Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Excommunication and Abortion

I'm making this a new blog entry for two reasons: 
  1. In the Authority of the Church thread, the comments are getting a bit too long. 
  2. This is more of a side topic than was originally intended for the Authority of the Church thread.
Edward Reiss said...
sw: I presented a news story of Rome's reaction/explanation to the Pope Benedict XVI/Speaker Pelosi meeting - and Alan responds to his bickering entry from his own blog site.
Well, he still gave her communion. That is more important than some "strong" words, isn't it? Doesn't action speak louder than words? That is the issue.    
sw: Then your issue is an anachronism.  She received Holy Communion at a Papal Mass (was it from the Pope?  I can't find that it was, only that he was there as the celebrant) back in 2008.  In February of 2009 the Pope had the "strong words" for her.  I find no news regarding her participation in Eucharist since that time, nor has Alan presented any evidence of that.  All we have is this continued anachronistic argument.
Ed continues: As has been stated, I don't think anyone is stating that the RCC is formally against abortion--that is very, very easy to show.  
sw: I'll state it - The Catholic Church is formally against abortion.
Ed continues:  The problem is that the RCC allows people who are proudly pro-choice, i.e. pro an intrinsic evil, to publicly receive communion. You are asking us to take it on faith, more or less, that the Majesterium could well be working diligently behind the scenes. The problem is that the acts of the bishops do not comport with the formal teaching that abortion is intrinsically evil.
sw: If individual bishops are failing to do their duty, that is not an argument against the Catholic Church, it is against that specific bishop.
Ed continues:  I think that it is a travesty.
sw: It is scandalous, to say the least - but I agree with you here.
Ed continues: In fact, have a look at the following link: Money (I believe you mean USA Today) quotes:
"'Do you agree with the excommunications given to legislators in Mexico City on the question?' a reporter asked. 'Yes. The excommunication was not something arbitrary. It is part of the (canon law) code. It is based simply on the principle that the killing of an innocent human child is incompatible with going in Communion with the body of Christ. Thus, they (the bishops) didn't do anything new or anything surprising. Or arbitrary.' Church officials later said the pope may have thought the Mexican bishops had issued a formal declaration of excommunication for the legislators — something Mexican Cardinal Norberto Rivera has said he has no intention of doing. ... 'Since excommunication hasn't been declared by the Mexican bishops, the pope has no intention himself of declaring it,' Lombardi said in a statement approved by the pope. But Lombardi added that politicians who vote in favor of abortion should not receive the sacrament of Holy Communion. 'Legislative action in favor of abortion is incompatible with participation in the Eucharist... Politicians exclude themselves from Communion.' Pressed again to say whether the lawmakers were excommunicated, Lombardi reiterated: 'No, they exclude themselves from Communion.'"
Ed continues:  Interestingly, the pope seemed to have a straight forward answer--the excommunication of the pols, but his retinue "clarified" his statements to mean that even if these pols are formally excommunicated by their support for abortion they may still receive communion. OK. But it seems odd that an excommunicated person should be able to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. In the Lutheran church we believe that one can excommunicate one's self and deviously receive anyway, but the difference is that the sins of the pols are quite public. Again, it seems odd. Apparently there is a mode of being excommunicated which does not entail being refused the Body and Blood of Christ, which is called *communion*.
sw: You appear to misunderstand what is going on here.  The excommunication is automatic, no "decree" is necessary.  Lombardi commented that the politicians should exclude themselves.  Scripture itself does not put the onus upon the celebrant (or Eucharistic Minister, as the case may be) to judge/refuse one from receiving the Eucharist.  No, the onus is put back upon the recipient - if the person receives unworthily, then they eat/drink judgment/damnation upon themselves (1 Cor. 11:27-29).
Ed continues:  Oh, I found this quote to be interesting: "The Mexican politicians who supported the measure shrugged off Benedict's comments Wednesday. 'I'm Catholic and I'm going to continue being Catholic even if the church excommunicates me,' said leftist Mexico City lawmaker Leticia Quezada. 'My conscience is clean.'" Apparently she has not received the message that the pope is the vicar of Christ.
sw:  It is equally apparent that this politician is not aware that she is not her own Judge.  I agree with your comment though and reiterate it, "apparently she has not received the message that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ."  To put herself in direct opposition to the Pope, especially to express that opinion publicly, is scandalous to say the least.  Regardless of her defiant expression, we can also agree with her - if the Church excommunicates her she does indeed remain a Catholic!  She is still obligated by the duties and responsibilities of every faithful Catholic.  Excommunication simply means she is not in full communion with the Catholic Church and is thereby to refrain from partaking in any of the Sacraments, except the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession).  If she chooses to partake in the Eucharist while excommunicated, then St. Paul's words apply to her. I hope I have answered you sufficiently, if you feel I have not, please feel free to use the comments section.     In JMJ,     Scott<<<


  1. The Catholic Church is formally against abortion.

    But does nothing about it when it comes to the rich and powerful who defy RC dogma.
    That's our big problem here. The rest is gravy. Your excuses and dancing simply underscore the point.

  2. (sigh) Alan, through all this you are STILL talking about "dogma." This is a matter about DISCIPLINE, not dogma. Speaker Pelosi is not out getting abortions for herself, that would be a matter against "Thou shalt not kill," and ipso facto is dogma for all Christians (and Jews and Muslims as far as that goes). But she is not actually procurring abortions herself. Her "sin" is one of NOT doing what she should do, and that is to support anti-abortion laws. So the matter is one of DISCIPLINE not DOGMA - and once you stop confusing the two, perhaps you'll eat some humble pie and apologize for all this libel and scandal you're participating in.

    In JMJ,

    PS- I changed my template for my blog a few weeks ago, but did not realize at the time that you had that same one, so I changed again.

  3. Actually, I would have thought if she was procuring abortions it would be a matter of discipline. As it is, her problem is one of dogma, rather than discipline. Her dogma is wrong, not her discipline.

  4. "Her" dogma is not what is in question here.


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