Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
In so much of the discussion today about Catholic politicians who holed and promote very un-Catholic ideas, we hear calls for excommunication.
In truth, I have called for the excommunication of such pols many times. Nancy (please excommunicate me) Pelosi comes to mind. Recently, her comments about her faith and her policies prompted many calls for her excommunication including mine.
Now, I have called for such excommunications for many different reasons. It disturbs me to no end when Catholic politicians use their 'faith' as a shield against criticism while actively promoting the most heinous of policies.
I will admit that part of me wants to see pols such as Nancy Pelosi excommunicated as a very public rebuke and condemnation of her ideas and her repugnant behavior. But that is not what excommunication is really all about. For sure, public rebuke of the scandal caused by such public behavior is appropriate if just to mitigate the effect of scandal.
But excommunication is more than that. Excommunication is a form of intervention, not final condemnation as so many have come to view it.
These politicians are endangering their immortal souls. Alas, sinners do that every day and we certainly do not wish to excommunicate all sinners or there would be no one left in the Church even to do the excommunicating. So why excommunicate?
Well, certain forms of obstinate public sinning and opposition to Church teaching while maintaining that their communion with the Church is rock solid runs the risk of causing great confusion in the Church about what is truly taught.
But in the end, excommunication has a medicinal purpose. Like an intervention, the person is so far gone that they can no longer even see what they are doing to themselves and to those around them. They can no longer see that the path they are upon leads only to death. All efforts at communication with the individual to show them the error of their ways have been fruitless. But out of love, one last ditch effort is needed to try and save the person.
Sometimes interventions work. Many times they do not. But they must be tried if friends and family really care. What kind of friend would let another destroy themselves and countless others but for fear of embarrassing the offender or ourselves. We wouldn't be a very good friend or a very good person, would we?
I think that Nancy Pelosi is incapable of seeing what she has become and the truth about what she does. Further, her unique public position and her continuing citing of her faith as justification of her loathesome behavior causes unique public scandal and risks many more souls than just her own. She is so insulated and intellectually ill-equipped that I believe she is incapable of being reached by normal means. Something more is needed. An intervention is needed.
For the love of Nancy Pelosi, excommunicate her.