(c) 2004 Catholic Online
'Why is the scandal permitted?'
"In times of great crisis there are two types of men:
those who are overwhelmed by the crisis and those who rise
up to resist the trend of events and so change the course of
A Catholic bishop's ministry is a crucial part of God's
saving work in human history. The bishop must be forthright
in proclaiming and defending the unchanging truths of the
Church, 'in and out of season,' at a time marked by 'both a
widespread relativism and a tendency toward facile
When a bishop permits another to persist in his manifest,
obstinate sin against the Eucharistic Sacrament of Christ,
is not the bishop cooperating in the scandal as well?iii
The 'munus episcopale' or office of the faithful bishop
has a most crucial obligation in guarding the truth that has
been entrusted to them by the Holy Spirit to bring all souls
to God, no matter at what cost, even if it means the
persecution and death of the Bishop.iv
The Ecclesia docens (the teaching Church) must not fail
in this most fundamental obligation to save the souls of the
Ecclesia discens (the learning Church).
"Full adherence to the Catholic faith does not diminish,
but actually exalts human freedom."v
The first and essential step in returning a manifest
sinner to the healing love of God is for the bishop to teach
the sinner that he is causing grave scandal, even if this
means challenging socially acceptable opinions and
prevailing political popularities.
Remember the sorrowful indignation in Jesus' harshest
words showing the seriousness of the sin of scandal (which
is defined as something said, done or omitted which leads
another person to commit sin):
"It would be better for him to have a great millstone
fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of
the sea. Woe to the world for temptations to sin" (Mt.18:
What terrible things come upon the world through the sins
of scandal? But the gravity of scandal increased if a bishop
"So serious is the moral obligation to avoid scandal that
we are admonished not only not to do wrong but also not to
appear to do wrong. When a person acts, he or she must
always consider the appearance of the act to be done."vii
The church's apostolicity is clear regarding the bishop's
indisputable pastoral obligation for the care of souls,
particularly weak souls, and most notably in protecting
sacrilege of the Eucharist:
"Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of
the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning
the body and blood of the Lord...for any one who eats and
drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment
The Council of Trent, teaches upon Paul's words:
"...No one who has a mortal sin on his conscience shall
dare to receive the Holy Eucharist before making a
sacramental confession. This holy Council declares that this
custom is to be kept forever."ix
The Church has always believed and taught that the
Eucharist is really, truly, substantially the Body, Blood,
Soul and Divinity of Christ. This explains why everyone who
partakes of the Eucharist must be free from mortal sin.
Despite these clear teachings of the Catholic Church,
many U.S. bishops give license and assent to manifest,
obstinate, persistent sinners, especially pro-abortion
politicians, who give scandal by unlawful reception of the
In fact, Canon Law n. 915 places the burden of the
scandal of sacrilegious reception on the minister, or 'ne
admittantur,' who unlawfully administer the sacrament, and
who, in some canonists' opinions, could be punished
according to canon 1389 § 2.
It is false and illusory for a bishop to promote other
human rights as being equal to the most basic of all human
rights - the right to life.x It is a grave error to preach
against the first laws of nature that protect and promote
Those who manifestly reject the Church's teachings and
admonitions regarding the sanctity of life of the unborn
cause the greatest scandal of our era. There is no greater
evil than abortion.
Unless each diocesan bishop bears public witness to
Church Law and promulgates 'canonical notification,' as
Archbishop Raymond Burke and Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz have
done, several serious consequences will continue to happen.
Each bishop's complacency in the Eucharistic scandal:
* Affirms, even encourages, manifest sinners in their
* Contributes confusion, malaise, and embarrassment for
Catholics everywhere. World media are reporting, with
amusement, each Bishop's reaction.
* Distorts the Church's catholicity to potential converts
from other denominations who may subsequently question the
authority of the Pope and his teaching Magisterium.
* Discourages young men in their own dioceses from
answering the call of God to the ordained priesthood. Who
wants to serve under such confusion and blatant Episcopal
disregard for Church law?
* Causes great rifts and divisions within dioceses,
parishes and families. The faithful Catholics who remain
loyal to the magisterial teachings regarding this scandal
are persecuted as Papists, 'judgmental,' and 'unenlightened'
by the scandalmongers.
Does the U.S. hierarchy need a filibustering 'Bishop's
Task Force on the Doctrinal Note on the Participation of
Catholics in Political Life' to decide how to admonish the
manifest, obstinate, persistent sinners and stop the
scandal? Bishops Burke and Bruskewitz didn't need one. Were
No, Bishops Burke and Bruskewitz acted in faithful
adherence to already clearly defined laws, specifically
canon 915, that require all bishops to 'govern' and
'correct' to protect the Eucharist from sacrilege and the
lay faithful from scandal.
Ergo, why is the scandal permitted?
i -Catholic Professor Plinio Corręa de Oliveira,
ii Pope John Paul II, 2/6/04 meeting with members of the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, biennial plenary
iii Ref "Living the Gospel of Life," n.32. 1998, National
Conference of Catholic Bishops.
iv 2 Tm 1:14
v Pope John Paul II, 2/6/04
vi CCC, No. 2285
vii,'The Catholic Response to Scandal' by Archbishop Raymond
Burke, address given at the Milwaukee Wanderer Forum,
December 6-7, 2002
viii 1 Cor 11: 27-29.
ix De SS. Eucharistia, §7; CIC §916.
x Pope John Paul II, 1988, "The Vocation and the Mission of
the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World," (Christifideles
xi Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I-IIć, q. 94
Barbara Kralis, the article's author, writes for various
Christian and conservative publications. She is a regular
columnist at RenewAmerica.us. Catholic Online (Catholic.org),
Life Issues, The Wanderer newspaper, New Oxford Review
Magazine, Washington Dispatch, Catholic Citizens, Illinois
Leader, NewsBull, MichNews, Intellectual Conservative, Phil
Brennan's WOW, ChronWatch and others. Her first journalism
position was with Boston Herald Traveler, l964. Barbara
published and edited 'Semper Fidelis' Catholic print
newsletter. She and her husband, Mitch, live in the great
State of Texas, and co-direct the Jesus Through Mary
Catholic Foundation. She can be reached at: Avemaria@earthlink.net
Contact: Jesus Through Mary Foundation
none TX, US
Barbara Kralis - Director, 903-532-5555