Location: Wisconsin, United States

I am a convert to the Catholic Church after serving in ordained ministry for more than nine years in another denomination. I hold a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in historical theology, and another in systematic theology, and am currently working (very slowly) on my doctorate. I work in Christian Education and Formation and teach at the University level. I am blessed with a wonderful wife and eight great kids! When I'm not studying, reading, or blogging, I enjoy eating and drinking! Like Bilbo Baggins, I have been specializing in food for many years, and my table has a high reputation!

Friday, March 19, 2010


As regular readers of this blog are aware, I am not a member of either major political party. Indeed, I am not a member of any political party at all; having made that decision when I was first ordained priest in the CEC in 1998. I took this stand (after many years of pondering a similar decision by a Catholic priest friend) because I wanted to be able to stand for or against specific issues without being accused of being part of the agenda of a political party. Even after my conversion to the Catholic Church, I have maintained my position, even though this position no doubt frustrates friends of mine on both sides of the political aisle!

I am also not in favor of the idea that all politicians whose private lives or public votes are not in accord with their professed religious faith should automatically be excommunicated. Again, this position would no doubt frustrate friends of mine on various points of the religious spectrum! This is fine by me!

To my mind, excommunication is a tool used most effectively when it is used rarely -- but when it IS used, is used to good and deliberate effect. Overused (or even over-threatened) it loses any effectiveness it might have AS a tool, both to save the soul of the excommunicate, and to take a strong public stand.

Having said all this, I would like to propose a worthy candidate for public excommunication in the Catholic Church -- namely, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. She has publicly and unrepentantly deliberately mis-stated the teachings of the Church on life issues; she has publicly and unrepentantly defied her own bishop, and now, for me anyhow, the last straw.

The Speaker, today, on this, the Solemnity of St. Joseph, publicly prayed to the foster-father of Our Lord, that the current version of the health-care legislation be passed. Also here. (Hat tip to American Papist!)

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not attacking health-care reform, nor are the Catholic bishops. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, long a supporter of real heath-care reform, have also come out strongly against the current version of the health-care legislation.

But, in this case, some extremely basic concerns about the current version of the legislation are not only being addressed, they are being ignored, and those raising those concerns are being marginalized -- at best.

It seems to me, that a public statement by the Bishops supporting substantive health-care reform, while making it clear that the Speaker's action -- publicly praying to St. Joseph for support for a bill which would, in many respects, make a mockery of authentic Catholic social teaching -- is unacceptable; even blasphemous to the point of placing her outside the Graces of the Church would be entirely appropriate!

Papa Z.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a renegade Catholic who is toying with the idea of returning to the church. I hestitate because I do not see the church defending itself. I have suggested public excommunication of every Catholic that support this health care bill the local archbishop. I see the Catholic church abandoning its principles. Perhaps I need to return to the fundamentalist protestant church that claimed when I first left Catholicism, for it seems only they are left in this fight against abortion, only they are willing to speak truth to power.

9:20 PM  
Blogger Sephora said...

I support your position and hope that we can somehow take our country back. I am not a catholic, but I do respect the good people of all faiths.
feel free to cruise over to my blog, and let me know what you think

3:09 PM  

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