Pope threatens politicians with excommunication
There is no room for individual conscience; pro-choice politicians should be excommunicated, and this very public rebuke is manifestly intended to sway voters and influence the outcome of an election. Some commentators put the defeat of John Kerry in the 2004 US presidential race down to his humiliation at the hands of the Roman Catholic Church. He supported a woman’s right to choose, yet professed the Roman Catholic faith, presenting voters with a dilemma. He was barred from communion in more than one diocese, and it became a significant media story. Former Mayor of New York Rudolph Giuliani, also a pro-choice Roman Catholic, now finds himself pursued by the same issue.
However, Cranmer is intrigued by the arbitrary picking and choosing that elicits these threats. According to George Weigel, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Centre in Washington, ‘Catholic politicians who think they can remain part of the Church after supporting abortion are putting a lie on top of the original offence against justice’. As repugnant as Cranmer believes abortion to be, he wonders why the Vatican has not threatened to excommunicate those who maim and murder, or those who terrorise and torture. Cranmer could briefly mention the actions of Catholic Croats against the Serb Orthodox. And he observes that the likes of Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams are now feted by the Vatican; indeed, convicted IRA terrorist Bobby Sands received a gift of a crucifix from the late Pope John Paul II.
It appears that the Vatican does not adhere to the principle of the Sanctity of Life without qualification. There is more than a whiff of accommodation when the termination of life suits its own religio-political agenda.