“Unfit for public office”

Santa Rosa bishop says pro-abortion Catholic politicians “excommunicate themselves,” shouldn’t receive Communion

When Sonoma County Pro-Life advertised its annual Rally for Life held last Sunday, it promised that its keynote speaker — Santa Rosa Bishop Robert Vasa — “is sure to challenge and inspire us all.” Bishop Vasa did not let them down.

“Any government leader, particularly those who claim to be Christian, who claim to be pro-choice, is unworthy of public office,” Bishop Vasa told the rally at Old Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa on Jan. 22. “Absolutely unworthy and absolutely unfit for public office.” 

Politicians who support abortion are “as guilty of abortion as those who choose it themselves,” he said. And Roe v. Wade, said Bishop Vasa, was an “illicit and invalid” decision.

Because of its pro-abortion policies, said Bishop Vasa, the U.S. is no longer “the land of the free and the home of the brave. It’s a land of the imprisoned and the home of the cowards.”

The bishop’s remarks, reported the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, brought cheers from a crowd of about 100 people who gathered in the afternoon rain to hear his speech.

“Vasa suggested such leaders who publicly hold such a position shouldn’t accept communion at Mass,” reported the Press Democrat. “He also said they could be excommunicated, or banished from the church through their actions.”

“In some ways, they excommunicate themselves,” the Press Democrat quoted the bishop as saying in an interview following his speech.

“If he learned a politician expressed a position so out of line with Catholic beliefs, then he would first try to have a ‘face-to-face’ with that person and urge them to recant their remarks,” said the Press Democrat. “If they did not, then that person would be ‘on thin ice.’”

According to the Press Democrat, Bishop Vasa conceded that the Church “tends to resist” the explicit excommunication of pro-abortion Catholics, but in an apparent reference to automatic self-excommunication, the bishop was quoted by the newspaper as saying, “I, for one, if someone wants to put hot coals on their own head, I say fine.”

To read the Press Democrat’s full account of the Santa Rosa rally and the bishop’s speech,Click Here

 

READER COMMENTS

Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 5:10 AM By Prof Helen
We lay Catholics in the front lines ( I teach at a secular college) have been saying this for decades. Not because we are without sin but because of the scandal and rebellion the public Catholics give to the entire community and GET AWAY WITH IT. You said it Bishop now DO IT.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 5:22 AM By Canisius
Finally a Bishop with courage, now take the next step and explicitly excommunicate all pro abortion politicians…


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 5:43 AM By Ted
He is one step away (a small one at that !) from formally declaring that supporters of “choice” are automatically incurring excommunication. People who agree should write him to encourage him, and thank him for his stand on this issue. He’s far ahead of the rest of his brother bishops in courage, and he will need support from everyone and everywhere.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 5:54 AM By St. Christopher
OK, good bishop, now name names. Hold up the public pronouncements of those within your diocese that support abortion and that are in a position of public trust, such as an elective office, or high, appointed position. Then, counsel them, then, if there is no change in belief and public statement, deny them communion. Then, make public what you have done. This is the only way to back down the cowardice of politicians, that often are pro-choice for political expediency. By the way, it is respectfully requested, try to encourage the TLM in each parish within your diocese; not much going on there regarding tradition.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 6:19 AM By k
I read the otiginal article and I still don’t know what he means by saying “I, for one, if someone wants to put hot coals on their own head, I say fine.”


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 6:23 AM By Traditional Angelo
Most Bishops remain silent about pro-choice politicians, refusing to take any action against them. When Bishop Vasa refers to “It’s a land of the imprisoned and home of the cowards.” I believe he was making a direct reference to our Catholic leaders. But he answers for all of them. Those Bishops don’t have to excommunicate the pro-choicers, they have already excommunicated themselves according to Canon Law. Thank God the Holy Father is now replacing yesterdays Bishops with men more worthy of the office.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 6:35 AM By Tom Byrne
How good to know that some California diocese have real men as bishops!


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 7:00 AM By Sandra
There are “practicing Catholics” and there are “Cafeteria Catholics” and then there are “Catholics in name only”. The Lord “knows” His true sheep and He will gather them up. We know in our souls where we stand. “Those politicians” know where they stand. We pray that they will get right with the Lord and His Church.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 7:03 AM By Doc Mugwump
Bishop Vasa, we say “thank God” for your faith, your strength, your courage! Teaching the faith of Jesus Christ in its fullness is exactly what our first bishops did in communion with the Holy Father. You are acting as a bishop should act: in your teaching position you are exhorting all in your care to listen to the Word of God Incarnate, love and follow his commandments. Any word of condemnation against you will not be tolerated by your flock. We support you wholeheartedly and again, we thank God for the gift of your presence amongst us. Those who do not speak the Truth of the Teachings of the Church in their fulness are wolves in sheeps’ clothing. Keep speaking the Truth, we are listening and you are saving souls. God bless you!


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 7:21 AM By CalWalkr
Take a bow Bishop Vasa… You are setting an example of courage and leadership that we can only hope your peers in the leadership of our faith emulate.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 7:29 AM By JM
May the Holy Spirit continue to work through Bishop Vasa. We sorely need wise and courageous leaders.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 7:34 AM By Juergensen
The good and faithful Bishop Vasa will never be the president of the posh-Washington-DC-head-quartered USCCB, that’s for sure.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 7:45 AM By Juergensen
Here is another gem of truth from the good and faithful Bishop Vasa: “I literally could not give Holy Communion to a professed and actively committed pro-choice politician. I answer to the Holy See, I don’t answer to the USCCB.” (Wed Jul 21, 2004 11:15 EST LifeSiteNews). Those “Catholics,” many of them on this forum, who reject what Bishop Vasa says are merely anti-bishop.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 8:04 AM By Fredi D’Alessio
Bishop Vasa is my man. You can read some of his excellent commentaries at fjdalessio.wordpress.com/category/by-bishop-vasa. Thank God for priests/bishops like him!


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 8:17 AM By Nan
GOD BLESS YOU, Bishop Vasa!


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 8:33 AM By Deacon Jim
May God continue the good work He’s begun in Bishop Vasa. I’m glad we have brave Bishop’s out there like this.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 8:41 AM By JOHN
Good, but too bad that he did not name some of the most prominent CA politicians who call themselves Catholic and simultaneously champion the killing of unborn babies— Nancy Pelosi and Antonion Villaraigosa cashed in on calling themselves Catholic.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 8:52 AM By Camille
Napa has two pro abortion legislators, Sen. Noreen Evans and Asm Michael Allen. Evans legislative history and recorded statements support abortion. She has SB 155, Maternity Services, which prepares the state to mandate abortion services in all insurance policies. Allen has ACA 19 Initiatives which mandate that all initiatives be funneled through the legislature – censorship.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 8:59 AM By Victor Claveau 
It is certain that anyone who supports abortion places themself outside the Church. I believe Bishop Vasa is a good bishop and a fine man, however, I don’t believe he should “suggest” that pro-aborts should not accept communion at Mass; he should “demand” that they not do so. Excommunication is a tool to help people realize the seriousness of their actions. “If they did not, then that person would be ‘on thin ice’.” They are not on “this ice”, It must be made clear to all concerned that these people have chosen to forfeit their salvation. With 54% of Catholics voting for a pro-abortion candidate for president in the last election, it is alarmingly clear that the Church’s position on the sanctity of human life is not being taught at the parish levels. Fr. Joseph Ilo, of Modesto, CA., criticized those of his flock who voted against the tenets of the Church regarding life issues and was publicly chastized by his bishop. People must be made to understand that to support a pro-abortion candidate, places their soul in serious jeopardy. The Church teaches that if a knowledgeable Catholic, (one who understands the Church’s position that abortion is an intrinsic evil), votes for a pro-abortion candidate when there is a pro-life alternative on the ballot, they excommunicate themselves from the Catholic Church.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 9:10 AM By Bud 
Each bishop must also be responsible for defending our Church by being an example to the laity. (I never liked the word laity in my mind it puts us on the bottom rung of the ladder although correctly so.) Since each bishop can take his own actions in his diocese; it’s time that the bishop freely impose a written order of the most egregious abusers who incur automatic excommunication that they are to be refused communion in that diocese for their public scandal.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 9:17 AM By Paul
I disagree with the good Bishop. He means well, but the CHURCH should publicly excommunicate these politicians and send a proper message out to all Catholics and the public at large. These evil self-serving politicians will never excommunicate themselves


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 9:33 AM By Catherine
Thank you Bishop Vasa! Here is another exceptional statement… “The United States, it is not the land of the free and the home of the brave. It’s a land of the imprisoned and the home of the coward.”… Do you know how the faithful can tell the difference here between a “good” bishop and an *exceptionally good * bishop? Even the newspaper made this comment, “Such forceful rhetoric is a marked departure from that of previous leaders of the 165,000 member Santa Rosa Diocese.”


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 9:37 AM By Anne T.
Bishop Vasa is right of course God bless him for his courage and fortitude, and pray God all we Catholics heed it. Here is a word to the wise from St. Jose Ecriva: “Have you ever bothered to think how absurd it is to leave one’s catholicism aside on entering a university, or a professional organization, or a scholarly meeting, or Congress, as if you were checking your hat in at the door?” The Way, No.353. No. 349 also says, “Don’t be upset when you state an orthodox opinion and the malice of whoever heard you caused them to be scandalized. For his scandal is pharisaical.”


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 9:46 AM By goodcause
Excommunication of dissenters is a slippery slope for our Church. What would the Church do if someone publicly endorsed The Pill or condoms, which the Church prohibits? Over 90% of US Catholics disagree with the Vatican on birth control. Does the Church kick them all out?


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 9:51 AM By Gordon Campbell
If a politician or anyone else that the priest knows as self-excommunicated then that person should be refused the Sacrament by the priest ans NO wiggling or equivocating by his Bishop.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 10:32 AM By A. Street
It is not a “slippery slope”, it is a wide open, straight chute! Those who publically endorse any teaching (doctrine) contrary to the Magisterium ex-communicate themselves! Percentages of sinners does not sway Chruch Doctrine. If 90% of US Catholics disagree with the Vatican on birth control, that is one thing. To act on it by publically declaring their dissent adds too their sin and separation from the Church by adding the sin of scandal.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 10:41 AM By JLS
goodcause, the Catholics who defy Church doctrine on abortion and contraception excommunicate themselves … the Pope said recently that the Church will become “smaller but holier”. If your 90% figure reflects reality, then welcome to a Church numbering 100 million instead of a billion, and with 900 million impostors.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 11:00 AM By Anne
The people of Bishop Vasa’s diocese are so blessed by his presence. I still wait for a courageous bishop here in the Northeast. We have waited a long time but retirement is imminent and we pray we will be blessed by someone like Bishop Vasa


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 11:09 AM By sam
Plz. note ALL the Bishops are speaking out now for one excellent reason: The Holy Father just last week urged them to “take a stand in the public square”. Since he is the Vicar of Christ it sent ripples throughout the US Church (who was specially mentioned by Pope Benedict XVI as being under specific attack: so the gentle German Shepard has in fact lead this present attack). While I salute Bishop Vasa for his speech; Very many US Bishops & Cardinals have since taken a more aggressive & public stance in defense of our beliefs.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 11:14 AM By Abeca Christian
goodcause where do you get your facts? Over 90%? really? Well remember when you meet up with our Lord, God will not look at the 90% as part of you, but will only hold you accountable of your own. We will all have to answer for our sins. We need to reflect and turn away from sin and pray for our brethren as well.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 11:28 AM By Laurette Elsberry
A number of years ago Bishop Vasa, as Bishop of the Baker, Oregon Diocese, required that his Diocesan employees take an Affirmation of Personal Faith that they would follow the teachings of the Church. One employee, Wilma Hens, refused to do so and was terminated. She made it known that she would not subject herself to some of the Church’s outdated rules. This was in 2004 and this news was widely published. Interestingly, Wilma Hens had worked for the Sacramento Diocese some years before that, and spent a lot of time at St. Francis Church in Sacramento where she was active on the altar during Mass, acting as a celebrant in that she was seen elevating the Host for all to see. I myself observed this. Wilma left the Diocese when someone else was appointed as the head of the Office of Worship, and returned to Oregon where she worked for the Baker Diocese, and in her spare time she also worked for a Protestant church. Thank goodness her “Catholic” career path was shut down by Bishop Vasa. Wilma died in 2010. From reading her death notice, it does not appear that she had a Catholic burial.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 12:48 PM By James
Thank you Bishop for your comments. I strongly agree. Now lets make it formal and official: Lets PUBLICLY EXCOMMUNICATE Sebelious, Pelosi, Biden and others and make it OFFICIAL and FINAL. The church has been neglecting this and it is time to do this. Ted Kennedy should have been PUBLICLY EXCOMMUNICATED 30 or 40 years ago. Lets make it OFFICIAL. It is time to show we mean business.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 12:52 PM By Steve B.
I’m very pleasantly surprised that California has a bishop with a spine who is not afraid to stand up for the faith! May God bless him and send angels to support him and protect him! Because I know that Satan and his minions will now throw the gloves off and come after this holy man!


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 1:32 PM By A. Street
Re: Laurette Elsberry. Wilma Hens is very much alive. She was never an employee of the diocese or the parish in which she lives. She was a lay minister, as in EMH, or Lector. She interupted mass to give her stump speech much to the horror of all present. It was a case of “good ridance”. She shut down her own “Catholic careere”; all she had to do was agree that she believes in what we recite in the Creed and what is found in the CCC; nothing to sign, no expectation above recognizing that we are all sinners, but a promise try to do as Christ through His Church has called us to and to not give scandal to others by word or actions. She couldn’t do it…not even close. Bishop Vasa put a bee in the bonnet of a lot of Catholics in name only; they had to admit they lack faith in the Church and left. Who would want them teaching children or handling the Eucharist? If she confesses her breach and seeks to return, she should be required to publically apolgize to the entire parish.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 1:41 PM By Mary
So-called Catholic politicians who publicly support the killing of the baby in the womb are causing grave scandal to the public. Even though they are excommunicating themselves with their support they need to be made a public example and be formally excommunicated and denied Holy Communion. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 2:19 PM By Clinton
I whole heartedly agree with Bp. Vasa. The time is long past that those who blatantly defy Church teachings should be excommunicated. Let us not forget, excommunication is a wake up call to repentance and to return to the Church in good graces.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 2:29 PM By MacDonald
For fun, may I suggest that folks GOOGLE the YouTube excommunication scene from the film “Becket?” I get the feeling many writers here would love watching that again. Especially when the candle gets turned upside down and slammed to the floor! Go, team.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 2:36 PM By Angie
Thank you Bishop Vasa. We miss you in Oregon. Keep up the good work. God bless you.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 2:42 PM By Lynne
Praise and thank God for the faith and obedience of Bishop Vasa.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 5:58 PM By SoCal
At last, Thank you and God bless you Bishop Vasa.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 6:39 PM By Doc Mugwump
Bishop Vasa, we say “thank God” for your faith, your strength, your courage! Teaching the faith of Jesus Christ in its fullness is exactly what our first bishops did in communion with the Holy Father. You are acting as a bishop should act: in your teaching position you are exhorting all in your care to listen to the Word of God Incarnate, love and follow his commandments. Any word of condemnation against you will not be tolerated by your flock. We support you wholeheartedly and again, we thank God for the gift of your presence amongst us. Those who do not speak the Truth of the Teachings of the Church in their fulness are wolves in sheeps’ clothing. Keep speaking the Truth, we are listening and you are saving souls. God bless you!


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 7:01 PM By InformedAndFree
Our Congressman is pro-choice Catholic Mike Thompson – Vote Him Out Of Office.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 7:20 PM By JLS
No Catholic politician who votes for abortion has ever provided any logical explanation for it.


Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 9:48 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
When I was asked to go to Dallas to lead prayer warriors at the Bishops’ Conference where they first discussed the sexual problems within the clergy, I sent out an E-Mail telling all the bishops what I was going to do. Bishop Vasa was the only one to reply and reply in a very nice manner. Please pray for him, he gets all kinds of flack from the other side, and he appreciates those who support him. God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher


Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 1:10 AM By Mal
Anyone who deliberately and defiantly disobeys Church teachings is not in communion with the Church and so is automatically excommunicated. Such a person might go up and receieve the Eucharist but communion with the lord is not possible. This is the point that needs to be proclaimed.


Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 4:18 AM By ANNE
Mal, those who automatically excommunicate themselves by their actions, may not receive Holy Communion due to the Mortal Sin of Sacrilege. They still recieve the Body and Blood of Christ, but will not receive His grace.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 12:21 PM By Don Guillermo
I’d take a bullet for Bishop Vasa in a heartbeat.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 9:00 PM By JLS
Can’t find an argument for your post, Don Guillermo.


Posted Sunday, January 29, 2012 12:33 PM By gerald maltese
evil flourishes when the timid bishops do nothing. bishop vasa the holy spirit is working tru u and i will keep u in my prayers.


Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 1:43 AM By Kenneth M. Fisher
ANNE, 4:18 AM, “but will not receive His grace”, what an understatement! Actually they will receive his CONDEMNATION, St. Paul. God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher


Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 6:32 AM By JLS
Yes, those who eat and drink ie receive Holy Communion with mortal sin on their heads do so to their own condemnation. St Paul makes it clear. “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed”: I’ve always seen this as not quite the perfect thing to say in that specific point in the novus ordo liturgy. It is ambiguous and allows the belief that there is no need for sacramental absolution of mortal sin prior to receiving Holy Communion. Look at the results. In the case of Judas Iscariot, Jesus never replied to any possible notion in the heart of Iscariot that corresponds to those words. Nor did He say anything about it to the others there at the Last Supper. I will have to check the EF liturgy to see exactly what it says in contrast to the OF.


Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 7:51 PM By k
JLS,” Lord I am not worthy that You should come under my roof but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” That is the recent translation. The Enlish translation of the Latin in the 1962 missal is the same except for using “Thou” and “shouldst”.

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