WASHINGTON (July 12, 2004) -— Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Chairman of the Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, received a July 9 letter from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, saying the U.S. Bishops' statement on Catholics in political life is "very much in harmony" with the general principles previously sent by the Congregation.
Cardinal McCarrick is Archbishop of Washington.
"I was grateful to receive Cardinal Ratzinger's letter, which affirms the harmony between the principles he had provided as a service to assist us in our discussions and the statement which the U.S. bishops overwhelmingly passed during our June meeting in Denver," Cardinal McCarrick said.
"Over the past several months, I have had many conversations and communications with Cardinal Ratzinger regarding the work of the task force, most recently last week," Cardinal McCarrick continued. "As I noted in the interim report I delivered to the bishops in June, His Eminence has consistently expressed his respect for the role of the bishops in carrying out their responsibilities as teachers, pastors and leaders in their own local situations. I am grateful for his support of our statement and I look forward to continuing dialogue between our task force and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith."
The interim report of the task force and the bishops' statement, which was adopted by a vote of 183-6, are online at www.usccb.org. The text of Cardinal Ratzinger's July 9 letter is below.
With your letter of June 21, 2004, transmitted via fax, you kindly sent a copy of the Statement "Catholics in Political Life," approved by the members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops at their June meeting.
The Congregation is grateful for this courtesy. The statement is very much in harmony with the general principles "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion," sent as a fraternal service-to clarify the doctrine of the Church on this specific issue-in order to assist the American Bishops in their related discussion and determinations.
It is hoped that this dialogue can continue as the Task Force carries on its important work.
With fraternal regards and prayerful best wishes, I am,
Sincerely yours in Christ
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger