Vatican tones down papal remarks on pro-abortion Catholic politicians


I saw a number of websites gloating and declaring victory over the Pro-Murder “Catholic” politicians. Ah, but they had jumped the gun, having to eat crow as the Vatican let the air out of their celebration balloons.

How can the Vatican possibly back off of these abject criminals and cause scandal by giving the impression that there’s room for people who condone abortion in the Catholic Church.

Vatican tones down papal remarks on pro-abortion Catholic politicians

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

SAO PAULO, Brazil (CNS) – Pope Benedict XVI’s comments on excommunication for pro-abortion Catholic politicians touched on huge and sensitive issues – so sensitive that the Vatican issued a toned-down version of his remarks the following day.

Speaking with journalists on the plane taking him to Brazil May 9, the pope left the impression that he agreed with those invoking excommunication for Catholic legislators in Mexico City who had voted in April to legalize abortion.

When reporters pressed the pope on whether he supported the excommunication of the Mexican deputies, he answered: “Yes, this excommunication was not something arbitrary, but is foreseen by the Code (of Canon Law). It is simply part of church law that the killing of an innocent baby is incompatible with being in communion with the body of Christ.”

Referring to Mexican bishops, the pope continued: “Therefore, they did not do anything new, surprising or arbitrary. They only underlined publicly what is foreseen in (canon) law, a law based on the church’s doctrine and faith, on our appreciation for life and for human individuality from the first moment.”

On May 10, the Vatican press office released the official transcript of the pope’s 25-minute session with reporters. The pope’s opening “yes” to the direct question about excommunication had disappeared, and so had the references to Mexican bishops.

The tweaked version of the pope’s remarks began: “Excommunication is not something arbitrary, but is foreseen by the Code (of Canon Law.) Therefore, it is simply part of church law that the killing of an innocent baby is incompatible with going to Communion, in which one receives the body of Christ.”

In the rest of the edited version, some of the pope’s verbs were changed to make his remarks more generic.

Asked about the changes, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, told reporters May 10 that it was routine for the Vatican Secretariat of State to review the pope’s extemporaneous remarks and clean them up a little for publication.

That the pope’s comments had potential for controversy was apparent immediately after he made them. Father Lombardi quickly circulated among reporters on the plane and told them that the pope was not announcing a new policy on Catholic politicians.

“And if the bishops haven’t excommunicated anyone, it’s not that the pope wants to do so,” Father Lombardi said.

So now we’re engaging in Orwellian revisionism where you change his comments after the fact?

Did Benedict actually approve this alteration of his words or does some hidden hand really run the Vatican?

And the link on to this article has the audacity to state: “What the Pope really said”. NO !!! That’s patently NOT what he really said. Perhaps you could argue – “What the Pope really meant”.

With all this empty garbage bluster (excuse my ire but it’s righteous indignation in this case) about defending the sanctity of life, they can’t even hold to their guns on abortion? They’re backing off in the face of these criminals?

Yet they bring the swift hammer of excommunication down upon Archbishop Lefebvre. No sooner had the Archbishop’s hand cast a shadow on the heads of the consecrands than the Vatican was hastily calling an emergency press conference to declare him and the consecrated bishops excommunicated – while having lifted the excommunications of pertinacious heretics and schismatics.

No doubt the upper levels of the Catholic hierarchy have been thoroughly infiltrated by enemies of Our Lord. An enemy hath clearly done this.

Is this Father Lombardi the pope’s handler now? Does he direct Benedict about what he’s supposed to think and to say? At the very least it’s bizarre.

And the pope doesn’t WANT to excommunicate these scoundrels?

If true, it tells me all I need to know.

It’s a horrible scandal that they’re frantically scampering around doing damage control out of human respect for these false Catholics and giving the impression that it’s within the realm of tolerability for someone to publicly condone and even advocate abortion.

Heck, most Protestants upon seeing this would lose all respect for the Catholic Church – and rightly so.

Shame :mad:


You might find it helpful to read this:

It’s the blog entry by a canon lawyer discussing this issue and how the original report was not likely accurate.


Benedict is being very clear; however, the press and people do not always understand what has been asked and what has been answered. It is clear that the pope consistently backs the more courageous Ordinaries of dioceses, be they in Mexico or in Lincoln or in St. Louis; it is also true that the pope does not “fire” the less courageous Ordinaries of other dioceses. I think the Code of Canon Law is the determining factor in all of this, and not our opinions as to what the pope should do or say.


Repeat: The same Canon Laws disqualified any attempts at Lefebvre’s excommunication. SSPX Masses are Catholic Masses and SSPX is tolerated by Rome, if not in better communion with Rome.


Original report was accurate, and the Vatican (Father Lombardi?) admittedly altered / touched up Benedict’s statements.

Also, the Pope IS the supreme law of the Church and is not bound by Canon Law. He could change canon law whenever he felt like it.

If publicly advocating abortion is not excommunicable, then nothing really is – oh, wait, except for objecting to the fact that the pro-abortionists are not excommunicated, i.e. being Traditionalist.


How so?
Unless you simply mean that the Church neither excommunicates anyone nor “attempts” to do so, but rather the Church may recognize when one has placed himself in a state of excommunication?



This is off topic. Please put it in the proper thread or start a new one.


Well, you either have Canon Law or you don’t. If the Pope sets down Canon Law and he doesn’t want to follow it, then for all practical purposes you don’t have Canon Law, right?

But if you still have Canon Law, then the Archbishop by virtue of the “necessity” canon (don’t have the exact number in front of me, it was presented before on this forum) was NOT excommunicated.

(As to what the canonical status of the bishops he appointed are concerned, I don’t have current information on that. However, from all indications I’ve read implications of, they are VALID bishops.)


We are discussing the Canon Laws and how they are to be applied. Should be equally, no?


No. The discussion is about Pro-Abortion “Catholic” Politicians. It is not about anything else


Then maybe we should ask the OP exactly what’s out of bounds.


Forum rules state that each thread should cover one topic. This thread is about the pope’s statement on abortion and has absolutely nothing to do with SSPX. If you don’t like being called on something, then please stop trying to derail the threads.


Excuse me but the SSPX are perhaps the firmest supporters of excommunication of abortionists and abortionist politicians and all that vote for them. So now you got the thread moved, you happy?


I don’t see the “big differences.” Looks like a minor tweak to accomodate the fact that a reader wasnt’ part of the original conversation.


Yes to what?

So you take the Yes off…

The “revised statement” is just as clear. Excomunication is a possibility that can be exercised under Cannon law.

Now will a Bishop actually do so and is it the right thing to do?

That’s another story.



Yeah I have to agree the revised version looks just as authoritative. In some ways it is clearer. It definately makes a point that not just in the select cases inquired about but in all cases when one puts themselves up a pro-murder then they have brought upon themselves excomunication.

Perhaps I’m missing something?


In the new, official transcript, it doesn’t mention anything about pro-choice politicians being excommunicated. In the original, it did. Note that the pontiff was actually asked twice about the Mexican excommunication issue. The first time, he didn’t answer the question. The second time, he did with these words:

*Fourth Question (from La Repubblica, Italy):
Thank you, your Holiness. In your speech upon arrival, you say that the church forms Christians, provides moral indications, so that people will make free decisions in conscience. Do you agree with the excommunication given to legislators in Mexico City on the question of abortion?

Pope Benedict XVI:
Yes, this excommunication is not something arbitrary, but it’s part of the Code [of Canon Law]. It’s based simply on the principle that the killing of an innocent human child is incompatible with going in communion with the Body of Christ. Thus, [the bishops] didn’t do anything new, anything surprising or arbitrary. In that light, they simply announced publicly what is contained in the law of the church, and the law of the church is based upon the doctrine and the faith of the church, which expresses our appreciation for life, that human individuality, human personality, is present from the first moment [of life].*

Please remember that up and till this time (and still today) it is debated among canon lawyers as to whether pro-choice politicians incur automatic excommunication (which is what a Mexican archbishop apparently intially said, though apparently it wasn’t an “official” statement). So the fact that in the new version it does not state, nor imply that pro-choice politicians incur the penalty is extremely significant.

rescath, I don’t think the pope is controlled at all by anyone in the Vatican. But certainly he listens to his advisors.


Were the pope’s words a statement written for a press release?

If not, he possibly didn’t perfectly state what he meant. Does the “Vatican” normally edit to the “Vatican’s” own liking the pope’s words?

Gimme a break.


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