Question: Why does one see the names of cardinals with their title between the first and last name, e.g., Timothy Cardinal Dolan, et. al.? Sometimes I also see it the other way — “Cardinal Timothy Dolan” and so forth. Which form is more correct?
— Jim Perron, Indianapolis
Answer: The more correct in common practice is to place the title between the first and last names, i.e., Donald Cardinal Wuerl. However, this is a matter related to pious custom rather than a strict juridical requirement.
How the custom developed is not fully clear, but most interpret the practice as a form of humility. Those who acquire lofty titles in the Church often like to remind themselves that, before God, we are all just his children.
Indeed, of all the titles a clergyman could ever require, such as reverend, monsignor, excellency, eminence, etc., the greatest title he actually has is a title that he shares with every other baptized Christian: “Child of God.”
Similarly, whatever leadership status anyone attains in the Church, one never loses the status of being a disciple. St. Augustine famously stated to his people, “For you I am a bishop, with you, after all, I am a Christian.”
Are vaccines OK?
Question: My infant daughter is going to have her one-year checkup and will be receiving vaccines related to measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox. I am concerned that some vaccines used today have been made using a process from cells of aborted babies. Can I have my daughter vaccinated? Do you have any further advice on what to do?
— Hannah Kim, via email
Answer: Generally, the Church teaching is clear that Catholics cannot directly cooperate in evil. However, remote material cooperation is permissible and often impossible to avoid.
For example, few products we buy are wholly free from situations where injustice was involved in their production. Perhaps the products come from countries where unjust wages are paid, or child labor laws are poorly enforced, or working conditions are bad. And these injustices offend against human dignity and Church teaching, and cause suffering.
However, it is not reasonable or possible for us to stop all buying and participation in a worldwide economy.
Thus while we cooperate materially in an economy that is based to some degree on injustice, nevertheless our cooperation is remote, and we do not directly intend or cause the injustices in the chain of production and supply. Further, alternatives to purchasing many needed products are not always reasonably available.
As you describe it, your permitting of the necessary vaccines for your daughter might include vaccines developed using cells from aborted children. However, it seems clear that your involvement in the matter is quite remote, and you do not directly intend to cooperate in abortion or the evils that flow from it.
If you can reasonably find vaccines that are assuredly not part of any vaccine line even remotely connected with aborted children, you should do so and request those vaccines. However, clearly identifying such vaccines is not always possible, and the vaccinations are important for your daughter.
Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian in Washington, D.C., and writes for the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., blog at blog.adw.org. Send questions to Pastoral Answers, Our Sunday Visitor, 200 Noll Plaza, Huntington, IN 46750 or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters must be signed, but anonymity may be requested.