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« New Concerns: A Closer Look At Fred Thompson's Abortion Stance | Main | Dissident Theologian, Richard McBrien Has A Feature Column In Cardinal Mahony's Newspaper, "The Tidings" »

Wednesday, May 09, 2007



I cracked up at the "raising the stakes" line, too. That's just lazy writing. What are the stakes? Is there really debate? (It seems to me the Pope just settled it, praise be to God.)

The argument that really boils my blood is this:

>>>Some Catholics say they personally would not have an abortion but feel obliged to support a woman's right to choose.>>>

To me, this is worse than believing abortion is a good thing. They clearly recognize the evil, yet they refuse to make a stand against it.

What would the reaction be if politicians were to say "I would not participate in racism/drug-dealing/child pornography/slavery, but we need to respect others' choice regarding these evils."?

If you can't trust these people on an issue as simple and clear-cut and important as the life of a child, you can't trust them on anything else.


Why doesn't the Church ever go on the offensive against evil?

There are huge numbers of brazen abortion enabling politicans who take Communion, with the full knowledge of bishops and priests, every Sunday.

Why doesn't the Pope insist that unrepentant abortion-promoting and enabling politicans be excommunicated?

Why don't the bishops so insist?

Why is it that when bishops do so, it is the exception, not the rule?



The Pontiff is doing what should have been done a long time ago. In fact the Church Fathers would have excommunicated these murderous and self-serving politicians right away.


But actually, the Pope has not directed all bishops and priests to excommunicate these murderous politicians; he has just said that what the Mexican bishiops did was right.

Why doesn't he insist that all priests do so?

How many abortion-condoning 'Catholic' politicians have been excommunicated?


Billy D

You have to understand, these writers have no clue about Catholicism, nor Christianity in general. Were Jesus to appear today to them, they would collectively ask Him, "How are you going to change your thinking to fall in line with today's world?"
Complete ignorance.

Jeff Miller

Read Canonist Ed Peters post on this subject. He is quite reliable (appears on Catholic Answers) and his take agrees with my own.

I wish the Pope was making an "authentic interpretation" of the Canon in regards to Pro-Aborts, but it is doubtful comments to reporters on a plain flight is how he would go about it.


But truly, it's not first a matter of Canon Law. It's a matter of truth and good and evil.

When a person is promoting or enabling evil of any sort, or engaging in evil of any sort, unrepentantly, he should not be allowed to take Communion, and he should not be allowed to call himself Catholic.

Otherwise, being Catholic means nothing.



I would never vote for a Republican and the church won't allow me vote for a Democrat, I guess I can no longer vote .



If you can only vote for Democrats, then it's best that you don't vote. At least as long as they all support abortion.




There has been a clarification put out about what was reported of the Pope's statements. As I suspected.

"Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, later issued a statement approved by the pope clarifying the [pope's and his own] remarks. The statement said the pope did not intend to excommunicate anyone. Politicians who vote in favor of abortion should not receive the sacrament of Holy
Communion, Lombardi said."

Dan Hunter

There is a repudiation of authority that has been the norm since 1960,in the Church.
Previous to 1960 any clergyman that dissented from Church teaching was condemned and removed from his position.
There is an enormous amount of documentation to support this fact.
Now they just get a slap on the hand,and the Church hopes that their error will just wilt and disintegrate.The only problem is that whilst that error is being exposed,thousands are being misled and many of those are damned to Hell.
Let us all pray even more fervently for our Church and His Holiness.
God bless you,


I'm with you, Dan. That's exactly what's happened. And it started, for the most part, with the Church's refusal to discipline clergy who opposed the Church's teachings on contraception.

Once that occurred, many clergy felt very comfortable in opposing the Church on all sorts of other moral issues. And they weren't disciplined with regard to those issues either. Of course, ignoring God's loving morality always but always leads to bad things.

When the clergy turned away from issues involving contraception, virtually everything bad predicted by Pope Paul in Humanae Vitae has come true. When so many of the clergy turned blind eyes (and souls) to the rampant homosexuality in the priesthood, tens of thousands of boys ended up being sodomized.

The Benedictine motto is "If you prune it, it will grow." That's always been true. Prune out the heretics and the dissenters, and the Church will grow overall. Trim off the abortion-worshiping politicans, and while you'll lose a few disaffected moral apostates, millions more will start to have confidence that their Church leaders are willing to stand up to the world in the name of Christ.

But worst of all - and this is just what you alluded to - once you don't take mortal sin seriously - millions come to believe that there is no possibility of hell, and that their souls are not in jeopardy. No greater sadness is there with regard to so many of the clergy than that they no longer make the saving of souls their primary mission.



James, I think you hit the nail on the head noting that the Church failed to reprove renegade dissidents. Here's a question for you, though (note: I was born in '75): What in the late 70s and early 80s caused the Church's leaders to go soft on these dissidents? Were bishops (a) supportive of their dissent, (b) just wanting to avoid controversy in order to rake in $$$, (c) hoping that by avoiding controversy it would just go away, or some other explanation?

Dan Hunter

The Bishops were the dissidents.
The making of personal or private judgement ones own magisterial teaching as opposed to obedience to Holy Mother Church corroded personal sanctity and leads to the teaching that "what I want to do is the new law".
Also the self percieved inability of bishops and priests to live up to the commands of God and therefore the Church leads to a watering down of morality to the level of their own weak morals and they justify this by teaching the same weak morality.
God bless you.


"Here's a question for you..."


You know - Dan - in my own estimation (for whatever it's worth) - I would say it all came down to three things:

- Pride - (especially intellectual pride) - that says "I know better than God..."


- Selfish temptation. (Like: I want sex on my own terms; I want divorce - and I don't care about my obligation to love my spouse or my children; I want to not have to deal with the baby I begot. If I could just rip it out of the womb...)

Of course - those are precisely the very two things that got Eve, and then Adam, into trouble.

The apple was shiny and tempting, and they didn't want to have to believe that God said NO!

I know in the area of sexual sin (which is tougher to understand than other forms of sin, since it is consensual) - a lot of people intellectually started telling themselves: I know better than God about contraception, fornication, sodomy, etc. etc.

Now, unless one is blind - one can see all the horribly insidious consequences of that intellectual (and spiritual) pride.

At the core - there were things everyone wanted - and they didn't want to believe God - just like Eve.

A heck of a lot of priests were swept up into this - not truly trusting the Church and God - but rather themselves - and those who selfishly wanted sin.

It then became even worse - because to actually stand up for God's truth - you might have to become (the horror! the horror!) - UNPOPULAR. And that's the third big reason - many Church leaders were tempted by and sought the popularity of parishioners and the world - rather than to do right by God. No having to carry a cross for them!

But sin (of any sort) always degrades and defiles, and always bear horrible marks on people, families, society - and incredibly sadly, on the Church. You always find out, in the end, that God is quite right on things.


Dan Hunter

Put Perfectly James.
Thank you.
So true. Satan-Pride-Sin.
It screws everything up.
Shakespeare spoke a world of truth when he said"O what a tangled web we weave...."

Dan Hunter

P.S. James,
My apologies for jumping into a question addressed to you.
I got to anxious.
God bless.


No apology needed, Dan!

Oh yeah - there're a lot of bishops who were attracted to power and influence as well - especially with regard to politicians.

Of course, the end result of all that's been happening in the Church is that the bishops now have virtually no influence over most politicians - in most parts of the world.

When you start to worship a false idol, you soon find out that it leaves you empty and abandoned.

If priests and bishops simply set themselves to telling God's truth, in love, and the saving of souls, they would find enormous respect, love, and yes, even great influence. (You know, of the sort Christ had...) But for that, you have to have a lot of faith first.


Dan Hunter



I apologize for not reading the entire article to learn about how courageous the pope is with his statement that he "supports" excommunication of pro-abortion politicians.

Why doesn't the pope just exercise his authority and excommunicate ALL such politicians immediately through his own declaration? The politicians know who they are. The voters know who the politicians are. The Church knows who the politicians are. The Church allows "no exceptions" regarding abortion.

Membership in the Roman Catholic Church is not a "right" and is evidently not a prerequisite for holding any public elective office anywhere on earth (i.e. I don't view the current or previous several popes to be "Catholics" at all, and I'm not alone in that opinion, and as they say: "one plus God is a majority" so perhaps my opinion is important).

The pope can do no damage to any individual or to any nation by taking unilateral action on his own authority to declare precisely who IS NOT a Roman Catholic, via excommunication of pro-abortion politicians (i.e. those who "preach" abortion, are of a different type and degree than even those who "have" abortions).

So, what is the pope waiting for? Is the pope "concerned" about upsetting you, or me, or the faithful Catholic population of the world, or the priests, or the bishops, or the cardinals, or the Muslims, or the Protestants, or the Buddhists, or the atheists?

Or is the pope concerned about the politicians?

Is the pope merely willing to let some brave local bishop excommunicate some local politician or some "national" politician, when the pope himself lacks the courage from the Grace which we each obtained through the Sacrament of Confirmation?

If Pope Benedict XVI is accused of being Catholic and lives thirty more years as pope, will there be one shred of evidence to convict him?


Yeah - I'm with Joseph. The Pope should just excommunicate those who unrepentantly and with no remorse, and with brazenness support vicious evil in this world. And Joseph - you're right on. What is he afraid of? An uproar? Bad TV coverage? God rewards those who do good in this world. The Church should never have in its membership those who go out of their way to promote evil.

And if the Pope did this - billions of faithful Catholics would cheer!

Any Catholic (or Christian) should do what's right, and let the chips fall where they may.

Finally, this idea of 'automatic excommunication' is a pusillanimous way to avoid confrontation with the world.

A guy who the Church says is 'automatically excommunicated' goes to Mass, takes Communion, and neither he nor anyone else takes the 'automatic' excommunication seriously.

It obviously means nothing to these men who promote this evil. Someone should do something that DOES mean something to them. Closing the doors of the Church to them until they repent might just do it.

They should be forced to choose - unrepentant, sustained and mocking evil, or being a Catholic. You can't have both.



Come on people! Don't be thuggish and ignorant. Read the canon law - no action from the Pope or anyone else is needed. They have excommunicated themselves by their actions.

What is needed is that the Bishops get some backbone about denying Eucharist to those who are excommunicated. Its abuse of the most Holy Eucharist to give it to someone who is deliberately and by their own free will and action cut off from the Church, and unrepentant.

THAT is the point that needs to be made. Without regard to political party or social status.

And that, clearly, is in the hands of the local bishops per Canon law.

Stop picking on the Pope - and start picking on the wishy washy Bishops who refuse to act as the Pope has directed them.


I agree with DenverCatholic. It would be redundant for the Holy Father to pronounce any sort of excommunication on pro-abortion politicians because they have already incurred latae sententiae excommunication. Indeed, the argument could be made that any attempts by the Holy Father to impose a ferendae sententiae excommunication would be violative of canon law. A ferendae sententiae excommunication could be considered less punitive because the penalty would only take effect when imposed by ecclesiastical authority. Those crimes that are latae sententiae are so serious that their penalties take effect immediately upon commission of an act.


Canon law, schmanon law.

When on matters of good and evil, priests and bishops (and popes) retreat into the arcanery of canon law, you know that they're compromising with evil in the world. (The same with all the bishops who moved homomolesters from church to church, and child to child...)

Here's the truth: The average Catholic (and the average guy looking in at the Church) knows little or nothing about canon law, and does not care to. All he sees is that pro-abort politicians are making a MOCKERY of the Church and that the Church is too weak and too conflicted and too afraid to stand up to this evil in a forthright way.

Sure - these pro-abort politicos may be immediatly excommunicted - BUT IN REAL LIFE IT MEANS NOTHING! Nothing happens! They proclaim themselves to be 'faithful' Catholics, obedient to their malformed consciences, and go to Church, and no one takes them on (except a lonely occasional serious priest).

Whether or not the Pope excommunicates them himself - he should make clear that these folks ARE excommuicated - and he should prohibit all priests in the world from pretending that they aren't. He should do this publicly, and then he should back that pronouncement up with consequences to priests and bishops who ignore him.

Heck - you have Bishop Wuerl in Wasthington (following weenie McCarrick) making nicey-nice with Pelosi. Isn't she excommunicated?
What the heck is going on?

This is an example of where the Pope must step in. Otherwise - everyone will ignore these excommunications - and all serious Catholic (including my kids, for example) will get the idea that the Church won't even stand up to evil.

Worse - the endless confusion and dissension in the Church about how to treat these politicians makes it look stupid. Yeah, that's right. Really, really stupid. So and so is excommunicated or not? It makes a difference of not? Why are all the bishops fighting over this?

For God's sake (and I mean that) - have the Pope stand up to the world and tell the world that these folks are excommunicated and are no longer Catholic.

It's exactly the same with the 'Catholic' universities. They say they're Catholic while they glory in the promotion of all sorts of sin.

Enough. Take on the evil in the world, and stop talking out of all corners of the mouth - and stop retreating into section 458969659 of canon law. Let your yes be yes and your no be no.

I was embarrassed by the whole thing with the Mexican bishops. The Pope says the politicans there are excommunicated; the bishops say they are, but nothing is happening, and the policians are pretending like nothing's happening, and lots of other bishops are wishing the whole thing would go away, and lots of bishops would NEVER say these folks are excommunicated (like Wuerl).

What a travesty.



James, I hope your comments regarding canon law don't indicate that you wish to ignore it, since it is the law that governs Latin Rite Catholics and is an integral part of the Church.

Regardless of your position on canon law, though, your comments make me believe that you are under the impression--and you're not alone, BTW--that individual bishops are kind of like "district managers" for the Pope. Perhaps I am reading too much into your comments, but this view is not correct. An individual bishop is himself a successor to the Apostles and has his own duty before God to "teach, sanctify, and govern." This is why the Holy Father is reluctant to "step in" too often.

I agree that the "average Catholic" may be scandalized by the amoral behavior of "Catholic" politicians and bishops who refuse to publicly chastise their behavior. The key point is, however, that the bishop has absolute discretion in dealing with the issue. We in the pews may not like the way that a particular bishop employs his discretion (and he will be answerable to God for any laxity) but carping about his failings probably will not help. Instead, we should ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate our bishops' minds while at the same time appealing to them privately (and politely) to take action.

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