Ignorance of Faith

While I am interested in and sensitive to Mr. Juan Williams's plight in having be chastised for stating an opinion that has crossed the minds of most thinking American's even as they did not allow it to become the signpost and guide for their thinking, such profound ignorance as is expressed in the passage that follows cannot be allowed to pass without comment:

from Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate
Juan Williams

Catholic leaders threaten to deny politicians the right to communion if they disagree with the church hierarchy, without acknowledging that there is a major divide on the issue of abortion among the most faithful Catholics.

There are several disturbing points in the passage most of which stem from the fact that I sincerely believe that Juan Williams thinks he understands Catholicism, the faith, and what Church Leaders are and do.

Let's start with the simplest--there is no "right" to communion.  Indeed the word implies that one is united with the body that one is sharing and partaking of.  There can be no communion, even if it is taken, if one is not united with the teachings of the body one is said to be in communion with.  Communion is, among other much more important things, a sign of unity.  If one dissents vocally and unequivocally from a fundamental teaching of the Church one simply isn't in communion with it and one should absent oneself from communion.

Second, Catholic leaders threaten nothing whatsoever.  They simply declare what has been from time immemorial the teaching of the Church.  Should you choose to dissent from these teachings in a fundamental and public matter, you have excommunicated yourself from the Church.  You have taken the step to leave.  It isn't the declaration of a Priest, Bishop, Cardinal, or even the Pope himself--it is your own declaration--no one else need say it.  And having made that statement, why on earth would you think yourself entitled to rejoin on your own terms?

Finally, teachings of a faith are not based on popular vote.  It would not matter if the entire world decided that black is white--that simply doesn't make it so.  Neither does any disagreement with Church teaching necessitate that the Church is required to change the teaching.

The saddest point of all is that Mr. Williams's ignorance expresses the ignorance of most people outside of the Church and many within.


  1. You are far more charitable to Juan Williams than I find myself able to be on most days--like today: I have never found him to be anything approaching an intellectual giant, and so it doesn't surprise me at all that this is his take. Good refutation on your part, though.


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