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Bishop Aquila – unrepentant pro-abort politicians should be excommunicated August 15, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, Eucharist, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, sickness, Society.

It’s refreshing to hear a small, but growing number of bishops, understand and seem willing to enforce this basic point of Catholic theology: those who persist, publicly, in a manifest state of grave sin must be publicly declared outside the Body of Christ (excommunicated – anathema sit).  This has been covered elsewhere, but since this is a topic of great interest to this blog, I’ll repost here:

The Church should seek the conversion of pro-abortion politicians, but if they remain obstinate they should be expelled from the Church, says Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo.

The Bishop proposed in an interview with Catholic World Report this week that Bishops should take their cue from the Gospel of Matthew in handling pro-abortion politicians.

“Our Lord tells us to speak to the person, and then take two or three others with us if he does not change,” he said. “If he still does not change, the Church can speak to him, which is done through the bishop. [The bishop] exercises the authority of Christ. Christ then says that if that person is still obstinate and will not change, treat them as a tax collector or Gentile. Expel him.'”

We do this out of love for the person, seeking his conversion. He needs to understand that the salvation of his soul is in jeopardy because of the positions he is taking. [This is the key point – excommunication is not a case of the ‘mean ‘ol Church’ beating up on some dissident thinker, it’s a desperate attempt to convert someone back into the life of Grace, and away from the path of damnation]

Catholics are called to defend human life, particularly that of the unborn. The Church’s teaching is clear. If we don’t challenge public officials who reject this teaching, we leave them in their sins and confuse the faithful.

The Bishop continued: “Catholics are called to defend human life, particularly that of the unborn. The Church’s teaching is clear. If we don’t challenge public officials who reject this teaching, we leave them in their sins and confuse the faithful.”

Aquila, who has been the spiritual head of the diocese of Fargo in North Dakota for ten years, is well known for his support for the pro-life cause.

His active support for the 40 Days for Life campaign in Fargo included sending a letter to the priests of the diocese asking them to sign up for an hour of prayer outside an abortion clinic. He has also personally led prayer vigils outside Fargo’s only abortuary.

The Bishop told Catholic World Report that his commitment to pro-life advocacy began in the 1970s, when he got a glimpse of the devastating aftermath of an abortion as an orderly in an emergency room in Colorado.

Obviously, I agree with the Church’s constant teaching, which, as Bishop Aquila pointed out, is grounded in Sacred Scripture (not to mention Tradition).  What I find additionally interesting, is the possible correlation between Bishop Aquila’s truly standout position on abortion, even among Catholic bishops, and the heavy pressure on abortion “rights” in North Dakota.  The North Dakota legislature has repeatedly passed laws to limit abortion, to a degree greater than almost any other state – some of which have been struck down in court.  I am certain that the public witness of Bishop Aquila, and his guidance to priests to pray outside mills, has played a large role in that continuing pressure.  I think there is much to be learned from the leadership he has exhibited to the local pro-life movement by Catholics all over the country.

It would certainly be interesting to know if there are any pro-abort ‘Catholic’ politicians in the Diocese of Fargo, and whether they have been disciplined in any way.  I recognize that, as good as Bishop Aquila’s words are, it is action that really matters.

h/t culturewarnotes


1. ‘Catholic in good standing’ VP Biden ‘understands’ China’s one child policy « A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - August 23, 2011

[…] times over, there has been no public attestation by any Church leadership to that fact. Although some bishops in recent times have made plain that unrepentant pro-abort politicians, who have been repeatedly […]

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