Quick Hits: Priest-Pundits Mince No Words, on Death Penalty and McCarrick Scandal, by Phil Lawler

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By Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture, Jun 26, 2019

Today two priest-pundits offer essays that really cannot be missed:

Father George William Rutler is at his best, which is very, very good, as he analyzes the US bishops’ discussion of capital punishment for Crisis. He focuses attention on the decision by Pope Francis to change the Catechism, to say that the death penalty is now “inadmissible.” (One hapless bishop described that word a bit of “eloquent ambiguity,” and readers will enjoy Father Rutler’s reaction to that comment. On the new wording itself, Father Rutler writes:

If “inadmissible” does not mean something essentially different from what has already been said magisterially about capital punishment, why is it necessary to revise the Catechism to include it? Secondly, if the word “inadmissible” is deliberately ambiguous, why does it belong in a catechism whose purpose is to eschew ambiguity?

Father Gerald Murray comments on the McCarrick case, and pulls no punches as we pass the one-year anniversary of the scandal. McCarrick, he notes, “remains in a Kansas Capuchin friary adjacent to a parochial school as a non-paying guest; his expulsion from the priesthood has not resulted in any change in his Church provided living arrangements….This is remarkable. How many other forcibly laicized priests found guilty of sexually molesting young men would be given this consideration?” Obviously the disgraced former prelate is receiving special treatment. Why? Father Murray answers the question: “There is obviously a culture of concealment in the hierarchy—we see it in the long history of McCarrick’s crimes, and we see it in the Bransfield-Lori investigation.”

Please don’t be satisfied with these little appetizers; read both columns in full.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.