“We have to face seeing people where they are and bringing Christ to people where they are,” the bishop told CNA in Rome March 14.
During a recent ad limina visit with Pope Benedict, the 76-year-old bishop noted in an interview that Catholic laity have an irreplaceable duty in sanctifying the world.
He also had pointed remarks for those who identify as Catholics in the U.S. but work to advance policies that harm the Church and morality. “They have to realize that what they are doing is very serious, and very seriously wrong.”
His comments come after decades of controversy over prominent and politically powerful Catholics who support legal abortion, homosexual political causes and other positions contrary to the faith.
Now Catholic institutions are threatened by federal rules mandating contraceptive and sterilization coverage for their employees and students, with the explicit backing of Catholic politicians like Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and the House’s minority leader, Nancy Pelosi.
Bishop Bruskewitz said the “defects” of recent catechesis need to be recognized as a source of such problems.
“Those defects are reflected sometimes in such phenomena as so-called Catholic legislators supporting anti-Catholic or even immoral things of a gross kind. I think it’s important that we face that challenge,” he said.
Catholics in the U.S. administration backing such policies need evangelization and, sometimes, discipline.
“I would say again and again that we can’t just rely on catechesis,” he continued. “Refusing Communion, for example, to politicians who support abortion is something that we should consider very seriously.”