Sunday, July 22, 2018

Pope Says World Politicians can be Excommunicated


What a great idea: Politicians will go straight to hell, and they will have no one to blame but themselves. Can it get any better than that?

Pope Benedict XVI kicked off his Latin American visit on Wednesday, meeting with Brazilian President Luiz Inaci Lula da Silva in San Paulo, Brazil. But the big news took place on the plane ride over from the Vatican.

For those unaware, a couple of weeks ago, Mexico City politicians sent the Catholic Church into a massive "spin cycle" when it passed abortion legislation in the capital city of Mexico.

On board the Papal Plane, Pope Benedict let it be known that Catholic politicians across the world, "risked excommunication from the Church and should not receive communion if they support abortion." Using a stick with no carrot, the Pope raised the stakes in this controversial issue by suggesting he was in agreement with bishops who have stated that Catholic politicians in Mexico excommunicated themselves by legalizing abortion.

"Yes, this excommunication was not an arbitrary one but is allowed by Canon (church) law which says the killing of an innocent child is incompatible with receiving communion, which is receiving the body of Christ," he said. "They did nothing new, nothing arbitrary or surprising," the Pope said of the Mexican bishops. "They simply announced to the public what is stipulated by the law of the Church."

Later, when it was revealed that the Mexican bishops had only threatened but had not imposed the penalty, the Vatican press director, Father Federico Lombardi, issued a statement to clarify the Pope' remarks. Basically, Lombardi said the Pope was not declaring anyone excommunicated but anyone that voted in favor of abortion "have excluded themselves from Communion."

The Pope's remarks have had an immediate chilling effect in the debate over whether Catholic politicians can support abortion, or other issues, like gay marriage, and still consider themselves proper Catholics.

While, some Catholics say they are personally opposed to abortion but support the woman's right to choose, the Church teaches that abortion is murder and says Catholics can't have it both ways.

Here, at home, reminiscent of the 2004 presidential election, when Catholic Democratic candidate, John Kerry, split the U.S. Catholic community because of his pro-abortion stance, Republican Rudy Giuliani is feeling the heat over his position on abortion rights.

When asked to respond directly to the Pope's comments, Giuliani replied, "I don't get into debates with the Pope."
He went on to say, "that his differences with the Catholic Church over his support for abortion rights are between him, God and his spiritual advisor, not Pope Benedict." Giuliani reportedly has said he would continue to take communion even if the Pope states politicians like himself have automatically excommunicated themselves.

Wouldn't it be in the better interest of the Church to remove itself from meddling in the democratic processes of sovereign nations? Why not funnel that energy into a "reformation" of honesty and action regarding the pandemic of misinformation and dishonesty in regards to the thousands of molestation cases involving priests on a worldwide basis?

"Politicians and political parties should not discuss abortion and there should be no laws restricting abortion, because abortion is a religious issue, and for a politician to get involved in it would be mixing religion and politics."
"Ministers and churches should not discuss abortion and there should not be official church doctrines on abortion, because abortion is a political issue, and for a religious leader to get involved in it would be mixing religion and politics."
Jay Johansen (Catholic World News) ("Pope warns Catholic Politicians who Back Abortion." By Phillip Pullella) ("Giuliani won't talk of Pope, abortion." By Craig Gordon)
Ventura County Star, Associated Press. ("Pope lays down law on abortion in Latin American visit." By Victor L Simpson)

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6 comments on Pope Says World Politicians can be Excommunicated

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By V on May 11, 2007 at 12:28 pm
When I was six, my cat died. She was run over by a car in front of me on Christmas holidays. I was devestated. When I got back to school, Father (our school Priest, not my Dad) came around to give his welcome to the new school year speech which, as is usual, turned into the heaven and hell speech. I listened intently as he spoke of heaven. I'd heard it all before, but it was close to home now. I raised my hand and smiling said, "So Father, it's okay becuase I'll see my cat in heaven?!" He looked at me sternly and said, "No, you won't see your cat in heaven, animals don't have souls." From that day, I decided that whatever heaven I was going to, there was going to bloody well be a zoo there and I would want no part of this Catholic Heaven. And besides, I thought we were animals too. It was confusing. I was six, but it was a spiritual reckoning that instigated my separation from the church. We were forced to watch graphic video footage of women having murderous abortion procedures when I was in high shcool, at Catholic girls' school. For a woman to go through with an abortion is no small thing. It weighs heavily for a long time. It should be an available choice for women who have circumstances that warrant (in their reasonable and personal estimation). Do you think Catholic nurses who are working the AIDS front lines in Africa that are instructed by the church not to distribute condoms, adivse or educate the suffering and vulnerable populous on matters of safe sex (becuase you know, contraception - like abortion - is sinful in the eyes of God) believe in what they're puveying while they nurse the dying? And you're right Steve the Church should seriously look at focussing some energy on cleaing house. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." - The Holy Bible, John 8:1 - 11
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By E Jo on May 11, 2007 at 04:32 pm
Great article Steve, very informative. Yes, I agree they should be funneling this energy elsewhere. I've never understood the Catholic stance on anti-abortion and anti-prophylactic use...haven't they heard of over population and HIV? Anyway, another case of religious meddling into an individual's rights whether it be political or personal... V that is awful that anyone would tell that to a child no matter what your beliefs were. They seem to not know how to relate to children. I went to Episcopalian (mellower version of Catholicism) grade school and my sisters and I were told we were "going to hell" because we hadn't been baptised! My mom thought that that should be our own decision as an adult whether we wanted that or not. Then they wouldn't let me join the rest of my friends to get communion either. The whole experience pushed me very, very far away from religion. I'm so glad that my mom was ahead of her time. They only put us in school there for the education, which is the only beneficial thing one receives (in my view)from a religious grade school! Your kitty is wherever you want it to be :)
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By Jen on May 11, 2007 at 05:08 pm
I'll jump on ship and say another good one! I, too, feel that the church should restrict their interest to matters within the church and leave issues of state to the state. It’s bad enough that politicians are beholden to the various lobbies that fund their campaigns. We certainly don’t need their votes to be influenced further by the fear of eternal damnation. On the other hand...If the Catholic Church wants to start acting like another group of lobbyists perhaps we could get rid of that whole "tax-exempt" status they have been granted.
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By Charles Harmison on May 12, 2007 at 12:59 pm
I know this might catch me some flack but i don't see anything wrong with this. If catholics or any religious group finds abortion to be wrong they should be allowed to deter their members from practicing it within their church. As far as i'm concerned excommunication is within their rights. Though this practice should not determine the actual policy of governments, how can we say what is right for their religion. If the pope wants to kick people out of an already declining congregation who are we to tell him he can't.
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By V on May 12, 2007 at 01:35 pm
Sure, that may seem cut and dry but it's not. Politics and religion shouldn't be mixed. Sadly however, this is not the case. Thus we do not need the extra pressure of the Pope further swaying politicians' decisions, clouding their decision-making - decisions that should be made rationally and independently and not from the standpoint of trying to legislate morality. It's why I brought up the nurses-in-africa thing who are there on the church's dime. Are you a nurse or are you a Catholic first? Do you fulfil your duty as a nurse and teach these people how to save themselves or do you fulfil your duty as a catholic and, because it's God's will, let people you could save kill themselves? I would like to hope that when a politician makes a decision on policy that effects me, he or she is making an impartial, clear-headed decision based on what is right for the people, not what he or she thinks is right for the people based on doctrine of his or her personal faith, that a large percentage of the populous do not believe in. Idealistic I know, but it's what I would hope.
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By Charles Harmison on May 13, 2007 at 02:20 pm
Catholics excommunicate for divorce also but that doesn't seem to stop politicians or any one else from doing it. I'm just saying that the pro-choice movement or any other for that matter, has got to be careful when it attacks a religion's right to create tenants for their congregation. What annoys me most about a church like catholicism is that their so-called god-given rules seem to change as public opinion changes. Its about time that they finally stuck with something. Now of course i see exactly what you mean V and i agree with everything you're saying especially when it comes to saving lives as in the case of the nurses in Africa. I too went to catholic school and i too decided that catholics got their heads up their arses. However, when you say that religion should stay out of politics, though i agree completely, we also have got to remember that it is a two way street. Politics has no business saying what a religion can or cannot impose upon its members, well unless it is imposing them to blow up clinics or market centers of course. If a person does not agree that god hates you if they abort a child or use a condom, then they should simply find another interpretation of god which does, rather than try to change the church itself. I realize that my nerdliness might show now, but western society needs to remember Star Trek's prime directive. If a more enlightened society attempts to impose their ideas on a lesser one it can have dire consequences as the current struggle in the Mid-east proves.
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