Pro-Abortion Members of Congress Blast Pope Benedict on Excommunication

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 15, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Abortion Members of Congress Blast Pope Benedict on Excommunication

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 15
, 2007

Washington, DC ( — Eighteen pro-abortion members of Congress lashed out on Monday in a letter opposing remarks Pope Benedict XVI made about pro-abortion Catholic politicians. The Catholic Church leader told reporters last week that any Catholic elected official who supports abortion has automatically excommunicated themselves.

Led by pro-abortion Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat, eighteen members of the House issued a statement responding to the pope’s comments.

"We are concerned with the pope’s recent statement warning Catholic elected officials that they risk excommunication and would not receive communion for their pro-choice views," the statement read.

They said that the penalty of excommunication "offend(s) the very nature of the American experiment and do(es) a great disservice to the centuries of good work the church has done."

DeLauro and the pro-abortion lawmakers suggested that even though the Catholic church is pro-life that it’s a personal mission rather than a mission accomplished through public policy.

The pontiff was asked about the topics in reference to a threat from the Catholic bishops in Mexico to excommunicate members of the Mexico City legislative assembly who recently voted to legalize abortion in the nation’s capital.

“Yes, this excommunication was not an arbitrary one but is allowed by Canon (church) law which says that the killing of an innocent child is incompatible with receiving communion, which is receiving the body of Christ,” he said.

"They (Mexican Church leaders) did nothing new, surprising or arbitrary. They simply announced publicly what is contained in the law of the Church… which expresses our appreciation for life and that human individuality, human personality is present from the first moment (of life)," he added.

The pope talked about church doctrine known as "automatic excommunication” where someone who does something which the church considers a grave sin inflicts on themselves.

A report in The Hill, a newspaper focusing on Congress, the statement "mirrors" a Catholic "statement of principles" released last year that 55 mostly pro-abortion Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, signed.

The statement of principles says that the lawmakers agreed with the Catholic Church’s "undesirability of abortion" and that each member "is committed to reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies and creating an environment with policies that encourage pregnancies to be carried to term."

When it comes to communion, Mary Ann Walsh, spokesperson for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, told The Hill the decision to withhold sacraments is made by individual bishops.