Monday, January 21, 2013

Inaugural Weekend IV

Cardinal Law, champion
of Common Ground
Well, the inauguration is over and it is time for the President and his administration to move forward—a point I think he well made in his inaugural address.  And he received an important inaugural gift from the Pope last week when the Vatican came out strongly behind his efforts to impose some rationality over access to fire arms.  Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the “papal press secretary,” editorialized in both print and radio supporting the President’s desire to ban assault weapons and “to limit firearms that are making society pay an unacceptable price in terms of massacres and senseless deaths.” 
Of course Father Lombardi, while a Jesuit and may think he is infallible, is not the Pope and does not share magisterial authority.  But then one must understand how the Vatican uses different spokespersons at various levels.  When the Pope speaks it is a matter of teaching to be received.  When a curial official such as a Cardinal or Archbishop who heads one of the Vatican dicasteries speaks, it is a rule—at least if the prelate is speaking in the area where his dicsastery has authority. (Cardinal Law has no such office and Cardinal Burke tends to run at the mouth about any subject that pecks its ways across his somewhat limited intellectual capacity.)  So when the Pope wants to give an opinion on a current matter without binding the faithful, it falls to Father Lombardi.  In other words, he is speaking for the Pope but in a way that does not bind the faithful.  Would that he spoke more often permitting others, including Benedict, to stand in holy silence.  I think we would all do well if we were more often given things to think about and less often directives to follow, but then I foolishly think that most of us can make morally responsible choices.          
In any event, Father Lombardi went on to say that it would be rash to think that the elimination of firearms alone would prevent tragedies such as the Newtown Connecticut massacre, but at the same time he insisted that while such massacres are carried out by people who are deranged by hatred or anger, in the final analysis the victims are killed by guns.  So yes, while people kill people one can also say that guns kill people.  That does make sense to me. 
This call to limit access to guns fits into the long-time policy of the Vatican for disarmament and for bans on the “production, commerce, and contraband of all types of arms;” and the accusation that the weapons industry is fueled by “enormous economic and power interests.”  Ya think?
So here is some common ground between the Catholic Church and the Obama administration.  Of course going back to the days when those giants of moral integrity, Cardinals Law and Hickey, savaged the eminent Cardinal Bernardin, the Katholic Krazies have had no use for common ground.  Hopefully Father Lombardi’s endorsement will prod some of our more audacious prelates to speak up in support of strong gun control laws but they will face the wrath of those who always agree with the Vatican as long as the Vatican agrees with them. 
Tomorrow marks 40 years of Roe v Wade.  Because of the inaugural services being delayed a day, the annual March for Life has been delayed until Friday, January 25th.  I hope the March is a strong witness for Life in a culture that is fast devolving into the “culture of death.”  But I think Father Lombardi’s editorials seal the deal, that to be pro-life you must also be in favor of some measure of gun- control. It is not enough to be anti-abortion to be pro-life.  There must be a consistency in the ethic of life for one to truly embrace the Catholic commitment to a culture of life. 

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