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How To Solve The Dilemma Of Pro-Abortion Catholic Pols

July 7, 2021 Featured Today No Comments

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

On June 18, a group of sixty Catholic Democrats currently serving in the House of Representatives published a “Statement of Principles” in defense of their support for abortion.
“As Catholic Democrats in Congress, we are proud to be part of the living Catholic tradition — a tradition that unfailingly promotes the common good, expresses a consistent moral framework for life, and highlights the need to provide a collective safety net to those individuals in society who are the most vulnerable,” they write.
Yes, the Statement was probably plagiarized from the USCCB’s website, where “Social Justice” — North America’s version of Liberation Theology — has been celebrated for decades.
Consider:
“We are committed to making real the basic principles that are at the heart of Catholic social teaching: helping the poor, disadvantaged, and the oppressed, protecting the least among us and ensuring that all Americans of every faith are given meaningful opportunities to share in the blessings of this great country.”
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco has done us all a favor by blasting this palaver. Writing in First Things, he said that “One of the ‘basic principles’ of Catholic belief is rather blunt and simple: Don’t intentionally kill, or collude in enabling others to kill, innocent human life. Catholic principles build systematically on one another. The protection of innocent, defenseless life is first and foundational.”
Of course, the Democrats know that and they ignore it. “That commitment is fulfilled in different ways by legislators,” they write, “but includes: reducing the rising rates of poverty, particularly child poverty; increasing access to education for all; pressing for access to universal health care; recognizing the dignity of all humans; and repairing longstanding racial and gender inequities in our society.”
Cordileone’s unwelcome response: “Why would Catholic members of Congress support laws that have the effect of destroying the natural family through marriage redefinition, no-fault divorce, and other similar policies?”
But enough with distractions. Let’s get to the “core issue.” After generously citing generalities from Pope Francis and other tired shibboleths, the Statement asserts that taking any action against pro-abortion Democrats would be “contradictory.”

Rules, Rules, Rules

Let’s talk about contradictions.
Article 1, section 5, clause 2 of the Constitution states that “Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member.”
Members of the House of Representatives writes their own Rules. At the beginning of every new Congress, Members vote to adopt those Rules. Those Rules are clear and binding.
Let’s consider a couple of useful examples, relying on contemporary sources.
Rule XVII, clause 4, of the standing rules of the House of Representatives describes a parliamentary mechanism whereby a Member may call another Member to order for the use of disorderly language. Disorderly, or un-parliamentary, remarks are a violation of House rules of decorum. This mechanism, which is referred to as “words taken down,” may be invoked during debate on the House floor, in the Committee of the Whole, or in the standing and select committees of the House. The tradition goes all the way back to Thomas Jefferson’s Manual.
On January 25, 1995, Cong. Robert Dornan (R., Calif.) made brief remarks condemning draft-dodger Bill Clinton’s opposition to the Vietnam War as “giving aid and comfort to the enemy.”
When Cong. Dornan finished his statement, he slammed the microphone down to both the cheers and angry shouts of his fellow House members. Immediately, Cong. Victor Fazio (D., Calif.), demanded that Cong. Dornan’s words be taken down, on the grounds that Cong. Dornan disrespected his superior.
The presiding Chair ruled that Cong. Dornan’s words were offensive and inappropriate for the House chamber, and called for a vote on a motion to “take the words down.” When the motion passed, they were stricken from the record.
Cong. Fazio then demanded that Dornan apologize for his words, to which Cong. Dornan responded, “No! Hell no!” The Chair then had Cong. Dornan’s speaking privileges banned for twenty-four hours and had him removed from the House floor for continuing to act in a disorderly manner.
House Rules allow measures that are even more stringent. On July 20, 1983, Cong. Gerry Studds was censured on the floor of the House Chamber for having seduced a 17-year-old male congressional page. Studds defied his colleagues by turning his back on them as the motion was read, but the censure stands to this day.
House Members are subject to a variety of other disciplinary measures as well. According to the Congressional Research Service, additional “forms of discipline in the House are ‘expulsion’ or ‘reprimand’,” although the House may also discipline its Members in other ways, including fine or monetary restitution, loss of seniority, and suspension or loss of certain privileges.”

Holy Mother Church Has Laws Too

Like the House of Representatives, the Catholic Church makes its own rules. Many of them are set out in the Code of Canon Law of 1983, where we find the two Canons most pertinent to the Statement published by the pro-abortion Catholic Members on June 18. Most Catholics, and certainly all Catholic Members of Congress, are familiar with the texts:
“915. Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”
“916: A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition which includes the resolution of confessing as soon as possible.”
We must ask: Every Catholic Democrat in the House of Representatives supports abortion. As Catholics, they respect — and obey — the Rules of the House. Why won’t they respect and obey the rules of the Church?
That’s a forbidden question. Instead, they deflect and deceive: “In recognizing the Church’s role in providing moral leadership, we acknowledge and accept the tension that comes with being in disagreement with the Church in some areas.”
In other words, “Hell no!”
Today Mr. Dornan tells The Wanderer, “Apparently you can defile God by murdering babies in the womb and get away with it, but if you defile the Speaker your privileges are taken away for at least a day.”
But can’t we convince them?
Archbishop Cordileone’s response is powerful, but it falls on deaf ears and dead consciences. When it comes to Catholic Democrats, “Obeying their conscience” means stuff like fighting Global Warming.
“As legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives, we work every day to advance respect for life and the dignity of every human being,” their statement begins.
That’s a lie, of course. We know it and they know it. Yet they obstinately persist in this manifest great sin every single day.
But one thing the Members do recognize is the Rules of the House. Disobey them, and they accept their punishment, meekly or, as in Cong. Dornan’s case, with a “No! Hell No!”
But they must accept the ruling of the Chair after the motion to “take down words” passes. And they obey it.
“The protection of innocent, defenseless life is first and foundational.” Not for Catholic Democrats. But to follow Canon Law, we don’t have to persuade them first. And they don’t have to apologize.
Cong. Fazio couldn’t convince Bob Dornan. Dornan refused to apologize, and he followed House Rules and left the floor.
Catholic Democrat abortion supporters also refuse to apologize. While that would be nice — even honest — they don’t have to apologize in order to be subject to the rules of Canons 915 and 916 regarding the reception of Communion.
If they won’t obey the law, the bishops must.
But the Democrats might shout, “No! Hell no!”
Let them.
To protect the Body, Blood Soul, and Divinity from being defiled, it is not only the bishops but every minister of Communion who must follow the rules.
Democrats might profane the Eucharist with ease, but they know how to follow the rules.
Make them.

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