Update Below from Ed Peters.
Neumayr’s Article begins:
“Since he won’t control the sacraments, the Church’s enemies will.
“The road to hell is paved with the skulls of bad bishops. That’s a slight paraphrase of a line from St. John Chrysostom.
“The saints of old warned bishops to choose holiness and orthodoxy over the blandishments of the “world.” Many bishops today in America choose the good opinion of worldly elites over orthodoxy. These cufflinked cardinals worry not about punishment in the next world but slights in this one. They desperately crave the approval of America’s movers and shakers and live in dread fear of losing it.
“What will the Pretty People think if I withhold Communion from powerful pro-abortion Catholic pols? Will the Washington Post editorialize against me? Will I lose my place of honor at posh parties? Will my dissenting priests think ill of me? Will I be scorned at the next USCCB meeting?
“These are some of the thoughts that race through the minds of modern prelates. Out of these anxieties comes fiascoes like Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s recent one. Wuerl and his surrogates have rebuked a visiting priest from the archdiocese of Moscow for denying Communion to a self-described practicing lesbian at a funeral mass. That’s not our “policy,” gasped Wuerl’s horrified surrogates.
“But it is the policy of the Roman Catholic Church. If a person is not in communion with the teachings of the Church, said person should not receive Communion. Period. Canon law makes this explicitly clear. If you don’t believe me, ask the head of the Vatican Supreme Court, Cardinal Raymond Burke. Though most of his colleagues seem to ignore his stance, he has said for years that canon law places a grave burden on priests to protect the sacraments from defiant sinners. According to Burke, canon law is not a whimsical option for hardline eccentric priests but a moral duty which “obliges the minister of Holy Communion to refuse the Sacrament” to those in “manifest grave sin.” ……..”
Read the whole article HERE
Dr. Ed Peters, Canon Lawyer Responds:
George Neumayr is a terrific observer of things Catholic, and an excellent writer to boot. But everybody has a bad day from time to time, and today must have been Neumayr’s. Unfortunately, the object of his ire is not just a brother in the Lord but a major prelate governing a very important American see. Little, (frankly, nothing) in Neumayr’s on-line editorial today for American Spectator will help Cdl Donald Wuerl do a better job for the Catholic Church in Washington DC.
Amid his obvious anger, sacrcasm, and numerous ad hominem shots, Neumayr blasts Wuerl’s stance on Rep Nancy Pelosi with the same trigger pull by which he blasts Wuerl’s (sic: so far, Wuerl’s subordinates) response to the Barbara Johnson case. But the two cases differ markedly and, in going after an episcopal p.o.v. that deserves informed criticism, Neumayr took out a stance that deserves our support.
There is hardly a higher-profile Catholic in America who, more often than Pelosi does, expressly invokes the Catholic faith to defend the most consistently anti-…, anti-…, anti-almost everything that Catholics in public life should oppose about the culture of death. I have repeatedly called for Canon 915 to be invoked against Pelosi (for starters) to deny her holy Communion for so long as she falls afoul of what I think is every canonical aspect of “obstinate perseverance in manifest grave sin”, this call being made for her welfare and for that of the wider Church. Moreover, I have expressly argued that Wuerl’s interpretation of Canon 915 and his subsequent reticence to invoke Canon 915 as I think it should be invoked against Pelosi, is wrong.*
“Now, if Neumayr had made only that point—and had he written in a tone consistent with the admonition in Canon 212 § 3 to express views in the Church “with reverence for pastors and … attentive to the dignity of persons”, I would be applauding his words (as I usually do when I read Neumayr). Instead, Neumayr drew the same bead on Wuerl for his inaction in the Pelosi matter that he drew on Wuerl (or his subordinates’) actions in the Johnson matter. To repeat: in re Pelosi, I think Wuerl’s thinking is remiss and that holy Communion should be withheld from her; but in re Johnson, I think the Archdiocese of Washington is right and holy Communion should not have been withheld from her that day…………”
Read Dr. Peter’s whole response in defense of Cardinal Wuerl HERE
Dr. Peters’ Follow up:
Neumayr is making a bad situation worse
by Dr. Edward Peters
It’s one thing to feel angry. But it’s another thing to write angry. And George Neumayr is writing angry.
Last week Neumayr fired off a sustained and mean attack on Cdl. Wuerl (my response here). To no one’s great surprise, Wuerl’s people complained (albeit privately) to Neumayr’s boss—you know, sorta kinda exactly the way people complain to Wuerl’s boss in Rome. All the time. Now, it might not be my way of doing things, and it might not even be Neumayr’s, but, c’mon, complaints to editors about their writers’ opinions are as old as the press itself. Writers who work, by their own choice, in the public eye, should account complaints about their writing as a fact of life. At the very least, they shouldn’t respond with a follow-up diatribe about, of all things, how “notoriously thin-skinned” other people are!
Dark days (like the ones we live in now) occasion hard cases (like the Guarnizo case, which set off this conflagration), and hard cases, in turn, make bad law (like what defenders of Guarnizo’s decision would erect to justify his action, paying little heed to how their rules would impact other cases). But I think that dark days, hard cases, and the threat of bad laws, call for greater clarity of analysis, not less. And anger does not lend itself to clarity of anything.
But enough with the fraternal correction.
Neumayr has now publicly and repeatedly accused the archbishop of Washington of, among other things, “pandering to the enemies of the Church”, of “expos[ing] the Holy Eucharist to sacrilege”, of “hand[ing] a propaganda victory to forces of secularism that seek to destroy the Church in America”, and of “capitulati[ng] to … the atheistic agitprop artists of the age.” I think such words run plainly afoul of Canon 1373 which threatens censure against “a person who publicly incites among subjects animosities or hatred against … an ordinary because of some act of power or ecclesiastical ministry….” So.
Neumayr’s made his point. Not in a way that is a credit to him, I regret to conclude, but, he’s made it. For that matter, everything that can be intelligently said about Guarnizo case, based on what was known at the time, has been said, and unless and until some new hard facts, if any, come to light, further discussion of this case serves no purpose. + + +