AP: Pope's Communion Stance Inflicts 'Pain' On Pro-Abortion Pols

AP's Laurie Kellman reported an entire story Wednesday night on "Abortion-rights lawmakers to receive communion," but nowhere in the story was an American quoted in opposition to granting communion to pro-abortion politicians. The angle for the story was that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others planned to receive communion at the Papal Mass in D.C., when Pope Benedict has been supportive of denying the sacrament to abortion supporters. This paragraph stuck out:

Benedict's stance on abortion and Communion has been painful for elected officials who inhabit the troubled zone where Catholicism and their political beliefs intersect.

It would be just as true to state "Pelosi's stance on abortion and Communion has been painful for church officials," but that's not the ideological flow coming out of AP. Instead, Kellman quoted John Kerry plugging the opportunity of the papal trip to foster discussion on "poverty, disease, and despair," which in his mind probably doesn't include despair over pro-abortion politicians ever considering whether their position needs to better reflect their chosen faith. Kellman also quoted pro-abortion Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY), as well as the 2004 letter from 48 pro-abort lawmakers threatening the Church not to mess up their impact on politics by insisting on a single unimportant issue:

"If Catholic legislators are scorned and held out for ridicule by Church leaders on the basis of a single issue, the Church will lose strong advocates on a wide range of issues that relate to the core of important Catholic social teaching," they wrote. "Moreover, criticism of us on a matter that is essentially one of personal morality will deter other Catholics from entering politics, and in the long run the Church will suffer."

Kellman could have quoted a 2004 pastoral letter from Michael Sheridan, the Bishop of Colorado Springs, who expressed the view of full-throated bishops that year, to liberal media hoots and hollers:

Any Catholic politicians who advocate for abortion, for illicit stem cell research or for any form of euthanasia ipso facto place themselves outside full communion with the Church and so jeopardize their salvation. Any Catholics who vote for candidates who stand for abortion, illicit stem cell research or euthanasia suffer the same fateful consequences. It is for this reason that these Catholics, whether candidates for office or those who would vote for them, may not receive Holy Communion until they have recanted their positions and been reconciled with God and the Church in the Sacrament of Penance.

It would have been nice for Kellman to find someone, now or then, to present this side of the argument in her story.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis