Friday, April 30, 2004

Confused Catholics..

Tom Fox, publisher of the National (un)Catholic Reporter writes:
My father never envisioned a day when Roman Catholic bishops would intentionally try to harm the candidacy of a Catholic Democrat. Yet that's where the current presidential election is headed, unless church leaders — and the conservatives who now are gleefully piling on — are forcefully reminded that our country was built on the doctrine of the separation of church and state.

The problem for Kerry is that he is a pro-choice Democrat. But Catholic teaching holds that all human life must be protected. For three decades now, U.S. bishops have worked mightily with politicians and Catholic voters to outlaw abortion. Now some bishops are raising the political stakes. In a statement last summer, Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston, Kerry's archbishop, told individual Catholic elected officials that they should refrain from receiving Communion if they favor abortion rights.

Then days before the Missouri primary in February, St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke said that were Kerry to stand in his Communion line, he would bless him, but deny him the sacrament. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Neb., joined the chorus.

As if to reaffirm, a top Vatican official in Rome last week said politicians who support abortion rights are "not fit" to receive the Eucharist.
Some people are confused because they do not understand the true meaning of Catholic. It is not signing up and joining a club - and it does not include choosing which 'rules' one wants to embrace. Membership in the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, is much more.

When St. Robert Bellarmine speaks of the Mystical Body, he has in mind only the first of its three branches, the Church Militant—or, in other words, the visible organization of the Roman Catholic Church.

Thus, in treating the delicate question of occult infidels, he refutes the doctrine of Calvin who held that, if a baptized person has lost the virtue of faith, in spite of his external profession of belief and conformity with Christian practice he is no longer a member of the organic Body of Christ. “It is certainly true,” he admits, “that a sincere faith and not its mere external profession is required if we are to be internally united to the Body of Christ, which is the Church …. But even the man who makes only an outward profession along with the rest of the faithful is a true member, albeit a dry and dead member, of the Body of the Church.”

It follows, therefore, that the Mystical Body of Christ is the Roman Catholic Church, whose members are all those who have been baptized and who at least externally practice and profess the true faith. Commentators on the Mystici Corporis make special note of the fact that, after centuries of controversy on the subject, the Pope has authoritatively approved Bellarmine’s doctrine on the minimum essentials for membership in the Mystical Body—which reads like a paraphrase from the third book of St. Robert’s De Conciliis.

In the words of Pope Pius XII, “only those are really to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith and have not unhappily withdrawn from Body-unity, or for grave faults been excluded by legitimate authority. For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one Body.”
(From the archives of Fr. John Hardon)
Tom Fox article here.

No comments: