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Wednesday, February 08, 2012


Ryan M

Politicians and (nominal though unpracticing) Catholics who are clearly serving two masters (to charitably assume they serve Christ and His Church as one of them) are less likely to be admonished and punished for their actions. One of the reasons for this is that bishops are gun-shy about this issue; I won't say cowardly because I don't think that's it. What it is, though, is a legitimate fear that if they push people who are serving two masters--if they make it seem harder to serve Christ--then these people will just walk away from the Church. What starts as genuine concern for someone's soul turns into actions that permit and promote grave errors and sins. It's not fear for themselves, which would be a form of cowardice, but rather fear for the outcome on the other person--a form of being gun-shy.

The problem, as you are noting here, is that while this may keep open a sliver of a chance that the individual finds his or her way back to the faith, they will undoubtedly lead away others. This is why we want public obstinance to be dealt with by bishops--to show that there are errors that land you out of a state of grace, and that you need to form yourself and your conscience inside the Church in order to claim to be a Catholic representative rather than a representative who attends or was raised in the Catholic church. As Fr. Barron would put it, you can be Catholic and a politician, but Catholic first. When his statement isn't true, we need the bishops to do something.


I agree that a public excommunication of Ms. Pelosi is definitely needed. Does her Bishop not understand how much scandal she is causing the Church? There are many non-Catholics (and even some Catholics) who think that individual Catholics are allowed to have/support abortion if they really believe it's right. They assume that there must not be a hard and fast teaching on this. Due to the vast ignorance of many people, what Ms. Pelosi says and does causes much damage to the Church.

It is past time for her excommunication. May God grant wisdom and courage to all of our bishops.

Robert Miller

Sebelius is even more to be cast out than Pelosi (much as I agree with Ed Peters with respect to the latter).
It is an interesting situation, however, in which we find ourselves. When Spain legalized divorce, abortion and gay "marriage", the "Catholic King" gave his assent sneering that he was not, after all, the Grand Duke of Luxemburg. And yet, I don't think anyone in the hierarchy seriously called for his excommunication/abdication.It would be helpful if the Vatican would provide universal practical guidelines to the bishops on what they ought to do about miscreant public figures.
It seems to me that, if you're in a position to promulgate or authorize a manifest public evil (and you do, as Sebelius and the King of Spain have done) you ought to be punished to the full extent of ecclesiastical law.


Bishops and Cardinals are afraid of losing Sunday donations and lukewarm Catholic from the pews. Do we serve man or God. We need Holy Priests to tell the Truth on The One True Faith.

DJ Hesselius

I do not understand why the Pope himself does not simply excommunicate these people on his own. Surely he has that authority. It isn't as if these people are the folks down the street; these are nationallly/internationally known people who hold significant political power. I suppose the Vatican doesn't want to appear to be interferring with other countries, but come on now.


If the Bishop for Pelosi cannot use his authority to excommunicate her for her heretical and evil public behavior, then at least, the priest at the church she attends, needs to publically deny her communion. The Eucharist should not be given out knowingly, to those who are in grave sin and who are flaunting that sin to the world. True Catholics won't run from these actions, they will applaud them. Following Jesus is more important than public opinion.


Pelosi is just an Obama puppet. Sure she has her own agenda, but it is under Obama's thumb.


Ms Pelosi has brought public scandal to the church by publicly espousing things in direct conflict with the Catholic Church while claiming to be a Roman Catholic in good standing. Although she can call herself anything she wants- it doesn’t make it true. A Roman Catholic in good standing is in obedience to all of the church’s teachings. She has in fact excommunicated herself. However, it would be good under the circumstances for the bishop to publicly state that she is excommunicated since she is such a well known public figure. Excommunication could be just what Pelosi needs for her salvation. Perhaps it is the most charitable thing to be done. It is sometimes necessary to act in such a drastic manner to get someone’s attention. In the past, leaders such as Edward III were excommunicated until they repented and the excommunication was lifted. This could be the action that actually makes her realize how serious this is. Like a spoiled child, it is the duty of the parents to instruct, guide and sometimes use punishments to get the child to walk the correct path This action is not only for the child’s benefit but also for the other children who could be misled or confused by a lack correction for the child’s bad behavior The catholic church must also instruct, guide and sometimes use punishments for the good of the individual as well as the entire catholic community.


Invoking Canon 915 is indeed what is needed: public consequences for public behavior.

How, after all, can she openly and easily claim to be a "devout Catholic" if it is also publicly known that she cannot receive Holy Communion?

I get a sense that Holy Communion is serious business, even to those who don't know its import and/or publicly and willingly dissent from Church doctrine while claiming to be "serious Catholics": rightly deny them Holy Communion due to their actions, and there will be a hue and cry about how "judgmental" that is. Didn't Whoopi Goldberg once ask with some indignation why it is that Andrew Cuomo (was it?) wasn't allowed to have "the wine and crackers"? And as per usual, we'll hear a lot of (wait for it...) "What Would Jesus Do?" Cute. And cheap. Because God forbid that any dissident be "excluded," even if, by their actions, they willingly exclude themselves.

It would also be a teachable moment for all of the faithful: what do we think Holy Communion is, and what does it mean to say that we are "in communion" with the Church?

Gail Finke

WSquared: Well for one thing, Sebelius isn't allowed to receive communion. That doesn't stop the press from constantly saying, "Sebelius, a Catholic, says and does x." The bishops conclude, I think, that the sins of our time are sexual: contraception, divorce, promiscuity, abortion, etc. These are the sins that are so much "in the air" that most people fail to even see them as sins or, failing that, can't imagine defying them. And if you don't believe that, just see what happens to someone who wants to fight a spouse about a divorce. He or she faces almost universal condemnation. Same with a mother who decides to have her disbled or retarded baby -- people are shocked and horrified that she would be so "selfish" (really!) or "brainwashed." I think that bishops the world over have made many mistakes about how to deal with this, but I would not want to be a bishop myself. It is a much bigger problem than many people are prepared to admit. Just complaining that "bishops want those Sunday donations" doesn't cut it. I think the truth is more like what Ryan M wrote -- the bishops have been gun-shy, sometimes out of "good" caution and sometimes out of "bad" caution.


Gail Finke, we are actually in agreement here. Please read what I have written more carefully. I am perplexed that you have extrapolated from my post that I presume that this is a simple matter and that all the bishops want are our Sunday donations, none of which I either directly conveyed or implied. The gist of my post had far more to do with the odd combination of casual and serious manner in which the culture at large and not a few Catholics tend to treat Holy Communion. And I am very much agreed that widespread sexual sins are the worst sins of their time, to say nothing of the fact that too many people think that sin does not exist at all. We may not be able to change the minds of the secular press, which seems to be gunning for us, anyway. But the very least we can do is start with Catholics in the pews, who need to know their faith better.

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