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Fathers Pacwa, Reese debate abortion and pro-abortion politicians

November 24, 2009

Two Jesuits have appeared on a prime-time news program to debate the appropriateness of the reception of Holy Communion by pro-abortion politicians. Commenting on the recent controversy between Bishop Thomas Tobin and Rep. Patrick Kennedy, Father Thomas Reese, supported the reception of Holy Communion by pro-abortion politicians, citing the example of “most of the bishops in the United States” and the fact that “Pope John Paul II gave Communion to pro-choice politicians in Italy.”

Father Mitch Pacwa responded, “During his reign he had legislation that was put out by the office for the defense of the faith [the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith] that said politicians who are pro-abortion may not receive Holy Communion. That is Church policy … In terms of what the pope knew about this person coming to Communion and so on, I don't know.”

“It's important to make a distinction between people who are pro abortion and people who are pro choice,” Father Reese countered. “Within the last couple of months, the editor of L’Osservatore Romano, the Pope's newspaper, made the statement that he did not think that President Obama was pro-abortion. And this upset people in the United States. They wanted him fired. Well, he's still in his job.”


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  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Nov. 24, 2009 8:05 PM ET USA

    If I deny the acceptability of slavery, but support the right of another to keep slaves, I am pro-slavery. This morality is quite different from the mores of not liking cauliflower, but supporting the right of others to grow it. Reese continues to grow tiresome in his inability to make moral distinctions.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 24, 2009 11:45 AM ET USA

    One thing I have noticed is the mostly consistent non-Catholic understanding that by binding the consciences of its members, the Church is somehow "denying" the Eucharist to the faithful. Bishop Tobin has not denied the sacrament to Kennedy - he counselled him not to present himself lest he bring further condemnation on himself and scandal to the Church. That Kennedy himself chose to put his shame on public display is not surprising in light of scripture, notably Isaiah 5:20 and Romans 1:28-32.

  • Posted by: William F. Folger - Nov. 24, 2009 9:36 AM ET USA

    Fr. Reese reminds of the incompetence of many “Global Warmers”: ignoring data which challenges their hard conclusion and implying God designed a planet where contraception MUST now be enforced to save it from human CO2 emitters. Fr. Pacwa spotlighted the broad Catholic data base and noted whatever JPII did is subject to knowing more and not to hard conclusion. Let’s heed Pacwa-thinking, not Reese’s & work mightily in 2010, for 60 votes will be needed to remove any Takeovers we may soon suffer!

  • Posted by: convert - Nov. 24, 2009 9:00 AM ET USA

    Fr. Reese needs to listen to Fr. William Casey's CD - Humility: The Forgotten Virtue. How can ordained members of the Church publicly support politicians who are pro-abortion. The Church's teaching is clear and those who publicly and obstinately proclaim otherwise should not be allowed to receive the sacraments, accept the sacrament of penance. Don't priests and deacons take a vow to uphold the teachings of the Church. The bishops hold accountable those ordained who publicly dissent.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 24, 2009 6:21 AM ET USA

    Fr. Reese comment about pro abortion distinctions and L'Osservatore comment that Pres Obama is not pro abortion astounds me. Is not the issue clear. What nuances are there?