Ad Limina Apostolorum (Blog) | St. Augustine's Library
Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Ratzinger vs. McCarrick, round 2 

Christopher again broke the news at CKW this morning that, according to a CNS report, Ratzinger has provided a written response to the US 'Communiongate' debacle.

Now the CNS headline speaks volumes:

"Cardinal Ratzinger says he, U.S. bishops 'in harmony' on politics"

Now this gives the seeming impression that Ratzinger is just perfectly chipper with all that has been going on with the entire proceedings leading up to the USCCB statement, Catholics in Political Life. The CNS report reviews recent events, and throws a few quotes in their from McCarrick's 'Interim Reflections' which discourage the denial of communion, and closes with a smug 'So there!' as it quotes the text of Ratzinger's letter, which, apparently, will put a stop to the ongoing claims that McCarrick had in fact 'dumbed down' Ratzinger's position:

Your Eminence:

"With your letter of June 21, 2004, transmitted via fax, you kindly sent a copy of the statement 'Catholics in Political Life,' approved by the members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at their June meeting.

"The congregation is grateful for this courtesy. The statement is very much in harmony with the general principles 'Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion,' sent as a fraternal service -- to clarify the doctrine of the church on this specific issue -- in order to assist the American bishops in their related discussion and determinations.

"It is hoped that this dialogue can continue as the task force carries on its important work.

"With fraternal regards and prayerful best wishes, I am,

"Sincerely yours in Christ

"Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger"

Yet, as Domenico Bettinelli points out on Bettnet:

"I notice that while the note is addressed to McCarrick, it says nothing about what McCarrick said, only the bishops' statement. Yet the bishops' conference puts McCarrick's name on this whole thing very prominently, making it appear to be a vindication of McCarrick."

In other words, Ratzinger is definitely and unambiguously approving of the statement Catholics in Political Life. He is not addressing either (1) the accuracy of McCarrick's presentation (i.e., in the Reflections) of the contents of his letter to the bishops previous to the above statement, or (2) the leaking of this letter to the press which demonstrated the inaccuracy of the above presentation.

My treatments of this issue on Ad Limina have primarly put forward two arguments: (1) There are questions regarding the accuracy of McCarrick's presentation of the contents of Ratziner's memo, and (2) the USCCB Statement 'Catholics in Political Life' represented a comparatively solid stance in favor of authentic Catholic teaching, which in essence also represented a rejection of McCarrick's proposal.

Now, given that Ratzinger has openly endorsed 'Catholics in Political Life' but made no move to endorse McCarrick's Reflections, one can validly make the argument that Ratzinger feels similarly. We can't assume this, since he does not speak at all to McCarrick's 'Reflections.' But his silence here, is telling. If he, as CNS indicates, is truly attempting to vindicate McCarrick, to be his 'knight in shining armor' in the face of media accusations, he could have done this much more effectively by openly endorsing McCarrick's 'Reflections,' or gone even further by contradicting publicly the claim that McCarrick had misrepresented his memo. In any case, one can hardly read this development as a Ratzinger endorsement of McCarrick's 'open communion table' platform.

UPDATE: See Oswald Sobrino's comments here.

# posted by Jamie : 11:59 AM


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