Bishop: Denying Communion to Obstinate Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians “in many cases becomes the

By Steve Jalsevac
Photos also by Steve Jalsevac

Bishop Paul S. CoakleyWashington, D.C., January 31, 2007 ( – LifeSiteNews counted 37 Catholic bishops, including four cardinals, participating in the March for Life events Jan. 20-22 in the U.S. capital. Many have been coming to the events for years to express their commitments on the issue.

  Strong support from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has been a major factor in the large turnout of bishops and several hundred seminarians, priests and religious brothers and sisters every year. The bishops’ leadership has also encouraged numerous lay diocesan and parish groups from around the nation to make the treck to Washington to express their solidarity with the unborn. Young people have been a very noticeable large component of the groups.

  LifeSiteNews met one of the newer bishops, Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley of Salina, soon after we arrived. He was repeatedly encountered at events over the next few days. At the first meeting we interviewed the bishop and and found him to be one more of the growing number of new, upbeat young bishops strongly committed to the faith and by natural extension also to the pro-life cause.

Bishop Coakley met up in Washington with a two bus contingent of 94 parishioners that traveled from his diocese. Those who traveled to Washington by other means were encouraged to join the bishop on the actual March by seeking out and walking behind the the large Salina Diocese banner. For all those who could not make the trip Bishop Coakley encouraged his parishes to conduct special Prayer and Penance services for Life on Jan. 21or 22. Earlier this year the diocese sent out Respect Life packets of materials to every parish which included a special Liturgy Guide, Suggestions for Parish Activitiesas we observe Memorial of Roe Vs Wade and a quiz for parishioners called, Abortion: Test Your Grip on Reality.

Archbishop Thomas NaumannA brother Kansas Bishop,  the jovial and imposingly tall Archbishop of Kansas City, Joseph F. Naumann, also participated in the March for Life events.

  Following is our interview with bishop Coakley:

LifeSiteNews:  How many years have you been to the March for Life.

Bishop: This will be my fifth march, I believe.

LifeSiteNews: You have been a bishop for how many years?

Bishop: Two years.  In my current diocese of Salina.  I was ordained and installed on December 28, 2004, the feast of the Holy Innocents, which I deliberately chose.  I came here as a priest before.

LifeSiteNews: So, you are obviously quite committed to the cause.

Bishop: Well, I hope so – yes.  I try to be.

LifeSiteNews: That’s good.  What do you think is the state of the nation right now on this issue? Do you have a sense of where we are and what should be done?

Bishop: I think we need to make incremental steps and really work on all fronts.  Certainly as church leaders, priests, pastors and bishops who are primarily concerned with the conversion of hearts – getting people who embrace the Gospel of Life, but at the same time we have to be actively involved in the public square working on all fronts there as well to enact just laws that favor the cause of life, all life, but especially protecting innocent life has to be a special concern.

LifeSiteNews: Kansas – is that where George Tiller (notorious late-term abortionist) is from - Wichita?  How far is that from you?

Bishop: Well, he’s in Wichita which is about 90 miles from Salina where I am bishop. I had been a priest in the Wichita diocese so I am very familiar with him, as a matter of fact.

LifeSiteNews: Do you have any advice on what people might be able to do about the fact that he is still there.

Bishop: I would encourage people to pray for his conversion.  I think that is fundamental.  I mean, the man has been at it for so long that I fear that perhaps his heart has been so hardened that I think only grace is going to bring about the change that is needed for his conversion and all who are involved in the abortion industry. He certainly is perhaps the most notorious and most well-known.

LifeSiteNews: In Kansas, as a percentage of the population, how many would be Catholics?

Bishop: State-wide, I would have to say around 16%. 

LifeSiteNews: It’s part of the US Bible Belt, I presume. 

Bishop Paul CoakleyBishop: It is largely Protestant, yes.  We have some pockets of Catholicism where there is a strong, ethnic, Catholic presence.  In southwest Kansas, there are a lot of Latinos – not so much in our diocese – well, we have plenty and we try to welcome them.  We can gain from them, I think and I honestly have a great deal of hope that some of the parochial values that the Latinos and Hispanics are bringing north with them will be enriching for the United States - the value that they place on family and faith, community and life, so I am hopeful.

LifeSiteNews: Here is a tough question.  One of the prominent issues as far as Catholics are concerned – both in Canada and the US - it seems worse in Canada – is Catholic politicians promoting and implementing expanded abortion rights and funding and also the redefinition of marriage. So far they don’t feel there is anything wrong with that because there haven’t been any significant sanctions for their obstinate, public behavior, even after having been advised by their religious leaders and their parish pastor that this is wrong.  Should more be done about this?

Bishop: That is a difficult, challenging question.  I think you are right.  It is a scandal that so many Catholic politicians who have such power to influence our nation for the good are not accepting that responsibility that comes with that power and acting upon it. 

Bishop CoakleySadly, as you observed, many of our Catholic politicians have been in the forefront in fostering so-called abortion rights.  I think many of the bishops are taking this very seriously and working, as we must, to meet privately and work toward educating, informing those individuals and helping them to recognize the consequences of their actions and what that is going to mean for, well, primarily their spiritual well-being, the salvation of their souls but also in terms of their being in full communion with the Church.

  Each bishop finds himself in a very challenging position and I certainly would never dare to sit in judgment on any of my brother bishops.  I have my own problems in my own backyard but I think we are really trying to take this matter very seriously because it does become a source of scandal.   

LifeSiteNews: A few bishops – one in Canada and a few in the US – have said that it has come to a point now where they would deny them Communion because of the severity of the situation and how it hasn’t  gotten any better – in fact it seems to have become worse.  Also Cardinal Ratzinger, just prior to becoming pope, did make a very definitive statement that, in such cases where it is obstinate and persistent… they must be denied Communion.  What is your response to that?

Bishop: I agree.  I think, one has to determine yet at what point it can be determined that they have come to that state of obstinate refusal to desist from that condition of manifest, grave sin.  I think we have an obligation as bishops, as pastors, to try to work with them to bring them to a change of heart and refusing them Communion would be, not the first,  but more than likely, the last stage in a serious of steps.

LifeSiteNews: So, it is not something that you would rule out?

Bishop: Oh, absolutely not.  I think it is something that Canon Law sanctions and that I think many bishops find themselves with no other choice but to make that decision.  I think in many cases it becomes the right decision and the only choice.

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Prof. Robert Spaemann, a close friend of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, says Amoris Laetitia directly contradicts St. John Paul II’s teaching.
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Pope’s exhortation is a ‘breach’ with Catholic Tradition: leading German philosopher

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien

April 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A prominent Catholic philosopher and close friend of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said Thursday that Pope Francis’s exhortation Amoris Laetitia is a “breach” with Catholic tradition and directly contradicts the teachings of Pope St. John Paul II in his exhortation Familiaris Consortio.

"If the pope is not willing to make a correction, it is up to another pontificate to officially put things back into order."

Professor Robert Spaemann told the Catholic News Agency’s German branch that changing the Church’s sacramental practice would be “a breach with its essential anthropological and theological teaching on human marriage and sexuality.”

“It is clear to every thinking person who knows the texts that are important in this context that [with Amoris Laetitia] there is a breach” with the Church’s Tradition, Spaemann said.

The professor’s remarks were translated by Dr. Maike Hickson in an article at OnePeterFive.

In Familiaris Consortio, Pope St. John Paul II upheld the Church’s longstanding approach to the question of admitting to the Sacraments remarried divorcees, by writing:

…the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

Footnote 351 of Amoris Laetitia seemingly contradicts the above passage by asserting that in certain cases, integrating back into the Church the divorced and remarried and others in “irregular” situations “can include the help of the sacraments.”  The footnote then mentions both Confession and the Eucharist.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Maria Santissima in Astana, Kazakhstan criticized Amoris Laetitia for its lack of clarity on the subject.  “Analyzing some of the affirmations of AL with an honest understanding, as they are in their own context, one finds that there is a difficulty in interpreting them according to the traditional doctrine of the Church,” wrote Schneider.

Spaemann also condemned the exhortation’s seeming embrace of “situation ethics” as opposed to universal norms and its call to not judge people’s actions that directly contradict the Church’s sexual ethics.

“When it comes to sexual relations which are in objective contradiction to the Christian order of life, I would like to know from the pope after which time period and under which conditions such an objectively sinful behavior becomes a conduct which is pleasing to God,” said Spaemann. 

By turning “chaos into principle” with “one stroke of a pen,” Pope Francis is leading the Church “into the direction of schism,” Spaemann said—and he warned that such a schism would not be “at the periphery, but in the middle of the Church.” 

Spaemann also warned that Amoris Laetitia may be used to bully faithful priests. He wrote:

Each individual cardinal, as well as each bishop and each priest is now called to preserve in his field of authority the Catholic Sacramental Order and to confess it publicly. If the pope is not willing to make a correction, it is up to another pontificate to officially put things back into order.


Famed German Catholic philosopher makes waves for criticizing Pope Francis’ ‘autocratic’ style

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The Institute for Family Health, a federally qualified health center, has been running an abortion facility in apparent violation of federal law.
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Federally funded community health center may have illegally performed abortions: Report

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A federally qualified health center (FQHC) apparently performed abortions, although nearly all federal funds are forbidden from being used for that purpose, sources tell LifeSiteNews. Now, pro-life congressmen are demanding further investigations into the use of U.S. taxpayer funds to promote abortion-on-demand.

The issue came to light when a federal inspector general's report found that six Americorps volunteers had been acting as "abortion doulas," giving emotional support to women who chose to have abortions.

The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) allowed the volunteers – who received tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars – to support abortions that took place inside a New York abortion facility run by the Institute for Family Health (IFH).

Americorps “volunteers” illegally supporting abortion at taxpayer expense is an ongoing problem. But there's more to the story.

The IFH proudly advertises itself as a federally qualified health center (FQHC). Federal dollars are restricted from underwriting most abortion at FQHCs, in line with the Hyde Amendment. This does not hold true for the Affordable Care Act, conventionally known as ObamaCare.

To ease qualms raised by pro-life Democrat Bart Stupak and others, on March 24, 2010, Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13535. It states that “the Hyde [Amendment] language shall apply to the authorization and appropriations of funds for Community Health Centers...I hereby direct the Secretary of HHS to ensure that program administrators and recipients of federal funds are aware of and comply with the limitations on abortion services imposed on CHCs by existing law.”

Pro-life groups warned at the time that an executive order was insufficient to prevent taxpayer funding of abortion, and the law itself had to be amended – or defeated.

Stupak, who voted for ObamaCare before retiring from Congress, later said he was “perplexed and disappointed” by President Obama's “double cross” during the law's implementation.

Pro-life experts today say Congress must investigate whether the law is being violated and, if so, if the offense is isolated to IFH.

"For years the Obama administration has claimed that the Affordable Care Act and federally-funded health centers do not subsidize abortion, and the president finally signed additional provisions, passed last year by Congress, to ensure that community health centers do not use federal funds to support abortion,” said Arina Grossu, the director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council. “Now we learn that CNCS is violating the law by helping women obtain abortions.”

“This blatant violation of federal law by CNCS and AmeriCorps demands that Congress investigate government-funded community health centers,” Grossu said. “It's time for this administration to stop foisting its radical abortion agenda on the American people and using their tax dollars to do so.” 

Pro-life advocates have long said that there is no need to fund Planned Parenthood, because federal women's health dollars could be reappropriated to FQHCs, which do not perform abortion.

There are 9,170 federally qualified health centers compared to about 700 Planned Parenthood facilities, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute. FQHCs see 21.1 million patients a year, while Planned Parenthood saw 2.8 million people, the institute reported.

The latest example of federal dollars being channeled to support abortion, the law notwithstanding, has undermined some confidence in the FQHCs.

Rep. Diane Black, a pro-life Republican from Tennessee, said, “NACHC didn’t just break the rules; they broke trust with the American people. My constituents expect that federal funding given to our community health centers will be used to protect and enhance people’s lives, not to be a willing partner in their destruction.”

At least two Congressional leaders – the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the chair of the House Health Subcommittee – have promised they will take action immediately.

“Federal law demands that taxpayer dollars are never to be spent on abortion activities. Not one penny. Period. But a disturbing report from an independent watchdog reveals that was not the case with brazen pursuits by the National Association of Community Health Centers,” said Congressmen Fred Upton and Joseph Pitts of Pennsylvania, both Republicans. “The law was violated and this shameful failure of trust will not be tolerated.”

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Abortion lobbyists demand Ted Cruz renounce pro-life leader Troy Newman

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WICHITA, Kansas, April 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The nation's largest abortion providers, an abortion lobbying group, and an ultra-liberal political organization are demanding that Senator Ted Cruz cut ties with Operation Rescue President Troy Newman – something that only proves how effective he has been, Newman's organization says.

Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and People for the American Way are asking Cruz to fire Newman as national co-chair of the “Pro-Lifers for Cruz” coalition, claiming that Newman supports violence.

“Troy Newman’s history of violent rhetoric and harassment toward women’s health providers is truly beyond the pale,” the three say in a letter to Sen. Cruz, linking to quotations from his 2000 book, Their Blood Cries Out.

“What Planned Parenthood and their cohorts call 'violent rhetoric' is really a discussion of Old Testament Bible verses taken out of context,” said Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue and co-author of the book Their Blood Cries Out. The work establishes the sinful guilt of abortion before highlighting the mercy available in the New Testament for those who accept Jesus Christ, Sullenger said.

The letter also cites a report from the National Abortion Federation stating that abortionists have experienced an increase in “hate speech and internet harassment” since the release of CMP's undercover videos of Planned Parenthood, “which Newman was a driving force behind.”

“What they call 'harassment' is peaceful activism that is completely protected by the First Amendment,” Sullenger responded.

Newman has consistently denounced criminal action and violence of any kind during his decades in the pro-life movement, Operation Rescue said of the allegations – many of which were circulated to prevent Newman from entering Australia last year.

“Newman’s position on abortion-related violence is clear. He denounces violence against abortion providers as well as the violence perpetrated by the abortion cartel against innocent babies in the womb and their mothers,” Sullenger said.

“Attacking the messenger is the only way they have to try to discredit the hefty volume of evidence against them. This most recent attack is all about manipulating the public’s perception against those who exposed Planned Parenthood in order to deflect attention from their own crimes.”

But the three groups poured vitriolic scorn on Newman. Michael Keegan, president of People for the American Way, called Newman's role “completely unacceptable...No politician should be allowed to pander to violent anti-choice extremists without being called out.”

NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said, "Troy Newman is an anti-choice extremist and misogynist ideologue.”

A Planned Parenthood executive said the choice proved Sen. Cruz and his vice presidential choice, Carly Fiorina, are unfit for office.

“It is not surprising to see Ted Cruz embrace this type of violent extremism -- after all this is the same man who has told malicious lies about Planned Parenthood, would criminalize abortion, and tried to shut down the government” to defund Planned Parenthood, said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “This is what the Cruz-Fiorina ticket stands for."

Sullenger dismissed their rhetoric as “a feeble attempt to hurt the presidential candidacy of Sen. Ted Cruz, who they know will seek to enforce the laws against them.”

Cruz has repeatedly stated that, if he is elected president, he will defund Planned Parenthood – before prosecuting them.

Their letter has led to a number of articles in the mainstream media, including Politico, the Huffington Post, and Glamour. The last publication, a feminist magazine aimed at young women, slammed Ted Cruz's choice of Carly Fiorina for vice president, telling its readers to “hold on to your uterus.”

“Not one of these publications bothered to reach out to Newman or Operation Rescue’s staff for their response,” Sullenger said.

This morning and afternoon, both sides of the abortion debate have used the Twitter hashtag #FireTroy to get their message across.

Sen. Cruz has not responded to the call, but the letter implies that purging Newman from the campaign would not satisfy the pro-abortion coalition. “There are a number of coalition members whose records raise serious concerns,” they say.


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