Bishop Thomas Tobin opens a can of whoop-ass on Congressman Patrick Kennedy, on his “I’m pro-choice and a good Catholic, too” shtick:
“The fact that I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic.â€ Well, in fact, Congressman, in a way it does. …
Thereâ€™s lots of canonical and theological verbiage there, Congressman, but what it means is that if you donâ€™t accept the teachings of the Church your communion with the Church is flawed, or in your own words, makes you â€œless of a Catholic.â€
But letâ€™s get down to a more practical question; letâ€™s approach it this way: What does it mean, really, to be a Catholic? After all, being a Catholic has to mean something, right?
Well, in simple terms … being a Catholic means that youâ€™re part of a faith community that possesses a clearly defined authority and doctrine, obligations and expectations. It means that you believe and accept the teachings of the Church, especially on essential matters of faith and morals; that you belong to a local Catholic community, a parish; that you attend Mass on Sundays and receive the sacraments regularly; that you support the Church, personally, publicly, spiritually and financially.
Congressman, Iâ€™m not sure whether or not you fulfill the basic requirements of being a Catholic, so let me ask: Do you accept the teachings of the Church on essential matters of faith and morals, including our stance on abortion? Do you belong to a local Catholic community, a parish? Do you attend Mass on Sundays and receive the sacraments regularly? Do you support the Church, personally, publicly, spiritually and financially?
In your letter you say that you â€œembrace your faith.â€ Terrific. But if you donâ€™t fulfill the basic requirements of membership, what is it exactly that makes you a Catholic? Your baptism as an infant? Your family ties? Your cultural heritage?
Bravo. Look, if you’re pro-choice, fine. But spare us the hypocrisy of claiming to be a “faithful Catholic” and pro-abortion at the same time. That dog won’t hunt, and it’s long past time our vaunted political leadership got called on it.