She said; he said

By Diogenes (articles ) | Dec 03, 2004

She was raised a Catholic. Now she heads the most prominent pro-abortion organization in the US.

She says that she had a major clash with her bishop, 15 years ago, because of her outspoken support for the slaughter of unborn babies. The bishop, she claims, made "a public effort to excommunicate her," and she "stood up" to it. It was "very, very big," Nancy Keenan told the Washington Post.

A bit of background here. Bishops have the authority to declare excommunications. (There's no question of making an "effort" to do so; it's done.) The individual could appeal, through canonical courts. But that's not what Nancy Keenan did. Instead she told Bishop Elden Curtiss to take a hike. By her own account, then, she was excommunicated.

But there's a problem with Keenan's account. If Bishop Curtiss made a public "effort" to discipline her, it's odd that there is no record of the excommunication.

So what's the real story?

Now comes Eric Schiedermayer, spokesman for the Diocese of Helena, Montana, who tells that there was never any attempt to excommunicate Keenan in due canonical form; the bishop just tried to "help her understand" that public support for abortion is incompatible with the Catholic faith, and there were "no threats of sanctions at all."

So here's where we stand:

- The president of NARAL Pro-Choice America thinks her clash with the Church is "very, very big," and she was willing to forsake the faith rather than stop promoting the abortion industry.

- The spokesman for her local diocese says that it really isn't such a big deal, and you can become the figurehead for the pro-abortion movement without facing any Church discipline.

The abortion lobby wants a fight with the Catholic hierarchy. But this heavyweight can't land a punch, his opponent is backpedaling so quickly.

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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Fr. William - Dec. 03, 2004 11:40 PM ET USA

    In the article, Eric, a spokesman for the Diocese of Helena, did say that Keenan excommunicated herself, & that each of us does this every time each of us commits a mortal sin. OK. Eric, who I know loves the Church & the Holy Father & the Magisterium, & would lay down his life for Christ & His Church, is a lay spokesman for the diocese. Diogenes notes well the bishop's silence. We need to hear from the shepherd of the diocese, the current bishop... & the people are waiting...

  • Posted by: Fatimabeliever - Dec. 03, 2004 7:30 PM ET USA

    Does anyone know where the truth is anymore, even this Bishop comes off as someone who isn't sure of the teachings of the Catholic Church. Or maybe he is because he belongs to this new modern so called American Catholic Church that doesn't care if it's going to hell and dragging others with it.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 03, 2004 7:00 PM ET USA

    I happen to know Eric, and he is a great man and a great Catholic. If you actually read the article that Diogenes links us to, you will see that what Eric said and what Diogenes said Eric said are two entirely different things: "she has excommunicated herself" and the current bishop is considering formally and publicly excommunicating her.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 03, 2004 10:11 AM ET USA

    And the winner of our first annual Zygote, for conspicuous retreat in the face of opposition to Church teaching is.......