Newsweek has joined Time in offering its back-page commentary to bashing the Catholic Church debate on eucharistic rules and politicians. I should probably not try to make sense of Anna Quindlen, but here goes. She starts by complaining that by expecting Catholic politicians to vote against abortion, “certain segments of the Roman Catholic hierarchy are behaving like wholly owned subsidiaries of the Republican Party, hellbent on a course that will weaken the church’s moral authority.”
But oh, does Anna work to weaken the church’s moral authority, pounding on the sex-abuse scandal to insist that the entire American church now has no standing to judge or instruct its flock: “Why were known pedophiles permitted to give communion for years, while people of conscience at odds with Vatican teaching (not church dogma) are prohibited from receiving it? It brings to mind the always topical injunction that it’s he who is without sin who gets to cast the first stone.”
In modern, sexually randy times, Quindlen found that American Catholics ignored the church’s teachings on artificial contraception, and let’s bring up abuse again: “Little by little Catholics made their peace with consulting their conscience instead of Father, especially on intimate issues. The intermediaries became increasingly irrelevant, especially when, in recent years, the full extent of priestly sexual predation became known.”
Anna concludes: “Next month American Catholic bishops meet for a retreat in Colorado. There they should speak out against grievous sin, the sin of using communion to punish by those who have not the moral authority to persuade.”
Does this sound like someone who really wants the Church to have moral authority? Or only when it turns its dogmas upside down to please “Catholics for a Free Choice”?