On Communion for Pro-abortion Politicians, Heretics, and Schismatics

The Roman Pontiff has the full authority given by Christ to Peter and his successors. He does not have that authority only when the faithful or the Bishops are in agreement with him, but rather at all times unconditionally. That is why is power is termed both supreme and ordinary. He needs no special reason to exercise his full authority from Christ. Peter holds the keys. When he opens, no one can close. When he closes, no one can open.

Pope Francis has decided not to deny holy Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians. Many conservative and traditionalist Catholics have been complaining about this position. The complains assume that the Pope is wrong and they are right. But this is a matter of discipline. Pope Francis, the Supreme Pontiff, has clearly and emphatically condemned abortion, calling it murder and likening it to hiring an assassin. But it remains within his power to decide the discipline. Dogma does not determine discipline.

The most clear proof of this principle is the example of Christ, confronted by the Pharisees with the woman caught in adultery. A crowd had gathered. Some of them probably anticipated a stoning might occur and were willing to participate. Christ reminded them of their own sins, ” ‘Let whoever is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her.’ ” And what was the reaction of the crowd, who had gathered to see if a stoning would occur? “But upon hearing this, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest. And Jesus alone remained, with the woman standing in front of him.” If you wish to condemn someone caught in grave sin, consider your own sins first. Then maybe you will not be so quick to condemn others.

The Pharisees were hypocrites. Notice that the woman was “caught in adultery”. That means the man was present also and was also caught. But the Pharisees did not bring both of them forward to be, perhaps, put to death, but only the woman:

{22:22} If a man sleeps with the wife of another, then they shall both die, that is, the adulterer and the adulteress. And so shall you take away the evil from Israel.

Why didn’t the Pharisees bring forward the man also? They wanted Christ to say that the law should be followed and the adulterers put to death, so they could accuse Him before the Romans, who did not permit the Jews to issue the Mosaic death penalty (putting persons to death for offenses in religious law). And if He had said not to put her to death, they would have accused him of rejecting Moses and the Law. But the Pharisees did not know which way the dilemma they presented would go, so they thought that whomever they brought forward might be put to death, so they only brought the woman. Who was the man? Was he a fellow Pharisee or a friend or relative of someone in power? The Pharisees were not following the Law, but acting unjustly in any case. They were willing to use this woman to bait Jesus, even though she might have been put to death, they wrongly thought, in that situation. Thus, the Pharisees were guilty of her death, just as if they had attempted to murder someone and failed. They knew it was illegal to kill her for adultery, and yet they put her in a situation they thought might result in her death. Murderers.

Notice the response of Jesus, not merely to prevent the woman from being killed, but also, in effect, the Lord dispensed the Mosaic death penalty altogether. This passage has that meaning: no more killing for religious offenses under the Old Testament “discipline”, as we might term it. And this does not have the effect of approving of adultery, nor of any of the other offenses that would no longer have the death penalty. (I should also point out that the Jews themselves, even the most conservative, no longer apply the Mosaic death penalty themselves, and have not done so for a very long time.)

So when the Roman Pontiff does not deny communion to politicians who are pro-abortion, it does not imply a change in dogma on abortion or any other subject. Pope Francis is acting leniently, and I really believe that this is the will of God for now. Then, under the next Pontificate, this time of mercy and leniency might end, and stricter disciplines might be imposed. Discipline need not stay the same to be correct.

Hypocrisy

Many of those crying out against Pope Francis for refusing to deny holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians are themselves guilty of obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin for opposing the authority of Pope Francis per se, for opposing his decisions of doctrine and discipline, and for opposing the teachings and authority of Ecumenical Councils (often Vatican I and II) as well as for falsely accusing multiple Popes of heresy, idolatry, and various grave errors. These sins include heresy and schism. Many are also guilty of grave scandal, for publicly treating the Roman Pontiff with great contempt, ridicule, and open malice. Some have persevered in these public grave sins for years now. And then they say, “Don’t give Communion to that politician who is pro-abortion!” Their own sins are also very grave. For grave spiritual sins against the Church harm the path of salvation, endangering souls. So the hypocrisy is severe and unmistakable.

They should not present themselves for Communion who are not in communion with the Roman Pontiff. They should not present themselves for Communion who reject or oppose the teaching of any Ecumenical Council. They should not present themselves for Communion who accuse any Roman Pontiff of grave failures of faith or grave errors on doctrine or discipline. For such accusations are contrary to the perennial teaching of the Church under the ordinary universal Magisterium. They should not present themselves for Communion who commit grave scandal by treating any Roman Pontiff with contempt, ridicule, or malice.

The hypocrisy is stunning of those who say: “That person over there! Deny them Communion!” And then they continue, as they have been for years now, attacking the Popes and Councils, spreading heresy and schism, scandalizing the faithful very severely, and pretending to be holier than John 23, Paul 6, and John Paul II — whom they deny are Saints. They think themselves to be more orthodox than the Pope. They openly express hatred for Pope Francis. And then they present themselves for holy Communion, without repentance or Confession.

I assume that many of these accusers of Popes and Councils go to Confession. But they clearly are not repentant from heresy, schism, bearing false witness against the Pope, gravely scandalizing the faithful, and openly attacking the body of Christ. I wonder what the state of their souls is like, and whether their Confessions are valid, due to invincible ignorance, or invalid due to their many grave sins that go unconfessed. God only knows.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.

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3 Responses to On Communion for Pro-abortion Politicians, Heretics, and Schismatics

  1. Rigby says:

    Great analysis of the parable.

  2. Matt says:

    Great post, Ron!

    Pope Francis wrote in EVANGELII GAUDIUM – page 40: “The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”

  3. Thomas Mazanec says:

    I myself would, if I were a Bishop of a capitol, forbid Communion to politicians who publicly promote abortion at will, but I respect those Bishops who do not do so.

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