There is nothing new about the National Catholic Reporter working to undermine Catholic teachings, but its latest attack on the bishops is in a class of its own. Consider its June 3 editorial.
The backdrop to the Reporter's angst is the June 16 virtual meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The bishops are scheduled to discuss, among other items, what to do about Catholic politicians who persist in flouting Church teachings on salient issues such as abortion. Our "devout Catholic" president, of course, has never found an abortion he could not justify. Indeed, now he wants us to pay for them.
The Catholic League is officially agnostic on what the bishops should do. Unlike the Reporter, we know our place and are not about to preach to them. But that doesn't mean we are blind to what Biden is doing. In fact, we will detail his departures from Catholic teachings next week.
The Reporter tries hard to be cute by encouraging the bishops to deny Biden Communion. "Just do it," they say. Why? So that way "if there happens to be a Catholic remaining who is not convinced that the bishops' conference, as it stands today, has become completely irrelevant and ineffectual, they will be crystal clear about that reality after the conference leaders move forward with this patently bad idea."
The Reporter does not speak to the bishops—it speaks down to them. The journalists love to lecture the theologians, as in telling the bishops that "excessive attention to the worthiness of those receiving Communion is contrary to a proper, traditional theology of the sacraments." Their arrogance is appalling.
According to the Reporter, it is not just the bishops who are wrong—the Catholic Catechism is also wrong.
Here is what the Catechism says about abortion. "Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception." It also says, "Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense."
Regarding the paramount role of Communion, it lays out very clearly why it is the premier sacrament. It says, "the Eucharist occupies a unique place as the 'Sacrament of sacraments': 'all other sacraments are ordered to it as to their end.'" It also says, "Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in a state of grace."
If we had a racist Catholic president, the Reporter would be calling on the USCCB to excommunicate him. But when it comes to abortion, they swing the other way. The Church regards both abortion and racism to be "intrinsically evil." It is the Reporter that is inconsistent, not the bishops.
The Reporter is not content to disagree with the bishops; no, it chooses to insult them. They accuse the bishops of creating a "MAGA church," one that sees "Donald Trump instead of Jesus as its savior." To top things off, they accuse them of being "lazy, out of touch," and "in the pockets of wealthy donors pushing a political agenda."
Make no mistake about it—this is character assassination. The fact that it emanates from an alleged Catholic source makes it all the more despicable.
Bill Donohue is president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of eight books and many articles.