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Vatican Double Talk on Pro-Abortion Politicians

by Christopher A. Ferrara

With the Pope ever more frail and no longer in command of the Church’s daily governance, on many issues the Vatican seems like a rudderless ship, drifting this way and that, depending on whose hand has grabbed the tiller at the moment. Thus we heard of an upcoming Vatican liturgical document that would abolish such grotesque liturgical abuses as "liturgical dancing" and altar girls, only to find that  —  not so fast  —  after further review by other Vatican bureaucrats, it was decided to approve those same abuses.

More than a year ago  —  remember?  —  we heard of an upcoming document reaffirming the Church’s traditional ban on the ordination of homosexuals, only to find that  —  not so fast  —  upon further consideration, and after consulting with a panel of non-Catholic "experts," the document may never be released because a "more nuanced approach" is required. In other words, homosexuals will continue to be ordained without Vatican opposition.

Now, yet again, we are getting conflicting Vatican signals, canceling each other out, on a matter of urgent Church reform: defending the Blessed Sacrament against sacrilege by pro-abortion "Catholic" politicians who dare to receive Holy Communion. As reported by on June 9, 2004, "Numerous and sometimes contradictory stories are circulating about the reaction of Vatican officials to the U.S. Bishops’ Task Force on Catholics in politics." This is the "task force" that is supposed to ponder  —  apparently forever  —  the "difficult question" of whether pro-abortion politicians should be admitted to Holy Communion. Of course, the "task force" is designed to provide political cover for the American bishops who have hopped into bed with pro-abortion "Catholic" politicos. There is nothing "difficult" about this question. Politicians who notoriously support abortion are complicit in the death of unborn children and cannot receive the Blessed Sacrament. Period.

And the Vatican’s response? As is so often the case these days, it depends on who is talking. According to LifeSite, "In April, Francis Cardinal Arinze, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments - under whose jurisdiction the problem falls - said that public figures who are ‘unambiguously pro-abortion’ must be refused Communion." But when Arinze was asked whether, for example, the notorious pro-abortion "Catholic" John Kerry should be permitted to receive Holy Communion, Arinze said that was a decision for the American bishops to make.

The weather vane continued to spin when, as, LifeSite notes, Bishop Donald Pelotte of Gallup, N.M. claimed that Cardinal Ratzinger, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "had given him no direct answer when asked about the problem. Bishop Pelotte said that the second highest-ranking official in Rome, after the Pope, had only instructed him to ‘be cautious’ and that to refuse Communion was a very serious thing." To date, there is no denial by Ratzinger that he gave such advice to Pelotte.

Moreover, LifeSite reports "an ‘unnamed Vatican source’… backed up Pelotte’s assertion, saying that ‘a concerted and nuanced approach is needed’ on the question of Communion and dissenting politicians."

To add to the confusion, LifeSite further reports that after his own visit to Rome, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver said that "Pope John Paul II and Vatican officials are ‘positive and very supportive’ of the direction the Denver diocese is going. Archbishop Chaput’s statements have been among the strongest against publicly pro-abortion Catholic politicians receiving Communion."

If the Vatican is so positive and supportive, then why has it not issued a definitive statement calling on all the bishops to deny Holy Communion to pro-abortion "Catholic" politicians and other known abortion supporters? Why does it allow bishops to claim that the Vatican has come down on both sides of the issue? Because, quite simply, the Vatican has come down on both of sides of the issue.

And so it’s business as usual in the post-conciliar Church: yes and no, stop and go. Nobody in the Vatican, it seems, wishes to take responsibility for defending the Blessed Sacrament against sacrilege by vile politicians with the blood of millions of innocent children on their hands.

With leadership like this, how could the Church not be in crisis?