Tuesday, March 30, 2010

“One canon 915 case at a time: Start With Nancy Pelosi”

Start with Pelosi

Canon lawyer says House Speaker should be first in line for applying Canon 915, which denies Communion to those who persist in grave sin

(Editor's Note: Below are excerpts from a March 25 entry in the blog of Canon lawyer Dr. Edward Peters, "In the Light of the Law." Dr. Peters serves on the faculty of Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. Before that, he held high-level positions with the dioceses of Duluth, Minn., and San Diego.)


Some who believe that Canon 915 is meant to be enforced might yet harbor reservations about actually barring from Communion this pro-abortion Catholic politician or that one, for fear of igniting endless debates about why one does not also bar that pro-abortion Catholic politician or this one. The prospect of being criticized for "imperfectly" applying the law might cause some prelates otherwise inclined to invoke the law to hesitate doing so.

I understand their concern, and have argued elsewhere that enforcement of Canon 915 is not as simple as some seem to believe. But, lest the perfect become the enemy of the good, I am convinced that one has to start what one might call the 'national application' of Canon 915 somewhere, and that the best case to start with is that of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Before proceeding, let's be very clear about something: verification of the conditions described in Canon 915 does not merely authorize ministers to withhold holy Communion from those 'obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin'; it requires ministers to withhold holy Communion in such cases, this, upon pain of dereliction of their sacred office (1983 CIC 128, 1389).

Now, I suggest that there is no US Catholic politician whose conduct at the national level is more stridently and widely pro-abortion (to name just one area in which Pelosi's machinations are gravely objectionable) and whose scandalous rhetoric is more overtly Catholic (many of her bizarre assertions the bishops have had to stop and refute) than is Nancy Pelosi's. If her prolonged public conduct does not qualify as obstinate perseverance in manifest grave sin, then, in all sincerity, I must admit to not knowing what would constitute obstinate perseverance in manifest grave sin.

But, if I am right about the objectively evil quality of Pelosi's public conduct, then hers should be the first case in which Canon 915 is applied, even if no one else follows suit (although frankly, I think others would follow suit, ad bonum Ecclesiae et salutem animarum, which cases should be dealt with on their own merits). One is not required to commit to doing every conceivable good before one is required to do the good right in front of one's nose. One acts on what life presents, and life has presented us with Pelosi. She is our responsibility, not our parents', not our children's…

To read Dr. Peters' full commentary, which includes footnotes omitted here, Click Here.

From http://www.calcatholic.com