First of all, a suggestion: may we start explicitly avoiding using terms like “pro-choice”, “family planning”, “and “gay”?
Choice doesn’t apply to the murder of babies; planning children means actually planning to have them, and “gay” doesn’t mean homosexual.
Coming to the point: the already mentioned Bishop Aquila (one who takes his job seriously, as you can read here) has given an interview to the Catholic World Report, letting drop something rather similar to a bomb concerning the way a bishop should deal with Catholic Pro-Abortion politicians. Let us read him:
How should the Church respond to Catholic politicians who support legalized abortion?
Bishop Aquila: Their particular bishops can use the process of correction that is given to us in sacred Scripture, especially in Matthew’s Gospel. Our Lord tells us to speak to the person, and then take two or three others with us if he does not change.
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.
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.
One doesn’t know how to begin, so many are the points which Bishop Aquila makes very clear in just a few words:
1) At a certain point, a bishop must act and excommunicate the politician.
2) The bishop must do it out of love for the man, and desire to save his soul.
3) Catholics are called to defend human life. It’s not an option for anyone, much less (so much is clear from Aquila’s words) for a bishop.
4) The Church’s teaching is clear. No ifs, no buts, none of the excuses used in the last decades. Abortion goes against Church teaching. It must be fought against.
5) The bishop who doesn’t act: a) fails to help the sinner, and b) confuses the faithful.
You know, and I know, and everyone knows, that there are at the moment a handful of bishops who are, in this particular juncture, specially called to action by these words. I frankly can’t imagine that bishop Aquila’s words may have been spoken without having those particular situations in mind.
I do hope that in the coming weeks and, if must be, months, more and more US Bishop will raise their voice not only defending the point in principle but, like Aquila, elegantly suggesting to their colleagues the way to react to what happens in their dioceses.
There is only one abortion clinic in North Dakota. The American Papist now informs us that the local bishop, Samuel Aquila, has authorised the establishment of a chapel next door to the clinic.
The chapel is meant to
pray for women with an unexpected pregnancy, to pray in reparation for the sin of abortion and for the conversion of those who participate in abortion.
One cannot praise Bishop Aquila (which is Italian for eagle, and what a fitting name it is) enough for his open defiance of the Nazi mentality of our times. I hope that it will be possible to make the chapel not only a constant point of reference for those who gather to pray near the clinic, but also in some way visible to the women visiting the structure. The fact that it is on the third floor of a building would seem to speak against it, but if the chapel is conspicuously indicated from the street level, perhaps a certain degree of visibility will be achieved anyway.
Once again, the comparison with the bishops of England & Wales is rather depressing.
A prayer for this brave bishop is fully in order.