“The work of conscience is primarily the work of reason,” he said, and is supposed to operate prior to emotion and in accord with Church teaching.
“Reason (rightly exercised) and faith (rightly understood) do have primacy, inasmuch as one can’t do good and avoid evil consistently without them,” he wrote. “At the same time, right reason and true faith preclude the use of the word ‘but,’ when that word is used to separate the conscience from sacred Revelation entrusted by Christ to the Church he founded.”
Noting the members’ professed membership in the “living Catholic tradition,” Fr. McTeigue offered a critique of that phrase.
The phrase “connotes that we aren’t bound to honor or preserve tradition, but that we’ll do what we want while keeping only the name of the tradition,” he wrote. “The ‘living’ part is expedient change; the ‘tradition’ part is we’re keeping the brand name.”
He invited signers of the statement onto his radio show on Friday.
“Let’s talk about it. In the spirit of 1 Peter 3:15, write to firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an on-air conversation with me,” he wrote. “I promise to be fair, polite, and charitable.”
In their statement, the 60 Catholic House Democrats urged not to be denied Communion.
“We solemnly urge you to 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,” they stated, addressing the “Church” in their statement.
They said to deny Communion to pro-abortion politicians amounted to a “weaponization of the Eucharist,” and said that to do so “would indeed grieve the Holy Spirit and deny the evolution of that individual, a Christian person who is never perfect, but living in the struggle to get there.”
The members stated that their faith informs their actions, through “helping the poor, disadvantaged, and the oppressed, protecting the least among us, and ensuring that all Americans of every faith are given meaningful opportunities to share in the blessings of this great country.” They added that “we have a claim on the Church's bearing as it does on ours.”
Individual bishops have spoken out recently about the issue of Communion for pro-abortion politicians.
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Regarding claims that issuing a statement on worthiness to receive Communion might be controversial and imperil the unity of Catholics, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois said this week that “There should be no unity with iniquity.”
Eucharistic consistency isn’t simply about “abortion and euthanasia,” he said, but the problem of grave sin “of any kind.”
“It has been the constant teaching of the Catholic Church for the past two thousand years that those persons conscious of grave sin must first repent, confess their sins to a priest, and receive sacramental absolution before receiving holy Communion,” Paprocki said.
“This teaching is reflected in the Church’s canon law and sacramental discipline,” he noted.