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Priest/Catholic U President: “Abortion is Not an Infallible Teaching”

LifeSiteNews.com
LifeSiteNews.com

By Kathleen Gilbert

WINDSOR, Ontario, February 12, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The President of the Catholic Assumption University of Windsor told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) in an interview today that the Catholic Church’s position on abortion "is not an infallible teaching."

Fr. Paul Rennick, who is also Vice Chancellor of the school, gave the remarks when LSN sought comment regarding the school’s decision to invite Cokie Roberts, a pro-abortion Catholic news analyst who has criticized the Church for preaching against homosexuality and contraception, to address the school as part of the "Christian Culture" lecture series. 

Fr. Rennick told LSN that he had "personally vetted" the selection of Roberts and chose her because she was "a woman of faith," a "well known Catholic" and "successful as an individual Christian."

LSN asked Fr. Rennick, "Do you think there is a possibility of scandal from the fact that she has professed very pro-abortion views and has criticized Catholic bishops for teaching Church doctrine on homosexuality and contraception?"  The President of the Catholic University replied, "No, I don’t."

Asked to elaborate, Fr. Rennick said: "If you look at the catholic population, you’ll find a whole variety of positions on all of those topics.  It seems to me that disagreement on a particular position doesn’t disqualify one from being a Catholic.  Unless, of course, that position is whether Jesus is the Christ."

"Abortion is not an infallible teaching.  It never has been proclaimed infallibly," he said.  "This attempt to put everything that the Church teaches in this one set of categories, it seems to me, is not a proper Catholic position, not according to the history of our church," he added. 

LSN sought comment about Fr. Rennick’s remarks from London Bishop Ronald Fabbro who is Chancellor of Assumption University.  Mark Adkinson, Director of Communications for the diocese, told LifeSiteNews.com he would not be able to have the bishop comment.  Asked if there would be a better time to contact the bishop, Adkinson replied, "No, because I don’t view LifeSite as a legitimate news source."

LSN then sought clarification from the Canadian Catholic Conference of Bishops (CCCB), who referred to the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF).  COLF Assistant Director Lea Singh noted that the Catechism reads: "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every produced abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable." (CCC 2271).

"As an ‘unchangeable’ teaching, it does indeed seem to be an infallible teaching," said Singh.  "Over the years the CCCB has repeatedly spoken out strongly against abortion."  She quoted a 1990 CCCB document which stated: "Catholic teaching on abortion is clear and unequivocal. Abortion is a moral evil because it involves the destruction of human life. Direct killing of an unborn child is never justified."

Cokie RobertsCokie Roberts, a political commentator for ABC News and a senior news analyst for National Public Radio, has characterized the federal ban on partial-birth abortion as "off the track" and "cynical game-playing" by pro-life activists, and found the Supreme Court decision to uphold the ban "offensive as a woman."

Roberts also publicly attacked Pope Benedict XVI as "really lacking in the theological virtue of charity," and accused bishops who refuse to open adoption agencies to homosexual couples of "using the remnants of their clout to go after the weak."

The Christian Culture Series has previously invited other public dissidents, including pro-abortion Catholic Prime Ministers Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin Jr., and radical feminist nun Sr. Sandra Schneiders, all of whom were given a Christian Culture medal for being "outstanding exponents of Christian ideals." 

Schneiders, who was awarded in 1994, wrote that "every aspect" of the Catholic faith "is not just tainted but perverted by the evil of patriarchy. It is not that the tradition has some problems; the tradition is the problem."

Ms. Roberts’ address will be delivered tonight at 8 p.m.

To contact Bishop Fabbro C.S.B.:
Diocese of London Chancery Office
1070 Waterloo Street
London, Ontario N6A 3Y2
Phone: 519-433-0658 ext. 224   
Fax: 519-433-0011 

To contact Assumption University:
Rev. Paul J. Rennick, C.S.B.
2629 Riverside Drive West
Windsor, Ontario, N9B 1B4
Phone: 519-973-7033 
Fax: 519-973-7089
general email: cbertrand@assumptionu.ca

See related LifeSiteNews.com articles:

U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference Says Pro-Abortion Politicians Should be Shunned
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2004/jun/04062102.html

Cabrini College to Honor Pro-Abortion Catholic, Critic of Pope Benedict XVI
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/feb/09020305.html

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Lisa Bourne

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Cardinal Dolan: Debate on denying Communion to pro-abortion pols ‘in the past’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

As America heads into its 2014 midterm elections, a leading U.S. prelate says the nation’s bishops believe debate over whether to deny Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians is “in the past.”

The Church’s Code of Canon Law states in Canon 915 that those “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” Leading Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI himself, have said this canon ought to be applied in the case of pro-abortion Catholic politicians. However, prelates in the West have widely ignored it, and some have openly disagreed.

John Allen, Jr. of the new website Crux, launched as a Catholic initiative under the auspices of the Boston Globe, asked New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan about the issue earlier this month.

“In a way, I like to think it’s an issue that served us well in forcing us to do a serious examination of conscience about how we can best teach our people about their political responsibilities,” the cardinal responded, “but by now that inflammatory issue is in the past.”

“I don’t hear too many bishops saying it’s something that we need to debate nationally, or that we have to decide collegially,” he continued. “I think most bishops have said, ‘We trust individual bishops in individual cases.’ Most don’t think it’s something for which we have to go to the mat.”

Cardinal Dolan expressed personal disinterest in upholding Canon 915 publicly in 2010 when he told an Albany TV station he was not in favor of denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians. He said at the time that he preferred “to follow the lead of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who said it was better to try to persuade them than to impose sanctions.”

However, in 2004 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI the following year, wrote the U.S. Bishops a letter stating that a Catholic politician who would vote for "permissive abortion and euthanasia laws" after being duly instructed and warned, "must" be denied Communion. 

Cardinal Ratzinger sent the document to the U.S. Bishops in 2004 to help inform their debate on the issue. However, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, then-chair of the USCCB Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, who received the letter, withheld the full text from the bishops, and used it instead to suggest ambiguity on the issue from the Vatican.

A couple of weeks after Cardinal McCarrick’s June 2004 address to the USCCB, the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger was leaked to well-known Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, who published the full document. Cardinal Ratzinger’s office later confirmed the leaked document as authentic.

Since the debate in 2004, numerous U.S. prelates have openly opposed denying Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

In 2008, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley suggested the Church had yet to formally pronounce on the issue, and that until it does, “I don’t think we’re going to be denying Communion to the people.”

In 2009, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C. in 2009 said that upholding of Canon 915 would turn the Eucharist into a political “weapon,” refusing to employ the law in the case of abortion supporter Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Cardinal Roger Mahoney, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles, said in a 2009 newspaper interview that pro-abortion politicians should be granted communion because Jesus Christ gave Holy Communion to Judas Iscariot.

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However, one of the Church’s leading proponents of the practice, U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, insists that denying Communion is not a punishment.

“The Church’s discipline from the time of Saint Paul has admonished those who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin not to present themselves for Holy Communion,” he said at LifeSiteNews’ first annual Rome Life Forum in Vatican City in early May. "The discipline is not a punishment but the recognition of the objective condition of the soul of the person involved in such sin."  

Only days earlier, Cardinal Francis Arinze, former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, told LifeSiteNews that he has no patience for politicians who say that they are “personally” opposed to abortion, but are unwilling to “impose” their views on others.

On the question of Communion, he said, “Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that?”

Cardinal Christian Tumi, archbishop emeritus of Douala, told LifeSiteNews around the same time that ministers of Holy Communion are “bound not to” give the Eucharist to Catholic politicians who support abortion.

Pro-life organizations across the world have said they share the pastoral concern for pro-abortion politicians. Fifty-two pro-life leaders from 16 nations at the recent Rome Life Forum called on the bishops of the Catholic Church to honor Canon 915 and withhold Communion from pro-abortion politicians as an act of love and mercy.

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Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten

‘His bones are basically like paper’: Parents refuse to abort baby with rare condition

Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten
By Kirsten Anderson

At just 11 weeks old, little Layton Diven is not like other babies. Every time his parents pick him up or cuddle him, there is a chance they will break his bones. In fact, Layton has already suffered more than 20 fractures in his short life – beginning at the moment of his birth.

Layton has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), a rare disease that makes his bones brittle and prone to breakage. There are several types of OI, and Layton’s type, OI Type III, is the most severe type found among infants. Most babies born with the disease, like Layton, are born with multiple fractures, especially along the rib cage. Many struggle to breathe or swallow. The incurable disease is progressive, so it will get worse as he gets older.

Layton was diagnosed with OI in the womb, but abortion wasn’t an option for his parents, Chad and Angela Diven, who considered their baby a gift from God, no matter his condition.

“We weren't going to have an abortion, so he was born with the disease,” Angela Diven told KSLA. “God chose me for him, to be his mom, so I have to take that huge responsibility and do what's best for him.”

That responsibility comes with a heavy price. Layton requires 24-hour care, but both Angela and Chad have full-time jobs. He can’t go to regular daycare, because it’s not safe for him.

“You can't just pick him up like a normal baby,” Diven said. “You can't dress him like a normal child; his bones are basically like paper. He can't go to daycare because of his condition. He's medically fragile, and a daycare can't handle him."

Childcare costs are just the beginning, though – the treatments Layton will need throughout his life are expensive and may not be covered by insurance.

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Layton is currently receiving pamidronate IV therapy, which will help to strengthen his bones. But in order to be able to stand or walk, he will need metal rods implanted in his legs – an operation that will cost the Divens $80,000. The OI specialist coordinating Layton’s care is in Omaha, Nebraska, while the Divens live in Louisiana. As he grows, Layton will also require special equipment, such as a wheelchair, along with extensive physical therapy.

Despite the hardships they knew would come, the Divens stepped out in faith to bring Layton into the world. Now, they are reaching out to the internet for help to shoulder the financial burdens that came with their baby blessing. The family has set up both a GoFundMe and a Facebook page called “Lifting Up Layton Diven,” where people can receive updates on Layton’s condition and contribute to the cost of his care.

To donate to baby Layton’s medical trust fund, click here.

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Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Vatican's Apostolic Signatura Steve Jalsevac / LifeSiteNews
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

Sources confirm Cardinal Burke will be removed. But will he attend the Synod?

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

Sources in Rome have confirmed to LifeSiteNews that Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican’s highest court, known as the Apostolic Signatura, is to be removed from his post as head of the Vatican dicastery and given a non-curial assignment as patron of the Order of Malta.

The timing of the move is key since Cardinal Burke is currently on the list to attend October’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family. He is attending in his capacity as head of one of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, so if he is removed prior to the Synod it could mean he would not be able to attend.

Burke has been one of the key defenders in the lead-up to the Synod of the Church's traditional practice of withholding Communion from Catholics who are divorced and civilly remarried.

Most of the Catholic world first learned of the shocking development through Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, whose post ‘Exile to Malta for Cardinal Burke’ went out late last night.

If Burke’s removal from the Signatura is confirmed, said Magister, the cardinal “would not be promoted - as some are fantasizing in the blogosphere - to the difficult but prestigious see of Chicago, but rather demoted to the pompous - but ecclesiastically very modest - title of ‘cardinal patron’ of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, replacing the current head, Paolo Sardi, who recently turned 80.”

At 66, Cardinal Burke is still in his Episcopal prime.

The prominent traditional Catholic blog Rorate Caeli goes as far as to say, “It would be the greatest humiliation of a Curial Cardinal in living memory, truly unprecedented in modern times: considering the reasonably young age of the Cardinal, such a move would be, in terms of the modern Church, nothing short than a complete degradation and a clear punishment.”

On Tuesday, American traditionalist priest-blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf also hinted he had heard the move was underway. “I’ve been biting the inside of my mouth for a while now,” he wrote. “The optimist in me was saying that the official announcement would not be made until after the Synod of Bishops, or at least the beginning of the Synod. Or at all.”

“It’s not good news,” he added.

Both Magister and Zuhlsdorf predicted that the controversial move would unleash a wave of simultaneous jubilation from dissident Catholics and criticism from faithful Catholics. The decision to remove Cardinal Burke from his position on the Congregation for Bishops last December caused a public outpouring of concern and dismay from Catholic and pro-life leaders across the globe.

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Both men speculated on the reasons for the ouster. 

Magister pointed out that Burke is the latest in a line of ‘Ratzingerian’ prelates to undergo the axe.

“In his first months as bishop of Rome, pope Bergoglio immediately provided for the transfer to lower-ranking positions of three prominent curial figures: Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Archbishop Guido Pozzo, and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, considered for their theological and liturgical sensibilities among the most ‘Ratzingerian’ of the Roman curia,” said Magister.

He added: “Another whose fate appears to be sealed is the Spanish archbishop of Opus Dei Celso Morga Iruzubieta.”

Fr. Zuhlsdorf observed that Pope Francis may also be shrinking the Curial offices and thus reducing the number of Cardinals needed to fill those posts. He adds however, “It would be naïve in the extreme to think that there are lacking near Francis’s elbows those who have been sharpening their knives for Card. Burke and for anyone else associated closely with Pope Benedict.” 

“This is millennial, clerical blood sport.”

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