Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Importance of Being Ardent

About ten years ago, I had the honor of attending Evening Prayer for the Dead for the late Bishop of Arlington, in the wake of an untimely passing. I was one of a string of writers contributing to the Arlington Catholic Herald at the time, and the Editor was good enough to reserve a place for me with his staff. The best seats in the house, of course, went to priests of the diocese and visiting prelates. Behind them, were the local civic and political dignitaries; the senators, congressmen, and Federal judges, by virtue of their being Catholic. They got the same great seats in the Cathedral when the new Bishop was installed, while the average parishioner waited for some doofus in the chancery, to dole out remaining tickets to parishes at the last possible moment.

It is safe to say that many of the senators and congressmen in (very prominent) attendance were then, and remain today, avid supporters of "a woman's right to choose."

Congresswoman and Speaker of the House and "ardent Catholic" Nancy Pelosi recently visited Rome, and had a private audience with the Holy Father. As one would hope, and albeit somewhat diplomatically, he chose the opportunity to read the riot act.

Following the General Audience the Holy Father briefly greeted Mrs Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, together with her entourage.

His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church’s consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development.

No, he did not take the opportunity to excommunicate her on the spot. Such matters are, by their very nature concerning the state of one's soul, very delicate, and as such are demanding of due process; in this case, reserved for the person's own bishop. This is to ensure proper recourse to private reproach, and failing that, escalating to a more formal and public denunciation.

Still, I don't think it will happen. The Archbishop of San Francisco can barely tell when burly men cross-dressing as nuns receive Communion from him. Don't expect His Immenseness to awaken from his bureaucratic stupor anytime soon. On the other hand, the Pope emerges from this episode as a great man. He fulfilled his pastoral duty in proclaiming the Gospel of Life, to someone who desperately needed to hear it.

Nonetheless, the fact remains, that for whatever major ecclesiastical event she attends, Madame Speaker can rest assured of getting one of the best seats in the house. That's a long way from the DOGhouse, dontcha know? Why would she not dismiss out of hand, the up-close-and-personal correction of the Vicar of Christ on Earth, her questionable grasp of the writings of Augustine notwithstanding? Why not just have the ushers carry her on a sedia gestatoria to Communion while we're at it? Until it occurs to someone in authority that we are effectively encouraging such behavior, and the subsequent rise of state-sanctioned infanticide, we will have to endure the kind of drivel featured in the video clip above, for years to come.

After all, why bother with the trouble of getting a clue, when nobody makes it worth the trouble?

At least not in this life.

[MID-AFTERNOON UPDATE: Father Z: "The mismatch between the two statements of what was talked about in this conversation suggests to me that she was either unmoved by the content of what the Pope said to her, or embarrassed."]

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