Kentucky Bishop on Denying Pelosi Communion: “We’ve Been Patient Enough”
By John-Henry Westen
WASHINGTON, January 26, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking with LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) after the Vigil for Life Mass last week, Lexington Bishop Ronald Gainer said that the Church has been “patient enough” with outspokenly pro-abortion Catholic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
LSN questioned Bishop Gainer on whether Pelosi should be denied communion due to her public stance as a ‘pro-choice’ Catholic. While acknowledging that it was up to her local bishop, the Lexington prelate did say that “something should be done.”
Pelosi’s latest salvo claiming to support abortion and yet be a faithful Catholic came in a December Newsweek interview. “I am a practicing Catholic,” she said, while suggesting that this made the U.S. bishops uncomfortable. “I practically mourn this difference of opinion,” she said regarding her conflict with the Church over abortion, “because I feel what I was raised to believe is consistent with what I profess, and that is that we are all endowed with, a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions.” She added: “And that women should have that opportunity to exercise their free will.”
Reacting to Pelosi’s stance, Bishop Gainer said, “to make these public statements is a betrayal of our Catholic faith and discipline.” The bishop noted that her position was a “contradiction” and stressed that “our Church is clear on what the teachings are regarding the sanctity of life, on the inviolability of human life.”
On the question of denying Pelosi communion for her betrayals, Bishop Gainer said he understood that such actions on the part of the Church are often spun to make a martyr of those denied communion, by falsely painting the Church as being heavy-handed.
Nevertheless, he said, “the bishops have an obligation to stand up for the Church’s teaching and when we have such a broad and public consistent denial of our Church’s moral position it would seem to indicate that we’ve been patient enough and something should be done.”
Bishop Gainer noted more than once that such actions were the responsibility of Pelosi’s local bishop. “I’m grateful that we’re in Kentucky where certainly our national senators have been very pro-life – we’re blessed,” he added.
Pelosi’s bishop, Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco, did publicly correct the House speaker after the Newsweek interview. “It is entirely incompatible with Catholic teaching to conclude that our freedom of will justifies choices that are radically contrary to the Gospel — racism, infidelity, abortion, theft,” he said in a column for his diocesan newspaper. “Freedom of will is the capacity to act with moral responsibility; it is not the ability to determine arbitrarily what constitutes moral right.”