At one time, a bishop’s public denial of communion to a pro-choice politician could be costly. It has been suggested that Cardinal Raymond Burke’s public insistence that communion be withheld from Senator John Kerry might have cost him the 2004 presidential election. Pope Benedict later sent the USCCB a private letter supporting Burke’s position.
The current crisis in the 21st-century Church was very similar to what was occurring during its reciprocal century, the 12th, namely, clerical sexual misconduct. Since Church authorities during the High Middle Ages were successful in cleaning it up, perhaps they can inform today’s Church on what steps to take in dealing with it.
It is agreed among historians that the clergy of Latin Christendom in the late 11th through the early 12th-century were generally dissolute and corrupt. A majority of priests ignored celibacy and were either married or keeping a concubine (or both) and busy pursuing wealth in the manner typical of feudal society. Many considered their physical church and its attendant land their own property, which their eldest son would eventually inherit and become the new local priest. Continue reading “On the Present Crisis: Some Advice From the Past”→