I mentioned recently my brief encounter with Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga in the corridors of the Cardinal Knox Centre just before I left for Turkey. At the time I was quite flustered and said something silly and foolish as one does on such occasions.
I feel better now that I have discovered that he himself is capable of saying silly things. I wonder if TIME magazine’s Jeff Israely not only “caught up with” Rodriguez in Brazil, but also caught him off guard. Listen to this little exchange reported by Rocco Palmo:
Q. Do you agree with the Pope’s statement that pro-choice Catholic politicians merit excommunication?
A. It is canon law that everyone who works for abortion is excommunicated. It’s not something the Pope invented. If you favor abortion, you are outside the communion of the Church. And it was necessary to say that. There are people in Mexico saying I am Catholic and I support abortion rights. This is a contradiction in its very essence. As a teacher of the Church, the Pope has a responsibility of teaching when something happening is wrong.
Q. Do you agree with bishops who deny giving Holy Communion to the these politicians?
A. This is a different point. For who am I to deny Holy Communion to a person? I cannot. It’s in the tradition of moral theology that even if I know a person is living in grave sin, I cannot take a public action against him. It would be giving scandal to the person. Yes, he should not seek [communion], but I cannot deny it from him….
I’m sorry, but may I suggest that “who you are” is the Cardinal Archbishop of Tegucigalapa? And that you have the authority to excommunicate unrepentant sinners? And that in fact the word “excommunicate” means “to deny Holy Communion to a person”? Really, your Eminence, not one of your more thought out replies…