There is a certain charm in knowing that one of the most former of former American archbishops, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, lately of the see of Washington, is still making waves in that town from the Bishop’s Conference to the White House.

I take this from Catholic Insight, as posted by AMDG:

Theodore Cardinal McCarrick is no longer archbishop of Washington, but even in retirement, he is holding to his position of accommodation with “pro-choice” Catholic politicians. Furthermore, he is always ready and willing to enunciate his views in this regard to the secular media.

In a late October interview with the Associated Press, the Cardinal criticized statements by the Archbishop of St. Louis, Raymond Burke, who stated as long as five years ago that priests should not give Holy Communion to Catholics who publicly support abortion. Recently, Burke repeated this stand with respect to Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, on the grounds that the politician is “a Catholic who has been publicly espousing positions contrary to the moral law and … knows it.”

McCarrick opposes Burke’s position based on a vague rule of his own; namely, “that no elected official will ever perfectly fall in line with every policy position the Church takes” (LifeSiteNews, Oct. 16, 2007). McCarrick mentioned euthanasia and the death penalty. (Editor: The latter indicates his confusion: opposition to the death penalty is a prudential option, not a mandatory teaching of the Church.)

Papal and magisterial teachings against abortion, contraception and euthanasia, solemnly re-affirmed over the last 40 years — notably in the 1995 encyclical Evangelium vitae — seem to be regarded by the Cardinal as optional for Catholic politicians. This has been his position since at least 2004, when he first issued such statements and held a private meeting with then-Democratic presidential candidate and “pro-choice” Catholic, John Kerry.

Archbishop Burke, on the other hand, is one of a group of U.S. bishops who have asked their priests to deny the Eucharist to pro-abortion politicians. In 2004, he had asked several such politicians to meet with and be counselled by him. When they refused, he issued a ban that remains in place in his archdiocese.

(. . .)

A Princeton University professor says the scandal of pro-abortion Catholics threatens more damage to the Church than that of pedophile priests, although the latter receives more press coverage. “Nothing undermines the cause of justice and cultural reform and renewal more than the bad example of prominent Catholics who have made themselves instruments of what Pope John Paul II bluntly described as ‘the culture of death,’” says Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence (LifeSiteNews, August 13, 2007).

U.S. bishops continue to be divided on this issue, with the great majority refusing to be engaged at all. In mid-November 2007, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was to vote on a document spelling out guidelines for Catholic politicians. It put great emphasis on the life issues and recommended that one be guided “more by our moral convictions than by our attachment to a political party or interest group.” Unfortunately, there was no mention of what the bishops themselves should do to fulfill their duties such as adhering to Canon Law 915, which states that “those who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”

Many U.S. pro-life activists are increasingly angry at the do-nothing attitude of their ecclesiastical leaders, especially after their disastrous handling of homosexual sex abuse cases that came to light in 2002 and for which the bishops themselves have denied any responsibility.
Archbishop Burke has received support from the American Life League (ALL), the Knights of Columbus, various brother bishops and the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, a national association of priests.

If U.S. bishops “continue to be divided on the issue” we have the political and moral equivocations of certain high-ranking members of the hierarchy to thank.