Congratulations to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the landslide winner of the 2009 CINO (Catholic In Name Only) Award. Congratulations also to the other finalists: Patrick Kennedy, Joe Biden, Kathleen Sebelius and Dick Durbin. Speaker Pelosi and the finalists win a spiritual bouquet of masses, rosaries and chaplets said for a reformation of their consciences and for their conversion back to the faith.
I also want to thank Speaker Pelosi for a wonderful teaching moment she afforded us just last week. I suspect she was merely making a last minute push for the CINO Award, but I will accept the opportunity regardless. In an interview with Newsweek magazine, she said the following:
I have some concerns about the church’s position respecting a woman’s right to choose. I have some concerns about the church’s position on gay rights. I am a practicing Catholic, although they’re probably not too happy about that. But it is my faith. I practically mourn this difference of opinion because I feel what I was raised to believe is consistent with what I profess, and that is that we are all endowed with a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions. And that women should have that opportunity to exercise their free will.
When I speak to my archbishop in San Francisco and his role is to try to change my mind on the subject, well then he is exercising his pastoral duty to me as one of his flock.
Ok, “concerns” are fine. It is what we do with those concerns though that matters. Faith seeks understanding. If you have a concern Madame Speaker, then approach the Church and seek help reconciling your concern with Church teaching. Remember, this is a not a House debate and simply a matter of opinion. This is the teaching of God as transmitted by His Church through the authority passed down by His Son. That requires a touch more assent than simply acknowledging a “difference of opinion from my esteemed colleague from the other side of the aisle.”
As for you being a practicing Catholic, based on your public declarations and actions, you are a heretic, you cause scandal to the faithful and likely have already incurred automatic excommunication though it is certainly not my place to make that declaration. So “technically” you are likely not a practicing Catholic, regardless of what you would like to think. The Church would be VERY happy for you to be a practicing Catholic. However, to do so requires action, conversion and assent on your part. It requires practice of The Faith, not of your personal collection of beliefs. You excommunicate yourself through your own actions. It is not an arbitrary decision on the part of your archbishop. Ironically, if a Democrat in the House voted with the Republicans on every issue and yet called himself a practicing Democrat, what would you do? Likely not pretty and likely not the warm inviting embrace offered by the Church.
It may be your “faith,” but it is not your Church. The Church belongs to Jesus Christ. He appointed shepherds to invite us under the conditions set forth by Him and these shepherds. It’s not a matter of personal opinion, it’s a matter of Christ’s law. You exercise your free will to accept His law and these conditions or not. Accept and you are in. Don’t accept and you are not. It’s a very simple, generous and loving invitation offered to all. But yes, you do have free will. Serviam or Non Serviam.
Your archbishop’s role is not to “change your mind” but to help you reform your conscience. Your conscience is not properly formed or else you would see the grave error of your thinking. Babies are dying by the millions. Mother’s lives are being scarred forever. You could be a powerful force to stop this. Instead you are choosing to remove barriers. You might as well be reaching in and performing the abortions yourself. Thus you either have an improperly formed conscience and should seek help or you are making a conscious choice to say no to Christ, no to His Church and no to the salvation and eternal happiness of heaven. I pray that it is the former. If the latter, please stop pretending to be Catholic, leave the rest of us alone and may God have mercy on your soul when you do in fact, “answer for your actions.”
Again, the red flag here is the concept of “free will.” Yes, we have a free will. In secular society we guide it with civil laws that govern our actions from speeding to paying taxes. I have free will to obey speed limits and pay taxes or suffer legal consequences for the short duration of my time on Earth. When it comes to accepting God’s offer of eternal salvation and happiness with Him in heaven forever, there are also laws and conditions that must be met or consequences that must be faced. Souls in a state of mortal sin, who said no to God’s Truth are turned away. Forever. Truth is absolute. It is not relative. There is right and there is wrong. Christ appointed His Church as arbiter of right and wrong. This is a great gift. We don’t have to guess and hope that we guessed right. To be Catholic is also a great gift. But to whom much is given, much more is expected.
Thank you again, Speaker Pelosi for this teaching moment. I am just a middle-class layperson and a poor teacher and I pray that your archbishop and bishops around the country seize this moment to properly instruct their flocks on the difference between simply exercising “free will” and exercising it within a properly formed conscience. I also pray that you are open to this teaching, along with the other Catholic politicians noted above. Your “conversion” would be a powerful witness that would save many, many, many souls.