Phil Lawler offers his commentary on Pope Benedict’s remarks about his transatlantic flight yesterday that caused so much furor.
Phil says that looking at this as dealing with excommunication is fraught with complications, but if we “set aside the issue of excommunication, and examine the simpler question of whether the Pope believes the Mexican lawmakers should be barred from receiving the Eucharist” then what he means is very clear.
Short of outright excommunication— a step we can always discuss later— Catholic bishops have the authority to say that public figures who support the culture of death should be denied the Eucharist. A few brave bishops have actually taken that step already. Now it’s quite clear that those few bishops have the Pope’s support. On that issue, at least, there’s no need for further clarification.
That’s exactly my take in the situation.
Incidentally, the Holy Father’s doing a lot more on his trip to Brazil than answering questions about the excommunication of pro-abortion politicians. Thomas has all your links and photos.
First off, the Holy Father is emphasizing that his trip is not just to Brazil, but to the whole of Latin America, which is not really a continent, but South America and parts of North America. We’ll use the “continent” shorthand anyway.
He said the Latin American bishops meeting in Aparecida will provide a “renewed vigor and missionary impetus” for the Church and re-emphasize Christian principles including “the promotion of respect for life from the moment of conception until natural death as an integral requirement of human nature.” He said it will also “will also make the promotion of the human person the axis of solidarity, especially towards the poor and abandoned.”
So far today, he met with Brazil President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva to talk about social issues in Brazil, had lunch with Brazil’s bishops, and was to meet with youth in a Sao Paulo stadium. Tomorrow is the canonization of Bl. Frei Galvao.
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