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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  May 24, 2007
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Abortion: Catholic Teaching v. Kennedy Sophistry

The fact is that Patrick Kennedy and political opportunists like him want to pose as faithful Catholics while being faithless and the Pope cannot pretend that's acceptable, because it results in sacrilege and public scandal. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops needs to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. Speaking out is not enough. Enforcing canon law is necessary too.

Who do you think understands Catholic theology better, Pope Benedict XVI or Ted Kennedy's son, Patrick?

The answer should be obvious, even to the Kennedy family.

Ted opportunistically flip-flopped on the right to life long ago and his son Patrick recently charged that the Pope and canon (church law) "offend the very nature of the American experiment and do a great disservice to the centuries of good work the church has done."

Mexico City's recent legalization of abortion has had repercussions far beyond Mexico City. Mexican bishops warned that a politician supporting abortion is not in communion with the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI publicly stated that "excommunication...is allowed by Canon (church) law which says that the killing of an innocent child is incompatible with receiving communion, which is receiving the body of Christ" and the Mexican bishops "simply announced publicly what is contained in the law of the Church...which expresses our appreciation for life and that human individuality, human personality is present from the first moment (of life)."

Predictably, pro-abortion "Catholic" politicians in the United States were upset (not with abortion, but with possible sanction for supporting abortion).

On May 10, 2007, eighteen "Catholic" members of the House of Representatives, including Patrick Kennedy (obviously in need of rehabilitation of the soul), issued the following public statement:

“We are concerned with the Pope's statement warning Catholic elected officials that they risk excommunication and would not receive communion for their pro-choice views.

“Advancing respect for life and for the dignity of every human being is, as our church has taught us, our own life’s mission. As we said in our Statement of Principles, ‘We envision a world in which every child belongs to a loving family and agree with the Catholic Church about the value of human life and the undesirability of abortion – we do not celebrate its practice. Each of us is committed to reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies and creating an environment with policies that encourage pregnancies to be carried to term.’ That is precisely what some of us are doing with our initiative ‘The Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act’ – which includes policies that promote alternatives to abortion, such as adoption, improve access to children’s healthcare and child care, as well as encourage paternal and maternal responsibility.

“The fact is that religious sanction in the political arena directly conflicts with our fundamental beliefs about the role and responsibility of democratic representatives in a pluralistic America – it also clashes with freedoms guaranteed in our Constitution. Such notions offend the very nature of the American experiment and do a great disservice to the centuries of good work the church has done.”

The fact is that Patrick Kennedy and political opportunists like him want to pose as faithful Catholics while being faithless and the Pope cannot pretend that's acceptable, because it results in sacrilege and public scandal.

America's Catholic bishops responded to the pro-abortion "Catholic" politicians' statement by stating that the members of Congress who issued the statement (1) misrepresented Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks and (2) challenged freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

Sister Mary Ann Walsh, the media director for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, made the comments in a statement emailed to LifeNews.com.

She called the statement "unfortunate" and said it "misrepresents the Holy Father’s remarks and implies that the Church does not have a right to voice its teaching in the public square."

The fact is that Patrick Kennedy and political opportunists like him want to pose as faithful Catholics while being faithless and the Pope cannot pretend that's acceptable, because it results in sacrilege and public scandal.

She added that the Vatican had made it clear that "neither the Mexican bishops nor the Holy Father have excommunicated any legislator" and insisted that the papal remarks only clarified the Vatican policy that anyone who is pro-abortion ought to go to confession to seek forgiveness for tolerating or promoting the death of unborn children before taking the sacrament.

“The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision of society," Sister Walsh said. "Consequently, every Catholic is obliged to respect human life, from conception until natural death."

"To suggest that the Church should not clearly voice its teaching and apply it in a pluralistic society is to attack freedom of speech and freedom of religion," she retorted.

Finally, she warned the pro-abortion lawmakers that the Catholic Church will never stop speaking out against the destruction of human life via abortion.

Speaking out is not enough. Enforcing canon law is necessary too.

On June 14, 2004, Marc Balestrieri, a young canon lawyer, did more that speak out. He boldly filed a Denunciation for Heresy and a complaint for reparation of harm in the Ecclesiastical Court of the Archdiocese of Boston against Senator Kerry in an effort to protect the faithful from the soul and life-threatening harm caused by the public violation of Canon 750, par. 1 of the Code of Canon Law. This canon, in essence, forbids every Catholic from publicly denying a core tenet of the Catholic Faith. When a Catholic publicly supports the right to choose abortion, Mr. Balestrieri asserted, he adheres to the Right-to-Murder Heresy, more commonly known as the "Right to Choose" error. (The proceeding is pending, and on September 11, 2004, Mr. Balestrieri initiated proceedings against Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, former Governor Mario Cuomo of New York, Senator Thomas Harkin of Iowa and Senator Susan Collins of Maine, also pending.)

Pope Benedict XVI, then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, in a 2004 memorandum to Cardinal McCarrick and Bishop Wilton Gregory, then president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on the "General Principles" with respect to "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion" explaining:

"6. When '...precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible,' and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, 'the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it' (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration 'Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics' [2002], nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgement on the person's subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person's public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin."

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke elaborated in his statement on Catholic Politicians and Bishops made on June 17, 2004: "Right reason...tells us that a bishop, if he truly cares for the flock, must admonish Catholic politicians 'who choose to depart from church teaching on the inviolability of human life in their public life' regarding 'the consequences for their own spiritual well being, as well as the scandal they risk by leading others into serious sin' (Living the Gospel of Life, No. 32)." In addition, "if the Catholic politician does not recognize the lack of the proper disposition to receive Communion, then the church herself must refuse the sacrament, in order to safeguard the worthy reception of the sacrament and to prevent a serious scandal among the faithful."

Because, in the words of Archbishop Burke: "For a bishop or any pastor to exclude someone from Communion is always a source of great sorrow....What would be profoundly more sorrowful would be the failure of a bishop to call a soul to conversion, the failure to protect the flock from scandal and the failure to safeguard the worthy reception of Communion."

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops needs to walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

Michael J. Gaynor

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Biography - Michael J. Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.

Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.

The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.

Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.

Gaynor's email address is gaynormike@aol.com.


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