The Most Equivocal Man In Town

May 2007

On KCBS Radio in San Francisco (Feb. 4) there was a half-hour interview with Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco (transcript courtesy of, Feb. 9). There were two interviewers, Ed Cavagnaro and Rebecca Corral.

Cavagnaro: "Is there room for disagreement with Church doctrine by Catholics in your view? For example, can someone believe in a woman's right to choose to have an abortion...."

Niederauer: "The Church is a very forgiving and very loving institution and hangs in with people all their lives long.... Unity may not be uniformity but I think we have to say that there is a teaching of the Church on abortion...and it may be that there are those who struggle with that teaching. But, we cannot say, well, you can believe anything you want."

Corral: "But what does that mean?" (Indeed.)

Niederauer: "I would ask for a kind of dialog, an exchange, in which there would be an openness to understanding where the person -- other person -- is coming from, but also an openness on their part to the longstanding tradition of the Church.... So I think -- I think -- the dialog is what's important, that we don't just write each other off and walk away."

Corral: "If you're still having the conversation, and the Catholic believes a certain principle in her own heart, the dialog is still ongoing, what does it mean, where does it go? Can you still get Communion?"

Niederauer: " counting on the individual communicant who's coming forward to receive Communion to decide whether he or she is worthy of Communion.... I am not there principally as a gatekeeper. I am there as a priest and a celebrant to give forth the Eucharist."

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New Oxford Notes: May 2007

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Almost like something from the bleakly witty pen of Lemony Snicket!
think the bishops have -- of the U.S. -- have consistently had the policy of issuing documents.... We [the bishops] have talked about -- the whole matter of health care." etc etc
Posted by: aconway
May 29, 2007 08:17 PM EDT
I assume that Nancy Peolosi is in the good Bishops jurisdiction. If so, then it is within his responsibility to council her. If she prevails in her views, in public, which she has to do to be a good democrat, she cannot receive communion. The priest may not be a gatekeeper, inthe sense that the burden is on the communicant, but I would expect a priest to deny communion to anyone who admits to or is recognized as being in serious sin(as is Pelosi).
As for abortion, the church is clear on that issue regarding politicians also. The Bishops have given a wide berth to these issues so far, but do so at their peril as the politician are finding out with the immigration issue that they are slowly being forced to adress. I understand that Pelosi and Kennedy et al (the catholic senators) have been counciled by the late Father Drinan - so why hasn't the church straightened that heresy out? publicly?
Posted by: wunsch
June 03, 2007 04:00 PM EDT
Bishop Neiderauer needs to act like the shepard that he's supposed to be...and be a leader of the flock. Why can't he just tell the truth. For example..abortion is murder of the unborn. Those who promote abortion are public sinners...and are worthy of excommunication..Who is the Bishop protecting?? the abortion pushers or the Lord's Body. They must stop them from blaspheming the Lord's body by taking communion. Plese Bishop..teach the is not iffy or is black and white. Truth does not change with the times. This Bishop needs prayers! Posted by: ascension51
June 28, 2007 04:07 PM EDT
This bishop sounds more like an Episcopalian. We've been dialogueing our faith away for over 30 years now and have "gotten beyond all that". And if the dialogue didn't go in the revisionist intended direction we were directed to "go deeper". Yikes Posted by: martillo
June 28, 2007 01:40 PM EDT
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