American Life League Leader Questions Usefullness of US Bishops’ Document
By Steve Jalsevac
November 16, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - On Thursday the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released their document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. The document on political responsibility has been in the works for many months and was heavily debated at the bishops annual meeting in Baltimore this week.
LifeSiteNews thought it appropriate to interview Judy Brown, head of the American Life League for her response to the Forming Consciences. Brown has been the most vocal US pro-life leader encouraging the Catholic bishops to end the many years long scandal of prominent, actively pro-abortion and pro-homosexual Catholic politicians consistently being welcomed to receive communion at Catholic masses.
Brown had hoped that at this most recent meeting the bishops would finally take a firm stand to honor Church law on this issue as required by Canon Law 915 and that they would follow the specific direction given by Pope Benedict, Canon law expert Archbishop Burke and other Church authorities to deny the sacraments to these public figures.
The bishops completely avoided the issue and indicated that it has been addressed by them previously although some of the bishops hotly dispute that contention given the current still highly scandalous political realities.
Judie Brown was interviewed on Wednesday afternoon, November 14, the day the document was released.
LifeSiteNews: Do you have a response to the document issued today?
Judie Brown: I sure do. My response is both positive and negative. The positive is that they finally seem to have brought themselves to the point of being able to admit that abortion is a fundamental question and it should not be tied into other, quote, unquote "issues". I suppose that’s encouraging except they failed to say anything about pro-abortion politicians who are Catholic and the obligation that they as bishops have to deny Holy Communion and I am terribly distraught about that and generally it’s sort of a milk toast kind of a document.
LifeSiteNews: They say they addressed the communion issue in previous documents.
Judie Brown: They have never addressed the communion question. See, they relegate everything to a quote, unquote “issue” and they do not want to discuss it and the fact of the matter is they have a moral obligation to enforce Canon 915. There should be unanimous agreement on that and anything less than that is a scandal.
LifeSiteNews: Have you read the document yet?
Judie Brown: I have only seen quotes from it. I have not had a chance to read the whole thing.
LifeSiteNews: Is it possible that because of the length of the document (40 pages), its discussion of many different issues and its emphasis on conscience, abortion will get lost instead of being the highest priority?
Judie Brown: Well, you know, even more basic than that, they can issue documents until they are blue in the face and it’s not going to make a difference to Catholics because Catholics are not being taught, they are not being catechized on the fundamental teachings of the Church. I think the average Catholic would probably not even know that document existed or if he did he would pay absolutely no attention to it because it is supported by no moral authority (Bishops’ conferences do not have any canonical Church teaching authority). They don’t teach the truth from the pulpit.
Such documents are going to have no significance whatsoever because they’re not supported with any daily, weekly effort on the part of the bishops as a united body to teach and to demand that their priests teach the fundamental teachings of the Church.
LifeSiteNews: What else, other than the communion issue, would you have liked to see in the document?
Judie Brown: You know what, I would prefer that they not issue a document and they get about the business of teaching the truth to Catholics.
LifeSiteNews: So, its more about the individual bishops doing their job. Is that what you would say?
Judie Brown: That’s exactly what I am saying. When you have only 13 out of 195 who have the courage to defend Christ in the Eucharist (enforce Canon 915) you have a big problem.
Judie will provide more extensive commentary on the document later on the American Life League website.
See related articles:
A Primer on Canon 915
The Discipline Regarding the Denial of Holy Communion to Those Obstinately Persevering in Manifest Grave Sin