Skip to comments.Biden and Pelosi’s “In Your Face” to Pope Francis
Posted on 03/21/2013 9:09:15 AM PDT by NYer
There had been a little off-track betting going on among pro-life Catholics ( a tautology for sure) as to whether or not Vice Joe Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi would receive Holy Communion at the Mass of Installation for Pope Francis in Rome on Tuesday. The yeas far out-polled the nays and the yeas proved to be right.
It was really a no-brainer. Biden and Pelosi and other prochoice politicians have been thumbing their noses at church teaching for many years now. Even though it has been repeated ad infinitum that their behavior is contrary to the Catholic teaching regarding the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death they have continually presented themselves at the altar rail. They have never been denied the sacrament.
Some bishops have personally advised them not to receive Communion since their public stand aids and abets a heinous crime. These warnings are, however, deemed pastoral and have no teeth. There is no unanimity among the bishops as to their imposition and whether or not an offending politician can be denied the sacrament if he or she presents themselves for Communion.
The timidity of the bishops stems from the lack of agreement as to how a bishop should apply Canon 915. The canon states, Those who are excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion. This becomes problematic for two reasons: first, because many bishops are loathe to accuse politicians of grave sin; and second, because excommunication is a formal juridical act which effectively cuts off the offender from the sacramental life of the church. It also means the denial of a Catholic funeral. Since there is no direct mandate from the Vatican most bishops dont want to take the risk of not being supported in their decision.
No doubt there would also be a strong public outcry protesting freedom of conscience and the obligation of politicians to represent their constituents. Of course, there will also be references to the Mario Cuomo mantra, I am personally opposed to abortion but given at Notre Dame, in 1984, in which he cleverly tried to separate religious belief and public morality. This speech was condemned by Cardinal John OConnor, since it violated traditional Catholic teaching on the importance of public officials to form their consciences in light of the churchs moral teachings and the obligation to enact legislation in accord with it. Cuomo, however, was never counseled not to receive Communion. Ever since more and more Catholics have decided that they can make their own decisions as to what is right and wrong.
Politicians like Biden and Pelosi have been stubborn and contumacious in their pro-choice policies and in presenting themselves for reception of the Eucharist. They know that the American bishops, for the most part, prefer a pastoral approach which means basically lets talk to them and help them to see the error of their ways. It has not worked and there is no indication that it will. The topic of this essay is proof enough! They also know that Catholic priests are instructed not to cause a scene on the Communion line and that the person be permitted to receive. Both of them take advantage of these charitable loopholes.
There is a solution and perhaps some hope for stronger enforcement of church policy on offending pols. The Vatican should clearly state that politicians who promote a culture of death, abortion and euthanasia, are subject to excommunication by their bishop. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI made an unofficial statement on a trip to Mexico, in 2007, stating that excommunication for pro-choice legislators was not arbitrary and is part of Canon Law. This would strengthen Canon 915 and some bishops back-bones. It is well known that Pope Francis forbade pro-choice politicians from receiving Holy Communion in his diocese in Argentina. Perhaps the new Pope can move this project along?
By the bishops refusing to take strong action, such as excommunication, politicians will continue their in your face attitude toward the church and her leaders. Such a failure will also continue to allow Catholics and people of good will to be scandalized. Even worse, it gives the impression that others may follow the behavior of wayward politicians without impunity.
Biden and Pelosi only did at the Vatican what they have been allowed to do at home. As the great Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer stated so well, dear bishops: Not to act is to act!
Chaplain and Research Fellow at Ave Maria Law. Father Michael P. Orsi was ordained for the Diocese of Camden in 1976 and has a broad background in teaching and educational administration. Fr. Orsi has authored or co-authored four books and over 300 articles in more than 45 journals, magazines and newspapers. He has served as Assistant Chancellor, Assistant Vicar for Pastoral Services, Director of Family Life Bureau, and Coordinator of Pope John Paul IIs visit to New Jersey for the Diocese of Camden. He has also served as a member of The Institute for Genomic Research at the University of Pennsylvania and as a member of New Jerseys Advisory Council on AIDS. Fr. Orsi holds a Doctorate in Education from Fordham University, two Master degrees in Theology from Saint Charles Seminary, and a Bachelor of Arts from Cathedral College. He is presently serving as Chaplain and Research Fellow in Law and Religion at Ave Maria School of Law, Naples, Florida. He is a member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. In 2005 Fr. Orsi was appointed as a Senior Research Associate to the Linacre Center for Bioethics, London, England. Fr. Orsi co-hosts a weekly radio program The Advocate which discusses law and culture on WDEO-AM 990, WMAX-AM 1440 in metro Detroit and WDEO-FM 98.5 in southwest Florida [also linked at www.avemarialaw.edu].
Here on FR, the nays far out-polled the yeas.
By the bishops refusing to take strong action, such as excommunication, politicians will continue their in your face attitude toward the church and her leaders. Such a failure will also continue to allow Catholics and people of good will to be scandalized. Even worse, it gives the impression that others may follow the behavior of wayward politicians without impunity. Biden and Pelosi only did at the Vatican what they have been allowed to do at home. As the great Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer stated so well, dear bishops: Not to act is to act!
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Major disappointment from the Catholic church no less. Both of the slobs with the blood of 3,300 DAILY slaughtered unborn Americans on their hands should have been publicly and forcefully excommunicated right at the altar.
Dont kid yourself. The RC Church made a decision based on finance and self interest. The RC Church did not become the oldest most profitable multinational corporation on the planet based on principle alone.
What is your church’s relevant policy? Does it refuse communion?
Did you poll us all? I think not.
You Catholic Alex?
And what church do you attend?
The reason is cowardice. The Church is by no means wealthy.
I can see you rolling your eyes.
Well, the Vatican bureaucracy, which oversees 1.2 billion Catholics, has a smaller budget than the University of Notre Dame.
Notre Dame University operating budget: $1.2 billion.
Vatican City operating budget: $270 million.
Total employees: 2700.
Value of all Vatican assets: $1 billion. That’s $0.80 per Catholic.
Harvard’s endowment, $100 billion. Aside from me, I don’t hear anyone asking Harvard to liquidate its assets.
The Church practices the principle of subsidiarity.
This also explains why it is impossible for a staff of 2700 employees to micro-manage the entire worldwide Church.
The writer of this piece was stupid to use leftist language.He should have written pro-abortion instead of pro-choice.
A challenge to Roman Catholic hierarchy:
Why is a heretic like Pelosi or Biden welcomed with open arms, while I am STILL with “no room in the Church for people like me”? That was told to me by the Bishop of Wilmington, DE in 1977 and reaffirmed by the present bishop.
Biden and Pelosi have both excommunicated themselves. What reason were you given?
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have worked with the US politicians. many of these bishops and parish priests where brought up to equate the democrat party with goodness and coinciding with Catholicism. their parents deny the existence and the prevalence of abortion.
They find it convenient to visit liberation theology with schmoozing dem pols, and they think it’ll work to bring social justice into government, so the dems the dem politicians and the Catholic Church in America, go together.
Factually, the new pope, a Jesuit, and the Jesuits here are the worst offenders of rubbing elbows with liberalism, rejected liberation theology and fell out of favor with the organized Jesuits in Argentina.
He paid attention to the Catechism.
When you criticize the Church, you are criticizing the Catechism, along with the teaching of the Church, the Bible, and the tradition of the Church, NONE of which have any single iota of support for abortion, birth control, allowance of killing the innocent child of rape or incest, nor the supporters of the same.
the pope has these people on his radar, most especially the bishops who enable this.
I am a Catholic who still believes what the nuns and priests taught me. Anymore reason needed?
Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Excerpt: “Those in the state of grace and those estranged from God both receive the same Jesus Christ. But the first grow in Gods friendship and the second deepen their sinful guilt. In todays world, when so many people receive Communion and so few receive the sacrament of Penance, this disjunction is crucial. Pope John Paul II on his first pilgrimage to the United States pleaded with the American bishops to promote the frequent reception of the sacrament of Confession for the obvious reasons spelled out by St. Thomas Aquinas.”
Thank you for the reply. Your statement recalls a recent conversation with my 80 y/o mother. When she attended catholic school, she was told not to read the Bible. That was more than 60 years ago. The Catholic Church has never taught that. It was a local admonition from a group of well meaning nuns who were concerned that young, impressionable minds might turn into their own interpreters of scripture. That message took hold and no matter how much coaxing, she still refuses to read the Bible.
My childhood was pre VCII. Like my mother, I too attended catholic school. The nuns told us never to attend services at a non-catholic church. Like my mother, I took that message to heart until a protestant co-worker of mine was going through a tough personal experience. I invited her to attend mass at my Catholic Church. Instead, she asked me to join her at her protestant church service. Recognizing that it was more important for her, in such distress, to redirect herself to God, I joined her at the worship service. That was 40 or so years ago. As a result, I was then able to understand why the nuns had made that admonition, out of love and concern for their student charges.
Your statement provides no time reference - were you taught these things before or after VCII? Were you a child or an adult? It was not unusual pre-VCII to be given such instructions without any explanation. It takes an adult mindset to fit the pieces together in order to understand the how and why.
In your initial post, you wrote: "I am STILL with no room in the Church for people like me?" That comment is what generated this discussion. It is non-specific be it in regard to time frame or subject. Posting such information in an open forum can be disconcerting. Should you care to pursue the discussion, please do not hesitate to freepmail me. I am sorry you have been left with such an impression from the nuns and priests who taught you. This is obviously a sensitive issue which you rightfully prefer to keep personal. If I can assist in any way, please freepmail me. God's blessings on you.
You've posted this assertion more than once. What is your factual basis for it?
Non-Catholics have been told by Catholics countless times that this never happens.
It doesn't happen. As I pointed out and you quoted: it was a local admonition from a group of well meaning nuns. Local meaning that school. And it occurred more than 60 years ago. It's not a Catholic Church teaching, simply one nun's suggestion. Sadly, my mother misinterpreted what she heard, much like you are misinterpreting what I have written. Thank you for making my point.
However, it does have roots from the past , in which personal reading of Scripture by the laity in the vernacular was often restricted, or was not promoted, contrary to the the modern stance.