I rise from my Sunday afternoon nap, I peruse this happy Corner, and I make these notes, one for Derb, two for Tim Graham.
For Derb: “Aren’t I” is neither neither barbarous nor preposterous. (I’m right about this, Kathryn, ain’t I?)
a) Bishop Sheridan’s statement strikes me as something close to heart-breaking. How few bishops demonstrate any courage, any courage at all? Now Bishop Sheridan has done so—but in so ham-fisted a manner that he’s less likely to prompt his brother bishops to boldness than to confirm them in their timidity (“There,” they’ll all say to their staffs, “I told you what happens when you speak out on these matters, and now you see I was right”). What’s especially disconcerting is that his statement seemed so thoughtless and uninformed. About two minutes of reflection would have demonstrated to the good bishop that (as Ramesh has pointed out) there are all kinds of circumstances in which Catholics can in good faith vote for politicians who oppose Church teaching. Here in California last autumn, for instance, voters faced the following choices: McClintock, pro-life. Schwarzenegger, pro-choice. Davis, militantly pro-choice. Who can seriously argue that it was sinful to for Catholics to vote for Schwarzenegger? McClintock stood very little chance, and of the two remaining candidates Schwarzenegger was clearly the better.
b) Are you sure that missing mass on Sunday represents a mortal sin? As best I’d ever understood it, the sin here was only venial. Can you—or a reader—provide the relevant citation from the Catechism?
One way or the other, my uncertainty on this proves your point: Lots of Catholics are fuzzy, even—perhaps especially—on the basics.