by Steven Ertelt
March 2, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A Catholic bishop in Oregon has written an article in the church’s newspaper saying that anyone who wants to remain faithful to Catholic Church teaching can’t justify having a pro-abortion view. The newspaper article doesn’t mention her specifically but is an indirect commentary on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Bishop Robert Vasa of the Baker, Oregon diocese, says a person can’t call himself a Catholic and believe that there should be a choice to destroy human life via abortion.
“The direct, intentional taking of the life of an innocent human being is inhumane and unjust. It is not just a choice,” the bishop wrote in the March 1 edition of the Catholic Sentinel.
In his article, Bishop Vasa discussed an interview Pelosi, the nation’s leading Democratic elected official, gave to Newsweek magazine in November 2006.
“To me it isn’t even a question. God has given us a free will. We’re all responsible for our actions," Pelosi told the magazine. "If you don’t want an abortion, you don’t believe in it, [then] don’t have one. But don’t tell somebody else what they can do in terms of honoring their responsibilities.”
Vasa said it was “categorically impossible for the same person to state that he or she believes simultaneously both what the Catholic Church teaches and that abortion is just a choice.”
“What we believe must inform what we do,” he wrote in the Sentinel.
Abortion “is not just a choice and it is not a just choice,” the bishop said. “It is an unjust choice which is diametrically opposed to the clear and consistent teaching of the Catholic Church as well as to the clear and consistent teaching of God himself in the Ten Commandments.”
“If I truly believe,” Bishop Vasa said, “then my actions must be consistent with what I profess to believe. My action must also defend what I believe."
Vasa’s comments come after years of debate about whether pro-abortion Catholic politicians should be allowed to receive communion.
Last June, a special committee headed by former Washington archbishop Theodore Cardinal McCarrick for the American bishops referred back to the 2004 policy statement the conference adopted saying local bishops will make the decisions in their own diocese about how to handle each case.
McCarrick told the bishops that they had they best ability to make any decision to prohibit a pro-abortion elected official from receiving communion because they know local officials better.
McCarrick also said pro-abortion politicians should put their views about abortion aside, even if they felt they represented the majority of their constituents.
The issue of abortion and communion became a controversial one during the 2004 elections when a St. Louis bishop said he would not offer pro-abortion Democratic candidate John Kerry communion because of his pro-abortion position.
Kerry was the first Catholic to run for president on a major party ticket in 44 years.
After that, other bishops stepped forward asking pro-abortion lawmakers to refrain on their own form taking communion.
During the summer of 2004, the Catholic bishops adopted a statement that called on pro-abortion Catholics to refrain on their own from taking communion. It was adopted by a vote of 183-6.
In July 2005, the Vatican produced a new document saying Catholics who support legalized abortion should refrain from taking communion because they are out of step with church teachings.
The Vatican said pro-abortion Catholics are not taking their faith seriously and those who take communion and support abortion are behaving in a scandalous manner.
"Some receive communion while denying the teachings of the Church or publicly supporting immoral choices in life, such as abortion, without thinking that they are committing an act of grave personal dishonesty and causing scandal," the document says.
Related web sites:
Bishop Vas’a column – https://www.sentinel.org/articles/2007-9/15257.html
Catholic Bishop’s statement on withholding communion and pro-abortion speakers – https://www.usccb.org/bishops/catholicsinpoliticallife.htm
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops – https://www.usccb.org