The Brave 18

Posted by Censor Librorum on May 18, 2007 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

From this week’s Catholic Media report:

“Eighteen Catholic members of the U.S. House of Representatives have publicly criticized Pope Benedict XVI’s condemnation of politicians who support abortion rights.

In a May 14 statement, the Democratic congressmen said that the pope’s reiteration that Catholics who participate in the legislative promotion of abortion should consider themselves excommunicated “offend(s) the very nature of the American experiment and do(es) a great disservice to the centuries of good work the church has done,” reported The Hill.

“We are concerned with the pope’s recent statement warning Catholic elected officials that they risk excommunication and would not receive communion for their pro-choice views,” said the lawmakers, that included Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), Joe Baca (Calif.), Patrick Kennedy (R.I.) and Carolyn McCarthy (N.Y.).

“Advancing respect for life and for the dignity of every human being is, as our church has taught us, our own life’s mission,” the House Democrats said. “The fact is that religious sanction in the political arena directly conflicts with our fundamental beliefs about the role and responsibility of democratic representatives in a pluralistic America – it also clashes with freedoms guaranteed in our Constitution,” a statement said.

During an in-flight press conference on route to Brazil May 9, Pope Benedict, in replying to a question concerning the Mexican parliament’s approval of a law in favor of abortion, stressed “the need for Christian politicians to remain coherent to their principles.” The pope declared that “excommunication is laid down in the code; it is not arbitrary. It is simply written in the Code of Canon Law. The death of an innocent, of an unborn child, is inconceivable. It is not arbitrary, and the church express appreciation for life and for the individuality of life from the first moment of conception.”

Holy See Press office director Father Federico Lombardi clarified to journalists later that day that “the Mexican bishops have not excommunicated those politicians, and neither has Benedict XVI.” However, he added, “legislation in favor of abortion is not compatible with participation in the Eucharist.” Upon being asked whether this meant that the politicians were effectively excommunicated, Father Lombardi said, “no, they exclude themselves from Communion.”

The pontiff’s comments put five of seven U.S. Catholic 2008 presidential candidates at odds with their church. The currently Catholic candidates are: Democrats Sen. Joseph Biden (Del.), Sen. Christopher Dodd (Conn.), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who all support abortion rights, and Republicans Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.), former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson and ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani is the only Catholic Republican presidential candidate favoring abortion rights.

The House Democrats’ letter mirrors a “statement of principles” that 55 Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), who is Catholic, signed last year.
In that statement, Democratic lawmakers wrote that they agreed with the Roman Catholic Church’s position on the “undesirability of abortion” and that “each of us is committed to reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies and creating an environment with policies that encourage pregnancies to be carried to term.”

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