by Steven Ertelt
May 23, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The nation’s Catholic bishops have responded to the 18 pro-abortion Catholic politicians who issued a statement last week blasting Pope Benedict XVI. The lawmakers took issue with his comments that pro-abortion elected officials have automatically excommunicated themselves and shouldn’t receive communion.
The bishops said the members of Congress both misrepresented the Pope’s remarks and defied freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
Sister Mary Ann Walsh, the media director for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, made the comments in a statement emailed to LifeNews.com.
She called the statement "unfortunate" and said it "misrepresents the Holy Father’s remarks and implies that the Church does not have a right to voice its teaching in the public square."
Pope Benedict’s comments came in response to legislators in Mexico City who voted to legalize abortion there. Walsh said the Vatican has made it clear that "neither the Mexican bishops nor the Holy Father have excommunicated any legislator."
Instead, she said the remarks only clarified the Vatican policy that anyone who is pro-abortion ought to go to confession to seek forgiveness for tolerating or promoting the death of unborn children before taking the sacrament.
“The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision of society," Walsh said. "Consequently, every Catholic is obliged to respect human life, from conception until natural death."
"To suggest that the Church should not clearly voice its teaching and apply it in a pluralistic society is to attack freedom of speech and freedom of religion," she contended.
She warned the pro-abortion lawmakers that the Catholic Church will never stop speaking out against the destruction of human life via abortion.
Led by pro-abortion Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat, the eighteen members of the House said 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.