VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Vatican is using a disgraced cardinal to torpedo the U.S. bishops' forthcoming document on eucharistic coherence, which could prohibit pro-abortion politicians from receiving Holy Communion.
In an interview with Vatican News on the opening day of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' General Assembly in Baltimore, Cdl. Roger Mahony said he was "unsettled" by the document "that intended primarily to go after and penalize Catholic legislators."
Dismissing the effort as "totally unnecessary," the scandal-plagued prelate predicted the bishops' document "will never have any impact" and will be a statement "no one is going to read."
Mahony (who was accused of covering up the sexual abuse of some 500 victims by 34 clerics during his tenure as archbishop of Los Angeles) insisted that "we would have decided we do not need this document" if the bishops had engaged in an "honest dialogue" among themselves.
"The Holy Father, of course, is always, always looking for the path of encounter and dialogue to deal with issues like this, especially among the bishops," said the cardinal, who was stripped of all administrative and public duties by his successor, Abp. José Gómez, in 2013.
Three months after his removal, Mahony was declared to be "in good standing" by the archdiocese and allowed to resume active ministry (after Francis was elected pope, as Church Militant previously reported).
Speaking to Church Militant, Dave Brennan, executive director of the pro-life project Brephos of the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform U.K., said that "the 'path of encounter and dialogue' advocated by the Holy See is all a smokescreen for an anti-biblical agenda to be pushed."
It is unthinkable, biblically speaking, for the Church to tolerate child sacrifice while professing Christ and His word. If those who promote or practice child sacrifice are to be admitted to the Communion table, what is that table now but an empty (and wicked) religious ceremony, encouraging evil and estranged from the heart of the Christ whose sacrifice it is meant to recollect?
Psalm 50 and Isaiah 1 show us exactly what God thinks about such dishonest displays of religiosity. What is needed here is not 'encounter' or 'dialogue' but clarity and courage.
In his interview, Mahony defended pro-abortion politicians, claiming it was not only "very difficult" but "almost impossible" for Catholic politicians "to make all their decisions based on Catholic doctrine."
Mahony's defense, however, is debunked by the Pew Research Center, which describes almost all Democrats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives as pro-abortion, while almost all Republican senators and congressmen are described as pro-life — meaning that Republican legislators, at least, do not find it "almost impossible" to stand up for their Faith.
"What I think we have failed to do is realize the good faith of our Catholic legislators," Mahony argued, describing how "thrilled" he was when "60 Catholic members of Congress" issued a Statement of Principles in June. "I read it through two to three times, and I said, 'This is us! This is the Church!'"
All 60 signatories to the statement were Democrats, a fact Mahony failed to mention in his interview with Vatican News.
"As Catholic Democrats in Congress, we are proud to be part of the living Catholic tradition," the statement noted, urging that bishops "not move forward and deny this most holy of all sacraments, the source and the summit of the whole work of the gospel, over one issue."
"The weaponization of the Eucharist to Democratic lawmakers for their support of a woman's safe and legal access to abortion is contradictory," the statement maintained.
In comments to Church Militant, Dr. John Zmirak, a senior editor of The Stream, described Mahony as "an icon of the disgraceful collapse of American Catholic witness."
Zmirak, author of the bestselling Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism, blasted Vatican News' choice of Mahony for the interview:
While mewling about the poor, he wasted tens of millions [of dollars] on a needless and monstrous new cathedral that looks like a slaughterhouse. While braying about the vulnerable, he shuffled sex abusers and fought like a demon in court to avoid paying reparations. When prosecutors looked too closely at his felonious enabling of child rape, he'd take refuge in rallies of illegal immigrants, showing off his political power.
If you're going to interview Mahony about the future of the U.S. church, why not go whole hog and interview Ted McCarrick? In a church where Roger Mahony is given Holy Communion, I suppose giving it to Joe Biden is not a shocking scandal.
In the interview, Mahony claimed pro-abortion politicians were willing to collaborate with the bishops in reducing abortion and even quoted heavily from Catholic teaching.
"And I just hope, instead of worrying about documents, we enter into the dialogue and start working with them [the politicians]," the prelate remarked, since "it's precisely the constructive dialogue that Pope Francis insists [on]."
Church Militant asked Vatican News why it had chosen to interview a disgraced cardinal and also asked if the publication of the interview on the opening day of the USCCB assembly could be seen as "a blatant attempt" to influence the bishops' deliberations.
There was no response as of press time.