Editorial by John-Henry Westen and Kathleen Gilbert
June 1, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – It may come as a shock to some that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed a group of Catholics last month telling them that public policy should be “in keeping with the values of the Word,” referring to Christ. Pelosi, who describes herself as “an ardent practicing Catholic,” is a leading political advocate for abortion and homosexuality. Already in 2008, her bishop, San Francisco Archbishop George H. Niederauer, said publicly that he was considering denying her Communion. Perhaps this latest scandal will tip the scales.
Pelosi, who took over the mantle of leadership for dissident Catholics in Congress after the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy, addressed the Catholic Community Conference on Capitol Hill May 6, telling them that her “favorite word” was “the Word, and that is everything.”
“And that Word is – we have to give voice to what that means in terms of public policy that would be in keeping with the values of the Word,” she continued. “The Word. Isn't it a beautiful word when you think of it? It just covers everything.”
Those words of apparent deep faith are contradicted by the fact that they are spoken by the most prominent abortion advocate in US politics. Boasting a 100% pro-abortion rating by NARAL, Pelosi in 2000 voted against banning partial-birth abortions, in which children are delivered breech up to the head before scissors are jammed into the back of the skull and the brains removed.
But who can blame Pelosi for creating such confusion? Statistics seem to indicate a majority of Catholics agree with her positions on 'choice', contraception and 'gay rights'. As well, there are likely a number of priests and theologians who have been giving her wrong direction, as now deceased Jesuit Fr. Robert Drinan did and just as he and other dissident priests did with the Kennedys. While Pelosi has been publicly reprimanded by a good number of bishops, including her own, she has never been denied Communion. Catholic schools and venues continue to invite her to speak at their functions.
Denying Pelosi Communion would, in addition to dealing with the massive confusion and scandal being caused, be an act of pastoral charity toward the Speaker herself. As Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast once explained in an interview: “The Church's concern is for anyone who persists in grave sin, hoping that medicinal measures may draw them away from the wrong path to the truth of our faith.” He said that “medicinal” remedies such as “denial of Communion” are employed to “draw them back to the way of Christ, Our Lord, the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
And Pelosi, by her comments at the May 6 event, believes there will be an accounting for one's actions at the end of life. Speaking of “the Word made flesh,” she said: “He will come again. He will come again. So, we have to make sure we're prepared to answer in this life, or otherwise, as to how we have measured up.”
While for the Vatican, from the Pope on down, it is crystal clear that Communion “must” be denied to pro-abortion politicians, the full body of U.S. Bishops has not yet settled on a stance.
However, the obligation to deny Communion to persistent pro-abortion politicians also has a salutary effect on the bishops' own eternal calculus. Explaining his own decision to deny Communion to pro-abortion politicians, the retired bishop of Corpus Christi Texas, Rene Henry Gracida, quoted a section from the book of Ezekiel warning religious leaders that they must warn those transgressing the law of God of their impending doom. If they fail in their task, they are held responsible for the loss of the sinner.
“….when you hear Me say anything, you shall warn them for me. If I tell the wicked man that he shall surely die, and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked man from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. But if you warn the wicked man, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself” (Ezekiel 33:7-9).
Are the bishops not being faithful to their calling when they refuse to deny pro-abortion politicians Communion?
Former St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke, who has been appointed to head the highest court in the Vatican, had this to say on the matter: “No matter how often a bishop or priest repeats the teaching of the Church regarding procured abortion, if he stands by and does nothing to discipline a Catholic who publicly supports legislation permitting the gravest of injustices and, at the same time, presents himself to receive Holy Communion, then his teaching rings hollow.”
To contact Archbishop Niederauer:
See related LSN articles:
Pelosi Spin on Meeting With Pope Dramatically Different From Vatican Statement
Pelosi Invoked Fr. Hesburgh to Turn 'No' Health Bill Vote to 'Yes'
Father Drinan, Lawmaker Who Defied Rome, Celebrated Pelosi Showcase Mass, Dead at 86
Former Congressman Calls Nancy Pelosi “Anti-Catholic”, Protegé of Radical Pro-Abort Priest Drina