Christ among the Doctors of the Law



Saturday, May 10, 2008

Staunching the wound of Bleeding Kansas

A century and a half ago, "Bleeding Kansas" referred to the violence through which Kansans suffered as a presage to the full-scale war that engulfed the United States just a few years later. Today, "Bleeding Kansas" more aptly describes that beautiful state's reputation as a haven for late-term abortions.

The governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius, firmly aligned with the abortion lobby, just vetoed the Kansas Comprehensive Abortion Reform Act, meaning that Jayhawk abortion profiteers need not so much as mention to women, specifically mothers, that alternatives exist to the violence they are about to undergo. May the governor pay the price for that incomprehensible veto (however small that price compares to what a single baby pays for it) at the polls.

In the meantime, though, Gov. Sebelius is also a personally-opposed-to-abortion-but-yaddah-yaddah-yaddah Catholic. Unlike many other personally-opposed-to-abortion-but-yaddah-yaddah-yaddah Catholics, however, Gov. Sebelius falls under the jurisdiction of a bishop who cares (as would any bishop) about the abortion havoc being wrought on his people and about the state of the souls of those who foment that carnage, but also of a bishop who will act (as do too few bishops), publicly, prudently, but firmly in response to the care.

Kansas City (KS) Abp. Joseph Naumann has met with Gov. Sebelius many times to dissuade her from machinating against the preborn; failing to move her, and after consulting his suffragans, he wrote to her in August 2007 "requesting that she refrain from presenting herself for reception of the Eucharist until she had acknowledged the error of her past positions, made a worthy sacramental confession and taken the necessary steps for amendment of her life which would include a public repudiation of her previous efforts and actions in support of laws and policies sanctioning abortion."

Abp. Naumann's statement is model of pastoral sollicitude and political savoir faire. I think it required reading for any one who wishes to discuss this topic seriously, along with, say, Abp. Raymond Burke's "Canon 915: The discipline regarding denial of holy Communion to those obstinately perservering in manifest grave sin", Periodica 96 (2007) 3-58, and my own "Denial of the Eucharist to pro-abortion Catholic politicans: a canonical case study", Homiletic & Pastoral Review (Oct. 1990) 28-32, 48-49.

Now, however, confronted with evidence that Gov. Sebelius has ignored his request, Abp. Naumann has privately and publically called upon the governor to desist from receiving Holy Communion, reiterating his desire that the governor accept his "previous request and not require from [him] any additional pastoral actions." Hmmm. Additional pastoral actions.

Abp. Naumann has applied
Canon 915 as a tourniquet to staunch the wound that Gov. Sebelius has inflicted on the Mystical Body of Christ. But Canon 915 is only designed to keep a bad situation from getting worse; what is ultimately necessary here is repentance by a prominent Catholic of her grave pro-abortion activities. In the meantime, if Canon 915 doesn't stop the bleeding, the archbishop's only alternative would be surgery under Book Six of the Code of Canon Law, "Sanctions in the Church."

And no one should want that. +++

Additional blog commentary: Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, AmericanPapist,