El Greco Christ Driving the Traders from the Temple. The episode is described in all four Gospels: St. Matthew (21:12-13), St. Mark (11:15-18), St. Luke (19:45-46), St. John (2:14-17).
There is a scene in the Gospel, one of the most vivid scenes, one that probably scandalized many of the religious and secular leaders but was secretly loved by all of the little ones of the flock. I’m speaking about when Christ went into the Temple and overturned the money changers driving them from the Temple.
Bishop Martino of Scranton did just that last Sunday. He went into one of those Church forums that many of us detest so much where questions of faith and morals are debated. Often at parish events like this Catholics leave not altogether sure what the Church is teaching. At this particular forum some panel members were trying to make the case for it being OK as a Catholic to vote for the most pro-abortion presidential candidate in the history of our country.
And then Bishop Martino overturned their applecart.
“No social issue has caused the death of 50 million people,” he said, noting that he no longer supports the Democratic Party.* “This is madness people.” Bishop Martino also said that he had wanted to persuade Father Martin Boylan, of St. John’s, to cancel the forum.
After his comments, most of the audience stood and clapped loudly.
The forum had handed out literature from the USCCB that was ambiguous.
Here is what Bishop Martino had to say about that:
“No USCCB document is relevant in this diocese,” said Bishop Martino. “The USCCB doesn’t speak for me.” “The only relevant document … is my letter,” he said. “There is one teacher in this diocese, and these points are not debatable.” Click here to read his letter.
Some people might take issue with that statement but he is correct. In 1998 Pope John Paul II issued an : APOSTOLIC LETTER “MOTU PROPRIO” APOSTOLOS SUOS, ON THE THEOLOGICAL AND JURIDICAL NATURE OF EPISCOPAL CONFERENCES (1) 21 May, 1998 Here follows an excerpt:
20. In the Episcopal Conference the Bishops jointly exercise the episcopal ministry for the good of the faithful of the territory of the Conference; but, for that exercise to be legitimate and binding on the individual Bishops, there is needed the intervention of the supreme authority of the Church which, through universal law or particular mandates, entrusts determined questions to the deliberation of the Episcopal Conference. Bishops, whether individually or united in Conference, cannot autonomously limit their own sacred power in favour of the Episcopal Conference, and even less can they do so in favour of one of its parts, whether the permanent council or a commission or the president. This logic is quite explicit in the canonical norm concerning the exercise of the legislative power of the Bishops assembled in the Episcopal Conference: “The Conference of Bishops can issue general decrees only in those cases in which the common law prescribes it, or a special mandate of the Apostolic See, given either motu proprio or at the request of the Conference, determines it”. (77) In other cases “the competence of individual diocesan Bishops remains intact; and neither the Conference nor its president may act in the name of all the Bishops unless each and every Bishop has given his consent”. (78)
*I imagine this is the reason that Bishop Martino no longer supports the Democratic Party. From the 2008 Democratic Party Platform: “The Democratic Party stronly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.”
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