Opinion / Politics / Pro-Life

The Return of Courage Among American Catholics

AMAC Exclusive – By Seamus Brennan

Catholics

2022 has been a banner year for American Catholics. From the historic overturning of Roe v. Wade to this summer’s Supreme Court victories for school choice and the right to public prayer, U.S. Catholics have in recent months made groundbreaking progress on some of their most hard-fought battles. Thanks to these victories, the Church—and every American who makes common cause with Catholic efforts to defend the dignity of life and human freedom—has reason to be optimistic for the future of the faith.

But the promising state of the Catholic Church in America goes far beyond its latest slate of Court victories. After decades of relentless hostility from the Democratic Party and corporate media entities, the American Church is now showing refreshing signs of moral, spiritual, and political courage—and every American Catholic should rejoice in that fact.

Last November, most notably, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a major letter containing official guidance for Catholic Bishops on offering the Sacrament of the Eucharist (or Holy Communion) to self-professed Catholic politicians who take public policy positions that run contrary to the teachings of the Church.

The Eucharist, as understood by the Church, is “the source and summit of the Christian life” and is believed by Catholics to consist of the physical Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. For all of the Church’s history, reception of the Eucharist by the Catholic faithful has signaled both communion with the Catholic Church and a full acceptance of the Church’s authority to teach on faith and morals. As such, Catholic political leaders who publicly stray from the infallible teachings of the Church are engaged in what the Church defines as scandal—because it causes confusion and doubt among the faithful about what the Church actually teaches about faith and moral. Like abortion itself, the Church considers the causing of scandal to be a mortal sin (a sin that, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law” and “turns man away from God”).

“[Catholic] [l]ay people who exercise some form of public authority have a special responsibility to form their consciences in accord with the Church’s faith and the moral law, and to serve the human family by upholding human life and dignity,” the letter states. “It is the special responsibility of the diocesan bishop,” the letter continues, “to work to remedy situations that involve public actions [by Catholics] at variance with the visible communion of the Church and the moral law. Indeed, he must guard the integrity of the sacrament, the visible communion of the Church, and the salvation of souls.”

Although the guidance was largely perceived to have been issued in response to self-avowed Catholic figures like President Joe Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi—who have continued to advocate for abortion-on-demand—it stopped short of calling out either figure by name.

Following the release of the letter, a handful of American bishops have already begun staking out leadership roles on the matter. The most notable instance of clerical leadership following the letter’s release can be traced, ironically, to the liberal epicenter of San Francisco, where Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone made the courageous decision to disallow Pelosi from receiving Holy Communion on account of her public support for abortion.

“After numerous attempts to speak with her to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, and the danger to her own soul she is risking, I have determined that the point has come in which I must make a public declaration that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” Cordileone wrote in a May statement.

Considering the Church’s longstanding hesitancy to weigh in directly on the problem of politicians who violate the Church’s moral teachings, it is difficult to overstate the significance of Cordileone’s decision to deny Pelosi the sacrament. And just as encouragingly, the decision has received the support of a growing number of bishops throughout the nation—indicating that the desire for a Church that is unafraid to speak the truth openly and confidently is far stronger than it may otherwise appear.

Meanwhile, however, Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C. has continued to offer President Biden Communion—whose receipt of Communion likely amounts to a far worse instance of scandal given Biden’s high profile position as the only Catholic president in American history who has advocated for the extreme position of abortion-on-demand as a constitutional right. (Gregory’s continued willingness to offer Biden Communion has called his judgement into question among some Catholics, especially given that Gregory did not hesitate to declare as “reprehensible” former President Donald Trump’s June 2, 2020 visit to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington to honor Pope John Paul’s extraordinary legacy of standing up for religious freedom.)

But fortunately, the Cordileone decision is not the only sign of hope for a revival of fortitude among the American clergy. Other bishops in dioceses throughout the nation have followed Cordileone’s lead and issued similar statements—including the Colorado bishops, who in response to a state-level pro-abortion bill, requested that politicians who voted for the legislation “refrain” from receiving Holy Communion. “The burden from their decision does not rest upon the shoulders of priests, deacons or lay Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist. It rests upon the consciences and souls of those politicians who have chosen to support this evil and unjust law,” the bishops wrote.

Moreover, last month, Bishop Robert McManus of the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts took the controversial step of revoking the Catholic status of a middle school for flying rainbow and Black Lives Matter flags in front of its building. “The flying of these flags in front of a Catholic school sends a mixed, confusing and scandalous message to the public about the Church’s stance on these important moral and social issues,” McManus said in a June 16 statement.

McManus’s actions stand in sharp contrast to other Christian leaders throughout the nation—many of whom permit the flying of such flags at their churches. Biden’s own Catholic parish in Washington, for instance, boasted a Black Lives Matter flag during the week of Biden’s inauguration in 2021.

The scandal proliferated by ostensibly Catholic politicians like Biden and Pelosi has ultimately contributed to previously unimaginable levels of hostility towards unborn life—most clearly seen with figures like Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who recently called to shut down crisis pregnancy centers throughout the nation. (Warren’s comments follow weeks of unprecedented acts of violence and vandalism against the very same pregnancy centers.)

Therefore, as political activism among the Catholic faithful continues to intensify, those leading the charge regard it as vital that the American bishops lead the way. Fortunately, they can look to brother bishops like Cordileone, McManus, and others who embody the virtue of fortitude in responding to the moral challenges of the day.

In a powerful November 2021 speech, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles reminded Catholics that—despite the extreme dangers posed by the American left—it is the Gospel, not the left, that ultimately “remains the most powerful force for social change that the world has ever seen.”

Should American Christians, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, take Archbishop Gomez’s reminder to heart, and turn to the Gospels and courageously defend the truths of Christianity—regardless of how much the left may be fighting to resist them—they could spur a momentous spiritual and cultural revival in the United States and an authentic and powerful Christian witness in the world. And in the end, Christians of every stripe should hope for nothing less.


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Walt
1 month ago

The Catholic Church needs to grow a set of you know what and enforce the tenets of the church they profess to love…..being a Catholic I understand what needs to be done…….a bishop in Nancy Pelosi’s district finally grew a set of you know what and refused to administer communion to her….great except I gotta ask…..what took them so long…….as I said I am Catholic born and raised and I can tell you the Church has changed….some genius sitting behind a desk in Rime decided to make the church more acceptable to more people……my church was unique art one time. No more

Edmond
2 months ago

It is a real shame that the Pope doesn’t have the same courage archbishop Cordileone has, if he did he would tell Joe Biden he could not receive communion, but he will continue to play politics and say he agrees with church doctrine but wouldn’t address Biden specifically.

Donna
1 month ago
Reply to  Edmond

I do consider myself a devout Christian. I am Catholic and this Pope is a huge embarrassment. We have Cardinals braver than this Pope is. I’m proud to see they have the courage to call out “devout Catholics”, such as Nancy Pelosi. Even knowing their “boss” is going to call them out for it. If you are alright with abortion….especially any abortion after the 4 month, but up until birth! Horrific! You have serious problems with what Christian faith teaches. To have an abortion simple for convenience, for your career, for being to lazy to use birth control….I’m not sure what you believe. Using abortion as birth control is abhorrent and that is what has happened in America. Then most don’t even pay for it. Wealthy pay for theirs, taxpayers pay for the rest. Why should any money I’ve paid in taxes ever be used for any kind of abortion. This Pope should have another look at what his responsibilities are.

jrcvwi
2 months ago

For an eye opening view of the Catholic Church, and what it should look like versus what it has come down to, look up Father James Altman. He speaks the truth, once and for all.
He has been removed by the bishop, under protest, from his church but is still very active and still a priest.

irene
2 months ago

you leftists and demonic people will never be able to completely destroy the Church that HIS APOSTLE started even when freemasons and gays were brought into it by the commies. remember the GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE, the jews were not destroy even though they demonic rats of the world tried to kill them throughout history. and they will not be able to do it to HIS FOLLOWERS either. we had some evil leaders in the church and in government throughout the centuries but we are still here and growing in strength. in the end, GOD wins and the devil losers, that is why the devil is called the eternal loser or fallen angel and the people who are blind deaf and dumb to him and listen to his lies and tall tales will learn too late I think and end up in hell suffering all the pain they cause while they walked this earth and the demon will just laugh away. my mother told me to not listen so much to what people say but more to what they do. that show me more who they are and what they believe. and Nancy and Joe, to old farts, will not be happy when they die because their actions are mortally wrong.

william czincilla
2 months ago

God Bless the Catholic Church. People like Nanny Pee and joey 2 scoops should leave.

Jeanette
2 months ago

Biden and Pelosi plus others in power are NOT good Catholics.

ops
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeanette

CINO…Catholic in Name Only!!!

BAE
2 months ago

Yes. Bishop Cordileone is a brave man; standing up to the wicked witch of the west. Poor

Nancy Pelosi didn’t get her way, oh my, she must be so angry she was unable to intimidate the Bishop. She rules through intimidation and wins. Not this time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Texas Resister 64
2 months ago

Amen. Cardinal Gregory is an embarrassment to the Catholic Church, because he wears his leftist credentials more obviously than his zucchetto. But that’s because of the corrupt nature of the group that controls such honors and power in Rome, who would give the cap to McElroy rather than to Gomez.

Kevin Moran
2 months ago

Gregory is a Leftist and could not care less for the sheep. It’s about him.

George Morgan
2 months ago

Re-read the 10 commandments, they are COMMANDMENTS , NOT the 10 Suggestions . If you LOVE God you follow his Commandments, ALL of them, not just the ones you want to . A TRUE Catholic OBEYS his/ her God and believes they are Saved by the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ their Lord and God for the forgiveness of their Sins. And will inherit the Glory of Heaven promised by Gods own Word. My Brothers and Sisters choose Wisely, we are only here for a little while, where will you spend Eternity??????

LauraC
2 months ago

The current Pope is a disgrace to the church and to faithful Catholics around the world. I wouldn’t want to be within lightning strike distance the day he faces God.

Kevin Moran
2 months ago
Reply to  LauraC

Amen. He hates what he does not understand, and he doesn’t understand much.

Leesson
2 months ago

Of what good does denying Pelosi Communion in San Francisco when all she has to do is fly to Rome and receive Communion at a Mass over which the Pope is presiding,.as she did recently.
As a “cradle Catholic” I’m very disturbed by the extreme liberal leanings we are seeing in the Church, not only here in the United States but throughout the world, as evidenced by the selection of the current Socialist Pope by the College of Cardinals. The Church is going through a very dark time, in my opinion, this article’s author’s comments not withstanding.

Jeb
2 months ago
Reply to  Leesson

Agree, the message I got from the Pope giving her Communion is she is special in God’s eyes, and you and I are not.

Darius Dickison
2 months ago

Evey religion made by man is problematic at best. Smarter to read and seek HIM directly through HIS WORD. Use the least modified (sterilized) version of the manuscripts possible. All GOoD from there.

gin
2 months ago

The Catholic bible is good scripture but few Catholics read it.

Dave
2 months ago
Reply to  gin

They’re discouraged from reading it, ‘father’ will explain it…

Kevin Moran
2 months ago

But Jesus established the Catholic Church. You know that, or should know that.
Read The Church Fathers writings.

Take time to understand.

Mike
2 months ago

Along with the former vice president Biden, the Catholic Church is one of the worst violators of the illegal immigrant rampage going on at the southern border. They can’t have it both ways – you save lives from abortion while killing illegals with promises the church can’t fulfill.

2 months ago

It’s about time the Church returns to an understanding of what is important.
If only our criminal and corrupt politicians would do the same.

Sallylee Cook
2 months ago

Amen

Dave
2 months ago

If the people really had ‘courage’, they’d drop the Catholic Church like the hot rotten potato it is and go to a real Bible Believing congregation and get fed some real nourishment…

Tom K
2 months ago
Reply to  Dave

The Catholic Church is the MOST biblically based religion on the planet. In addition, the Church understands the role of Sacred Tradition to supplement and enrich the missing details in the Bible, going back to Apostolic times. No other faith has maintained the consistent teaching of the Church for 2000 years, achieved through its teaching arm, the Magisterium. Try reading the Catechism which references the Bible and other teachings throughout the centuries. Oh, by the way, the books that are contained in the Bible are those which were accepted by the Catholic Church. The Bible is a Catholic book.

Ken
2 months ago
Reply to  Tom K

No other faith has abused more children than the predator priests in the Catholic church. I wouldn’t profess to be a Catholic for that reason alone. There are many other reasons as well. One of them being Jesus stating “No one comes to the Father but through me”, and the Catholics somehow turning that into a need for a priest. No thanks. You can keep Catholicism. I’ll pass.

Dave
2 months ago
Reply to  Ken

While I absolutely abhor the abuses they have done, I know that it isn’t an exclusive to just them, I’d rather hound them with the doctrine as pointing out the child abuse just gives satan a reason to say, ‘Oh yea? What about them?’

Otherwise, you make a good point, though I would have capitalized the word ‘Me’ in your quote…

Dave
2 months ago
Reply to  Tom K

What a good tool you are for ‘the faith’…

Let Frankie know…that in a $1.25 might get you something at the local 7-11 I suppose…

Dave
2 months ago
Reply to  Tom K

Did want to point out that there are more books in the ‘Catholic Book’ than the KJV. They were added later when the Catholic Church needed to ‘massage’ some problems…

I was raised Catholic…after being introduced to the Truth, I have to say, I’m thoroughly ashamed that I believed that version of the story, though I will say that the late Bishop ‘Uncle Fultie’ Sheen was a great orator..wish he had been working for us instead…

Marge H
2 months ago
Reply to  Dave

This is one of the most blatantly ignorant comments on the Church I’ve read in some time.
Just who do you think assembled the canon of scripture? Martin Luther???
As St John Henry Newman—a convert—learned and proclaimed, to go deep into history will make you a Catholic.
As for “Truth,” the Church has the fullness of Truth because it was promised such by no less than the Founder of Catholicism: Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Dave
2 months ago
Reply to  Marge H

This is one of the most blatantly ignorant comments on the Church I’ve read in some time.

You don’t like ‘Uncle Fultie’!?!

Just who do you think assembled the canon of scripture? Martin Luther???

God help you if you think it’s the same ‘assembly’ as the Book of Acts…

As St John Henry Newman—a convert—learned and proclaimed, to go deep into history will make you a Catholic.

You’re going to cobble together a nineteenth century cleric (who is so obscure to the average person that only someone in the tank for the Catholic Church would know who he was – I had to look him up) to make an argument? At least I talked about a twentieth century cleric…

As for “Truth,” the Church has the fullness of Truth because it was promised such by no less than the Founder of Catholicism: Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The current Catholic Church left its roots loooooooooooooong ago…so…how do you wish away;

  1. The indulgence scandal?;
  2. The complicity of William Tyndale’s murder?;
  3. Being dead-set against having Bibles available for the masses when the printed word became available to the many – with the flimsy excuse being that the masses were simply too damn stupid to understand it and that they were the only ones intelligent enough to ‘explain’ it to the people?;
  4. Continue to stay in the cloak of mysticism that it’s only them that can determine the seriousness of sin by calling it either ‘venial’ or ‘mortal’…and that it’s only them who can determine whether or not it gets forgiven or not? One only needs to look no further than having the Bishop of San Francisco tell Nutsy that she wasn’t going to get a ‘cookie’ anymore and then going to Rome and having Frankie not only give her one, but say that Joey was a good boy. Lesson learned: Don’t like what one guy says, go to another…
  5. Catholics like keeping Jesus dead…
  6. Their actively working with the Third Reich during the 1930’s and 1940’s in their part of the Jewish Holocaust?
  7. Their fixation on Mary, the mother of Jesus? Pray to her because she’s the only one who can calm down an angry Jesus? This would be like me to showcase some tool I used in the creation of an item when I was in the trades instead of the product itself, perhaps I should have built a showcase for it and put it in the front lobby of the building?
  8. Dovetailing (7), do you know how ‘The Assumption of Mary’ (August 15th, a legal holiday in the Catholic Church…all offices in the Catholic Church are closed that day) came to be?

People were wondering whatever happened to poor ole’ Mary…and since Mary is a big part of the Catholic Church, they didn’t know much about her outside what was written in the Bible…where is she buried…how did she die…they couldn’t even cobble together a ‘Whatever Happened To…?’ television program about her for all the information they had…so…through the ‘magic of infallibility’, on August 15th, 1950, Pope Pius XII proclaimed it ‘Mary Day’.

Ever wonder why 8/15 was picked? The date was decided because Christmas (12/25) and Resurrection (Late March – Middle April) made for a ‘dry’ spell during the time between Resurrection and Christmas, they wanted some ‘big’ celebration every four months to keep the faith ‘festive’.

While ‘Assumption’ has Latin ties, the real was chosen because they had to ‘assume’ that she was raptured to Heaven.

In all honesty, if Jesus was here today, He’d be overturning the tables in the Vatican…

Jan
2 months ago
Reply to  Dave

It’s disheartening to come to this comments area and find such bigotry. I don’t know what motivates you and others to express hatred on this site but it’s
uncalled for. There’s too much hurtful division in this country already and you’re contributing to it. And for what?

Dave
2 months ago
Reply to  Jan

A snowflake crayoned: It’s disheartening to come to this comments area and find such bigotry.

You really mean that it’s disheartening to come to this comments area and get ‘triggered’…

When I was in high school, our teachers used to say to someone who became triggered, ‘Here’s a quarter, call someone who gives a shi… cares…’ I suppose if you can even find a pay phone, I’d have to dig out two quarters…

I don’t know what motivates you and others to express hatred on this site but it’s uncalled for.

Notice how the snowflake uses words to marginalize people?

There’s too much hurtful division in this country already and you’re contributing to it. And for what?

It’s called ‘debate’? I love freedom…I’m funny that way…
You must have been indoctrinated with this garbage:

“War is peace!””Freedom is slavery!””Ignorance is strength!”
Go crawl back from the rock you came out of…

Howard
2 months ago
Reply to  Tom K

Sorry, Tom. I beg to disagree. The teachings of the true, Bible-based Baptist church and like-minded congregations go back in an unbroken chain to the time when Jesus declared that “upon this Rock (Holy Word of God) I will build my church.” (Matthew16:18). The Catholic Church cannot trace its lineage likewise.

gin
2 months ago
Reply to  Tom K

The bible contains the word of God, what He thought important. Tradition is simply human addition. Some very good humans, but not the word of God.

Philip Hammersley
2 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Seems some don’t like your post, Dave, but RCC does have some un-Biblical teachings and is far from perfect! Read the Bible and use it as your handbook.

Texas Resister 64
2 months ago

What does the Church teach that contradicts the Bible? Are you going to throw at them the thoroughly discredited business about calling priests “Father”?

Walt
1 month ago

Ok bozos…..what is perfect in this world……get a life

Walt
2 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Dave:oh puleeeeze…….you have no idea about the Catholic Church……..cradle Catholic here……the Catholic Church is not perfect by s long shot….but neither is the “believing Bible churches….all churches are made up of good believing folks…….like anything else in this world there are “rotten apples” involved…..I love the Catholic Church…….do I agree with everything that happens in the church?…..no….I think for myself unlike you and s lot of other gullible folks….that is why a guy like Joe Biden got elected…why the politicians in this government get elected

Dave
2 months ago
Reply to  Walt

oh puleeeeze…….you have no idea about the Catholic Church……..

You don’t have any idea on how to write a comprehensive sentence either…shall we criticize you for that?

cradle Catholic here……

Yea…so was I…

the Catholic Church is not perfect by s long shot….but neither is the “believing Bible churches….

You must have not seen my post where there was a criticism about their failure to not protect people from abuse…I stated that as much as I abhor that, I know it isn’t just an exclusive to the Catholic Church…please read everything before shooting your mouth off…

all churches are made up of good believing folks…….like anything else in this world there are “rotten apples” involved…..

Yes…any church is imperfect the minute you come in the front door…

I love the Catholic Church…….do I agree with everything that happens in the church?…..no….

…and yet you imply that the pope’s $hit is good to eat…

I think for myself unlike you and s lot of other gullible folks….that is why a guy like Joe Biden got elected…why the politicians in this government get elected

So now you’re telling us that we voted for that clown? Hate to tell you this, but the Catholic Church telegraphed to the ‘faithful’ that ‘Brandon’ was who they should vote for.

Your church is in the tank for Revelation…

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