Bishop Says Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians Committing Heresy

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 24, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bishop Says Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians Committing Heresy Email this article
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by Maria Vitale Gallagher Staff Writer
February 24, 2006

Baker, OR ( — An Oregon bishop says politicians or voters who maintain a pro-abortion position are committing a heresy against the commandment against killing.

Bishop Robert F. Vasa of the Catholic diocese of Baker, Oregon, wrote in the Catholic Sentinel newspaper, “There is a point at which passive ‘tolerance’ allows misleading teachings to be spread and propagated, thus confusing or even misleading the faithful about the truths of the Church…There is a very strong word, which still exists in our Church, which most of us are too ‘gentle’ to use. The word is ‘heresy.’”

The bishop’s comments won praise from Marc Balestrieri, a canon lawyer and president of a group called De Fide, which was founded in 2004 to fight the pro-abortion “heresy” in the Catholic Church.

“Bishop Vasa is to be praised for his clear, courageous, and firm defense of the integrity of the Fifth Commandment and the most innocent of human life. It is the solemn duty of a bishop to fully disclose the exact gravity of ‘choice’ to his flock,” Balestrieri said.

Vasa wrote, “Those who maintain that any and all decisions about the disposition of pre-born human beings are exclusively the right of the mother or the parents, at least implicitly, reject the clear and consistent teaching of the Church…If that (pro-choice) candidate receives the vote precisely because he maintains that he has no duty to protect or defend innocent human life in the womb, then a vote cast for him is a type of declaration that the teaching of the Church, indeed the validity of the Fifth Commandment itself, is rejected.”

Balestrieri responded, “Rejection of the Fifth Commandment was precisely in a doctrinal note of 1998 by Benedict XVI, prior to his election as Pope, as constituting a heresy according to Can. 751 of the Code of Canon Law. Bishop Vasa’s conclusion is a lucid and much needed public defense of the integrity of the faith.”

Balestrieri also noted that the bishop’s comments “lend further weight to canonical action now advancing against several prominent U.S. politicians” who have adopted a pro-abortion position.

Catholic politicians promoting abortion became a hot-button issue in the 2004 Presidential race, since Democratic candidate John Kerry, a Catholic, supports legal abortion.

In an interview on Fox’s “Hannity and Colmes” in 2004, Balestrieri said, “To say that someone may have the right to choose abortion, to commit murder in the theology of the Catholic Church, is something which is absolutely intolerable. It has to stop. And it’s a contradiction. It’s not coherent.”

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