Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Friday, August 12, 2011

Bishop Aquila: Deal With Pro-Abort Pols Like Jesus Said in Matthew 18:15-17

On Monday an interview with with Bishop Samuel Aquila appeared in Catholic World Report. While the interview covers a variety of topics, the most attention is paid to the issue of abortion.

Bishop Aquila talks about his encounter with a woman who had had an incomplete abortion when he was working as an orderly in a Boulder emergency room in the early 1970s. He shared how those in the ER, all Pro-life, did what they could to help the woman. He went on to say: "It was there I first saw the remains of an unborn child, about three and a half months along. It really impacted me. It was impressed in my mind and my heart and that this was a human life. It had now been forever destroyed. Ever since then I’ve been outspoken on human-life issues, and tried to help people to understand the dignity of human life."
He went on to share about what he has done as Bishop. He goes out to pray in front of the abortion mill in Fargo. He also supports the local 40 Days for Life & encourages each of the diocese's priests to go out at least once during the 40 days to pray in front of the clinic. "We pray in reparation for the sin of abortion, for the conversion of those providing abortions, and for women who have had abortions, that they may come to repentance. We also hope to save lives through our witness; many women who went to the clinic said they decided not to have an abortion after they saw us out there praying."
Bishop Aquila clearly sees prayer as very important in battling the scourge of abprtion. You may remember that he authorized the opening of a prayer chapel nearby in May. Every Wednesday they have exposition of the Blessed Sacrament & Eucharistic Adoration as that is the day the abortion mill does the abortions.
Another program he strongly supports is Project Rachel. He knows the emotional & spiritual damage abortion does to the women who have them. "These women experience forgiveness and the healing presence of our Lord through prayer and the sacramental life of the Church, including reconciliation and the Eucharist. They come to know the mercy of God. Not only is the aborted child a victim of abortion, but often the mother herself [is a victim]. Many post-abortive women tell us they were not told the truth about abortion, and that they didn’t fully understand what was happening."
But what was the most interesting part of the interview was what he had to say about Pro-abortion politicians. Answering the question "How should the Church respond to Catholic politicians who support legalized abortion?", Bishop Aquila said: "Their particular bishops can use the process of correction that is given to us in sacred Scripture, especially in Matthew’s Gospel. Our Lord tells us to speak to the person, and then take two or three others with us if he does not change.

If he still does not change, the Church can speak to him, which is done through the bishop. [The bishop] exercises the authority of Christ. Christ then says that if that person is still obstinate and will not change, treat them as a tax collector or Gentile. Expel him.

We do this out of love for the person, seeking his conversion. He needs to understand that the salvation of his soul is in jeopardy because of the positions he is taking.

Catholics are called to defend human life, particularly that of the unborn. The Church’s teaching is clear. If we don’t challenge public officials who reject this teaching, we leave them in their sins and confuse the faithful
Pretty strong words,"Expel him." But you notice he makes it clear why it must be done that way he says. It is the last step in the proper pastoral way of dealing with someone who is obstinate in supporting abortion. & it isn't to punish the person, it is to seek the person's conversion from sin & ultimately to keep him/her from going to Hell. It is also to prevent scandal among the faithful. It has nothing to do with pushing Catholic doctrine as law & everything to do with saving people from eternal condemnation. This is similar to what cardinal Burke said last year in an interview when he said it is important to preach "the truth with love as the Holy Scriptures say.” It is the love for the person caught in sin that impels a priest or Bishop to speak out. Cardinal Burke also made it clear part of why he speaks out strongly is because “when a bishop takes appropriate pastoral measures in this regard, he’s also helping very much brother bishops, and also the priests.” Clearly Bishop Aquila is doing just that, in words as well as actions.
Clearly Bishop Aquila understands what he needs to do as chief sheprherd of his diocese. May God richly bless his ongoing efforts to do so.


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