Should the Pope deny communion to Pelosi for being pro-choice?
posted at 3:08 pm on February 17, 2009 by Allahpundit
As LifeNews.com reported, Pelosi, one of the top pro-abortion Catholics in elected office in the United States, will meet with Pope on Wednesday…
Jeff Jones, of the Catholic web site Pewsitter, is organizing the petition “requesting the Catholic Bishops of the United States to withhold Communion from her and other prominent Catholics in public life that obstinately persist in their dissent from Catholic teaching on serious moral issues.”…
Jones says Church teachings call Catholics like him to action.
“Most Catholics don’t know that in addition to Canon 915, Canon law also compels Catholics to take action,” Jones says. He says Canon 212 S3 requires lay Catholics to urge Church leaders to action.
Here’s Canon 915, withholding communion from those “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin.” The defense, presumably, is that participating in abortion might be a sin but merely supporting laws that legalize the practice doesn’t quite rise to that level. The Pope’s been cool to that argument in the past, declaring in 2007 that Catholic legislators should take care to base their laws on “values grounded in human nature,” which includes respect for life, and then upping the ante a few months later by endorsing the excommunication of leftist Mexican parliamentarians for passing an abortion law. The Vatican quickly and quietly cleaned up the latter remarks to make his approval more ambiguous, though, which demonstrates how reluctant Benedict is to push his rhetoric beyond the mere hortatory. If he makes an example of Pelosi, he’ll alienate Catholic Democrats (and their donations) and touch off a global panic about Catholic politicians having to take their marching orders from Rome. Which is why, I suspect, the worst she’ll have to suffer during their tete a tete is a vague lecture on the importance of informing law with morality.
Look at it this way: If he had some huge problem with her, he wouldn’t be giving her an audience. Exit question: Doesn’t the Gospel according to St. Nancy explicitly endorse abortion?
Update (Ed): I’d say that the Pope should deny her communion, for reasons I’ve outlined in several posts over the last few months. It’s pretty difficult to reconcile paragraphs 2271-4 and 2322 of the catechism with Pelosi’s support of abortion rights, especially 2272:
Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,”77 “by the very commission of the offense,”78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.
Excommunication means, quite literally, “no communion”. The question will be whether the Pope considers Pelosi’s push for abortion rights “formal cooperation”, an interpretation increasingly popular with American bishops tired of Catholics supporting abortions. If he doesn’t, the Pope will send a signal that participating in the legalization of abortion carries no consequences, an odd signal for this Pope in particular to send.