As the Catholic bishops in the United States are discovering, it is much harder to tighten discipline than to loosen it, as any teacher or parent could have told them. For decades, over a generation, the bishops did nothing to publicly rebuke or discipline Catholic politicians who want abortion to be legal. Catholics got the message: abortion was not an important matter. Now Notre Dame is honoring a president who wants, he has said, to force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions. But Barbara Mikulski, a reliable pro-abortion senator, received the Andrew White award, Maryland’s highest Catholic honor, and critics of this action were dismissed as red necks, who didn’t understand the nuances of politics .
In Baltimore a priest was suspended by Archbishop O’Brien. The priest said a funeral mass for a person whose family was both Episcopalian and Catholic. The priest allowed the female Episcopal minister to read the Epistle. For this the priest was suspended,
But in the 1980s I was having lunch at a restaurant near the Episcopal cathedral in Baltimore. At the table next to me were Bishop Thomas Murphy and the Episcopal bishop. They had just come from concelebrating the Eucharist, and were discussing strategy for making gay marriage legal. When I was in Charlottesville, Bishop Walter Sullivan allowed Catholic and Episcopal priests to concelebrate.
But now letting a Protestant do one of the readings at Mass gets you canned.
People are understandable resentful.