When Cardinal Mahoney or his ilk make statements of religious indifferentism, or statements that play into the hands of the purveyors of syncreticism, I can't think too much new harm is done. Those sorts of fellows have said those sorts of things so many times that Catholics who hear them speaking have already made up their minds and written them off as false pastors, or have already bought into their way of thinking.
But when a respectable Bishop who's demonstrated some courage and independence preaches anything that resembles religious indifferentism, that seems to be still dangerous. Which brings us to Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs, who was one of the few men in the American college to indicate he would dutifully enforce Eucharistic discpline in his diocese last fall.
Apparently, a lay official of the Colorado Springs diocese said that Catholics should not attend Protestant worship services (even if they also attended Catholic Mass) as part of an interview for an article was published in the October 17 issue of the Colorado Springs Gazette. (I couldn't find this online) Apparently, he also penned an article to the same effect for the Colorado Catholic Herald, the diocesan newspaper (also not online). Bully for Mr. Howard! It's shouldn't be a surprise to see a Catholic chancery official saying such a thing. It goes without saying that regularly attending Prot services is a no-no, even for those of us who may occasionally attend a Prot wedding, funeral or (in very extraordinary circumstances, after fulfilling ones obligation to assist at Mass) another Prot service . . . or so we thought, eh?
Well, apparently we thought wrong, says the otherwise-distinguished Bishop Sheridan in the October 21 Gazette article. Mr. Howard's comments do not represent Bishop Sheridan's "thinking on the matter." Apparently, we need no longer worry about being confused, and it's not true that the Church has no longer forbade any intercourse with those who professed a mutilated and corrupt version of Christ's teaching. We can, in the evangelical capital of the World, Colorado Springs, regularly to go hear a "prosperity gospel" from a hip twenty-something preacher, or take comfort in a Baptist minister who assures us we can be SAVED notwithstanding whether we're diddling our intern, because of sola fides, once saved/always saved, or we can weekly watch some woman play-act the eucharistic sacrifice is an episcopalian ecclesial community . . . er, church . . . without danger to our souls.
I'm sorry your Excellency, I was taken in by Mr. Howard and those who think like him (you know, Pius XI and those clowns). I'll try to lighten up when I drive through your jurisdiction . . . really I will. Anything to keep the peace with Chuck Colson and your evangelical friends around town, right?