Priest calls for excommunication of 14 Catholic senators who voted against late-term abortion ban
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic priest is calling on bishops to excommunicate the 14 Catholic-identifying U.S. senators who voted last week against banning late-term abortions. He is also calling on priests to deny the Catholic pro-abortion senators Holy Communion.
“Today is the day for their bishops to issue a formal statement acknowledging that these men and women have publicly denied their Catholic faith, and if not formally, then have informally excommunicated themselves,” Father Dwight Longenecker wrote in a recent blog post.
Many bishops often refuse to publicy correct pro-abortion politicians who say they are Catholic. Of these, a small number prefer to be more "pastoral," handling the matter in private.
But Father Longenecker wasted no time on this premise, pointing out the reality of the infraction committed by public figures identifying themselves as Catholic when they publicly support abortion.
“Since their offense is public, it should be acknowledged publicly and their pastors should publicly rebuke them and deny them access to the sacraments,” he said, adding that if Church hierarchy does not do so, then Catholics should make their concerns known via the most effective channel – the collection basket.
“If the bishops and priests do not do this,” Father Longenecker added, “the faithful in their parishes and dioceses should rise up and blizzard them with letters, emails and the one thing that will really make them sit up and take notice: withholding their contributions.”
Longenecker, pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary parish in Greenville, South Carolina, wrote about the fact that last Monday 46 of 97 members of the U.S. Senate voted against ending debate on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the result of that was the Senate not being allowed to vote on the bill, and the senators in effect voting against the ban.
The bill’s premise is based upon the scientifically established fact an unborn child can feel pain at 20 weeks
One of two proposed bills up for a possible vote to coincide with the annual March for Life, it was not perfect, allowing exceptions for babies conceived in rape or incest. It was regarded by some as feel-good legislation timed for the annual March when pro-life advocates and media would be paying attention. Despite its shortcomings, the bill would have banned most late-term abortions, a brutal and inhumane practice.
“So fourteen Catholic senators voted for this barbaric, inhumane practice to still be legal in the United States and thereby assured its continuation,” Father Longenecker stated.
Father Longenecker called on Catholic media to publish their names and to “publish the horror that they have enabled by their vote.”
He also stated that “every Catholic college, university, institute of learning, newspaper and website should publish the names of the Catholic senators who voted for late term abortion, and circulate their names as widely as possible.”
He included links to the official vote roll call and public record of the senators’ identifying as Catholic, as well as a chart containing their district, diocese and bishop.
Father Longenecker remained vocal on social media throughout the week about his call to name the 14 Catholic pro-abortion voting senators, making numerous posts.
“USCCB website acknowledged Monday's Senate vote in favor of late-term abortion was "appalling,” he tweeted last Thursday, “but fails to name and condemn Catholic senators who voted for dismemberment of unborn babies. That article now gone from website. Essentially-silence from the USCCB. #namethefourteen.”
The USCCB responded that its statement was still available on the Conference website, but did not address the substance of Longenecker’s tweet.
“CRUX, National Catholic Reporter and America Mag -- leading Catholic online journals still all silent about Monday's Senate vote and no comment on the Catholic senators who voted for late-term abortions,” he tweeted that same day. “Does silence indicate consent? #namethefourteen.”
“I expect the bishops of "The Fourteen" will say, "It is better that I have a quiet word with them in private about this matter,” Longenecker tweeted as well. “No. Their vote was a formal, public action in favor of late term abortion. Public crime demands a public condemnation. #namethefourteen.”
He used the #namethefourteen hashtag in his other posts during the week that were related to the defense of human life as well.
One of his posts showed that North Dakota Democrat Senator Heidi Heitkamp – who is among the Catholic pro-abort 14 – was also one who high-fived New York Democrat Chuck Schumer last Monday upon the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act’s defeat.
Bishop David Kagan of Bismarck, North Dakota, took heat in October 2012 after a letter to the diocese’s parishes regarding the forthcoming election was leaked. The letter had discussed the non-negotiable issues of life and marriage, and asked Catholics to consider the Church’s teaching on those issues when voting. Some regarded the letter as telling people not to vote for Heitkamp, who was running for the Senate.
Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, had previously upheld the decision of one of his priests to deny Holy Communion to Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, one of the Catholic pro-abortion 14.
Providence, Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin, who is listed as Democrat Senator Tim Kaine’s bishop, was critical of Kaine during the 2016 election for his support for abortion, gay marriage, same-sex adoption and women’s ordination. Tobin publicly rebuked Democrat Congressman Patrick Kennedy for Kennedy’s support for abortion.
The names of the 14 Catholic senators who voted against the 20-week abortion ban are:
Maria Cantwell – Washington
Susan Collins -Maine
Dick Durbin – Illinois
Kirsten Gillibrand – New York
Heidi Heitkamp – North Dakota
Tim Kaine – Virginia
Patrick Leahy – Vermont
Ed Markey – Massachusetts
Catherine Cortez Masto – Nevada
Claire McCaskill – Missouri
Bob Menendez – New Jersey
Lisa Murkowski – Alaska
Patty Murray – Washington
Jack Reed – Rhode Island