Skip to comments.Bishop: Denying Communion to Obstinate Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians " ...the only choice"
Posted on 02/01/2007 9:51:23 PM PST by Coleus
Bishop: Denying Communion to Obstinate Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians "in many cases becomes the right decision and the only choice"
LifeSiteNews counted 37 Catholic bishops, including four cardinals, participating in the March for Life events Jan. 20-22 in the U.S. capital. Many have been coming to the events for years to express their commitments on the issue. Strong support from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has been a major factor in the large turnout of bishops and several hundred seminarians, priests and religious brothers and sisters every year. The bishops' leadership has also encouraged numerous lay diocesan and parish groups from around the nation to make the treck to Washington to express their solidarity with the unborn. Young people have been a very noticeable large component of the groups.
LifeSiteNews met one of the newer bishops, Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley of Salina, soon after we arrived. He was repeatedly encountered at events over the next few days. At the first meeting we interviewed the bishop and and found him to be one more of the growing number of new, upbeat young bishops strongly committed to the faith and by natural extension also to the pro-life cause. Bishop Coakley met up in Washington with a two bus contingent of 94 parishioners that traveled from his diocese. Those who traveled to Washington by other means were encouraged to join the bishop on the actual March by seeking out and walking behind the the large Salina Diocese banner. For all those who could not make the trip Bishop Coakley encouraged his parishes to conduct special Prayer and Penance services for Life on Jan. 21or 22. Earlier this year the diocese sent out Respect Life packets of materials to every parish which included a special Liturgy Guide, Suggestions for Parish Activities as we observe Memorial of Roe Vs Wade and a quiz for parishioners called, Abortion: Test Your Grip on Reality.
A brother Kansas Bishop, the jovial and imposingly tall Archbishop of Kansas City, Joseph F. Naumann, also participated in the March for Life events.
Following is our interview with bishop Coakley:
LifeSiteNews: How many years have you been to the March for Life.
Bishop: This will be my fifth march, I believe.
LifeSiteNews: You have been a bishop for how many years?
Bishop: Two years. In my current diocese of Salina. I was ordained and installed on December 28, 2004. I came here as a priest before.
LifeSiteNews: So, you are obviously quite committed to the cause.
Bishop: Well, I hope so yes. I try to be.
LifeSiteNews: Thats good. What do you think is the state of the nation right now on this issue? Do you have a sense of where we are and what should be done?
Bishop: I think we need to make incremental steps and really work on all fronts. Certainly as church leaders, priests, pastors and bishops who are primarily concerned with the conversion of hearts getting people who embrace the Gospel of Life, but at the same time we have to be actively involved in the public square working on all fronts there as well to enact just laws that favor the cause of life, all life, but especially protecting innocent life has to be a special concern.
LifeSiteNews: Kansas is that where George Tiller (notorious late-term abortionist) is from - Wichita? How far is that from you?
Bishop: Well, hes in Wichita which is about 90 miles from Salina where I am bishop. I had been a priest in the Wichita diocese so I am very familiar with him, as a matter of fact.
LifeSiteNews: Do you have any advice on what people might be able to do about the fact that he is still there.
Bishop: I would encourage people to pray for his conversion. I think that is fundamental. I mean, the man has been at it for so long that I fear that perhaps his heart has been so hardened that I think only grace is going to bring about the change that is needed for his conversion and all who are involved in the abortion industry. He certainly is perhaps the most notorious and most well-known.
LifeSiteNews: In Kansas, as a percentage of the population, how many would be Catholics?
Bishop: State-wide, I would have to say around 16%.
LifeSiteNews: Its part of the US Bible Belt, I presume.
Bishop: It is largely Protestant, yes. We have some pockets of Catholicism where there is a strong, ethnic, Catholic presence. In southwest Kansas, there are a lot of Latinos not so much in our diocese well, we have plenty and we try to welcome them. We can gain from them, I think and I honestly have a great deal of hope that some of the parochial values that the Latinos and Hispanics are bringing north with them will be enriching for the United States - the value that they place on family and faith, community and life, so I am hopeful.
LifeSiteNews: Here is a tough question. One of the prominent issues as far as Catholics are concerned both in Canada and the US - it seems worse in Canada is Catholic politicians promoting and implementing expanded abortion rights and funding and also the redefinition of marriage. So far they dont feel there is anything wrong with that because there haven't been any significant sanctions for their obstinate, public behavior, even after having been advised by their religious leaders and their parish pastor that this is wrong. Should more be done about this?
Bishop: That is a difficult, challenging question. I think you are right. It is a scandal that so many Catholic politicians who have such power to influence our nation for the good are not accepting that responsibility that comes with that power and acting upon it. Sadly, as you observed, many of our Catholic politicians have been in the forefront in fostering so-called abortion rights. I think many of the bishops are taking this very seriously and working, as we must, to meet privately and work toward educating, informing those individuals and helping them to recognize the consequences of their actions and what that is going to mean for, well, primarily their spiritual well-being, the salvation of their souls but also in terms of their being in full communion with the Church. Each bishop finds himself in a very challenging position and I certainly would never dare to sit in judgment on any of my brother bishops. I have my own problems in my own backyard but I think we are really trying to take this matter very seriously because it does become a source of scandal.
LifeSiteNews: A few bishops one in Canada and a few in the US have said that it has come to a point now where they would deny them Communion because of the severity of the situation and how it hasnt gotten any better in fact it seems to have become worse. Also Cardinal Ratzinger, just prior to becoming pope, did make a very definitive statement that, in such cases where it is obstinate and persistent they must be denied Communion. What is your response to that?
Bishop: I agree. I think, one has to determine yet at what point it can be determined that they have come to that state of obstinate refusal to desist from that condition of manifest, grave sin. I think we have an obligation as bishops, as pastors, to try to work with them to bring them to a change of heart and refusing them Communion would be, not the first, but more than likely, the last stage in a serious of steps.
LifeSiteNews: So, it is not something that you would rule out?
Bishop: Oh, absolutely not. I think it is something that Canon Law sanctions and that I think many bishops find themselves with no other choice but to make that decision. I think in many cases it becomes the right decision and the only choice.
I love how the Catholic Church is gaining the gusto that will save many lives in the long run.
God bless Bishop Coakley!!!!
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I appreciate the gesture (and I do mean that), but that is all it is--a gesture. It used to be that a politician had to at least pay lip service to Christianity in some form while in the public eye. In a little while, Christianity will be a liability and being denied communion will be a badge of honor in American politics (how sad that will be!). Because of this, I can't really think that this will "save many lives", though I pray to God that it would.
HEY MONK Bishop with brains
Too bad all of them aren't more like him.
Well, the Church is taking a stand.
Bishop Naumann is Archbishop of Kansas City, Kansas. The Archbishop of Kansas City, Missouri is Bishop Finn.
Has any Bishop refused any vocally public pro-abortion, pro-contraception, Pro embryonic stem cell research politicians Communion?
I realize Bishop Coakley says it would be the last stage in a series of steps so, I guess I'm asking if anyone knows how many steps, chances, years the process would take.
Like I said, I appreciate that. I just doubt the efficacy of the action.
As far as I know, those politicians have avoided putting it to the test with those bishops who have come out against giving them Communion. No real inconvenience for them, of course, since the DC Cardinal McCarrick is apparently on their side.
What you say is probably already true among hard-core Dems, but there are still not enough of them in the US to elect these candidates without support from the still sizable number of us who are Christians. It may certainly happen, of course, that they will decide there aren't enough of us and they don't need us anymore, in which case they will overtly reject the Church.
And one of the reasons for this was precisely the silence of the institutional Church. Everybody knows that silence is consent, and silently letting these "Catholic" politicians get away with it gave people the impression that the Church was not a force to be reckoned with and was something that would soon be irrelevant. And it was (and is) a true scandal to the devoted laypeople who have worked so hard for so many years to oppose abortion, while the official Church, the members of the heirarchy, were busy attending parties for the same evil politicians who were promoting it.
The current DC archbishop is Donald Wuerl, and he's not a cardinal yet. Although I'm afraid he will be shortly.
He may be right, but I believe that even the most hardened hearts can be changed.
What a wonderful man is this Bishop Coakley. We are fortunate indeed to have men of his integrity and perseverance working in the Church.
Thanks for posting this article. It gives me hope.
Bishop Coakley used to be our pastor, at the Church of the Resurrection in Wichita. We miss him a lot
And a fine bishop he is, too.
There is a concerted effort to clean out these whited sepulchres, and it's been ongoing for about ten years now. Our archdiocese dropped the hammer on these guys back in the late 80s/early 90s. Both the archbishop and his vicar-general (who is now our rector) recognized immediately the serious and long-term consequences for the Church if they didn't act immediately, and they did. They were drastic -- laicizing, exiling to remote monasteries, and turning one priest directly over to the law (I think he's still in prison). And highly effective.
Unfortunately, a gay subculture got a foothold in some dioceses, and it will take time to clean them and all their buddies out. It goes hand in hand with the liberal "protestant" Catholics and all their works.
Pope Benedict has made some momentous changes -- an A to Z inspection of all seminaries, just for starters.
But at some point, people have to stop using this as a stick to beat the Church with. At least the hierarchy is dealing with the problem and has been for some time -- unlike other churches and the public schools, which actually have a much higher rate of sex offenders. But you never hear about that from the mainstream media -- too busy beating up on the Catholics. Of course they have an ulterior motive, which should be obvious.
"refusing them Communion would be, not the first, but more than likely, the last stage in a serious of steps"
I am somewhat at a loss of words. Just how many steps are there? For 43 years Ted Kennedy has been pushing abortion legislation in the Senate. For 43 years the Catholic Church has rebuked his point of view. He has gotten divorced (I know annulled - but I think it's more of a payoff) and remarried - with little rebuke. He pushes embryonic stem cell research and receives little rebuke. Will anything ever be done?
Looking at the Catholic politicians of Fame (yes there are some really good ones that follow their faith, but they are generally ignored or their faith not normally mentioned) we have Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi and Arnold Schwartzeneger (sorry about what must be a spelling error in his name). And the only reason we even know Arnold's religion is that he married into the Kennedy clan (religion based on marriage not faith probably). So I'll exclude him from the example (although including him wouldn't change it at all).
Catholics are taught to emulate the lives of the Saints, hence they even take the name of a Saint during Confirmation/Chrismation. This is all well and good, but in reality most of us look to current real world examples of how to live our lives. Outside of Pope Benedict and the late Pope JPII, how many famous Catholics do most people know besides Kennedy and Pelosi (we can thank the media for that)?
In looking at the Catholic Church's response to Kennedy and Pelosi (henceforth K&P) we see little to no action (if there has been any it's been kept a pretty good secret). It feels (yes I know feelings) as if most of the Catholic Episcopate must support their views even though teaching states otherwise. How could they continue if they didn't have supported views? It's begun to feel like the prohibitions against the abhorrant actions are only just on the books and can't be remove because of tradition, but no longer because of practice.
For the sake of the faithful, for the unborn innocents, for those seeking the truth, it is time that the Catholic Church publically excommunicate K&P (and maybe others). Fair enough, they should be given a three day notice to publicly recant their views before such an action is taken.
To keep this in context, I must state that I am not Catholic, but have never enjoyed bashing the RCC, except for serious matters of doctrinal disagreement (done respectfully) and purely humorously (where that should be evident). This however seems to weigh heavily even on the Pontiff in Rome. Is this not a matter of Faith and Morals? Does he not have a true obligation to keep his flock together (if his bishops won't - with some exception as noted in the article). This lack of action makes the RCC look like a closet supporter of evil.
Wish I had seen your reply before I type my screed :)
Sounds like a very good start, but with all the harm that has been done (and much of it is the media, but the episcopate can't shirk their responsibility), this should be done in an atmosphere that the public will see. Crimes against the faith (and other crimes) that have a public effect should be cleaned out in a manner that the public can see.
How else can anyone trust their spiritual leaders?
I don't know how many lives this will save...but if just one soul is saved, then it is worth it.
Here's the problem: the Church does press releases, has the information up on websites, but NOBODY in the mainstream media reports on it. In fact, they actively suppress it, because whenever they mention anything to do with the church, they mention "the pedophilia scandal" but never mention all the work the Church is doing to stop it ever happening again. (Of course, it isn't pedophilia, the victims were overwhelmingly adolescent boys. But THAT of course would conflict with another agenda the media has . . . )
It's a problem. The media shapes opinion not just by what they report, but by what they refuse to report. Kinda makes you wonder why, doesn't it?
I don't recall the details, but I seem to remember there being some issue between the Bishop of Erie, PA and former pro-choice RINO Governor Ridge.
This is the orthodox response. The real question is whether or not the bishop means it. It seems clear that some bishops never intend to go through these steps, while others have shown their readiness to do so.
The Bible as well as canon law and the Pope's letter to the American bishops when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger all say the same thing. Counsel a sinner privately to start with, and then if necessary work all the way up to a public confrontation. There are several ends to be kept in view: trying to save the guilty politician's soul, avoiding public scandal, and avoiding a watering down and compromising of the Church's teachings. If the politician refuses private counseling, then at some prudent stage it's the bishop's duty to make the matter public. Especially when, as in the case of Kennedy or Pelosi, the politician has already made the issue public.
So, nothing wrong with what this bishop says, if he really means it, as he seems to do.
About as many as resisted Henry VIII, and with far less at stake. Sad, isn't it?
Very good to hear of the progress being made. And you're right, it is the media keeping all the good news in a vacuum. Perhaps the priests need to mention what is happening at the end of the service (if the homily does not provide an appropriate timing).
As I mentioned I'm not Catholic so I don't go picking up newsletters at the back of RCC churches regularly, or spend much time on their websites. However several of my friends are RCC priests and yet they fail to mention things like this (they are definitely not liberal priests), hence I was unaware. If the media will not carry the RCC's message then maybe the RCC should do more to get it's message out (from the pulpit).
Most Catholics that I know (most of the people I know are Catholic) are unfortunately ignorant of their faith, how can we ever expect them to know what the church is doing if it doesn't directly tell them?
My comments were not directed at the bishop in this article, but rather the episcopate as a whole. There are many good bishops, but I fear maybe more bad :(
No, I understand that.
We do need to keep an eye on them. For instance, you might say that Archbishop Wuerl and Nancy Pelosi just met each other last month. So you couldn't necessarily fault Wuerl for not confronting her publicly at once. But it was troubling that he gave no indication that he would ever do so in the future. He deserves a little time to show what sort of bishop he intends to be, but he shouldn't just get a free pass. Some of his quoted comments, if accurate, were disturbing.
Embezzling has been with us for a very long time and with every other church and with most places where money is handled. What does that have to do with this thread?
Most of the pedophiles seem to have been identified and removed. Not perfectly and not without exception. This is an ongoing task. No one has a magic wand and no one can impose a permanent solution other than God Almighty triggering the end of time. Only Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother are without sin. That does not make sin acceptable but merely inevitable in some fashion or other.
Those bishops taking a stand have my respect.