Michael Gaynor
Will all United States bishops finally observe holy week by following canon law instead of indulging phony pro-abortion "Catholic" politicians?
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By Michael Gaynor
April 14, 2014

Query, if the bishops of the United States had all followed canon law and refused Holy Communion to the likes of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, would there be an Obama Administration War on Religious Freedom and Conscience Rights?

Great news below from Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Illinoism via Patrick B, Craine of LifeSiteNews.com (www.lifesitenews.com/news/illinois-bishop-upholds-priests-decision-to-deny-communion-to-pro-abortion):

Illinois bishop upholds priest's decision to deny Communion to pro-abort Sen. Dick Durbin 4/3/2014 9:26:00 PM By PATRICK B. CRAINE -LifeSiteNews.com

Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, known for his outspoken defense of the right to life and the natural family, has signaled his support for denying Communion to Catholic politicians who publicly endorse activities gravely contrary to the moral law.

The bishop wrote recently to a pro-life activist to affirm that he is upholding a diocesan priest's decision to deny Communion to U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL, who has a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood.

Paprocki's e-mail was reported Thursday by Catholic commentator Matt Abbott.

"Senator Durbin was informed several years ago by his pastor at Blessed Sacrament Parish here in Springfield that he was not permitted to receive Holy Communion per canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law," Paprocki wrote. "My predecessor upheld that decision and it remains in effect. It is my understanding that the senator is complying with that decision here in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois."

Canon 915 states that those who are "obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion."

In placing the onus on ministers of Holy Communion, canon 915 is distinct from canon 916, which places the onus on the communicant to not approach for Communion if they are "conscious of grave sin."

Canon 915 has been at the center of the dispute in recent years over how Church leaders should deal with the plethora of Catholic politicians who vote for pro-abortion and pro-homosexual legislation.

Some prelates argue that denying politicians Communion turns the Eucharist into a political "weapon." Defenders of the canon, however, argue that it is an expression of charity by protecting the individual from taking part in sacrilege and protecting the faithful from scandal.

The clear position from the Vatican has been in favour of enforcing the canon. In 2004, as America's bishops were debating whether to deny Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then-head of the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith, wrote a letter to the bishops exhorting them to do just that.

Cardinal Ratzinger wrote:

Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person's formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church's teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.

When "these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible," and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, "the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it" (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration "Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics" [2002], nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgement on the person's subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person's public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.

The cardinal's letter was not considered during the U.S. bishops' debate, however, because Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, to whom it had been sent, withheld the text. The letter was eventually leaked to Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, who published it in full. Cardinal Ratzinger's office then confirmed its authenticity.

U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke has been the most prominent defender of canon 915. In an interview published exclusively in English last month by LifeSiteNews, Burke insisted denying Communion when required is not about punishment but charity.

"The priest's refusal to give Holy Communion is a prime act of pastoral charity, helping the person in question to avoid sacrilege and safeguarding the other faithful from scandal," he explained.

"The exclusion of those who persist in manifest and grave sin, after having been duly admonished, from receiving Holy Communion is not a question of a punishment but of a discipline which respects the objective state of a person in the Church," he added.

As prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, Burke is considered the Church's highest-ranking canonist.

Query, if the bishops of the United States had all followed canon law and refused Holy Communion to the likes of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, would there be an Obama Administration War on Religious Freedom and Conscience Rights?

As I wote on May 17, 2012, in "When will the Catholic Church finally declare that Pelosi excommunicated herself – Gillibrand too?":

If standing up for the Eucharist means turning away unrepentant Pelosi and her ilk from Holy Communion, then stand up, distributors of Holy Communion!

To some prominent Democrat politicians on the Far Left, life, marriage and now even Mother's Day are not sacred.

It is a big problem for the Catholic Church when those politicians claim to be practicing Catholics and their sacrileges, heresies and blasphemies are meekly tolerated instead of sternly rebuked, for their own sakes and the sakes of those confused by such tolerance.

Remember, Jesus did not tolerate, much less yield, to the moneychangers. "...Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves." King James Bible (Cambridge edition)

I wrote long ago the former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi should have been declared to have excommunicated herself.

In 2004, I wrote: "Despite authoritative Vatican opposition to the receipt of Holy Communion by persons professing to be both Catholics in a state of grace and abortion supporters, ardent pro-abortion 'Catholics' like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi 'fully intend to receive communion, one way or another.' Ms. Pelosi said that receiving Holy Communion is 'very important' to her. That makes good sense politically, since a Catholic who presents herself or himself for Communion thereby represents that she or he is in a state of grace and being in a state of grace (or at least appearing to be) is still a political plus."

In "Illicit Reception: Holy Communion Must Be Denied To Senator Kerry and Other Unrepentant, Nominally Catholic Pro-Abortion Politicians Until They Repent"(www.catholicmediacoalition.org/illicit%20reception.htm), I explained:

"On April 23, 2004, Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments, explained at a press conference in Rome that unrepentant pro-abortion 'Catholic' politicians should be denied Communion. Cardinal Arinze put it succinctly: 'If they should not receive, then they should not be given.'

"But Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and many other priests in the United States have continued to give Communion to such persons. Cardinal McCarrick said that he has 'not gotten to the stage where I'm comfortable in denying the Eucharist.'

"Concerned that the priests of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States might actually follow the canon law that mandated them to prevent the sacrilegious receipt of Communion, 48 members of the House of Representatives who identify themselves as Catholic wrote to Cardinal McCarrick, ominously warning that refusing them Communion 'would be counter-productive and would bring great harm to the Church.'

"Moral authority is derived from upholding principle, even when principle is unpopular or upholding it is costly. It is diminished when principle is compromised, because it seems expedient to do so.

"The Catholic Church's moral authority suffered greatly because the problem of sexual abuse of altar boys by priests was handled as secretly as possible for decades instead of acknowledged and dealt with openly.

"Will the Catholic Church's moral authority suffer further because priests find it easier to give Communion to whomever asks for it rather than follow canon law and refuse persons 'who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin'?"

The answer was YES! and the Obama Administration's HHS mandate put an exclamation point on it.

If standing up for the Eucharist means turning away unrepentant Pelosi and her ilk from Holy Communion, then stand up, distributors of Holy Communion!

Capitulating sure hasn't work and you've run out of cheeks to turn.

Now Pelosi is scandalously sowing confusion by preaching that she supports "same-sex marriage" because she's Catholic! Seehttp://newsbusters.org/blogs/tim-graham/2012/05/11/pelosi-my-religion-compels-me-favor-gay-marriage.

A reporter asked Pelosi: "Many of the people that are opposed to gay marriage cite their religion as the reason why they're opposed. You're a Catholic that supports gay marriage. Do you believe that religion and the idea that you can support gay marriage can be separated? And how do you grapple with the idea that you support gay marriage as a Catholic?"

Pelosi responded: "My religion has, compels me – and I love it for it – to be against discrimination of any kind in our country, and I consider this a form of discrimination...."

The Catholic religion certainly does not accept "gay marriage" or "same-sex marriage."

Pelosi pal and New York junior Senator Kirsten Gillibrand likewise has excommunicated herself and, like Pelosi, she only gets worse.

"Cradle Catholic" Gillibrand celebrated Mother's Day by fundraising for pro-abortion Emily's List.

No kidding!

Gillibrand: "This Mother's Day, I can't think of a better way to honor all the mothers in the country – past and present – than with a contribution to EMILY's List."

Emily's List is a political action committee dedicated to electing women supporters of legal abortion to public office, including Gillibrand.

A person who thinks like that should be praying for enlightenment, not representing New York in the United States Senate.

In "Why haven't Pelosi and Gillibrand been excommunicated?" (www.renewamerica.com/columns/gaynor/120218), I asked, "When will the Catholic bishops learn than tolerating such scandalous behavior only makes matters worse?"

Wendy Long, who converted to the Catholic faith as an adult and is running against Gillibrand, issued this press release on May 12:

"New York, New York – Like her mentor Chuck Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand rarely misses a chance to shill for her self-centered political agenda, but is nothing sacred? Sadly the answer is no, for Gillibrand even Mother's Day isn't off limits to her pandering, pernicious, pathetic politicking.

"In yet another from her insipid barrage of fundraising emails Senator Gillibrand implores recipients: 'This Mother's Day, I can't think of a better way to honor all the mothers in the country – past and present – than with a contribution to EMILY's List.'

"EMILY's list describes itself as 'a community of progressive Americans dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to every level of office.'

"Really? There is no better way to celebrate Mother's Day than to donate to a PAC with the official mission of electing women who support abortion rights...namely Senator Gillibrand?

"Mothers Day was founded in 1908 by Anna Jarvis, as a day to celebrate the 'truth, purity and broad charity of mother love.' Jarvis crusaded against its commercialization and politicization even attacking First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt for using it in fundraising materials for charities.

"U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long said, 'This Mother's Day, I can't think of a better way to honor ALL mothers in the country – past and present – than with a call, a letter or a prayer of thanks to moms living and passed, regardless of your political views or party.'"

Amen!

Pandering to the likes of Pelosi and Gillibrand is pathetic and pernicious.

Please pray for courage for the distributors of Holy Communion and the souls of Pelosi and Gillibrand and vote for people who are not pernicious, pathetic panderers.

As I wrote on February 20, 2009, in "Pope gives Pelosi pre-excommunication warning":

By visiting Pope Benedict and then issuing the public statement she issued after the meeting, Pelosi has made it imperative for her bishop to begin excommunication proceedings against her and distributors of Holy communion to refuse her under canon law, to avoid sin themselves.

The title of that Catholic News Service (CNA) article on their meeting is "Pope Benedict strongly rebukes Pelosi over abortion," but it may as well have been "Pope Prepares for Pelosi Ex-communication, if She Won't Repent."

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi regularly claims to be an ardent Catholic while ardently supporting abortion. She has supported even taxpayer funded abortions and opposed a partial-birth abortion ban.

CNA highlighted that Pelosi was rebuked for her abortion advocacy and denied a photo-op by his Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI:

"House speaker Nancy Pelosi's photo-op with Pope Benedict XVI turned sour when the Pontiff used the 15-minute meeting to reaffirm the teachings of the Catholic Church on the right to life and the duty to protect the unborn.

"No photo of Nancy Pelosi and the Pope will be forthcoming, since the meeting was closed to reporters and photographers. The two met in a small room in the Vatican just after the Pope's weekly public audience."

Immediately after the meeting, the Vatican press office released this statement:

"Following the general audience the Holy Father briefly greeted Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, together with her entourage."His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in co-operation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development."

Pelosi should humbly heed the words of Pope Benedict that she heard and repent.

If not, Pope Benedict paved the way for her excommunication.

Bishops, priests and distributors of Communion, take note:

Failure to excommunicate Pelosi if she does not repent would be a huge public scandal that would undermine the credibility of the Roman Catholic Church.

Giving Pelosi Holy Communion if she does not repent would be a sacrilege as well as a public scandal that would undermine the credibility of the Roman Catholic Church.

The day before the Speaker met the Pope, Jon O'Brien, president of "Catholics for Choice," told The Hill that their meeting would be an opportunity to highlight that one can be pro-choice and Catholic, and that there are much bigger issues out there to discuss, such as the fate of the poor in the global economic downturn.

That is patent nonsense and the fact that the Pope spent his time talking with Pelosi on the right to life and the need to defend the unborn demonstrates it.

Last year Pelosi said on "Meet The Press": "I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, [when life begins] is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition ... St. Augustine said at three months. We don't know. The point is, is that it shouldn't have an impact on the woman's right to choose."

Pope Benedict personally explained to Pelosi that life begins at conception.

Previously the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops had issued a public statement correcting Speaker Pelosi and stating: "Since the first century the church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law."

Pelosi's office eventually released a statement on her papal visit that completely ignored life issues.

Pelosi said in her statement:

"It is with great joy that my husband, Paul, and I met with his Holiness, today. In our conversation, I had the opportunity to praise the Church's leadership in fighting poverty, hunger, and global warming, as well as the Holy Father's' dedication to religious freedom and his upcoming trip and message to Israel.

"I was proud to show his Holiness a photograph of my family's Papal visit in the 1950s, as well as a recent picture of our children and grandchildren."

George Weigel, a distinguished senior fellow of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, cleverly titled his article on the meeting "Were They at the Same Meeting?" and deemed Pelosi both shameless and confused.

Mr. Weigel:

"Charity requires that one concede the possibility that genuine piety was a part of Pelosi's (rather boorish, and certainly irregular) insistence on being given a private moment with the pope during her current taxpayer-funded junket to Rome. But her office's statement on today's meeting makes it clear something else was afoot: that Pelosi, who shamelessly trumpets her 'ardent' Catholicism while leading congressional Democrats in a continuing assault on what the Catholic Church regards as the inalienable human rights of the unborn, was trying to recruit Benedict XVI ('Joseph Ratzinger, D., Bavaria'?) to Team Nancy.

"His Holiness wasn't buying it.

"He told Pelosi, politely but unmistakably, that her relentlessly pro-abortion politics put her in serious difficulties as a Catholic, which was his obligation as a pastor. He also underscored – for Pelosi, Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Barbara Mikulski, Rose DeLauro, Kathleen Sebelius, and everyone else – that the Church's opposition to the taking of innocent human life, at any stage of the human journey, is not some weird Catholic hocus-pocus; it's a first principle of justice than can be known by reason. It is a 'requirement of the natural moral law' – that is, the moral truths we can know by thinking about what is right and what is wrong – to defend the inviolability of innocent human life. You don't have to believe in papal primacy to know that; you don't have do believe in seven sacraments, or the episcopal structure of the Church, or the divinity of Christ, to know that. You don't even have to believe in God to know that. You only have to be a morally serious human being, willing to work through a moral argument – which, of course, means being the kind of person who understands that moral truth cannot be reduced to questions of feminist political correctness or partisan political advantage."

Amen!

Mr. Weigel opined that "Pelosi is deeply confused about what her church teaches on the morality of abortion, and why" and speculated that Pelosi "may have come to her bizarre views on her own." but "it's far more likely that she has been un-catechized, so to speak, by Catholic intellectuals and clerics who find Catholic teaching on life issues an embarrassment among their high-minded friends and colleagues of the progressive persuasion."

Mr. Weigel certainly was charitable, and may be right, that Pelosi actually is "deeply confused." But history shows that Democrat politicians with national aspirations like former 1980 Democrat presidential hopeful and still Senator Ted Kennedy, former Senator now Vice President Joe Biden, 2004 Democrat presidential candidate and Senator John Kerry and Pelosi adopted a pro-abortion view that has served their political interests instead of being faithful to fundamental Catholic teaching, confusion is the most charitable explanation and rank political opportunism seems to be a more plausible explanation in at least some cases.

Be that as it may, it is wonderful that Pelosi met with Pope Benedict, because now there is absolutely no question that she has been admonished by the Roman Catholic Church's highest authority that she has separated herself from what she still claims to be her Roman Catholic faith.

Mr. Weigel:

"Whatever the source of her confusion, Pelosi has now been informed, and by a world-class intellectual who happens to be the universal pastor of the Catholic Church, that she is, in fact, confused, and that both her spiritual life and her public service are in jeopardy because of that.

"Moreover, it is reasonable to assume that Pope Benedict did not have only Pelosi in mind when he said what he had to say about the obligations of moral reason and the duties of statesmanship. President Obama is not a Catholic, but he should understand that he will get the same message if, as expected, he meets with His Holiness later this year."

It is noteworthy that contrary to normal protocols for such meetings with dignitaries, no photos of Pelosi with the Pope have been released and that, diplomatic language notwithstanding, Pope Benedict firmly rebuked Pelosi.

Vatican correspondent John Allen, who writes for National Catholic Reporter, noted that "routine Vatican declarations after diplomatic meetings also generally sum up the range of issues discussed rather than concentrating on a particular point. In that sense, the statement can only be read as a rejection of Pelosi's statements last summer, and, in general, of her argument that it's acceptable for Catholics in public life to take a pro-choice position."

Exactly!

By visiting Pope Benedict and then issuing the public statement she issued after the meeting, Pelosi has made it imperative for her bishop to begin excommunication proceedings against her.

At least Pelosi's current Archbishop is acting now!

Come to Confession, Nancy Pelosi – Archbishop Cordileone issues clear, compassionate statement 4/2/2014 7:43:00 PM By Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone -California Catholic Daily

The following comes from a Mar. 31 story on LifeSiteNews.com.

Speaking with LifeSiteNews about the matter of worthiness to receive Holy Communion last week, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said that Church teaching on the matter "has been very clear and consistent from literally the very beginning."

The Church's teaching goes "all the way back to St. Paul who writes in 1 Corinthians that anyone who does not receive the Eucharist worthily, that is if they are in a state of sin, blasphemes the body and blood of the Lord," the archbishop explained.

The leader of San Francisco's 444,000 Catholics noted that those who would dissent "from a defined Church teaching" and those who would violate the moral teaching of the Church in a serious way, "are not properly disposed to receive Holy Communion."

"As St. Paul teaches, if they dare to approach knowing that they are in such a state of sin, they bring condemnation upon themselves," he said. "This is not a harsh judgment of the Church, but our understanding of the Eucharist is that it is not simply a way of welcoming people, a way of affirming people."

He concluded by noting that the sacrament of penance is there for all Catholics who find themselves in such situations so they can "confess their sins and receive sacramental absolution to be restored to a state of grace so they can worthily receive Holy Communion."

Amen!

© Michael Gaynor

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)

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