It is noteworthy that the President granted a rare interview to EWTN, the Catholic TV network. When asked by interviewer Raymond Arroyo what he saw when he looked into the eyes of the Pope, he quickly answered, “God.” In some ways President Bush, a Methodist, is a better Catholic than many actual Catholics in Washington. After all, in addition to his commitment to the poor in Africa and elsewhere, he is in agreement with the Church on its five ‘non-negotiable’ issues: abortion, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, euthanasia and homosexual “marriage.” Compare his record on these issues with ‘cradle’ Catholic congressmen like Pat Leahy, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry or Nancy Pelosi.Then consider the following letter to Cardinal McCarrick, former Archbishop of Washington, DC, entitled “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion,” written by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 2004:Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.
Update (related, June 12, 2008): St. John’s Fort