Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

News Media and Cardinal-designates

The Washington Post just does not get it. Yesterday, Archbishop Wuerl made the front page in an article entitled, D.C.’s Wuerl among 24 new cardinals named by Pope Benedict. I know I should not be surprised. Call me crazy, I thought that might learn by now.

After several niceties, the article then speculates on two “hot topics” that just bug me. The first topic it recycles is the controversy last year concerning the closing of the 80-year Catholic Charities Foster Child program in his Archdiocese. His reason? The District of Columbia’s City Council opened up adoptions for same-sex marriage/partners. Now, I am a little dismayed at the Councils surprise when he did this -then and now. It is not like Church had to discuss this. Neither our Lord nor His Church’s Magisterium has changed in 2,000 years. Hint: It is not going to in the future either.

The second topic – politics. Why must everything be political? Don’t get me wrong! I am well-aware of the fact that the selection of the Cardinal-designates shape the next conclave and thus the election of Pope Benedict XVI’s successor. But a Cardinal is not a  politician but someone who is an elite adviser to the Holy Father in current issues. They are also leaders in catechetics and Archbishop Wuerl is the consummate Catechist. if you really want to get technical and historical, cardinals wear red because they were the ones red to take the bullet for the Pope. That’s right, you were elevated to be the first slain. Imagine that, Rome chose your clerical colors based on the ancient tradition of your service.

There seemed also to be a comparison between Archbishop Burke and Wuerl in the article as if the Holy Father was attempting to “balance” theologies when it comes to reception of the Eucharist by pro-abortion politicians. Sorry, doesn’t work that way. While a very important topic, one where Archbishop Wuerl finds himself at odds with Archbishop Burke and Pope Benedict, in theory, Archbishop Wuerl is right. When asked last year by reports he said,

he cannot deny the sacrament to a willing participant, because he cannot know what is inside a person’s heart when he or she shares private worship with God.

While I disagree with the Archbishop, he is the Archbishop. Episcopal colleges tend to take care of their own. Just a point of clarification. As the Church has always taught, we are embodied spirits. Our bodies give expression to who we are. Our intentions are manifested by our actions or lack thereof.  To say that one’s heart or beliefs are at odds with our actions is to say we lack integrity. Or, in colloquial terms, we are lying. Not only to others but most grievously (outside the offense towards God) ourselves. St. James is clear:

A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. (James 1:8)

For the moment though, let’s rejoice in the selection of Archbishops Burke and Wuerl. There will be plenty of time for us to “eat our own.” Both have much to offer the global Church and their commitment to truth, liturgy and pastoral ministry will serve us all well in the next conclave. Congrats Cardinal-designates!

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