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Apostate Catholics

(Please, Mrs. Pelosi, Go Haunt Someone Else's Church)

R. Cort Kirkwood POSTED: 2/16/12

( If anyone had doubts about the standing in the Church of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other renegade Catholics, a canon lawyer has again put them to rest.

Last week, Ed Peters, who writes a blog titled “In Light Of The Law,” restated an opinion he offered on Pelosi two years ago: She is not to present herself for Holy Communion. Peters offered his insight in light of the San Francisco’s radical leftist’s voluble support for the Obama Administration’s highly controversial mandate that Catholic institutions must provide insurance that covers contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs with no copays. Obama supposedly “bent” on the matter on Friday, as The Boston Glove described his tricky maneuver to accomplish what he intended.


Anyway, Peters’ opinion applies to more people than Pelosi. It applies to every Catholic in the U.S. Congress who votes as Pelosi does, as well as every Catholic politician in the United States who promulgates Pelosian public policies.


In Congress alone, the list of those politicians is long, given that nearly 30 percent of congressmen and senators are Catholics. But let’s focus on Madame Pelosi.


Peters’ Judgment


How often Pelosi receives Holy Communion, and whether she even attends Mass, we are not given to know. But Peters’ opinion is important nonetheless. He bases it on Canons 915 and 916 of the Code of Canon Law. 915 reads thusly:


Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.

The next Canon explains what the faithful must to do be readmitted to Holy Communion:


A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition which includes the resolution of confessing as soon as possible.

Peters’ first opinion was thus: “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.”


Pelosi, one of the most vociferous supporters of abortion in Congress, poured more concrete into the foundation of Peters’ legal opinion with her support for President Obama’s diktat on birth control. It said that Catholic organizations must provide free birth control and abortifacients, which means abortions for all practical purposes, via insurance coverage for employees.

Updating readers, Peters opined:


It’s now February of 2012, and nothing in Pelosi’s conduct over the last 23 months suggests any emendation of her attitudes toward killing unborn babies, etc., etc., etc. Indeed her recent call for Catholics qua Catholics to unite behind, of all things!, President Obama’s plan to impose immoral policies on private medical insurance plans … suggests that Pelosi’s views, like Pharaoh’s heart, have only hardened with time.

In his latest post on Pelosi, Peters referred to her arrogant claim that supporting Obama’s contraception mandate really means she’s “going to stick with my fellow Catholics.” Said Pelosi, “I think it was a very courageous decision that they made, and I support it.” In December, Pelosi said she respects the bishops as pastors, but not as “lobbyists,” as she called the princes of the Church. Translation: Keep your rosaries off our ovaries. I’ll vote however the heck I want.


“Canon 915, as I and others have explained many times, is not about impositions on individual conscience, it’s about public consequences for public behavior,” Peters wrote:


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.


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.

When writing
about Pelosi in 2010, Peters also explained another important part of Canon law. For Pelosi’s bishops and priests, barring her from Holy Communion isn’t merely an option. Canon law requires it.

Peters does not believe, apparently, Pelosi warrants excommunication.


Yet some might argue that Pelosi excommunicated herself latae sententiae simply by voting for abortion. That act is cooperating in procuring an abortion, or at least providing the means to do so. This and her public repudiation of Church teaching give scandal to the faithful.

Canon 1398, which states that anyone who procures an abortion is automatically excommunicated from the Church, does not merely apply to the woman who had the abortion. As the Eternal Word Television Network’s page explains it, “This means that at the very moment that the abortion is successfully accomplished, the woman and all formal conspirators are excommunicated.”


The conspirators include anyone who made access to the abortion possible, which would certainly include Catholic politicians who support abortion not just rhetorically in public but by their votes in Congress. Their acts make them accessories in the sin in at least five of the nine ways one can be such an accessory.


Peters limits his case to denying Pelosi Holy Communion.


Pelosi’s Position


Beyond Peters’ argument, the question is whether Pelosi and other Catholics even understand the Faith.


In 2008, as The Remnant reported, Pelosi and Vice President Biden actually tried to claim that Church teaching on abortion is muddled and inconsistent. Said Pelosi: “This is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition. … St. Augustine said at three months. We don’t know. The point is, is that it shouldn’t have an impact on the woman’s right to choose.”


Said Biden: “Look, I know when it begins for me. It’s a personal and private issue. … There is a debate in our church, as Cardinal [Edward] Egan would acknowledge, that’s existed. Back in ‘Summa Theologica,’ when Thomas Aquinas wrote ‘Summa Theologica,’ he said there was no — it didn’t occur until quickening, 40 days after conception.”


As I reported at the time, Biden’s answer ventured all around God’s creation, but you get the idea.

The pair is clueless. The bishops swarmed these two dim bulbs and explained Catholic teaching to the public. The Church has condemned abortion from the beginning, regardless of the debate over ensoulment. But those same bishops, despite Pelosi’s long career of anti-life advocacy, the worst being her full-throated support for murdering the unborn, have done nothing to discipline the former Speaker or her conspirators in rebellion against Holy Mother Church.

Only one bishop, it seems, has had the courage to discipline one of the rebels: The same year Pelosi and Biden n 2008, Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann ordered Kathleen Sebelius, the pro-abortion Secretary of Health and Human Services, not to present herself for communion.


Peters on Other Unfaithful


Good thing is, real Catholics have Peters out there to back them up when they call upon the bishops to discipline Pelosi and her platoon. He isn’t shy about offering the truth

In February 2011, Peters flatly stated that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who signed the state’s bill to legalized sodomite marriage, is also ineligible for communion. Peters hammered the leftist, who is shacked up with the Food Network’s Sandra Lee. The occasion for Peters’ opinion was the public reportage of Cuomo’s receiving communion at a Mass with his bishop, Thomas Hubbard. Cuomo’s list of offenses barring him from the communion rail are many, Peters wrote:


Cuomo, on the grounds of his public concubinage alone (and setting aside complications arising from his strong support for legalized abortion, etc.), should not approach Communion per Canon 916; if he does approach, he should be refused the sacrament per Canon 915.


Cuomo should still attend Mass, of course (c. 1247), and within one year of his last Confession he should duly receive that sacrament again (c. 989), but he should not be taking Communion while he lives in public concubinage. And if Lee is Catholic, the exact same analysis would apply to her.

Hubbard wasn’t happy about that opinion, and said Peters issued a “pastoral judgments” he was not entitled to make. Peters replied that he made no pastoral judgments, but instead held Cuomo’s public behavior and statements up to the light of the law.

But back to Pelosi and the contraception mandate. The bishops will not act against such Catholics, despite their participation on the wrong side in a war against life itself. Such is the nature of that war that the Obama Administration tried to force Catholic institutions to peddle condoms, birth controls and other abortifacients in violation of Church teaching.

If indeed, Obama’s mandate was such that the bishops published pastoral letters read aloud at Masses across America, telling the president that “[w]e cannot — we will not — comply with this unjust law,” one must ask when they will discipline the Catholic in Congress to bring them into line with Church teaching.


The likely answer? Never. Catholic organizations collect annual federal subsidies on the order of $500 million annually. Add in subsidies from the states and you see the problem. Writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer to denounce the Obama Administration’s modification, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, of Philadelphia, revealed that his diocese spends $278 million annually on social services, with “much of the money” coming from taxpayers. The bishops know what trying to discipline politicians would mean: an end to the free money.


Nothing has changed for Catholics, in any event, with Obama’s mandate. The plan, as The Boston Globe reported, simply mandates that insurance companies provide “free” contraceptives and sterilization to women who want them. Chaput blasted the compromise as an attack on “religious freedom,” but he didn’t explain what is practically wrong with it. Neither did the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Rather, the neoconservative editorial page of The Wall Street Journal did that. Under the new rule, which the White House stresses is ‘an accommodation’ and not a compromise, nonprofit religious organizations won't have to directly cover birth control and can opt out,” the newspaper opined. “But the insurers they hire to cover their employees can't opt out. If that sounds like a distinction without a difference, odds are you're a rational person.”


Say Notre Dame decides that its health plan won't cover birth control on moral grounds. A faculty member wants such coverage, so Notre Dame's insurer will then be required to offer the benefit as an add-on rider anyway, at no out-of-pocket cost to her, or to any other worker or in higher premiums for the larger group.


But wait. Supposedly the original rule was necessary to ensure “access” to contraceptives, which can cost up to $600 a year. … [W]here does that $600 or whatever come from, if not from Notre Dame and not the professor?


Insurance companies won’t be making donations. Drug makers will still charge for the pill. Doctors will still bill for reproductive treatment. The reality, as with all mandated benefits, is that these costs will be borne eventually via higher premiums. The balloon may be squeezed differently over time, and insurers may amortize the cost differently over time, but eventually prices will find an equilibrium. Notre Dame will still pay for birth control, even if it is nominally carried by a third-party corporation.

In other words, the bishops’ complaints have done nothing thus far, meaning Pelosi and her Catholic rebels will again emerge undisciplined to waltz up to Holy Communion as they please, despite “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin.”

Again, as Peters’ has said, Catholics bishops and priests are required to refuse Holy Communion to these insurrectionists. So those clerics too, apparently, are trespassing Canon law. They may well be sinning themselves. If they don’t care about their own souls, the least they can do is show some concern for the immortal souls of Catholics such as Pelosi by refusing them Communion.

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