PHILADELPHIA, PA, March 23, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - “One must honestly ask, how many times and years may a Catholic politician vote for the so called right to abortion, -  “murder” in the words of John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae (58), and still be able to receive Holy Communion?”  The remark came as part of a keynote address delivered by Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo on March 18.

“The continual reception of Holy Communion by those who so visibly contradict and promote a grave evil, even more than simply dissent, only creates grave scandal, undermines the teaching and governing authority of the Church and can be interpreted by the faithful as indifference to the teaching of Christ and the Church on the part of those who have the responsibility to govern,” Bishop Aquila told over 150 participants at the 10th Annual Symposium on the Spirituality and Identity of the Diocesan Priest in Philadelphia, PA .

Concentrating his remarks on the exercise of authority in the Church, Bishop Aquila noted that in Matthew 18 Christ lays out a plan for correction of a wayward believer.  First correct him personally, then with another believer or two, then with the Church and if there is still not a change shun them. 

“The steps in this passage are clear and Jesus is teaching us, but do we listen and follow his example?, said the Bishop. “If this criteria had been followed with dissenting theologians, priests, religious and faithful in 1968 with the encyclical, Humanae Vitae, would we still be dealing with the problem today of those who dissent on contraception, abortion, same sex unions, euthanasia and so many other teachings of the Church? “

The Bishop of Fargo excoriates the notion of “faithful dissent, when this phrase describes a refusal to adhere to the deposit of faith”, as the “work of ?the father of lies.”

Bishop Aquila noted finally “Correction can be difficult and painful, as parents know, yet as a shepherd I am willing to suffer the rejection and anger of another when I speak the truth for the good of the person and the Bride of Christ. To correct and/or to punish someone who has gravely sinned against real love is an act of servant love and is found in the truth!”

The Bishop concluded his talk saying: “We must come to accept the fact that the exercise of true authority will be divisive as it was in the time of Jesus. Ultimately living the pastoral authority of Jesus in loving obedience will lead us to the Cross as it led him to the Cross, for we will love the Father with the heart of Jesus.”

See LSN Special Report
Best Quotable Quotes from Bishop Samuel Aquila Talk

Also, the full talk is available here