- In May 2007, as he was traveling to Brazil on his first papal trip outside
Europe, Pope Benedict XVI told an inquiring reporter that he would support
Mexican bishops who, with recourse to canon 915, excommunicate pro-abortion
lawmakers in their country. 'It is part of the code,' Benedict said. 'It is
based simply on the principle that the killing of an innocent human child is
incompatible with going in communion with the body of Christ.'
Within hours, a reporter from The Hill, a congressional newspaper in Washington, D.C., asked Patrick Leahy, a [pro-abortion] Democratic senator from Vermont, to comment on the pope's statement. Leahy's reply was blunt: 'I've always thought that those bishops and archbishops who for decades hid pederasts and are now being protected by the Vatican should be indicted.' Leahy, a Catholic, has served as chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary since January 2007, a position he holds to this day. Did his searing remark play a quiet role in a recent Vatican re-assignment?
When Pope Francis was elevated to the Throne of Peter in March 2013, he took his time in reviewing the membership of the Vatican's various congregations. Finally, in December 2013, Francis appointed Donald Cardinal Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, D.C., to replace Raymond Cardinal Burke as the only American serving in the Congregation for Bishops, which is tasked with reviewing candidates for the episcopacy, whose names will then be submitted to the pope.
The change is not insignificant. In particular, the two cardinals differ profoundly on the controversial application of canon 915 in the case of American public figures. Cardinal Wuerl has long maintained a 'pastoral approach' regarding the many prominent Catholic politicians in his archdiocese who publicly advocate abortion....