Conservative Alice Stewart humiliated after trying to tell a Catholic how Catholicism works
Conservative Alice Stewart and Democrat Maria Cardona got into it over some Catholic bishops weaponizing communion. In the past, bishops have tried to threaten President Joe Biden because he doesn't believe in legislating abortion. Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was also threatened because she too doesn't want the government to dictate individuals' lives.
Speaking about the issue, Stewart attempted to cite Catholic tenets cited by San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone in his press release attacking Pelosi.
"This is a long time coming and should have happened," argued Stewart, who isn't a Catholic. "This is not a conservative archbishop. This is universal."
The archbishop she's citing is actually very conservative. He serves as the archbishop of San Francisco, a city known for being among the biggest LGBTQ cities. Yet, Cordileone opposes same-sex marriage, which is an issue approved by 70 percent of Americans. In 2013, 58 percent of California voters supported ballot measures legalizing same-sex marriage. That number has only ballooned in the nearly 10 years since.
Stewart said that because the Catholic Church believes that abortion is a sin, priests can deny someone absolution after confession, refusing them of having communion, but all any Catholic would have to do is find a priest who would give them absolution. This weekend, Pelosi went to church in Washington, D.C. where she was given communion.
Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C. is not the kind of leader to weaponize communion. He announced last year that he wouldn't deny it of Biden, though Biden still attends his home church whenever possible. It's where his late wife, son and daughter are all buried.
"Pope Francids refers to abortion in extremely horrible terms calling it murder," said Stewart. "The Catholic Church needs to stand up. You can't pick and choose which tenets you believe in. It is part of the big picture of being a Catholic. This is universal catholic teaching."
Cardona, a practicing Catholic, explained to Stewart that Catholicism doesn't take one issue that negates the entirety of one's faith.
"Judge not lest ye be judged," Cardona quoted from Matthew 7:1. "The Holy Father, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, said that bishops should not be politicians. They should be pastors. This is incredibly misguided on behalf of the bishop. They represent not what the majority of Catholics believe but an extremely conservative political view that they are using their incredibly powerful perch to dispense of that view and I think it is completely wrong-headed of them."
She went on to say that it's one of the major reasons why the Catholic Church is seeing major losses in their U.S. churches. While the church might be gaining a following elsewhere in the world, in the US, where a lot of donations come from, the far-right domination of the U.S. Council of Bishops has been a problem for a more mainstream American audience.
"Those who have left Catholicism outnumber those who have joined the Catholic Church by nearly a four-to-one margin. Overall, one-in-ten American adults (10.1 percent) have left the Catholic Church after having been raised Catholic, while only 2.6 percent of adults have become Catholic after having been raised something other than Catholic," Pew wrote in 2009 before updating its numbers in 2011.
Millennials have been a large part of the rush away from organized religion, Pew data found last year. While the numbers saw huge losses between 2007 and 2014, after 2014 things remained steady. The thing that changed the most is that Pope Francis took over in 2013. Last year, one-third of the Catholics in Germany (221,000) left the church. It was the third year in a row such a large number fled the church. It makes sense for the pandemic, but for the numbers to continue dropping over the course of three years expands beyond COVID.
"Catholics aren’t disappointed—they’re exasperated," wrote Father Bryan Massingale last year. What Americans see is that the Pope does one thing while the US bishops do another. For example, the Council of Bishops was furious that Pope Francis met with President Joe Biden, a life-long Catholic and only the second president in history to be a dedicated follower of the faith. The Council voted that Biden should be denied communion, only to be shot down by the Pope.
America, the Jesuit Review, wrote in January from its editorial board that Catholic leaders must listen to those who have left the church if they mean to win anyone back. Last year, for example, the Michigan Catholic Conference was caught forking over hundreds of thousands of dollars not to help the poor, or children orphaned by COVID, but they gave almost $240,000 to fight a local group that was trying to expand LGBTQ protections.
This is a reason why people are leaving the Catholic church in droves and hoping that better minds within the Vatican prevail, said Cardona. The message coming from Pope Frances, by contrast, "is exactly what the Catholic church should be doing in reflecting the teachings of Jesus Christ. The bishop's weaponize that and I think it's completely wrong to do that."
She went on to tell Stewart that the most important part of being a Catholic is that an individual is responsible for their own morality and moral code.
"You have to act depending on the moral compass, it says. That is up to nobody else," said Cardona. "That is why this -- why you go to confession. If you believe you have sinned, you go to confession and how you are back into the grace of God and then able to take Holy Communion. That is no one's decision except for the person who decides to take Holy Communion. Interestingly enough that decision is as personal to whoever wants to decide to take Holy Communion as the decision to terminate a pregnancy is to a woman. It is that personal. It is no one else's decision. If those bishops believe whoever is taking communion that they are sinning because they believe in abortion rights, well you know what, that is up to that person and God and Jesus. If they believe that person will burn in Hell, well it is up to that person to make that decision. It is not up to the bishop. That is doctrine of the Catholic Church. You are responsible for your own morality and your own moral code. And that is how you should act. And so, I think, again, it is completely wrong-headed. They are weaponizing communion and a reason why the Catholic Church is losing people in droves."
Another point later argued is that Pope Francis is considered infallible in the church, so his thoughts reign supreme over any decision by a lowly bishop in San Francisco.
In the case of Biden, he's never had an abortion, so it isn't his "sin" that the fringe bishops purport to oppose. Their anger is over Biden's support of the legislation. So, weaponizing communion as a means of legislative lobbying could be a violation of tax laws, something that the Catholic Church deems a mortal sin.
"Next time I go to Church, I dare you to deny me Communion," U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) told his 1.6 million Twitter followers last year. As an XY gender, he doesn't appear to have had an abortion.
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