Double standard at the Vatican?

VATICAN CITY — Following up on Paul Haring’s post below and the comments in response, it was in fact striking to compare the Vatican’s very different treatment this past week of two political leaders who support legal abortion: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

If the Vatican statements reflect the content of their papal audiences, Pelosi received a sharply worded lesson on the pro-life responsibilities of legislators. Brown (who last year helped defeat legislation that would have cut the upper time-limit of abortion from 24 to 22 weeks of life) explored in “cordial conversations” with the pontiff practically every other issue under the sun: the economic crisis, the Middle East, global poverty, the environment, etc.

As Wally Watson suggests in his comment to Paul’s post, one key was the fact that Pelosi is Catholic; Brown is not. That said, Italy is full of Catholic legislators who support legal abortion but have escaped a dressing-down by the pope — in fact, some of them have received Communion at papal Masses.

The real reason Pelosi got such a cool reception at the Vatican was that she challenged the church’s teaching publicly during last year’s election campaign, and even suggested that church leaders could not agree on when human life begins. Several U.S. bishops rushed to correct her and invited her to review her thinking.

Unlike many U.S. Catholic debates, this one registered at the Vatican. So when Pelosi came seeking a papal audience, Vatican officials felt the issue was being laid at its doorstep. Thus the strongly worded statement, which not only gave strong backing to U.S. bishops, but highlighted a position that’s been refined and underlined by the Vatican in recent years: that on issues like abortion, Catholic legislators cannot check their faith at the door.

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7 Responses to Double standard at the Vatican?

  1. G.K. Thursday says:

    Glad you noted that there’s a difference between an adherent of the Roman Catholic faith and a non-RC Christian. Canon law is quite explicit on the responsibilities of the faithful. Pelosi has notoriously flouted these, making a mockery of the faith she claims to hold.

    Brown, who is nominally CofE, can’t be expected to adhere to RC moral theology, and Canon law only applies to him in very limited and oblique ways. Instead, he is treated with the respect due to a foreign dignitary and Protestant believer.

    Pelosi, as a (col)lapsed Roman Catholic must enter into a penitential mode to gain the grace of reconciliation with her professed faith. Or she could leave the RC Church, which will probably be what she does eventually. Her political power means more to her than the condition of her soul.

  2. Paul says:

    GK is quite correct as a matter of moral theology and canon law. There is no “double standard at the Vatican” in the treatment of Pelosi and Brown.

    By raising the issue in this manner, Mr Thavis appears to have another aim in view; namely, to portray pro-abortion liberal Democrats, like Pelosi, Biden, Sebelius, Kennedy, and a host of others, as victims of Church discrimination and persecution.

  3. B.G. says:

    If a non Roman Catholic Christian like Mr. Brown cannot be held to Roman Catholic moral theology, then isn’t Ms. Pelosi’s view the correct one – that Catholic politicians can not insert Roman Catholic moral theology into the law of this country?

  4. Holly says:

    Yes, but Ms. Pelosi can vote against immoral issues just like anyone else.
    Especially if one believes it is detrimental to the public forum.
    If everyone had gone against Hitler in the public forum and know what he would achieve and some did protest in the beginning then we may have had different historical viewpoint.
    Abortion is wrong and when a Catholic Politician supports abortion its wrong.
    When one does not present legislation like our Pro-Life Politicians have then there is your doubles standard on morality and ethics.
    Abortion is a very barbaric procedure. It does nothing for society.
    For all we know we have been killing children detrimental to our society.
    As some one said to me, we treat our animals better than we treat our children sometimes.
    What is wrong with this picture.
    A human being is supposed to be on a more intelligent level than an animal.
    Again what is wrong with this picture.
    The only reason abortion is holding in this country is because the elite intellectuals pushed for it unbeknownst to the rest of the country.
    The pulled the overpopulation scare card. No one knew really what the overpopulation problem was going to be they only knew theory.
    They also say they use this as an excuse to get the population down so there is lower War Ratio.
    Pray tell me what this means?
    Less people less War. People we still have war and we still have the rich and we still have the poor even though we abort.
    We have Norma McKorvey who regrets being a part and possibly a pawn for the abortion movement.
    There was an agenda before McKorvey.
    The scientists did their so-called experiment with rats.
    Let me ask you somethin humbly. Are we not supposed to have a higher brain level than a rat?
    How come no one is exploring the Natural Family Planning areas.
    As far as I know abortion is a political/scientific weapon.
    Im for practical planning of families.
    The Church knows that there are other negative factors such as mental disorders/unstability in raising a family.
    There has to be a better way for women than this.
    The suffergettes did not condone abortion.
    So why is it a factor today and not better education of Family Planning.
    Respectfully asking.

  5. Craig McAndrew says:

    Point of information: Gordon Brown is not CofE. His father was a minister in the Church of Scotland.

  6. Liz Kayne says:

    Abortion is just another form of birth control It is a part of the feminazi agenda. It is convenient and gives the illusion that a woman has, at least, control of her body. Never mind that they can’t control their minds – abstinence is inconvenient; natural family planning is inconvenient. These women want to do what they want to do and damn the consequences because they can “take care of it.” What ever happened to being responsible for your actions? Pre-Wade v. Roe made women and men “think” about what they were doing – a consequence was marriage and made you think about how much you possibly loved this person – love was a factor. Today satisfaction is the only factor and sex has become a commodity of personal satisfaction. When I think of what a horror we unleashed – and I was an early feminist – I am truly ashamed. Nothing good came out of the feminist movement – absolutely nothing.

  7. Athelstan says:

    If Speaker Pelosi is guilty of sin worthy of excommunication, then the pope should pronounce the excommunication and put an end to the issue once and for all. If, on the other hand, canon law is on the Speaker’s side and she has done nothing to warrant excommunication, then her bishop should approve the granting of holy communion to her.
    The Speaker has expressed her views and she has used the law uphold a legal precedent– to uphold Roe v Wade, but assuming she hasn’t had an abortion herself, or paid for one, or counseled anyone to have an abortion, then there are no grounds for denying her holy communion.
    Church policy on this matter is the essence of hypocrisey and riddled with double standards. In one diocese the Speaker might be very well left alone and is permitted to take communion. In another she might well be pilloried by the local bishop ,and the whitened sepulchres are ready to stone her.

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