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December 28, 2006

Comments

John Foster

You're right. And my guess is that no one in authority will say "boo" about it.

Jim

The bishops do nothing about Catholic conservatives who do nothing to support the Church's social policies, so I guess we can expect them to do nothing in Speaker Pelosi's case. In fact, in the face of most controversies, the bishops do nothing....but talk

DK

I get the impression that she has a problem with pro-life people, especially when she comments that her family is supposedly pro-life (How do we know that for sure?), but aren't fanatics or activists. I guess she figures that pro-life people are fanatics or activists. Being a pro-life activist is probably something she looks down on. Yet, when it comes to NARAL and other abortion organizations, she has no problem bowing down to their altar. Shame on her! She is just power hungry and is more than willing to sell her soul to the devil. She makes all Catholics look so bad. It is very sad.

Restoration

I would not expect one peep from "The Donald". a.k.a Bishop Wuerl of D.C. While he isn't nearly the shameless self-promoter that his predecessor was (slippery Teddy McCarrick), don't expect him to lift a finger to speak truthfully about a rabid pro-abortion activist like Pelosi trumpeting her so-called Catholic credentials by blasphenously receiving our Lord at Mass. Trinity, but the way, is only Catholic on its stationery as it was driven into the ground by feminist nuns long ago.

Remember, too, that as bishop of Pittsburgh, Wuerl never had the courage to put a stop to John Kerry's equally scandalous visits to the parishes in his diocese. Pelosi and Wuerl are both reflections of our society and the Church in America, respectively. Both are cause for deep concern.

mac

jp3 from Georgetown:

On cue. Completely predictable.

dymphna

I am pretty confident that I can predict exactly what Archbishop Wuerl will do: Nothing. He won't even comment.

If he follows McCarrick's playbook he might even be out of town that day.

David Deavel

Jim comments above that the Church does nothing about Catholic conservatives who "don't support the Church's social policies. . . ." Actually, Jim, the Church doesn't have "social policies" but "social teaching." While in some circumstances Catholic conservatives don't support that, in the great many cases they don't see the Church's social TEACHING as leading to what we currently refer to as liberal POLICIES. Opposition to abortion is not a "policy" since it is simply the application of the prohibition against killing the innocent to a case of, um, killing the innocent. Tax rates, ways of providing housing and medical care, and other prudential questions are all points on which Catholics can have many positions that would fit with Catholic SOCIAL TEACHING.

reluctant penitent

Jim (jpc3@georgetown) is right,

If a Republican is pro-abortion and pro-ESCR he/she should also be denied the right to use the Mass as a political photo op.

reluctant penitent

"...denied the right..." should be "...denied the opportunity..."

Todd

"Will the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church let itself be played?"

Do you mean in the sense of hyped-up expectations from the Republicans, followed by let-downs? Remember, Nancy Pelosi and sitting Republican presidents have identical records when it comes to active participation in Washington's annual demonstration for life.

I'm dismayed by Pelosi's conservative approach to abortion. But I hope Wuerl and the bishops have more sense than to be drawn into a tussle that they cannot hope to win. Prudence would dictate picking and choosing battles. An installation of a Speaker is not a pro-Life moment. To make it so would expose the instigators as politicians, not shepherds. But the msm would love for the fur to fly. It will sell Levitra on CNN, don't you think?

Jason

I have long maintained that the most fundamental spiritual difference between Catholics Then and Now is the shift from "We're all bad Catholics except for that little saintly lady who comes to 6am Mass in the snow, and even she probably thinks she's a bad Catholic" to "We're all Good Catholics Now!" Great, even.

Hah! Great observation.

M.Z. Forrest

I didn't know she had 5 children. Good for her. This would indicate she has embraced the Catholic teaching of large families being a blessing unlike say 80% of the pew-sitters.

Obviously her views on abortion are disorderd. Her support of ESCR is objectively evil. Some of the others on the list are small potatos like interstate transport.

Archbishop Wuerl will do nothing about it; she is most likely not registered in his diocese. Archbishop Niederauer is her ordinary and would be the appropriate place to seek an interdict against her. Her abortion stance would be a plausible cause for interdiction. Her ordinary would be the proper person to petition for an interdict.

Amy

This thread is already taking a direction that is, frankly, pissing me off. There is absolutely no need to come here and prance about pro-abort GOP-ers to demonstrate your bona fides. Long-time readers know that we despise the GOP around here, pretty much. This is not a Dem v. GOP issue. This is a Nancy Pelosi on January 3 at Mass at Trinity College in the Archdiocese of Washington issue.

But, as usual, the conversation just repeats itself.

Ellen

M.Z.:

It's not a matter of "doing something" so much as recognizing and publicly acknowledging the cynical nature of the act and Nancy Pelosi's opposition to Church teaching even as she uses the Mass for her political advantage.

Todd

"This is a Nancy Pelosi on January 3 at Mass at Trinity College in the Archdiocese of Washington issue."

Are you suggesting that a disinvite is in order? That's a tactic that also repeats itself, and not to any particular advantage to the bishop in question. It's time for new ideas, Amy. Not just trotting out the old, failed methods.

Rich Leonardi

One could say...ah, well it's a function in a university chapel. It's not directly associated with the Archdiocese. In fact it's a couple or three steps removed from the Archdiocese. One could say that and a lot more.

Given his remoteness from the situation, he could restate in his own words the principles set forth in "The Participation of Catholics in Political Life" during a speech or in an editorial. And he wouldn't even have to use her name.

M.Z. Forrest

Ellen,

Absent an interdict, you have made a scurilous allegation. Ms. Pelosi is entitled to her good name. You have also impugned Trinity College by your allegation. Ms. Pelosi and Trinity College have rights, most notably to their reputations.

I'm not going to go on a broad defense of Ms. Pelosi. I'm just telling you the rules of the game.

Rich Leonardi

Todd,

On the handful of occasions you've taken a break from smearing members of the pro-life movement and shared any of your "new" ideas, they've been indistinguishable from the now-discredited (and rightly so) "seamless garment" of twenty years ago.

Ed the Roman

Todd,

I think that votes and bill signings count more than rally attendance.

Using those measures, Mrs. Pelosi really stinks up the joint.

Once again, you are describing less than perfect pro-life actions by the nominally pro-life as hypocrisy, and using that to make those opposed to protecting the unborn IN PRINCIPLE look OK.

In Toddspeak, Nancy Pelosi may have said again and again that she will oppose any attempt to protect the lives of the unborn in federal law, and may have voted so as to prove that she meant it. But some Republicans don't come to the Right-to-Life rally, so Republicans are no better on the issue.

Which Republican runs as a Catholic with her record, again?

Amy

Todd:

If you have nothing to contribute, don't waste your time commenting. And by "nothing to contribute" I mean "Reading implications into the words of others" which is your M.O, pretty much. "Disinvite" is your idea, not mine.

No, what I meant was trotting out the old, reflexive, "Well, the GOP is bad, too" is not what I'm after on this thread because, well, we know the GOP is bad, too, and we've had our fill of the not-esteemed Governor of California and his kind, and commented it on it all frequently.

The point is - this event and the institutional Church's response. To this event. If Susan Collins were celebrating her election as Senate Majority Leader at a Mass at a Catholic church in DC, we'd be having the same conversation.


As far as I'm concerned, a Catholic ordinary calling attention to the dissonance between a Catholic politician's use of his or her faith and his or her actual ideology would be a very new idea.

An example of various, useful discussion points:

1) Well, I don't think the Archbishop should do anything because there's no problem. Pelosi is Catholic and if she wants to celebrate that part of her life, so what?

2) It's not the Archbishop's place to "do" or even say anything. It's an event at a college. Who knows what will be said there?


3) Let's hope and pray that the Archbishop will be speaking to her privately, reminding her of Catholic teaching on life issues. Perhaps in conjunction with the Archbishop of SF. Tag-teaming her, in a pastoral fashion.

etc.

Todd

Ed, I agree with you on votes and bill-signings. I can't recall a Republican president signing a national bill outlawing abortions, but I see where you're going with this. But as I said, Pelosi's political position on life issues leave a lot to be desired. Was it not enough to refrain from a character attack as well? Among some pro-lifers, the choice not to walk to their drummer du jour is tantamount to heresy.

I'm not sure I'm describing anything less than a dissatisfaction with the status quo, and that includes both a political pro-life movement that has been pretty impotent and a Democratic party that has abandoned the ideals of civil rights. Is it a smear or is it the truth? Is the real question what to do in situations like this?

Given this discussion is between fellow pro-lifers, Ed, I think you can dispense with the petty insults. If you can't engage in a conversation with another pro-lifer without resorting to childish pronouncements about "toddspeak," do you have any hope of converting or persuading Nancy Pelosi?

Back to the drawing board, people. Again.

RKF

We are not always perceived as we insist that we be perceived, and the more strenuous our insistence the more likely that the perception is more accurate than we care to admit. That can apply in this instance to either Speaker-elect Pelosi or to those who clim they are not pursuing Ad Majorem GOP Gloriam

Bender

Given his remoteness from the situation, he could restate in his own words the principles set forth in "The Participation of Catholics in Political Life" during a speech or in an editorial. And he wouldn't even have to use her name.

Although a bishop may or may not have much (legal) authority over a college within his diocese with respect to its educational policies, practices, etc., I would think that he would have a great deal of authority over the liturgy as it is practiced within his diocese, not to mention authority over the priests who celebrate Mass within his diocese. So, I would think that he could tell the celebrating priest at Pelosi's Mass what to say and do, or what not to say and do.

Better yet, rather than a speech or op/ed or pastoral letter, Archbishop Wuerl could exercise his prerogative and be the main celebrant himself, and then he could properly instruct Ms. Pelosi during his homily. Whether Trinity has the power or not, whether Pelosi has the power or not, I don't think either would have the guts to tell the Archbishop that he was barred from celebrating the Mass.

Randy

Something should be done pastorally. Not sure if it is being done or not. These issues tend to be dealt with very slowly and very privately. Assuming there is nothing happening I don't know that this would be a good time and place to make a stand. Maybe pick on a prochoice priest or theologian. To me they do more damage. People who are expected to be good teachers of Catholic morality. Nobody expect politicans to be moral anymore. First we have dealt with the obvious offenders who do not give the appearance of injecting ourselves into partisan politics. Then we can say we are following an established protocol for when this kind of dissent occurs. Then hopefully it will not be seen as the bishops using the sacrament to embarass politicans they don't like.

Jeff Z.

I think the reason for the disconnect between Nancy Pelosi seeming to be personally prolife (evidenced by having five children) and also having a 100% pro-abortion voting record is that she considers the Catholic Church's teaching about the evil of abortion to be simply that a religious teaching. Her logic probably goes somewhat like this: "I am Catholic and my religion teaches that abortion is wrong but not all Americans are Catholic so I have to allow those who don't share my religion to have their own choice on this issue." She puts the Church's teaching on abortion in the same category as the Church's teaching on the Trinity or the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist which of course the Congress would never legislate about. It seems that it doesn't occur to her that abortion is an abomination that any reasonable human being should condemn. The motivation of those in Congress who work to outlaw abortion is no more religious than what motivates legislators to outlaw murder, theft and corruption. In today's world there is no longer any understanding of the natural law recognized by any human person whether religious or not. There is now a total disconnect between faith and reason.

Michael

Let's not forget that Archbishop Wuerl did not object to John Kerry receiving communion at his installation Mass, and that it occurred right in front of him:

Kerry Receives Communion at Wuerl's installation

Boko Fittleworth

Ma Fittleworth went to Trinity at the same time as Nancy Pelosi (nee DiSomething). Trinity has featured Pelosi onthe cover of its alumnae magazine at least twice. Ma complained; nobody cared; Ma doesn't donate to the not-so-alma mater no more. Trinity was once THE Catholic girls school. Now it serves a "nontraditonal" student body mostly: older students and minorities.

Wuerl will be worthless here, I'm guessing (as a former Pittsburgher and Seattlite.) He undermined the few non-hapless bishops' efforts to actually address the issue of politicians manipulating Holy Communion for unholy ends.

Bender

Wuerl will be worthless here

Is there any bishop that is acceptable to you folks?

Brian

Michael,

Archbishop Wuerl had know way of knowing whether or not Kerry had repented that very day of being pro-abortion. You see, that's always, absolutely always a possibility -- that the public sinner coming before you to receive the Eucharist and encounter Christ has turned away from his public sin.

Brian

Bender,

I've been wondering the same thing. The role of the bishop is first and foremost that of teacher and pastor, not disciplinarian. So many of the posters here want Wuerl to lay a theological smackdown. They want the Bishop to be principally a principal, a rules-enforcer, an agent of a system, and not a pastor.

They expect the Bishop to do the sorts of things the babysitter does: smack Little Nancy when she does something bad. But Catholicism isn't about that -- it's fundamentally about the individual response to grace which manifests in the larger body of Christ. Mrs. Pelosi is going to sin, but then, we all do. We all commit grave acts of evil. We all fail. And honestly, whose to say her motivation is even what everyone is saying it is -- political manipulation? Perhaps she receives to bouy herself for internal spiritual struggle. Perhaps she goes to confession every week. Maybe she does struggle to figure out how to be personally pro-life and at the same time function within American jurisprudence as she understands it.

We can't ever know.

Todd

" ... trotting out the old, reflexive ...

Wuerl will be worthless here

Wuerl did not object to John Kerry receiving communion

I would not expect one peep from "The Donald"

She is just power hungry and is more than willing to sell her soul to the devil.

no one in authority will say "boo" about it ..."

It doesn't look like your commentariat is very interested in your talking points, Amy. I actually agree with Bender. Maybe Wuerl should go to the Mass, preside and preach, but rather than give a sermon, provide a useful homily about the importance of life, of making a new start, and all, and if a few politicians have to squirm, so be it.

That better?

Rich Leonardi

You see, that's always, absolutely always a possibility -- that the public sinner coming before you to receive the Eucharist and encounter Christ has turned away from his public sin.

A noble sentiment, surely, but canon law requires other measures, to put it mildly.

Rich Leonardi

Maybe Wuerl should go to the Mass, preside and preach, but rather than give a sermon, provide a useful homily about the importance of life, of making a new start, and all, and if a few politicians have to squirm, so be it.

That better?

Actually, yes, Todd, notwithstanding the preening and finger-pointing that accompanies it.

Brian

I know that, Rich. But does the sinner?

Bill White

Mrs. Pelosi's comment on abortion reminds me of Marty Helgesen's riff comparing it to slavery:

Pelosi: If you don’t want to own slaves, you don’t believe in it, [then] don’t own them. But don’t tell somebody else what they can do in terms of honoring their responsibilities.

helen young

I have given up reading the comments on this blog because there is so much venom and nonchristian verbage. Today I decided to give the comments a quick look and I see that nothing has changed. Real and sincere discussion between mature adults can bear fruit, but here it seems that folks are always throwing rotten tomatoes at each other.

There are better ways to spend ones time than this.

Peace.

Amy

Thanks Helen. It's always nice to hear from my superiors.

Anyway...re/bishop as teacher...

Exactly.

Explore some church history and learn about the myriad and interesting ways that bishops have taught in the past. Taught, you know, emperors and such. Not consistently. At times, here and there. Sometimes bishops are accomodationists, sometimes they challenge. But they have been known to challenge. And that is a form of teaching.

Because, as I said in my post, silence in regard to a public person's public use of their Catholicism is a way of teaching. It teaches the rest of us what matters. Good enough for Pelosi/Kerry/Collins/Schwarzenegger - the rest of the crew - good enough for me.

That's catechesis. And it's powerful.

Ferde Rombola

Anyone have any idea how much money various Catholic charities get from the federal and state governments??

Why would any bishop want to get on the wrong side of the Speaker of the House?

(Good thing for her she's not in Lincoln, NB or Bend, OR.)

Donald R.McClarey

People such as Madame Speaker Pelosi are why abortion remains legal in this country. If Catholic voters, and Catholic politicians, were even just 80% pro-life, abortion would be illegal in a year through constitutional amendment. It is the pro-abort Catholic politicians, and the Catholic voters who support them, who have been the mainstay of the drive to keep abortion legal in this country. This is a scandal and should be addressed not only by the clergy, but by every faithful Catholic in this land.

TheLeague

Democratic leaders who are Catholic get away with this hypocrisy all the time. It is so irritating. The bishops will tell me that I cannot receive Communion if I support abortion rights, but the big time politicians get a pass.

Long-time readers know that we despise the GOP around here, pretty much. This is not a Dem v. GOP issue.

Speak for yourself, Amy. As a former Democrat I can't say I despise the GOP. When I grew up and decided to practice the religion I was born into, I had to accept Catholic teaching on abortion. And now as a supporter of pro-life policies, I can't be a Democrat.

Caroline

I can't visualize how at the actual scene of distributing Holy Communion in a church a priest can refuse to give Communion to any particular person who presents himself to receive unless he was falling down drunk. Has this ever been done in modern times? How did it work?

As to disciplining the pro-abort Catholic politicians, many of whom such as Nancy Pelosi are super rich, how about this. Let the church and its schools and its hospitals and all its charities accept no money from them whatsoever neither directly nor through any foundations and the like. And let that be known to all the world. They could find other ways to get their IRS deductions or, if charity were truly their committment, then other charities and we would be making a statement of principle without excommunicating anyone or humiliating anyone at the altar for which we can only be criticized. It would be a revolutionary gesture and might cause us to be taken seriously.

Surely our good works do not need to be paid for by our countenancing immoral behavior.

Jim

Donald McC. wrote:

"If Catholic voters, and Catholic politicians, were even just 80% pro-life, abortion would be illegal in a year through constitutional amendment. It is the pro-abort Catholic politicians, and the Catholic voters who support them, who have been the mainstay of the drive to keep abortion legal in this country. This is a scandal and should be addressed not only by the clergy, but by every faithful Catholic in this land."

True enough. This is why the bishops have a lot of work to do pastorally, not legislatively. It's hearts that need to change, not laws, not constitutions.

Margaret

I love Bender's idea. Have Abp. Wuerl celebrate the Mass. In his homily, he could address two matters in painstaking detail. If it took longer than a usual Mass to do so, fine. The two matters: the Church's teachings on human life issues;and the need to be in communion with the Church in order to receive communion. He could give some concrete examples-- if you support, or have previously supported bills that allow X, and have not repented of this through the sacrament of confession and resolved never to do so again, you must not present yourself to receive.

Accompanied by a large, large contingent of folks at home all over the country who have been supporting him with at least a novena's worth of fasting and prayer leading up to it... I could certainly stand some fasting. If he's up for it, I'm up for it.

Maureen

Given the contemporary practice of "everybody comes up to the front", I'd say the priest just reasons the person has come up for a blessing instead of the Host, since obviously the person's not in communion with the Church. Then the priest blesses him and sends him on his way. It becomes the would-be communicant's choice whether or not to make a scene.

Gina

Yeah, Amy,

Keep your anti-GOP politics out of the discussion.

Cathy M

From the readings this coming Sunday, the feast of the Holy Family: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God." Col. 3:16 (emphasis added) I think it entirely appropriate that Arch. Wuerhl exercise his episcopal authority to educate, not only Mrs. Pelosi, but the general public on these matters. It is especially important for him to set the tone now so that further abuses can be avoided during the upcoming presidential campaign. Ducking the issue is not going to make it go away.

Jane M

Maureen's got it.

As far as Trinity goes, a cousin of mine was a nun in that order. They tell Protestants that it is okay to receive communion so they aren't going to have a problem with Nancy Pelosi. And I doubt if they'd have a problem telling the bishop that they didn't want him if he offered and they didn't. Feminist nuns see it as an issue of patriarchal suppression that they have to have a priest anyway for the Mass so that would be the conversation they'd try to have in the press. (I had that straight from the mouth of a feminist nun, in case anyone thinks I made it up.)

As far as whether in "modern" times anyone is refused for communion come to my church. At the midnight Mass some teenager presented himself for communion looking so clueless that the priest asked him if he were Catholic and when he couldn't answer just blessed him and waved him away.

Papabile

Having attended Catholic University of America.... right down the street from Trinity, I am very familiar with that school.

Here's why I doubt anything will happen, even if Wuerl intervened.

The school as late as the mid-90's felt free to ignore Archbishop Hickey's demand that they stop allowing female "co-consecrators" during Mass held in the chapel. Well, they moved the Mass to a dorm and said they complied. Three weeks later, it was back in the chapel.

He could interdict it, suppress it, whatever.... and I feel confident the school would ignore it.

 melissa

I can't visualize how at the actual scene of distributing Holy Communion in a church a priest can refuse to give Communion to any particular person who presents himself to receive unless he was falling down drunk. Has this ever been done in modern times? How did it work?

Well, one priest did that here, to a woman who was living in open adultery with a man not her husband. He simply refused and waved her away. She walked away, red-faced, but I understand that after the Mass she accosted him in the rectory and threw a full-blown tantrum (not that it got her anywhere).

Daniel

Lest we forget the courageous and holy past Archbishop of Atlanta, and the current Bishops of Savannah and Charlotte published in August 2004 a clear directive about such politicians.

http://www.archatl.com/archbishops/donoghue/20040804.html

“Because of the influence that Catholics in public life have on the conduct of our daily lives and on the formation of our nation's future, we declare that Catholics serving in public life espousing positions contrary to the teaching of the Church on the sanctity and inviolability of human life, especially those running for or elected to public office, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in any Catholic church within our jurisdictions: the Archdiocese of Atlanta, the Dioceses of Charleston and Charlotte. Only after reconciliation with the Church has occurred, with the knowledge and consent of the local bishop, and public disavowal of former support for procured abortion, will the individual be permitted to approach the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.”

There is no evidence that this directive has been suppressed or superseded for these three dioceses.

Jim

"There is no evidence that this directive has been suppressed or superseded for these three dioceses."

Any real evidence that it's actually being enforced or having any effect?

Words are cheap.

Donald R.McClarey

"It's hearts that need to change, not laws, not constitutions."

They both need to change Jim, but especially the laws and the constitution. If, on the issue of slavery, for example, this country had waited until the hearts of the slaveholders and their political advocates had changed, I daresay that we would still have the curse of slavery in this country. The pro-life cause is a multi-front operation. Prayer, education, aid to mothers and their children and political effort are all needed in order to stop the slaughter of the innocents.

Amy

Sorry, all. The "we" despising the GOP referred to me alone.

M.Z. Forrest

If you want to see how it is done within the Church, see Bishop Bruskewicz's excommunications. Going further back, you can look at Chicago and mafia members. Before anyone can be turned away, there are canonical procedures that must be invoked.

In regards to the Chapel mass, the archbishop would have to be specifically invited. When a bishop requests an invitation, he is rarely denied. That is the protocol however. Proper protocol would also be to seek disciplinary action from the bishop of San Franscisco. It would be quite extraordinary for a bishop to circumvent a person's ordinary.

Glen

GOP lovers....let's hear you when they nominate Rudy G. in '08. Who's your party now?

Jason

I can't visualize how at the actual scene of distributing Holy Communion in a church a priest can refuse to give Communion to any particular person who presents himself to receive unless he was falling down drunk. Has this ever been done in modern times? How did it work?

It may be awkward to wave them away, but is that the Priest's fault? It may embarrass the person coming forward, but is that such a bad thing? We learn from humiliation, if we examine why we were humiliated. What have we done that cuts us off from communion with the Church and with the Lord himself? Shouldn't we remedy that? And if not, why are we embarrassed? If we don't care what the Church says about our spiritual state, why do we care about her Sacraments?

What bothers me more than anything about this subject is that we act like we have a right to the Eucharist. We've all been guilty of grave sin at one time or another, but we should be honest and recognize grave sin for what it is. The Church says we can't receive communion. We can still go to Mass. Why do we insist on receiving communion? Are we trying to assert our authority over the Church? Over God himself, who gave the Church the keys to bind and loose? The Eucharist isn't a personal accesory; it is the manifestation of divine communion in the Church. If the lawful authorities specify that a particular sin places us outside of communion with the Church, how can we dare to receive the Eucharist, if we will not respect that divine communion?

Kevin Jones

amy writes: "silence in regard to a public person's public use of their Catholicism is a way of teaching. It teaches the rest of us what matters."

In brief: Silence teaches much, and teaches badly.

Jim writes: "This is why the bishops have a lot of work to do pastorally, not legislatively. It's hearts that need to change, not laws, not constitutions."

Both need to change. As Mark Stricherz says, "At some point, taking a purely change-the-culture-first strategy stops being admirable and starts being naive and impractical."

One of the best measures of whether hearts have changed is whether the laws have changed. The need for changing hearts should be used neither as an excuse for public inaction, nor a reason for throwing rotten tomatoes at those who do make efforts at public action.

Ferde Rombola

Jim:

McClarey isn't here as a pro-life Catholic. He's here as a huckster for the Republican Party. There's no reason for any American to vote for Democrats. There's no reason for any American to vote for Republicans, who have conned the electorate and feasted on pro-life issues for decades.


Gina:

Get McClarey to keep his pro-GOP politics out of the discussion and you'll have some credibility telling others to keep their anti-GOP politics out as well.

Jim

1) Slavery was not ended legislatively, but militarily. It was the force of arms and I don't know anyone rational advocating that in this instance.

2) Laws will change once hearts have changed, but not vice versa

Mike

I must have missed it: where does it say she is going to present herself for communion?

Ed the Roman

Todd,

I meant no petty insult. I meant a grand criticism.

You used identical rally attendance by high elected officials to nullify the difference in their use of their offices' authority, and I called you on it.

You and I are irreconcilable on whether a party that claims to be pro-life and doesn't act consistently on the claim is better than a party that claims to be the enemy of protecting the unborn. I think that the GOP is chicken, and not trying hard enough. You acknowledge that the Democrats aren't trying at all, and might even acknowledge that they are the principal opponents to the pro-life enterprise, but that doesn't matter because the Republicans are chicken, and so you support Democrats because of other things.

Regarding what the Archbishop ought to do, a rousing pro-life homily that allows of no waffling with appropriate analogies to other dehumanizing laws might be a good idea. Publicly asking the ordinary in SF for a statement on Mrs. Pelosi's eligibilty to receive might not be good, but I'll throw it out as a red flag and see if anybody charges it.

paul zummo

How about changing hearts and the law? As long as abortion remains legal, that by itself lends a bit of moral credibility to abortion, at least in the eyes of some.

We can't wait for abortion to end through the mere changing of hearts and minds, or else we're going to be waiting for Godot.

By the way this:

Slavery was not ended legislatively, but militarily. It was the force of arms and I don't know anyone rational advocating that in this instance

is not entirely correct. Don't forget, there were large swaths of the Nation that were not affected by the Emancipation Proclomation. I guess I'm making the reverse of an argument I made on the now defunct Southern Appeal, but slave states not in rebellion did not see slavery end through use of force. They chose, on their own, to end the institution. Similarly, slavery ended in the northern states before the war (mostly in the time around the ratification of the Constitution) legislatively.

Now, for there to be legislation ending slavery or any other moral evil, people have to come around and change their minds on the issue. So of course we have to reach hearts and minds in that respect. But if we continue to allow the moral evil to be practiced legally, you can be sure that someone somewhere is going to engage in said practice. Now, you might be content to hope that every human being in the world comes to the conclusion that abortion is wrong. But while we're waiting for this miraculous change of heart to occur on such a massive scale, how many unborn children are to be murdered in the womb?

Donald R. McClarey

"McClarey isn't here as a pro-life Catholic. He's here as a huckster for the Republican Party."

Thank you for the comment Mr. Rombola. It will make for an amusing anecdote at the next meeting of the pro-life crisis pregnancy center in my country of which I am the Chairman of the Board of Directors for four years and counting.

The utter ignorant comments that people can make on the web about complete strangers they encounter in comboxes never ceases to amuse me.

Elizabeth

The next day, Pelosi will participate in a nondenominational service at St. Peter's Catholic Church on Capitol Hill


At least she won't be defiling the Eucharsist at this fete.

Donald R. McClarey

"Slavery was not ended legislatively, but militarily. It was the force of arms and I don't know anyone rational advocating that in this instance"

To follow up on Paul's comment, the precipitating factor in the coming of the Civil War was the electoral success of the anti-slavery Republican party. If the abolitionists had contented themselves with speeches in Churches and street corners the pro-slavery forces would have been content to remain in the Union and slavery would have endured. It was the election of Lincoln on a platform vowing to fight the extension of slavery in the territories which was the key factor in bringing on the Civil War. The South seceeded because they realized they were losing the political battle.

Todd

Ed, thanks for the reply. If you're serious about a discussion or even a criticism, you might dispense with the name-calling, though. It masks your true intent and puts you in the camouflage with Rich and some of the others.

While I realize that the St Blog's commentariat has expanded its criticism of Republicans as of late, they are pretty much given a free pass still on non-abortion issues.

You assume, and assume wrongly I'm a Democratic supporter because I'm critical of Republicans. In fact, I'm probably more of an anarchist in the sense of being an American who harbors a distaste for the two-party system. Watch out now, Amy might criticize you for "reading implications into the words of others," which is in fact, pretty much everybody's modus operandi.

At the risk of reading more implications, I think both parties are savvy enough to minimize their brushes with the abortion issue these days. Some see it as political poison and some individuals may even possess grave doubts. Passing the buck to the American public for individual choices is an avoidance. Pure and simple.

The Communion eligibility issue I find of a kin to the disinvite technique. It's intended as a public punishment. It's been turned against bishops. It hasn't really changed anything, but it does drag the Church's sacraments into the role of being a carrot on a stick. That's not to say that persistent sinners should actually receive Communion. But phrasing it as a policy decision is a dangerous one liable to bite the bishop at the center of it.

If Pelosi wants to throw her newfound weight behind the 90-10 or 95-5 or whatever the abortion reduction initiative is, and if under her Congress, the US can make it work, then I think we have taken a positive step on it. Laws or no, I also think abortion is ultimately an individual choice. I'm not saying that's an ideal, but a point of fact. I cannot imagine a return to pre-1960 abortion laws today would dry up the number of abortions tomorrow. People would still make choices. And the poor who get caught would pay the consequences because of their desperation.

Thanks to groups like MADD, we've managed over a generation to highlight the moral and legal problem of drinking and driving. I can't help but think there's a lesson to be learned, and that there's not a big step from addressing alcohol abuse to our nation's immoral dependence on a singularly brutal form of birth control.

William

"Lest we forget the courageous and holy past Archbishop of Atlanta, and the current Bishops of Savannah and Charlotte published in August 2004 a clear directive about such politicians."

And don't forget Bishop Baker, of the Diocese of Charleston who co-authored that document.

reluctant penitent

An unwarranted and theocratic restriction of free will:
Using the coercive powers of the state to stop citizens from killing unborn children.

A warranted restriction of free will that only theocrats oppose:
Using the coercive powers of the state to force citizens to pay for all sorts of money-wasting social programs that do more harm than good in the name of the "seamless garment" interpretation of Catholic social justice teaching.

Ed the Roman

Todd,

You're welcome. I think. I don't know what you mean by 'in the camouflage.' I have spent a good deal of time actually IN camouflage.

When you say abortion is a personal choice, can you describe prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib the same way? Why not?

MADD had a big advantage compared to the pro-life movement. It already was against the law to drive hammered; the problem was one of not enforcing laws that were there, or definitions of hammered that were too loose. In the case of abortion there is no law to enforce or tighten. Big difference.

Mary

Carolyn RE:
"I can't visualize how at the actual scene of distributing Holy Communion in a church a priest can refuse to give Communion to any particular person who presents himself to receive unless he was falling down drunk. Has this ever been done in modern times? How did it work? "
The same way they refuse the Body of Christ to faithful who kneal to recieve and/or desire to receive on the tounge - The bishop or priest just pats you on the head, says "God Bless" and KEEPING THE BODY OF CHRIST TO HIMSELF goes on to the next person in line.

dymphna

I find it amusing that Pelosi is a Trinity alumna. The school isn't thought highly of and when people talk about Catholic schools in DC nobody ever even mentions Trinity.

paul zummo

Thanks to groups like MADD, we've managed over a generation to highlight the moral and legal problem of drinking and driving.

It's true that MADD has done a wonderful job at public education, and as a result of their efforts drunken driving fatalities have been reduced. But still:

There were 16,694 alcohol-related fatalities in 2004 – 39 percent of the total traffic fatalities for the year. Source

Public education and shifting of mores only goes so far.

Look, I'm no utopian, and I really don't expect, even with the change of laws, for abortion to be reduced to zero. But I don't think we can content ourselves with mere public outreach. When it comes to abortion, we need to change hearts AND we need to change the law. It's not either/or.

Jim O'Leary

Now calm down everybody. Don't you all realize the Church is on the verge of growth and reawakening? Part of that is the historical tolerance that really was in the Church, always. A tolerance for sinners, dummies, dissenters and lost sheep, who will be found or come home by themselves. It is, and always has been, the Church of prodigal sons and daughters. Isn't that loving father still around? Is there anyone on the planet who doesn't know that the Church (thank God) teaches that abortion is always wrong? Doesn't that make you proud? It does me - and I am a liberal Democrat who has not one Republican friend, and who doesn't want one.

reluctant penitent

You don't want Pelosi to be denied communion? Fine. But even those opposed to denial of communion should recognize that if the Archbishop makes no comment about this Pelosi situation, then he is communicating something to Catholics all over the United States, namely that one can be a legislator who works tirelessly promoting every possible method of killing unborn babies and still be a Catholic in good standing.

Can you imagine a Catholic archbishop saying nothing if David Duke were to convert to Catholicism and speak at a College describing itself as Catholic, saying that, yes Catholic social teaching does speak against white supremacy and I am privately (in my heart of hearts somewhere I'm sure) opposed to it, but I think that the white supremacists of America need a voice in politics and I'm here to serve them yadda yadda yadda."

Todd

Ed, thanks again for the reply. Yes, MADD benefitted from laws against drunk driving, but remember that individually, drinking and driving are probably among the greatest of the American recreations. That might not be said for pregnancy. MADD had to buck the trend of addiction, and they've been successful.

I'm not suggesting we look for the dissimilarities, but try the commonalities.

If we're talking change of law, then bishops are out of the picture entirely. That's the realm of the lay apostolate.

I do agree with paul this is a both/and proposition. But if the law must be changed, too, it's time to play it smarter than South Dakota.

UintaSusan

After reading Amy's thread I feel physically ill. The bishops are so cowardly and shameful I just want to cry. The American Catholic hierarchy and their minions are so bizarre. When I read where Niederaur is Pelosi's biship I LOL..won't be any disciplining there. He and Pelosi are cut from the same cloth--strutting, vain, opportunists.

Mike

"I can't recall a Republican president signing a national bill outlawing abortions."

How about the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003? It was signed by President Bush, who is, you know, a Republican.

reluctant penitent

Mr. O'Leary,

The issue isn't the Catholic opposition to abortion but the question whether one can claim to be opposed to policy X while doing everything possible to promote policy X. Would you be as sanguine if Ms. Pelosi were a fierce advocate of the extermination of African-Americans, while claiming "private" opposition?

Kevin Jones

"Is there anyone on the planet who doesn't know that the Church (thank God) teaches that abortion is always wrong?"

Yes. In a bioethics writing class I was in four years ago, I had to explain to my peers just what was so offensive about compelling Catholic hospitals to perform abortions.

Many other people who don't know what the church teaches are in the pews and the chanceries. Dissenters not only ignore a plain teaching of the church. They also rewrite and explain away the teaching to make it fit decisions they already want to make, and other people then believe these revisions are what the church really teaches.

Jim O'Leary

I'm sure not sanguine about the evils there are in the world and it just shows I am not a very good communicator if I gave that impression. I tried to say that I am very glad I am a Catholic because my faith, as mediated to me by the Church, has been a sure guide in teaching me right and wrong.

Slavery was wrong but Catholics owned slaves. Don't we wish the Church in this country had been an abolitionist church back when liberal Protestants were abolitionists? Don't we wish the Church had always fought vigorously against the slave trade?

Abortion is wrong. So is extramarital sex. What can the bishops do about either one? What should they do when there are evils growing like weeds? I think the greatest evil of all is war. Nothing else comes close. What do you think?

g

Mr OLeary, Your ignorance forces me to respond. "Is that loving father still around?" If that's not a rhetorical question, the answer is yes. He is still "around" and, like any father who cares, he has no intention of closing his eyes to violence done to and by his children.
To suggest that it is loving to simply show "tolerance" for sinners without expecting a behavior change is the worst kind of parenting. Its called enabling. If I, as evil as I am, know that, how much more does my Father in heaven?
The glibness of 'tolerance' has nutured the violent environment we find ourselves in today. Because abortion is just that: violence of the worst kind against children, their parents and their whole family. Ms Pelosi et al can espouse anyone's 'right' to this violence, every bishop in the country can ignore her & you can call for 'tolerance' but its important to note that our loving Father reminds us through Paul: "Be not deceived, God is not mocked for as a man sows so shall he reap."

M.Z. Forrest

There seems to be a popular conception that someone who publicly supports legalized abortion has incurred excommunication. The canon used to support this view is being read erroneously. Public support of legal abortion is certainly grave matter and sinful. There are a myriad of things that fall under this umbrella.

Gov. Cuomo and VP-candidate Feraro(sp?) are the only one's who've been threatened by name with excommunication for abortion support as far as I'm aware. In the Diocese of Lincoln, any member of Planned Parenthood and a dozen other organizations are excommunicated. My memory is not that great, but the only excommunications of specific persons I'm aware are those of the segregationists in the diocese of New Orleans. They were first interdicted and then excommunicated.

As to priests denying communion, it is a dicey area because the faithful do have a right to the sacraments. In most cases, a person wouldn't protest their denial to the bishop. In the case of "pro-abortion" politician you can rest assured the issue would be brought before the bishop. If I were a priest, I would want not deny a "pro-abortion" politician communion without assurance that my bishop ordered the action.

M.Z. Forrest

eeks. If I were a priest, I would not want to deny a...

Ed the Roman

Todd,

"That might not be said for pregnancy."

It can certainly be said for sex.

Jim O'Leary,

"Is there anyone on the planet who doesn't know that the Church (thank God) teaches that abortion is always wrong? Doesn't that make you proud? It does me - and I am a liberal Democrat who has not one Republican friend, and who doesn't want one."

After that post sir, tough: you've got more than one already, I'll warrant.

Daniel

I think that the S.F. Bishop's role is secondary at best.

The Cardinal Archbishop of Washington has complete authority in his See. Ditto the Cardinal Archbishop of Baltimore. He is the one who provides priests for Mass and allows facilities to celebrate the Sacraments. Thus, he is responsible to make the call for repentance.

Bottom Line, who is to blame? We are to blame, the laity. It is our job to sanctify the temporal order, not the bishops. And the temporal order is a bit scummy at the moment and it is going to get a whole lot worse. We elect people routinely who are so internally disordered that that claim to honor a Church that in fact they disdain, that hold a false sentimental allegiance to a Church that they politically need. Sure, every Italian – American loves the Church and it is good that she cares to worship in it at the threshold of her self-anointing. Therefore, this is the PERFECT opportunity for those who are called to govern, teach and sanctify to do just that for the good of sinners, which includes us all.

But she never should have been elected in the first place. If Catholics were truly well informed, voted their well formed conscience Pelosi and her political kin would never have seen the light of the elected day.

At least Amy is raising a voice in protest on the back end and shining a light on the hypocrite Pelosi. The Archbishop of Atlanta and his colleagues in August 2004 did properly govern teach and sanctify and there is no evidence that that directive was ignored as the press would have a field day if it were defiantly ignored by a priest. If every bishop did this it would be great. But the onus in on the laity. The laity elects, not the 250 or so bishops.

We allow this hypocrisy, in fact on a certain level we enjoy it as it diverts our responsibility to uphold the teachings of the Church on a personal level as we feel that we have done our duty by telling the bishops what to do. when in fact, if we did our job properly individual with perfect abortion “rights” records would not get on the ballot to begin with. The root of the problem is on the cover of Time; simply hold it up and who you see is the reason we are having this discussion to begin with.

With few exceptions, the current adult Catholic laity is dumb, mentally fat, intellectually soft, getting their catechism from CNN, flipping through the dials of their narcissism on their 80+ channel TV. On this point, Time, Pelosi and I agree – The “people” do not care as long as the federal monies come home, it is all about me and to hell with the rest.

M.Z. Forrest

Daniel,

You are simply wrong. Ms. Pelosi is a guest in the diocese of Washington. Her ordinary is the bishop of San Francisco.

Ed the Roman

"What should they do when there are evils growing like weeds? I think the greatest evil of all is war. Nothing else comes close. What do you think?"

Nach diesen Post, Ich denke das vielleicht Sie haben Freunden verloren. Der Krieg, die schlechteste Dinge des alles? Unglaublich.

Daniel

For formal disciplinary action, I would concur, the venue for a canonical trial and other formalities would be the S.F. Archdiocese of which she is an obvious resident.

However, the local diocese sets the norms for the reception of all sacraments within its jurisdiction. All sacraments, like all politics are local. If the D.C. or Baltimore Cardinals choose, they can place individuals such as Ms. Pelosi under interdict for her public acts within that See (such as her congressional votes) and refuse her Communion for her own good and the good of others on their personal authority for acts that occurred within the boundaries of their archdioceses. Such an interdict would be limited by the same geographic boundaries.

Clearly, as the August 2004 Atlanta Communion document states unchallenged, bishops have the free right to place under interdict individuals by group or by name within and limited by their geographical boundaries.

It is well within Cardinal’s right to place her under interdict in the District is he so chooses and such and interdict would be limited to the District.

Daniel H. Conway

A note of caution on what is not relly an ethical debate but a debate on tactics: be wary of elevating tactics to the level of faith. After 4 decades of a Republican-controlled Supreme Court, the pro-life movement maintains this as an explicit goal. The quest for power and political domination have seduced the activties of the major pro-life groups. As such, they need to be evaluated with a measuring stick of clear success.

And they have failed.

Yet again.

And, as such, they will hammer home the argument, they must continue with their current tactics, only doing so harder, better, etc.

The get out the vote campaigns for raising the minimum wage, and anti-Iraq war campaigns, as well as quests for some sort of competency and accountability among the electorate resulted in a bad show for the pro-life movement, as well as Republicans.

That individual pro-life campaigns for individual candidates puts this issue opposite minor raises in minimum wage, supporting candidates that support the war in Iraq as it is waged, and the current level of administrative debacles in competence, places them in a bad position.

The pro-life movement loss a referendum in South Dakota. This speaks to a problem.

For example, I suggest new approaches in which they do not support, say a Sen Santorum against a soon-to-be Sen Casey. Will Sen Casey be warm and fuzzy about these groups now? Unlikely, and while this doesn't speak to morality it does speak to tactics. Casey's political enemy became the pro-life groups. Great.

I suggest a change in tactics. And abandoning the fatal embrace of Republicans.

Ave Maria!

some of the quotes:Archbishop Wuerl had know way of knowing whether or not Kerry had repented that very day of being pro-abortion. You see, that's always, absolutely always a possibility -- that the public sinner coming before you to receive the Eucharist and encounter Christ has turned away from his public sin.

Posted by: Brian at Dec 28, 2006 6:07:52 PM

Bender,

I've been wondering the same thing. The role of the bishop is first and foremost that of teacher and pastor, not disciplinarian. So many of the posters here want Wuerl to lay a theological smackdown. They want the Bishop to be principally a principal, a rules-enforcer, an agent of a system, and not a pastor.

+++++
I think we need more Bishops along the line of Bruskewitz and Olmsted and Finn and Burke, etc. Bishops who are not pseudo-prudent but who are unafraid to maintain, preach and discipline according to Catholic teachings and THE TRUTH.

"Pastoral" can be another term for wimp after all. We have had plenty of wimps--too many and the dumbed down pew sitters are confused. Oh-it is ok for the famous politicial to hae a perfect record on voting for abortion MURDER and still claim to be Catholic and go to communion and the priests, bishops and cardinals are just fine with it--see-it is okay. Vote for the pro-abortionists. Vote for embryonic stem cell research etc.

WHO AMONG THE EPISCOPATE HAS THE GUTS, THE STRENGTH AND THE GRACE OF GOD TO SPEAK THE TRUTH AND FOLLOW UP ON IT? That is what I wish to know. That is such a one that I can respect and follow.

M.Z. Forrest

Can. 912 Any baptized person not prohibited by law can and must be admitted to holy communion.

Can. 915 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.

Tangentially related:
Can. 1184 §1. Unless they gave some signs of repentance before death, the following must be deprived of ecclesiastical funerals:
...
3/ other manifest sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funerals without public scandal of the faithful.

§2. If any doubt occurs, the local ordinary is to be consulted, and his judgment must be followed.

The question to be asked is if public support of legalized abortion is manifest grave sin. In some dioceses this has been declared to be such. In most this has not been declared.

I would not anticipate Ab. Wuerl settling this question without the consensus of all the bishops. He could certainly do so, but the impact of such a decision would be a slap in the face to his fellow bishops, because the people to whom he would be denying communion would be those with other ordinaries as bishops.

BTW, to do so on advocacy of a social issue would be actual clericalism. Clericalism doesn't bother me really, but I know it bothers most people, paticularly in regards to judgements on how the mass should be conducted which isn't really clericalism, but I digress.

Ed the Roman

Part of the problem, Mr. Conway, is that in addition to the, shall we say, imperfections of Republicans on this issue, there are all the other issues on which the Democrats and I disagree, as well as Mr. Casey's singular lack of known qualities in that particular instance.

I'm not a Pennsylvanian, but even if Casey and Santorum had IDENTICAL positions on abortion, I could not have voted for Casey.

hibernicus

JUst as a matter of curiosity - do any of the people on this list, who argue that pro-abortion politicians should not be denied communion on grounds of compassion and because they are baptised Catholics, also believe that the Archbishops of New York who denied publicly-celebrated Church funerals to the late Messrs Paul Castellano and John Gotti were "uncompassionate" in so doing? (I know it's not the same issue, and I also know that previous archbishops allowed such funerals for certain Mafia dons like Carlo Gambino, giving grave scandal IMHO. The point is that the "compassion" line amounts to an argument against imposing any ecclesiastical penalties at all.)

Daniel H. Conway

Mr. Ed the Roman,

As a consequence of your inability to vote for Casey, does the strategy of Republican embrace help the pro-life cause in the near or distant future? What if you were playing the politics of pro-life? How do you win? And what counts as winning?

As it stands, the politics of pro-life, with its Acton Institute leaning/Noval/Neuhaus/Weigel-loving supporters have led the cause into the gutter.

And now what?

The Continued embrace of its diseased partner, the Republicans?

Ed the Roman

Prayer, fasting, and talking to my neighbors. Winning requires either a 2/3 majority of both Houses and 3/5 of the state legislatures or 5 justices who are unimpressed by penumbral emanations. The Democratic party has a plank to nominate only emanatolaters to the Federal bench, and probably state benches where that applies.

Prayer, fasting, and talking to your neighbors is what you will need to be doing with your Democratic allies as well, Mr. Conway. The difference is that a larger fraction of your partisans require convincing on this front than do mine.

Daniel H. Conway

Mr. Ed the Roman:

"Prayer, fasting, and talking to your neighbors is what you will need to be doing with your Democratic allies as well, Mr. Conway.'

All enemies of good Republicans need not be Democrats or their allies. And the exercise of sheer power of government should be frightening after the Feast of Holy Innocents, another exercise of the government.

As far as prayer and fasting-good advice.

Daniel H. Conway

"They're just one step away from Liberation Theology, i.e., one step away from the old, retro standard Marxist model of Catholicism. God, just shut up already! You have nothing to say that hasn't already been said by the old time nitwits of the 70s."

No, really, that's closer to me.

Someone as talented as Ms. Welborn would be welcome on the left. But alas, she is not...

From the far vantage point of the extreme right, without any sense of perspective, everyone a little away from strict libertarianism and muscular foreign policies looks like Liberation Theology.

Its very interesting to see what attracts itself to the fly paper of a right wing blog these days.

elmo

Abp. Wuerl should preach a homily, write an op-ed, or ask to meet with Nancy privately. In all three cases, he can do what a good shepherd does, go after lost sheep, which is what Nancy Pelosi is, and heck, what all of us are, at one point or another in our lives. Some of us (myself)are constantly in need of a "pastoral approach" -- if the Church issued a smackdown in my case, I'd be outside, lost, without hope. But being my Mother, she guides me without judging. Thanks be to God, for he is merciful!

Ed the Roman

Gina, are we on the same blog here? I am a Republican who has actually sent them money, but I don't recognize her from your comments.

Mr. Conway, you may not be a Democrat, but what I recall of your other posts leads me to believe that if you aren't, it's because they are not far enough to the left on economics and foreign policy for you.

Left economics is certainly an active government if I recall my part of the 20th century very well.

Todd

Lots of themes running through this tactically-challenged thread.

First, we have folks for whom this isn't a particularly pro-life issue, but one of simmering anger and a wish to embarass the upcoming Speaker of the House. Good luck getting a bishop to sign on for that one.

Next, we have lots of others for whom the failure to be a St Blog's dittohead equates with being a Democrat. Fortunately, we live in a universe with more than one dimension.

Ed, you are right about sex. I thought of it, too, as tied up with drinking and driving as it may be. I think you're still handicapped by one-dimensional thinking, though I applaud your bi-lingual contribution. Sehr gut!

My take is that conservative Catholics are rubbing their own noses in Nancyfest '07. Get over it. Lighten up. It's not going to be the fulcrum of the struggle against abortion, so don't inflate it to be so in your minds. Most legislatures are home for the holidays, so unless you're composing a mass mailing or heading to the neighborhood clinic to protest, maybe these next few days are indeed an opportunity to change hearts. But take a clue: you won't be successful with tactics of calling out people for being hypocrites, heretics, monsters, and the like.

Rather than focus on your sense of other people's bad example, maybe this is an opportunity to set a positive one.

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