|+Leo T. Maher (1915-1991)|
A couple of weeks ago, I shared an exchange with Sr. Lisa Ann Doty of Nunspeak, just after Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) made her weaselly statement about "standing with my fellow Catholics in support of" the HHS mandate. At the time, we speculated that the bishops were just angry enough with the Administration that they might just dust off the bell, book and candle. And believe me, I'd give a lot of cash to be in National Cathedral if and when Cdl. Donald Wuerl decided to make a high formal matter of excommunicating notorious quislings Pelosi and HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius ... perhaps adding Vice President Joe Biden for good measure.
However, when Jimmy Akin was on Catholic Answers Live tonight, he discussed this matter with a caller, and thought of a really good reason why Cdl. Wuerl, Abp. George Niederauer or Abp. Joseph Naumann would want to hold off on such an act. Because the radio program can neither campaign for nor against a candidate without violating IRS rules — and the IRS has shown great flexibility in what it considers "campaigning" — Akin mentioned no current names. He simply alluded to the case of former California state senator Lucy Killea, who had won election on the strength of having been denied communion by the bishop of San Diego (the late +Leo T. Maher) for her pro-abortion views.
As history lessons go, this example is small but just as instructive as St. Pius V's excommunication of Elizabeth I. Excommunication is a weapon that can do more harm than good. Both Pelosi and Sebelius are long overdue for formal public excommunication ... but they're also women, and our enemies are painting our fight for religious liberty as a "war on women". Excommunicating either of these pseudo-Catholic monsters would simply make them martyrs for the progressivists; the two of them would revel in the political glory of their axeing too much to recognize the seriousness of their sinfulness.
The Ordinary Catholic, writing in Peter's Barque, put it best:
We were all witness to what the media and the GOP elites did to rip the first four candidates mentioned above [Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich] to shreds and I won't go into it here. We all know what happened, but it will be nothing compared to what they will do to Rick Santorum now that he is a serious contender to Mitt. I hope and pray to God that Rick Santorum is ready for the onslaught on his character, family, his unabashed conservatism and his Catholic identity which he makes no attempt to hide so as to not offend anyone. Alan Colmes attack on the death of the Santorum's infant Gabriel here was a harbinger of what is to come.
Now, it is possible to overstate the influence the MSM has over the general populace; the Internet with its wealth of alternative news and opinion sources makes an American equivalent of Soviet Russia's "information prison" impossible ... so far. Nevertheless, it's true that the left owns the MSM corpus animusque; with Santorum leading the polls in Romney's home state of Michigan, he's in a prime position to take the nomination away from "the inevitable candidate". Santorum would actually pose a clear choice of direction for the nation; Romney would simply be the "New Coke" candidate against Obama's Pepsi.
Since my blog is non-profit only in the sense that I'm not making any money writing it, I can — er, afford to repeat Tom Peter's words: "[If] we are not working actively to replace President Obama on November 6th and if we are not doing our utmost to create a Congress that will work with a new President to protect religious liberty we are complicit in this singular attack on our Catholic and American identity." And the flap over the all-male panel at today's Congressional hearing on religious liberty shows that leftists in Congress and the media are all too willing to help distract focus from Obama's tyrannical squashing of conscience rights. (Although I admit it was stupid for House Committee on Oversight chairman Rep. Darrell Issa not to include at least one woman in the first panel; by doing so, he gave Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton the opening they needed to take the panel away and make the issue women's health rather than conscience rights.)
We need to keep our eye on the ball. The last thing we want to do is feed the "war on women" meme by axeing prominent pro-choice Catholics like Sec. Sebelius and Rep. Pelosi. Once the election's either won or lost, then as far as I'm concerned the hierarchy can excommunicate all the pro-choice "Catholic" politicians en masse. But until then the hierarchy can do to help is to keep harping on the issue of religious liberty and to explain why contraception is a sin.