops, instead, focused on the president’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Agreement. The USCCB itself has been asked to sign the Paris declaration by its own Catholic Climate Covenant created in 2006. How much money will it cost Catholics if the bishops decide to play in European politics on that issue?

Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, the bishops ignored the opportunity of voicing solidarity with the president’s pro-life agenda and his the quest for peace between North and South Korea. Instead they prepared to sharpen their knives for the 2020 election. Is this what we now call “evangelization”?

Read Newsmax: Catholic Bishops Gear Up to Beat Trump in 2020 | Newsmax.com
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Archbishop and Trump May Have Much in Common

Deal W. Hudson
November 28, 2017

A few days ago, the archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt. Rev. Justin Welby was asked if he understands why Christians in the U.S. support President Trump in such large numbers. “No, I don’t understand it,” said Welby. “I really, genuinely do not understand where that is coming from.”

Nevertheless, there are clear signs that Trump and Welby will hit it off famously when the time comes to meet. And that might happen shortly, since the president is scheduled to visit the UK early next year. Asked he if would attend a state dinner, the archbishop said he would, “You know, part of the job is to meet people you disagree with, and to testify with the love of Christ to them and to seek to draw them in to a different way.”

From my perspective, the two have a lot to agree on. For example, Welby calls himself an “evangelical” even admitting to speaking in tongues: “It’s just a routine part of spiritual discipline — you choose to speak and you speak a language that you don’t know. It just comes.  . . . ”

It’s well known that President Trump has become good friends with number of leading evangelicals in the U.S. — Ralph Reed, Jerry Fallwell, Jr., Franklin Graham, Tony Perkins, and Paula White. They have nearly unfettered access to the president and, recently, he took six evangelical leaders on his trip to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi.

Welby’s evangelicalism can be trace back to his conversion while at Trinity College, Cambridge after years of spiritual indifference. In 1975 while praying with a Christian friend, he suddenly felt “a clear sense of something changing, the presence of something that had not been there before in my life. Though he told his friend that the experience “embarrassed” him, it didn’t keep him from declaring his evangelicalism even in the face of a hostile press.

President Trump, it must be said, has gone through some sort of conversion himself, though it probably was not as dramatic as some have claimed it to be. Trump had spoken to evangelical groups such as Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition for several years prior to his decision to run for the White House. Further, anyone who followed the trajectory of his campaign, and its rhetoric, will have noticed the gradual increase of references to Christianity.

Both men are willing to stand firm against left-wing media pressure. Last year, Welby bravely contradicted those in the UK who refused to connect ISIS with the Islamic State, “If we treat religiously-motivated violence solely as a security issue, or a political issue, then it will be incredibly difficult — probably impossible — to overcome it. . . . This requires a move away from the argument that has become increasingly popular, which is to say that Isis is ‘nothing to do with Islam,’ or that Christian militia in the Central African Republic are nothing to do with Christianity, or Hindu nationalist persecution of Christians in South India is nothing to do with Hinduism.

Such directness befits a cleric whose mother was private secretary to Sir Winston Churchill for six years during Cold War.

There’s evidence, as well, that Welby’s appointment to Canterbury was held up because of his acknowledged evangelicalism and his less than enthusiastic support for same-sex marriage. As recently as April, a Guardian headline read, “Justin Welby unable to give ‘straight answer’ in whether gay sex is sinful.” On this issue, the archbishop may well be to the right of our president.

They also have business acumen in common. After graduating from Cambridge, Welby became a businessman before turning to the ministry and being ordained in 1992 at the age of 36. He worked for several oil companies, one in France, and learning perfect French, which must have given him a understanding the kind of economic issues the president is seeking to correct with new trade agreements.

The president and the archbishop have also experienced the vicissitudes of marriage and family. It was only four years ago that DNA tests revealed that Welby’s father was not whom he had thought. Given his personal experience, it’s highly doubtful that the 105th archbishop of Canterbury would jump on the bandwagon of some religious leaders who have judged Trump as morally unfit to be president of the United States.

The similarities between the two men will undoubtedly make their eventual meeting much more genial and fruitful than the archbishop’s comments suggest. They will discover themselves on the same side on important issues and will encourage each other to bear the cross of a rancorous press.

Read Newsmax: Archbishop and Trump May Have Much in Common | Newsmax.com
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Vatican Stance on Procreation Appears at Odds With Church Teaching

Deal W. Hudson
March 7, 2017

On March 3, many Catholics were shocked to read that Vatican conference speaker, Peter Raven remarked, “Pope Francis has urged us to have fewer children to make the world more sustainable.” The notion that the Pope would say such a thing strained credulity. However, the clarification published three days later does not put the mind at rest regarding the current Vatican thinking on life issues.

LifeSiteNews now reports that Peter Raven, the botanist/environmentalist who addressed the Vatican conference, said the following: “We need at some point to have a limited number of people which is why Pope Francis and his three most recent predecessors have always argued that you should not have more children than you can bring up properly.”

This comment makes two assertions I find very troubling, as do, I am sure, many other Catholics. Just what is meant by “you should not have more children than you can bring up.” Am I assuming incorrectly that that this refers to, among other things, an appraisal of financial resources? If so, and I believe I am correct, good Catholics should consult their bank accounts and their earning ability before bringing a new life into the world.

I want to ask Pope Francis these questions, “What is the financial formula for making such an appraisal? Just what, in your opinion, does a child cost to ‘bring up properly'”?

While I am not denying the commonsense of the matter, I am questioning the wisdom of attributing to the Holy Father an assertion containing the words “should not” regarding the conceiving of children, especially when the determinative factor is financial. To say “should” implies those addressed should feel a duty, an obligation, to regard children in this way. Such a duty makes conception first an act of “deciding’ rather than freely given love between a husband and wife.

How is this different from the logic of the population-control crowd who are always espousing abortion and contraception in order to “save the earth”? How is this different from the assumptions of the 1968 book, “The Population Bomb,” written by Paul Ehrlich who was also recently hosted at the Vatican conference?

I began looking randomly at the family backgrounds of famed Catholic prelates and quickly found that “Dagger John Hughes,” the Archbishop of New York City, was the third of seven children to an Irish tenant farmer and his wife. The family was so poor that John was taken out of school and put to work, first on the farm then as an apprentice gardener. As Archbishop between 1842 and 1864, “Dagger John” fought off anti-Catholicism, founded the first independent Catholic school system, and laid the cornerstone for St. Patricks Cathedral.

Such examples would be easy to multiply by the thousands if one were to trace the lives of children, not only Catholic, from large, impoverished families. And this is not to imply that large families are justified by the accomplishments of their children, but rather to illustrate how the admonition of Genesis 1.28 — “be fruitful and multiply” — contains a superior internal logic to that of considering the cost of raising a child “properly.”

The second troubling implication of Raven’s comment is his claim that the three previous popes — Benedict XVI, St. John Paul II, and John Paul I — similarly argued that parents should determine the cost of raising a child before “deciding” to bring one into the world. In “Familiaris Consortio,” St. John Paul II wrote, husband and wife “…..become cooperators with God for giving life to a new human person. Thus the couple, while giving themselves to one another, give not just themselves but also the reality of children, who are a living reflection of their love, a permanent sign of conjugal unity and a living and inseparable synthesis of their being a father and a mother” (FC 14).

Benedict XVI encouraged large families on a trip to Valencia in 2006, eschewing the kind of calculation described by Raven and seconded by Pope Francis. At one parish he was presented with several families — “one family was virtually a ‘parish,’ it had so many children! The presence and witness of these families really was far stronger than any words. They presented first of all the riches of their family experience: how such a large family truly becomes a cultural treasure, an opportunity for the education of one and all, a possibility for making the various cultural expressions of today coexist, the gift of self, mutual help also in suffering” (August 31, 2006).

During his short papacy, John Paul I delivered only one formal address on marriage and the family during an “ad limina” visits of bishops. It contains nary a mention of calculating the cost and deciding on the conceiving of children: “Let us never grow tired of proclaiming the family as a community of love: conjugal love unites the couple and is procreative of new life; it mirrors the divine love, is communicated, and, in the words of Gaudium et Spes, is actually a sharing in the covenant of love of Christ and his Church (par. 48). We were all given the great grace of being born into such a community of love; it will be easy for us to uphold its value” (Emphasis added).

Peter Raven, thus, is dead wrong to claim that the three popes before Pope Francis agree with him on the “need at some point to have a limited number of people” so they can be raised “properly.”

Such thinking coming out of the Vatican presently, from Pope Francis and his closest advisors to those being feted at Vatican conferences, bears an ideological stamp rather than that of Church teaching. It appears to me that the Vatican is channeling the spirit of George Soros rather than any other.

Read Newsmax: Vatican Stance on Procreation Appears at Odds With Church Teaching | Newsmax.com
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San Diego Bishop Tells Catholics to ‘All Become Disrupters’

Deal W. Hudson
February 20, 2017

Both the Catholic bishops of the United States and the Vatican have now virtually endorsed the strategy of “disruption” being used across the nation to oppose the new administration of President Trump. Held in Modesto, California, the U.S. Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements (WMPM), was sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Vatican’s Department of Integral Human Development to address issues of “land, labor, and lodging,” as well as racism and immigration.

The 700 attendees applauded and cheered as Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego told them, “President Trump was the candidate of disruption. . . . Well now, we must all become disrupters.” Bishop McElroy, along with Chicago Archbishop Cardinal Blaise Cupich, has emerged as a leading voice among “social justice” Catholics determined to rally the Catholic Church to reject President Trump’s leadership and policy agenda.

Bishop McElroy specifically cited the deportation of the illegal immigrants, the “undocumented,” the plan to dismantle Obamacare, and “those who train us to see Muslim men and women and children as sources of fear rather than as children of God.” McElroy decried the use of “alternate facts” and the “industries [that] have arisen to shape public opinion in destructively isolated and dishonest patterns.” Finally, the bishop urged attendees to, “Let all the world know that this economy kills.”

The message delivered by the Bishop of San Diego would not be so notable were it not for the context and its sponsorship. Vatican sponsorship came from the newly-created Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (IHD), headed by Cardinal Peter Turkson, one of the closest advisors to Pope Francis. Cardinal Turkson was the primary author of the papal encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si. It was Turkson who delivered the keynote address in Modesto. Under Turkson’s leadership similar conferences of “Popular Movements” have been held in the Vatican and other regions around the world.

Not only was the Modesto Conference co-sponsored by the Vatican and the USCCB but also by groups such as the PICO National Network. The PICO logo is displayed on the conference website alongside that of the Vatican, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and Terra Domus Labor. In addition to PICO — People Improving Communities through Organizing Service Employees International Union — the organizing committee included representatives from the Gamaliel Foundation. It has been widely reported and documented that both PICO and Gamaliel are recipients of funding from George Soros through his Open Society Foundation. PICO took Soros funding specifically aimed at controlling the media coverage of the visit of Pope Francis to the U.S. in April 2015.

Given Bishop McElroy’s message, the context, and the sponsorship, two questions must be posed to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and to each Bishop individually: Do you support Bishop McElroy’s message of “let us disrupt and rebuild”? Are you content with participating in events, protests, and “disruptions,” that are supported with funding from George Soros, whose Open Society Foundation is directly opposed to the Church’s teaching on abortion, contraception, and marriage?

With President Trump already well on his way to keeping all of his pro-life promises, it’s shocking that the Catholic bishops would align themselves with such of strategy of disruption and with allies sworn to oppose the core of the Church’s moral teaching. Lay Catholics, and many clergy, across the nation are not merely shocked, but disheartened and beginning to wonder if a formal schism is in the making.

The USCCB should, in my opinion, issue a press release distancing itself from the remarks of Bishop McElroy to make sure Catholics know he was expressing his individual opinion and not that of the bishops collectively. At the same time, the USCCB should reconsider its partnership with groups like PICO and Gamaliel for the simple reason that they do not share the moral vision of the Catholic Church on basic human rights and duties, and the connection to George Soros has become a highly visible scandal.

Dr. Deal W. Hudson took over Crisis Magazine in 1995, leaving in 2010 to become president of Catholic Advocate. While at Crisis, Hudson led the Catholic voter outreach for President George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, and later advised the campaigns of both John McCain and Donald Trump on Catholic outreach. In 2014, he began his weekly two-hour radio show, “Church and Culture,” on the Ave Maria Radio Network, and launched http://www.thechristianreview.com in 2015. His books include “Happiness and the Limits of Satisfaction” and “Onward Christian Soldiers: The Growing Political Power of Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States.” To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

Read Newsmax: San Diego Bishop Tells Catholics to ‘All Become Disrupters’ | Newsmax.com
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