Saturday, July 15, 2006

Valencia and Card. Trujillo

Read in a report in The Tablet (UK) by Robert Mickens:

It would be an understatement to say that Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo is no stranger to controversy. In fact, it would be highly unusual if the 70-year-old president of the Pontifical Council for the Family was not at the centre of any polemical onslaught from the Vatican when it involves sexual ethics or so-called "pro-life" issues. . . . But for the past 25 years Cardinal López Trujillo has been condemning artificial contraception, masturbation, pre-marital sex, abortion and euthanasia, although he is somewhat more compassionate towards the use of capital punishment.

Recently he again stirred the pot by saying that doctors, patients and politicians who are involved in embryonic stem cell research risked excommunication.

For my part, as an advocate for "pro-life" issues, I still find such statements as the last one quite inopportune. They do nothing to spur the debate forward, and the brandishing of excommunicatory weapons kind of lost its effectiveness with Pope Boniface VIII and/or Julius II, but then the issues were papal sovereignty and the Papal States (of unhappy memory).
At the same time, I wish that the American bishops would stop threatening refusal of communion to Catholic politicians whose voting is not in line with the Church's teaching. I guess that my attitude is that enforcing such a refusal would fall on parish pastors and other priests (How often do politicians get communion from their bishops?) rather than the bishops who would impose a refusal of communion.
Isn't excommunication what is meant by refusing to have communion with someone? How is it (excommunication) different from being refused communion? By its definition isn't that what excommunication means---no communion? Would the American bishops simply go ahead and excommunication Catholic pols. who don't vote the line? I seriously doubt it. Yet they seem to have come up with this idea of refusing communion in its place. If a person is not excommunicated formally (or because of some sin is unable to communicate) how are we, as pastors, to refuse them Holy Communion?
Even though I don't like the idea, I wish the bishops of the US would simply go on and put their money where their mouths are and excommunicate the Catholic politicians who vote against life. Then we could see where this takes us. It might be awful, but then again, if the bishops are unwilling to do it, let them please stop threatening refusal of communion.


DonW said...

Thankyou again for your very interesting posting. Our current Prime Minister and the two previous ones are practicing Catholics. They seem to be good at sitting on the fence on the abortion issue and others, and have not been excommunicated up to now. Our present Prime Minsiter has the "jam" to allow a free vote in his Cabinet on the same sex marriage issue risking considerable backlash. Cheers DonWeber

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