Now contrast the Ttimes message with the one offered in the main story at Node, beginning with the headline stating: “Pope Says Pro-Choice Politicians Are ‘Outside the Community’ of the Church, But Urges Pastoral Response.
One on the right, one on the left? Here is the lede ”
ON BOARD THE PAPAL PLANE – Pope Francis… said that communion is for those who are “in the community” and that the politicians who support abortion are “outside the community”. However, he also said that in these cases it is a pastoral issue that must be dealt with by the individual’s pastor.
Here is the contact for the “community” language:
“… Those who are not in the community cannot take Communion,” he said. “Outside the community: Excommunicated is a harsh word, but they do not belong to the community, because they have not been baptized, or because they are far from it. “
François then evoked the “question of abortion”, saying that it is “more than a problem: it is homicide. No medium term. Whoever aborts, kills. …
According to Francis, the Church is so “hard” on this issue because it is very clear: it is a human life and not a problem that can be solved by “hiring a hitman”. The Church accepting abortion, he said, would be like the Church “accepting daily homicide.”
“These people who are not in the community cannot take Communion, because they are outside the community,” he insisted. “It is not a punishment: communion is linked to the community.
It’s a complicated statement, right?
But the Times was not the only one seeing and reporting Pope Francis’ answers from one side. Consider this information from Religion News Service:
VATICAN CITY (RNS) – Returning from his papal visit to Central Europe… Pope Francis weighed in on the debate over whether Catholic politicians who support the right to abortion should be denied Communion, declaring he never refused the Eucharist to anyone and that the matter should be dealt with in a pastoral manner.
The Washington post went even further in his paraphrased interpretations of the Pope’s message and intention.
Let me stress that the following quotes are not from an article labeled ‘analysis’:
While Francis reiterated that abortion is “murder,” his comments came out as a rebuke from the bishops who pleaded for a hard line against Biden.
“I have never refused the Eucharist to anyone,” said Francis, adding that he had never knowingly met during communion a politician who supports the right to abortion.
Although the Pope has said he is speaking in general and does not know the details of the situation in the United States, his comments will add to the pressure American bishops face over how to deal with their participant. at the most prominent mass.
In another example of mind reading without attribution, there was this:
… the bishops on the other [liberal] aside to see more political motivation on the part of conservatives, who can use the Communion debate as a proxy in the larger abortion battle while making an example of a president they see as aligned with the version of Francis of progressive Catholicism.
Now journalists looking for a bit of legal background – legal as well as Catholic doctrine and canon law – will want to check out the Explanator at The pillar.
The key here, I think, is this question: What was the context for the pope’s discussions about those who are “temporarily out of the community”? According to the canonical lawyers / journalists of this website, Pope Francis said:
… (Pastoral) action does not mean ignoring the problem of abortion, or the Catholics who support it.
“And what should the pastor do?” He shouldn’t go and condemn. And he must also be a pastor with those who are excommunicated, and be pastor with the style of God, which is closeness, compassion and tenderness.
“These people who are not in the community cannot take Communion, because they are outside the community”, continued the Pope. “It is not a punishment: communion is linked to the community.
The emphasis, he said, should not be on labeling individuals as “excommunicated”, but rather on seeing them as people “temporarily outside the community” who remain “children of God and have need our pastoral action and they want and need our pastoral closeness. Then the pastors make it right by the Spirit of God.
Church law clearly applies to those who perform abortions or cooperate with the act of an abortion. However, The pillar also – in a long, but crucial passage – that:
Canon 915 can… apply to politicians who defend permissive abortion laws, if a pastor or diocesan bishop deems their advocacy to be “stubborn” – meaning they have been warned or urged to change their position. behavior, and they didn’t.
Prohibiting these people from receiving the Eucharist is not meant to be a permanent measure; rather, it is intended to call them to repentance, while specifying that such a plea is a break with ecclesial communion.
This leads to a 2004 quote from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in a speech to American bishops:
With respect to the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his constant campaigning and voting for laws permissive on abortion and euthanasia), his pastor must meet him, he on the teaching of the Church, informing him that he must not present himself to Holy Communion until he has put an end to the objective situation of sin, and warning him that otherwise he will be refused the Eucharist.
“When ‘these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they have not been possible’ and the person in question, with stubborn obstinacy, still comes forward to receive the Holy Eucharist, ‘the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it ‘. “
This decision, strictly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. The minister of Holy Communion also does not pass judgment on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather reacts to the person’s public indignity to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.
Cardinal Ratzinger would of course become Pope Benedict XVI.
Stay tuned, reporters, and look for other sides that this Vatican ship is taking on this subject, both ways.
These remarks by Francis can be read as a suggestion that genuinely “pastoral” bishops should take stronger action behind the scenes with liberal Catholics who – in word and deed – oppose Church teachings. If these private actions and requests fail, perhaps it is time for someone to be declared “temporarily out of the community”.
FIRST IMAGE : “The Church as a Ship,” a symbol on the WindStar Embroidery Designs website.