Church leaders must confront dissenters, says Bishop Aquila
March 24, 2011
Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, North Dakota, strongly insisted that politicians who support legal abortion should be denied the Eucharist, in a powerful keynote address to a symposium on priestly ministry.
“The continual reception of Holy Communion by those who so visibly contradict and promote a grave evil, even more than simply dissent, only creates grave scandal, undermines the teaching and governing authority of the Church, and can be interpreted by the faithful as indifference to the teaching of Christ and the Church on the part of those who have the responsibility to govern,” Bishop Aquila said.
The bishop argued that rejection of Church teaching authority should not be excused as “faithful dissent,” but confronted. If Church leaders had been forthright in confronting dissent after the release of Humanae Vitae in 1968, he said, the Catholic world might have been spared the current support among self-identified Catholics for abortion, homosexuality, and euthanasia.
Bishops and priests have a duty to correct those who reject Church teachings, Bishop Aquila said. “We must come to accept the fact that the exercise of true authority will be divisive as it was in the time of Jesus.”