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Bravo, Bishop Gullickson!

by Christopher A. Ferrara
January 5, 2016

Let’s begin the New Year with some good news: an interview of Archbishop Thomas Gullickson, the new Apostolic Nuncio to Switzerland, in the German periodical Tages Anzeiger. As reported by National Catholic Reporter (no doubt with great reluctance), we have here a prelate whose speech conforms admirably to the simple requirement laid down by Our Lord Himself for truth-telling: “But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil.”

Asked about the issue of Holy Communion for those who are not Catholics, or who are Catholics in a state of habitual mortal sin — the latest obsession of the Modernist ideologues now running rampant in the Church — the Archbishop replied with the kind of bracing clarity that has become the scarcest of commodities in the post-Vatican II ecclesial environment:

What does Communion mean? No one who is not a member of the Orthodox Church would assume the right to ask for Communion in the Orthodox liturgy. I’m also thinking of the Lutheran lady who asked Pope Francis when he visited the Lutheran church in Rome whether she could receive the Eucharist with her Catholic husband. If she is so eager to do so, why hasn't she become a Catholic?

Exactly so!  Query: Why didn’t Francis say precisely the same thing to the Lutheran woman who made the inquiry? Why, instead, did he hem and haw for some ten minutes, deferring the question to “theologians” and creating the impression that a Lutheran can receive Holy Communion from a Catholic priest after “speaking to the Lord” — an impression widely reported and never corrected?

Asked whether his reply meant that divorced and “remarried” Catholics cannot receive Holy Communion, the Archbishop gave the only answer that can be given in fidelity to the Gospel: “Yes, precisely.”  Yet it is this answer that the ridiculously misnamed “Synod on the Family” refused to give — indeed, positively hid from view — during its two years of tempestuous and subversive proceedings.

When queried about the Church’s opposition to “gay marriage,” which the interviewer suggested was making the bishops “unpopular,” the Archbishop refused to take the bait, again answering unequivocally:  “The Church will never be able to say yes.”  Yet Francis observed a resounding silence before and after the Irish referendum legalizing this abomination in a once Catholic country and likewise as to the United States Supreme Court decision imposing it on all fifty states.

The Archbishop also spoke with evangelical frankness about the dismal state of marriage today as a result of contraception and divorce:  “Up to the age of 40, many just want to go on holiday with their cars and their dogs but then they want two beautiful and intelligent children. Suddenly, however, tragedy sets in in the form of sickness and loneliness. When my brother became a paraplegic, his wife left him.”  But according to Francis, the conservative prelates who defended the absolute indissolubility of marriage — in sickness and in health, until death do you part — were guilty of having “closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families.”  But the marriage vows affirm the indissolubility of marriage precisely in “difficult cases.” For easy cases, no vow would be necessary.

If every member of the “Synod on the Family” were as fearless in defending the truth as Archbishop Gullickson, it would have been a triumph for orthodoxy instead of an exercise in sedition whose worst consequences were barely avoided by the opposition of a conservative minority, which still failed to prevent an opening of the door to Communion for public adulterers.  But such is the crisis the Church endures on account of churchmen whose ambiguous speech is “over and above” the evangelical yes and no, and thus “is of evil.”