Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sweet Charity

Amy Welborn has the story today of Deacon McDonnell, the deacon at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Buffalo, who during his homily on Sunday criticized Representative Brian Higgins for his recent vote in support of embryonic stem cell research.

Rep. Higgins, who was at Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas when this took place, has a 100% pro-abortion voting record. Naturally, he was not amused by being called on that record in the middle of Mass, so he and his family walked out as the homily continued. (Wonder if they bothered to genuflect?)

Comments on Open Book's thread are all over the place. The Deacon was Right! The Deacon was Right, but Tactless! The Deacon was Right, but his Timing was Wrong! The Deacon was Right, but Uncharitable!

Odd. No one thinks that what the deacon had to say was wrong. Everyone seems to agree that Catholic clergymen should be speaking the truth to pro-abort CINO politicians.

But there's all this fussing and waving of lace handkerchiefs about the prudence of doing so during Mass. It's as though a whole generation of Catholics believes that charity demands that we admonish the sinner only in the strictest privacy, even when the sin is so very public.

Now, I'm not judging the state of the representative's soul, but it's clear that his public and continued support for abortion is at odds with his Catholicism. It's also clear that whatever private admonishments may have happened (odd--I hear crickets) have been wholly inadequate to inform Rep. Higgins that he really can't claim to be a Catholic in good standing and keep supporting the wholesale murder of the unborn. It's not good form, sir.

So Deacon McDonnell decided to use his homily as a teaching moment. He taught the congregation that ESCR is a big no-no for Catholics. He reminded Rep. Higgins that his support of such a thing was not kosher. He also, subtly, reminded Fr. Smith, his pastor, that we risk confusing the faithful when we skip around arm in arm with people whose other arm is firmly linked to something we speak of as despicably evil. Weakens the message, don't you know.

That, to me, was a very charitable thing for Deacon McDonnell to do. Chances are he'd like to see both Rep. Higgins and Fr. Smith in heaven someday, and he was concerned enough about the representative's soul to speak the truth regardless of the fallout.

As someone on Amy Welborn's said, we need a thousand more like him.

The Deacon was Right!

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