Deny Communion to Pelosi urge canon lawyer, popular priest-blogger
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 8, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After pro-abortion House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi defied America’s bishops last week by proclaiming she would stand with her “fellow Catholics” in support of President Obama’s contraception mandate, one of the web’s most prominent priest-bloggers has issued an impassioned plea for her bishops to deny her Holy Communion in accord with canon law.
“For the good of souls, Nancy Pelosi must be denied Holy Communion and the Catholic people should be informed that she is being denied Holy Communion,” wrote Fr. John Zuhlsdorf (aka Fr. Z) on his blog Tuesday.
Fr. Zuhlsdorf is calling on Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco and Cardinal Donald Wuerl to invoke canon 915, which states that those who have been “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”
Niederauer has said in the past that he was considering denying Pelosi Communion, but Wuerl has said such an act would turn the Eucharist into a “weapon.”
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The priest got support Tuesday from leading canon lawyer Dr. Edward Peters, who holds the Edmund Cardinal Szoka Chair at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit and serves as a consultant to the Vatican’s highest court.
On his In the Light of the Law blog, Dr. Peters writes that Pelosi is perhaps the best case for applying canon 915 in the United States.
“If her prolonged public conduct does not qualify as obstinate perseverance in manifest grave sin, then, in all sincerity, I must admit to not knowing what would constitute obstinate perseverance in manifest grave sin,” he writes.
Last Wednesday, a CNSnews.com reporter asked Pelosi if she would stand with her fellow Catholics in resisting the contraception mandate, which would force Catholic institutions to offer coverage of contraception to employees.
In reply, Pelosi, a self-professed devout Catholic, said, “First of all, I am going to stick with my fellow Catholics in supporting the Administration on this. I think it was a very courageous decision that they made, and I support it.”
Catholics have been calling for Pelosi’s bishops to invoke canon 915 for many years, but her remarks last week were particularly poignant as at least 169 Catholic bishops across the country, representing over 90% of the country’s dioceses, have blasted the mandate, in many cases ensuring that letters were read to the faithful during Sunday Mass calling the mandate unconstitutional and unjust.
“Nancy Pelosi considers it consistent with what Catholics do to take a stand against the bishops in favor of a policy that would force Catholic institutions to violate the teachings of her Church,” wrote Fr. Zuhlsdorf, noting that she is one of the most visible public figures in America.
“Your Excellency? Your Eminence? How much longer does this have to go on? What else does she have to do?” he asked.
To concerns that such a strong action would launch a media firestorm, Fr. Zuhlsdorf replied, “Damn straight! Let there be national repercussions and a media firestorm.”
“Nancy Pelosi has publicly chosen sides against the Catholic Church’s teachings and against the bishops,” he said. “Let her choice be publicly confirmed by those same bishops.”
According to Dr. Peters, Pelosi’s comments suggest that her views “like Pharaoh’s heart, have only hardened with time.”
“Canon 915 … is not about impositions on individual conscience, it’s about public consequences for public behavior,” he said. “It’s about taking people at their word and acknowledging the character of their actions. It’s about not pretending that people don’t really mean what they repeatedly say and what they repeatedly do.”
“My view is that Nancy Pelosi deserves to be deprived of holy Communion to bring home to her and to the wider faith community the gravity of her conduct and the need to avoid such conduct altogether or, that failing, at least to repent of it. Quickly,” he said.
“Nancy Pelosi obviously means exactly what she says, and she regularly backs up her words with deeds. She deserves to be taken seriously. Very seriously,” he added.
LifeSiteNews.com did not hear back from the Archdioceses of San Francisco or Washington by press time.
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