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The Most Equivocal Man In Town

On KCBS Radio in San Francisco (Feb. 4) there was a half-hour interview with Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco (transcript courtesy of www.Calcatholic.com, 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: “I…am 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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