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Cardinal Ratzinger as presidential kingmaker [Did new Pope win election for Bush?]
National Catholic Reporter ^ | April 21, 2005 | Joe Feuerherd

Posted on 04/26/2005 4:05:22 PM PDT by Diago

Early results: The Ratzinger papacy is a boon, and potentially a big one, to Republicans.

This is not to say, of course, that Benedict XVI will act as Vatican precinct chair for the GOP. While the new pope is a highly-educated man, there's no reason to believe that he has the least interest in, or understanding of, the nuances of American party politics. And by all accounts, he's not a poll-driven guy.

That said, there's a case to be made that as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had more to do with electing George W. Bush to a second term than any number of party activists and operatives who worked full-time on the task.

It started with CDFs November 2002 "doctrinal note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life." That 4,000 word document reaffirmed "the legitimate freedom of Catholic citizens to choose among the various political opinions that are compatible with faith and the natural moral law, and to select, according to their own criteria, what best corresponds to the needs of the common good." But, in reference to abortion, it declared that Catholic legislators "have a grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that attacks human life. For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them."

In late 2003, citing the doctrinal note, La Crosse, Wis., Bishop Raymond Burke issued a directive prohibiting any pro-choice legislator from taking Communion in the diocese. That edict would have drawn some attention, no doubt, but it became major news when Burke was transferred to St. Louis, a large archdiocese. As it happens, Burke's installation coincided with the Missouri Democratic primary, where pro-choice Catholic Senator John Kerry, fresh off his victories in Iowa and New Hampshire, was the frontrunner. Burke told reporters that if Kerry presented himself for Communion, he would refuse him the sacrament.

Over the course of the campaign a relatively small (but vocal and media-savvy) number of American bishops declared that they too would deny Kerry Communion because of his pro-choice views, while others urged him (and other Catholic politicians with similar views), to refrain from the Communion line. Colorado Springs, Colo., Bishop Michael Sheridan went so far as to say that anyone who voted for Kerry risked eternal damnation.

It was the perfect ecclesial-political storm.

Which is where Ratzinger entered the picture. The American bishops, prior to their June 2004 closed-door meeting, sought his guidance. The result of which was more confusion, not clarity. The point man for the bishops' communication was Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, chair of the bishops' task force on "Catholics in Political Life." (McCarrick said he would not deny Communion to pro-choice politicians and warned against "politicizing" the Eucharist.)

McCarrick and Ratzinger apparently had a number of conversations prior to the bishops' June meeting. At that meeting, encouraged by McCarrick, the bishops decided to leave the decision over whether to withhold Communion to the local bishop of each diocese. A happy compromise?

Not really. Following the meeting, a memo from Ratzinger to McCarrick, a document that had not been shared with the other bishops, was leaked. The memo said that pastors who have politicians who favor abortion rights or euthanasia within their congregations should meet with them. At which point, said Ratzinger, the pastor should inform the politician that "he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and [warn] him that he will otherwise be denied Communion."

Further, said Ratzinger, when such warnings go unheeded, "and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, 'the minister of Holy Eucharist must refuse to distribute it.' " He referenced previous church statements related to the denial of communion to divorced Catholics who remarry outside the church.

McCarrick stood accused of misleading his brother bishops -- of misrepresenting Ratzinger's views to the body of bishops. He denied the charge and quickly sought and received clarification from Ratzinger. "The statement [of the American bishops released at their June meeting] is very much in harmony with the general principles [of] '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," wrote Ratzinger.

The Ratzinger intervention and the bishops' statement did little, ultimately, to quell the hierarchical attacks on Kerry, which had a real impact on the race. As Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg noted recently in a memo designed in-part as guidance to pro-choice Catholic politicians: "Conflict with the bishops on abortion or on Communion is not particularly helpful."

In the general election, Bush and Kerry essentially split the Catholic vote. But in heavily Catholic Ohio -- the state that decided the contest -- Bush carried 53 percent of the Catholic vote to Kerry's 46 percent.

The Ratzinger effect? Parochially speaking, there's no doubt about it.

The e-mail address for Joe Feuerherd is

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Front Page News; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: benedict; bush; cafeteriacatholics; catholicvote; cino; whiners
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Worthiness to receive Holy Communion General principles
By Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

Hardcopy Issue Date: September
Online Publication Date: Sep 1, 2004, 16:50

             This statement from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was sent as a memo to Washington’s Cardinal TheodoreMcCarrick in preparation of the June 14 to 18 meeting of American bishops in Colorado. It is part of the discussion about pro-abortion Catholic politicians, and the Church.



1Presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion should be a conscious decision, based on a reasoned judgement regarding one’s worthiness to do so, according to the Church’s objective criteria, asking such questions as: “Am I in full communion with the Catholic Church? Am I guilty of grave sin? Have I incurred a penalty (e.g. excommunication, interdict) that forbids me to receive Holy Communion? Have I prepared myself by fasting for at least an hour?” The practice of indiscriminately presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion, merely as a consequence of being present at Mass, is an abuse that must be corrected (cf. Instruction “Redemptionis sacramentum,” nos. 81, 83).

2The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin. The Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that authorise or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a “grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. [...] In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it’” (no. 73). Christians have a “grave obligation of conscience not to co-operate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. [...] This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it” (no. 74).

3Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

4Apart from an individuals’s judgement about his worthiness to present himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone, such as in cases of a declared excommunication, a declared interdict, or an obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin (cf. can. 915).

5Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.

6When “these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible,” and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, “the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it” (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration “Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics” [2002], nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgement on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.


[N.B. A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.]

(Editor: emphasis in text is mine.)

© Copyright 2003-2004 by

1 posted on 04/26/2005 4:05:26 PM PDT by Diago
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To: Diago

And of course the Bishop Pilla of Cleveland lost in the last election:

Toldeo Blade Claims Bishop Pilla and John Carroll Prez were to appear at John Kerry Rally

2 posted on 04/26/2005 4:07:37 PM PDT by Diago
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To: Diago

And I think this line from Pope Benedict XVI:

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia"

will help put the breaks on the American Bishops ill-advised anti-death penalty campaign:

"Catholic Bishops Launch Major Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty"

3 posted on 04/26/2005 4:11:49 PM PDT by Diago
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To: Diago

Nope. Swift Boat Vets did far and away the most damage to Kerry.

4 posted on 04/26/2005 4:12:45 PM PDT by HisKingdomWillAbolishSinDeath (Proverbs 10:30 The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.)
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To: Coleus; Salvation; NYer; murphE; St. Johann Tetzel


5 posted on 04/26/2005 4:15:05 PM PDT by Diago
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To: HisKingdomWillAbolishSinDeath

And I can say that my pictures of presidents that I gave them helped. Boy was it fun to sink his swift boat.

6 posted on 04/26/2005 4:37:56 PM PDT by festus (The constitution may be flawed but its a whole lot better than what we have now.)
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To: HisKingdomWillAbolishSinDeath
Nope. Swift Boat Vets did far and away the most damage to Kerry.

Not sure "far and away the most damage" is accurate. I might grant you a "more" but not "far and away". The Catholic vote in Ohio is very significant. As a Catholic, I can not understand how any Catholic can vote for a pro-choice politician. I can understand the tendency to lean towards socialist candidates however. Many of the homilies I hear on Sunday are very socialistic in tone. But abortion? Never!

7 posted on 04/26/2005 4:51:11 PM PDT by mc5cents
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To: Diago

Wonder if he's a FReeper.

8 posted on 04/26/2005 4:54:40 PM PDT by Kenny Bunkport
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To: Diago

"Toldeo Blade Claims Bishop Pilla and John Carroll Prez were to appear at John Kerry Rally"

Bp. Pilla stood by and let Hanoi John turn our Cathedral into a media circus on Ash Wednesday last year. That's worse than appearing at a pro 'rat rally, IMWO.

I'm happy to report that I'm one Catholic trapped in the city of Cleveland that voted for Bush. This town still sucks though.

9 posted on 04/26/2005 4:58:08 PM PDT by Warrior_Queen ("The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing")
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To: Warrior_Queen
From the Diocese of Cleveland


Also visit the
Office of Catechetical Services News/Announcements



Ten Challenges for Catholic Leaders In the Aftermath of the Presidential Election

1.      Divisions exist within our Church that are deep and that jeopardize our ability to build community at the parish level and to be communities of salt and light to the larger society. (There is a great deal of alienation that needs to be addressed).

2.      A creeping fundamentalism within the church provides space for some to demonize others (i.e. the notion that you can’t be a good Catholic and vote for John Kerry).

3.      Outside organizations with significant resources are extremely well organized and energized. They are well situated to serve partisan purposes. They can and will exploit the divisions within the Church.

4.      The independent statements of a few bishops has had a negative impact on the unity and teaching authority of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

5.      Reflection and dialogue are required about how our faith should influence our politics.

6.      Teaching on the consistent ethic of life needs to be strengthened not diluted. (Too much of the Presidential campaign was reduced to jingles and slogans).

7.      More than ever there is a need for clarity in our teaching and messaging.

8.      Greater emphasis needs to be placed upon the proper formation of one’s conscience.

9.      Catholics are more than ever politically homeless. There is much work to be done among the laity to reform our political system.

10.  A great challenge of our Church is to penetrate a national media that seems solely focused on the Church’s position on sexual and family matters while ignoring Church teaching on war and peace, social justice and human rights.

Where Do We Go From Here:  Recommendations for Action

·           Redouble our efforts at educating our parishioners and students on Catholic Social Teaching and the demands of the Gospel.

·           Offer opportunities for clergy education on “Catholic Faith, Political Responsibility, and the Common Good”

·           Engage Catholic Public Officials in dialogue about their unique vocation as a politician

·           Provide greater attention to educating our lay people about developing a well-formed Christian conscience

·           Develop national and diocesan strategies about changing the manner in which the media views Church teaching and our positions on public policy

·           Create opportunities in our parishes for respectful dialogue among parishioners with diverse perspectives on how faith should inform one’s politics

Prepared by: Tom Allio, Senior Director
Cleveland Diocesan Social Action Office
January 21, 2005

For current information on social justice issues consult:

The Diocesan Social Action Web Site

Diocesan Education and Training Center for Social Justice (ETC) at:

The Legislative Hotline at:
1-800-869-6525 x 6690





| Secretariat for Education and Catechesis |  Mission | Newest News |
Office of Catholic Education | Office of Catechetical Services | Newman Catholic Campus Ministry | | Contact Us | Search |

©2005 - Catholic Diocese of Cleveland - Secretariat for Education and Catechesis
Last Updated: 01/24/05
Contact the webmaster.

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10 posted on 04/26/2005 5:01:02 PM PDT by Diago
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Diocese of Cleveland to Fly its website's Rainbow Gay Pride Flag at Half Mast?:

From previous stories on Bishop Pilla:

In March, 2002, about two years after leaving the diocese, Charlie [the bishop's former lawyer] says he met again with Bishop Gries. “I met with Bishop Roger and I told him as a friend that he needed to tell Pilla to step down. That's all I said.”

I prod him to continue. “Because of the manner in which all of this had been handled.”

Charlie later says, “The thing that really fried me was the way the church in Cleveland has agreed to ‘infanticize' Anthony. It's like he's a child. ‘Oh, he didn't know this, he didn't know that.' Wait a minute, oh merciful God. Then what's he in charge of one million Catholics for? Yes, Quinn did crazy stuff, but he was a lieutenant, you are the general. Why didn't you stop it?


The following appeared in "The Wanderer's" From the Mail Section.:

In Cleveland, which has been racked with the most damaging sex abuse scandals outside of Boston and Los Angeles, diocesan officials, including Bishop Anthony Pilla, maintain a stiff upper lip as some homosexual activists in the chancery and parishes continue to transform parishes into gay-friendly communities. Consider:

The Diocese of Cleveland's official web site ( greets the viewer with a rainbow flag, and gay activists at the diocese's Gay and Lesbian Family Ministry (GLFM) office are way out and way proud.

One member of the GLFM recorded his experience on an area gay web site of his participation in the Cleveland Gay Pride Parade, informing, "The catholic group had a very nice sized contingent. There were a whole ton of other religious groups as well...Oh, did I mention that I am in the same video as a pornstar?!...Our table was almost across from The Grid's table, so we got to watch Matt Rush shirtless signing autographs and posing for pictures most of the afternoon. I felt so uncouth ogling a pornstar and trying to be a respectable representative of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland...

"The Stonewall Democrats had the booth next to The Grid, and they had some mighty fine shirtless guys sitting at their table, too. After we took down our table at the pride festival, seven of us from the Catholic group went out to dinner...We also had the same waiter that we had last time...the cute one with attitude."

The author of that revealing letter is the apparent friend of Brian Halderman, a longtime gay activist of the Diocese of Cleveland who recently announced that he is joining the Society of Mary (Marianists) in Dayton.

In another Internet chat thread sent to FTM by a Cleveland reader, Halderman revealed that while a parishioner at Ascension Church (a church plagued by a number of predator priests), he was a chatechist involved in the sacramental preparation of second graders.

Reader, does all this help you understand what bishops such as Clark and Hubbard and Pilla mean by the "lay-run church.

You can contact the diocese of Cleveland toll free at 1-800-869-6525 or by e-mailing:


The official logo for the Diocese of Cleveland Gay and Lesbian Ministry [Warning: This is not a joke]:

Go see for yourself:

The official logo for the Diocese of Cleveland Gay and Lesbian Ministry

_________________________________________________________ ---------------------------------------------------------

The following exchange appeared in an article on a gay convicted priest here in Cleveland. [Note: Burkhart is a gay detective and McBride is the gay priest]: Burkhart and McBride dined on crab cakes and chatted lightly. After dinner, McBride turned the conversation to the recent Catholic Church scandal. He hoped that, when it was all over, the church would recognize that priests are sexual beings too -- and that some are gay. "Back in the 1960s, would you have ever come to a place like this?" Burkhart asked. "I mean, in this town, where you were working?" "Probably not, no," McBride said. "Realistically, in 1960, no." "And in certain places it looks like the seminary on Saturday night now," Burkhart joked. "Yeah, that really is how it is," McBride said. They compared notes on seeing clergy in gay bars. Then Burkhart stammered as he asked McBride a personal question: "So, whenever you had sex . . . were you bound to go to confession and confess it before you said Mass, or . . .?" "Well, you were supposed to, yes," McBride said. "Do you think all these priests do?" "No," McBride said. "I think they changed their minds and decided it's not a sin." The full article can be found at this link:

11 posted on 04/26/2005 5:12:08 PM PDT by Diago
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To: Diago

I enjoy seeing the bishops stick it to Kerry last year; however, now I'm thinking that the whole thing was unwise. It hurt the Church by injecting it into U.S. politics, and I don't think that it helped Bush. Bush was already going to get the very conservative, Opus Dei people to vote for him just as they did in 2000; his gains among more moderate Catholics, people who might go to Church but sometimes ignore Catholic teachings, and among Hispanic Catholics are what put him over the top.

12 posted on 04/26/2005 5:22:58 PM PDT by Accygirl
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To: Diago

First it was Cheney that was really running things, then it was Rove, then it was Wolfowitz, now it's the Pope. What a bunch of losers these Dems are. The blame obviously belongs to Kerry, Moore and Dean. Hopefully, they will never wise up.

13 posted on 04/26/2005 6:04:40 PM PDT by cookcounty ("We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts" ---Abe Lincoln, 1858.)
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To: Accygirl

It hurt the Church by injecting it into U.S. politics

Evidence that the Church is hurt? Any available?

Doesn't conflicting messages from nominal Catholics who are political leaders that they are "good catholics" while opposing clear doctrine of the Church hurt more?

Do you have some reference for this conspiratorial conservative Opus Dei reference? Are they like Neo-cons? Where do we find more about these dangerous conservative Catholics?

14 posted on 04/26/2005 6:25:38 PM PDT by gogipper
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In response to the parenthetical title, No: the American voters did.

15 posted on 04/26/2005 6:28:45 PM PDT by GretchenM (Tom Daschle still calls dem shots -- via Harry Reid.)
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To: Diago; 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; afraidfortherepublic; Alas; al_c; american colleen; annalex; ..
So what is the real story about Cardinal Ratzinger's statement? Can Catholics Vote Pro-Abortion?
FLASHBACK: Cardinal Ratzinger Orders Kerry Communion Ban
Cardinal Ratzinger said, "The minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it."
Ratzinger against public sanctions on abortionists

16 posted on 04/26/2005 7:16:00 PM PDT by Coleus (God Bless our New Pope, Benedict XVI)
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To: Diago; Coleus; sinkspur; Campion; ELS; BlackElk
The Ratzinger papacy is a boon, and potentially a big one, to Republicans.

The National Catholic Register says this like it was a bad thing!!!  :-)

Having grown up and lived in the Archdioceses of Newark, NJ, Cardinal McCarrick was my Archbishop for much of my life.  I can vouch that he is very eloquent but that does not make him orthodox.  Given his political nature (it's funny to hear him state that we're politicizing the Eucharist!) I suppose it's just as well that he is the Pope's man in Washington, DC.  Though he was originally said to be in line for the pope of America (the Archbishop of New York), I think he frustrated Pope JPII.  Sad though that Cardinal Egan does not fill the shoes of his predecessor.


17 posted on 04/26/2005 7:35:02 PM PDT by Incorrigible (If I lead, follow me; If I pause, push me; If I retreat, kill me.)
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To: GretchenM

A. The most Conservative Catholics who vote solely on social issues and would be swayed by a Vatican letter were going to vote for Dubya anyway. So it didn't affect them.

B. The President was likely elected by Catholics who go to Mass but might not be so gung-ho about all the Church's teachings. For them, the Church getting involved in politics is a bad thing, because they don't want to hear a lecture about abortion at Mass; they want to hear about how they can be a better person.

C. Injecting the Church into politics makes it harder for it to minister to all people and therefore does damage it.

18 posted on 04/26/2005 7:35:32 PM PDT by Accygirl
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To: Coleus

A lot of forces on the same team.

Works for me!

19 posted on 04/26/2005 7:37:09 PM PDT by Calpernia (
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To: Diago

I tend to doubt that the swing in the Catholic vote in Ohio swung Ohio over this matter, although it is possible. The percentage of Catholics in Ohio is nominally around 25%, and substantively, much lower, and the Catholic vote split about evenly. It would be interesting to see what the split was in 2000. But I suspect it did swing Iowa and New Mexico, not enough to swing the election.

20 posted on 04/26/2005 7:56:01 PM PDT by Torie (Constrain rogue state courts; repeal your state constitution)
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