Allen interview of Cardinal George supports report of ‘parallel magisterium’ worries
NCR Rome correspondent John Allen and Cardinal Francis George.
NCR Rome correspondent John Allen and Cardinal Francis George.

.- Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), in an interview last week agreed that the rift over the federal health care bill between the bishops and the Catholic Health Association (CHA) exposed a major question concerning who speaks for the Church.

The cardinal’s recorded comments echo other reports. Last week, episcopal sources, who requested anonymity, told CNA that the cardinal lamented the rise of a “parallel magisterium” in the health care debate and blamed CHA and other groups for the passage of the bill.

On Tuesday, Vatican expert John L. Allen published the full text of his June 16 interview with Cardinal George on the blog of the National Catholic Reporter’s website.

The cardinal noted the difference of opinion over the actual content of the health care legislation, saying supporters of the health care legislation have not answered USCCB counsel Anthony Picarello’s objections to its treatment of abortion funding.

“What worries me more than a difference over empirical content, however, is the claim that the bishops cannot speak to the moral content of the law,” the cardinal told Allen. “That seems to be what the CHA has said, though I’d be happy to be proven wrong.”

Later in the interview, Allen asked: “From your point of view, is this ultimately an ecclesiological question – who speaks for the Church?”

“Yes, exactly,” Cardinal George replied. “Our disagreement may be narrow, but it’s a narrow difference that has exposed a very large principle. It affects the nature of the church, and therefore it has to concern the bishops.”

The prelate said he had written to CHA president Sr. Carol Keehan, reporting that he wants “to try to reshape the relationship in dialogue together.”

“As part of that conversation, we have to clarify the claims being made, primarily on this question of our role in assessing the moral quality of law, because it affects every area we touch on,” he continued, noting the question’s relevance to the immigration debate.

“Are we supposed to just say that the present situation is morally unjustified, or do we have the right and the duty to make moral judgments about whatever legislation comes down the line?”

At one point in the interview, he invoked the example of Blessed Cardinal Clemens von Galen, who under the Nazis “not only condemned euthanasia as an unethical procedure, but he also condemned the laws which permitted it.”

“This is the question that has to be raised: Are we to offer moral teaching solely about actions, or also the laws which permit and foster them?” Cardinal George commented to Allen.

He suggested an effort to put the language of the Hyde Amendment back into the health care legislation would “go a long way toward fostering reconciliation” between the bishops and the CHA.

At the U.S. bishops’ executive session last week, the USCCB president reportedly discussed the fallout resulting from CHA’s support for the health care legislation despite the bishops’ opposition.

Several bishops who wished to remain anonymous told CNA that Cardinal George charged CHA and other Catholic groups with providing “cover” for undecided legislators to support President Obama’s legislation. He said these groups’ actions also weakened the moral voice of the bishops in the U.S., caused confusion and wounded Catholic unity.

Differences between the USCCB and the CHA were not just two equally valid conclusions inspired by Catholic teaching, he commented.

According to these episcopal sources, the cardinal clearly remarked that Sr. Carol and her colleagues are to blame for the passage of the bill. The prelate also criticized as meaningless the president’s executive order allegedly barring abortion funding, saying that Sr. Carol was mistaken to think that the legislation is pro-life.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 19, 2014

Holy Saturday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:1-10


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Gen 1:1-2:2
Gospel:: Mt 28:1-10

Saint of the Day

Blessed James Oldo »


Homily of the Day

Mt 28:1-10


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: