Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Ms. Pelosi, are you listening?

CWN reports that the Pope told reporters in Brazil that in recently threatening excommunication to Catholic politicians who vote for abortion, Mexican bishops did nothing except to reiterate settled Church law. A spokesman later pointed out that the excommunication doesn't have to be pronounced -- it's a matter of latae sententiae.

Like others, I would have preferred that the Pope had added, "And therefore no such excommunicated politician may present himself to receive Holy Eucharist until he has publicly altered his views and confessed his sin."

But it's a good thing. A very good thing.

Can't wait to hear how Nancy Pelosi responds. "I'm only following my conscience"? Sorry, dear, your conscience doesn't get to form itself in a vacuum if you're Catholic. You have a responsibility to form it in accord with Church teaching. And if you won't do that, then please have the decency to acknowledge you've separated yourself from the Church until you accept God's grace and come back.

All the way back.

Update: Phil Lawler at CWN has written about the flurry of "clarifications" of the Pope's remarks. It's worth reading, although I was surprised and a little disappointed to read this:

The Code of Canon Law clearly stipulates that anyone directly involved in an abortion incurs the penalty of excommunication. Some canonists argue that this penalty could also apply to politicians who vote in favor of legalizing abortion, but that is at best a controversial interpretation of the canon, and the weight of informed opinion leans against it.

I'm not a Canon lawyer, but this contradicts what I thought I understood about the consequences of facilitating another's sin. If a woman has an abortion, the Church hold that she has committed a mortal sin (if she intends the act, knows it is wrong, etc.). If I drive her, willingly and knowingly, to the abortion clinic, I too have shared in her mortal sin. From there, it seems clear to me that if I am her Congressman and I vote to keep it legal for her to go get that abortion, I once again share in her mortal sin. I'm not seeing why that is "at best a controversial interpretation of the canon."

Speaking of Canon lawyers, Lawler references a post on this subject at Ed Peters' excellent In the Light of the Law.