Curiouser and curiouser.
Prior to Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States, the Pope had made clear that he was very much opposed to pro-abortion Catholic politicians receiving the Eucharist.
Despite this, several Catholic pro-aborts received the Eucharist during the papal Masses: Giuliani, Kennedy, Pelosi and Kerry all violated the sanctity of the sacrament so they could win votes by eating and drinking judgment on themselves.
Now, this would not normally be a huge news item, except....
Last week, Rome approved a Marian apparition from 1666. In that year, seventeen year old Benoite Rencurel was tending sheep in the high mountains of the southern French Alps. While among the high mountain caves, she began to receive visions of a beautiful lady who commanded her to build a church.
This by itself is not unusual, but it seems the Blessed Virgin also told the visionary to get a little cheeky with the local Vicar General (the bishop's second-in-command in a diocese). It seems he disliked the visions and planned to close the local chapel entirely rather than expand it as Mary desired. Benoite did exactly as the Virgin instructed and chastised the Vicar General for daring to try to interfere with the Blessed Mother's wishes. She won.
But there's still more.
Benoite was also given the ability to see souls. For the rest of her life (she died at the age of seventy-one) she frequently approached men and women already on their knees at the altar rail during Mass, tapped them on the shoulder and said, "Not today. Go to confession first."
Now, we could say that is was mere coincidence that Rome would approve such a visionary and such a vision just a few short days after American bishops dissed the Pope by refusing to have "a fight at the altar rail" except...
Just eight hours after the news of Giuliani's blasphemous communion hit the pages of the Washington Post, Cardinal Egan specifically and publicly told an unrepentant Rudy that he should not have done such a thing. And, while he could have said this was not acceptable because of Mr. Giuliani's sinful marriage situation, he didn't.
Instead, he told Mr. Giuliani, now a private citizen, that this was blasphemy precisely because of Rudy's unrepentant endorsement of abortion. In short, a man who was no longer in a position of public policy making was told that his support for abortion should have kept him from the communion line.
Now we hear that Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann has directed Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to step aside as well, and for the same reason. She publicly supports abortion.
The disrespect paid to the Pope, the approval of Laus, the reaction of Cardinal Egan and Archbishop Naumann to their local scandals: are these all coincidences?
But we must remember: God writes the world like men writes words.
Let's just hope the rest of the American episcopate can read the signs of the times.
Update: May 14, 2008 - for the first time in 35 years, a sitting Canadian archbishop has spoken publicly against contraception and specifically told his priests to preach against it.
May Pope Benedict live 100 years!