A Catholic bishop on catholic pro-abortion, pro-same-sex-marriage politicians

With a biretta tip to Sancte Pater we turn to Life Site News for interesting remarks from H.E. Most Rev. Samuel Aquila (he places the emphases on the second syllable, by the way) about pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

US Bishop on unrepentant pro-abort pols: ‘Treat them as a tax collector or Gentile.  Expel him.’

by Christine Dhanagom

FARGO, North Dakota, August 11, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Church should seek the conversion of pro-abortion politicians, but if they remain obstinate they should be expelled from the Church, says Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo.  [I wonder how many bishops in the US, or elsewhere for that matter, will distance themselves from this.]

The Bishop proposed in an interview with Catholic World Report this week that Bishops should take their cue from the Gospel of Matthew in handling pro-abortion politicians.

“Our Lord tells us to speak to the person, and then take two or three others with us if he does not change,” he said. “If he still does not change, the Church can speak to him, which is done through the bishop. [The bishop] exercises the authority of Christ. Christ then says that if that person is still obstinate and will not change, treat them as a tax collector or Gentile. Expel him.’”  [The Lord wasn’t very nuanced, was He.  Not very sensitive to the complexities, seen by, say former-Speaker Pelosi or present VP Biden.]

The Bishop continued: “Catholics are called to defend human life, particularly that of the unborn. The Church’s teaching is clear. If we don’t challenge public officials who reject this teaching, we leave them in their sins and confuse the faithful.”  [The first way to challenge them is forcefully to bring the abortion issue back into the sphere of social justice.]

Aquila, who has been the spiritual head of the diocese of Fargo in North Dakota for ten years, is well known for his support for the pro-life cause.


Aquila also told the news service that clergy should be outspoken in defending the Church’s teaching in other areas, as well, particularly regarding the sanctity of marriage.

“The Church has been clear that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, and we need to continue to speak clearly to society on the truth, dignity, and meaning of marriage,” he said.

WDTPRS kudos to Bp. Aquila.

When will he be smeared in some post on NCFishwrap?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. MissOH says:

    It is becoming more of a challenge for people to have the courage to speak the truth in love, especially for our bishops. I will definitely include Bishop Aquila in my prayers.

    I still don’t understand those who soft pedal serious sins with comments that “Jesus was love or Jesus preached love and acceptance where we are”. Jesus preached the truth and in the cases where he met with someone in sin, the message of go and sin no more (ie conversion away from sin and turning towards God and truth) was always there. Jesus did not tell the woman caught in adultery to “go on, I know you really love him”. Bishop Aquila and some others really seem to understand what so many others miss, that the Last Four Things are real for all of us.

  2. TNCath says:

    Hooray for Bishop Aquila! However, he will face the cold shoulders of more than a few of his confreres.

  3. Andrew says:

    I still don’t understand those who soft pedal serious sins with comments that “Jesus was love or Jesus preached love and acceptance where we are”.

    St. Augustine in his 1st Tractate on the Letter of St. John clarifies this error:

    7. And lest one should think that He has conceded impunity for sins, in saying: “He is faithful and just to cleanse us from our iniquity” and men should now say to themselves: Let us sin, let us securely do what we will, Christ purges us from all iniquity. But He removes such false security, and provides instead a useful fear. To your own hurt you would be secure; instead, you must be solicitous. For “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” provided you always displease yourself and be improving until you be perfected. Accordingly, what follows? “My little children, these things I write unto you, that you sin not.”

  4. AnAmericanMother says:

    . . . adsument pinnas sicut aquilae . . .

  5. [I wonder how many US bishops, or elsewhere for that matter, will distance themselves from this.]

    I think you are probably right about that, but I just don’t get why. Politicians who refuse, publicly and openly, to follow the teachings of the Church have already separated themselves from her. Expelling them simply recognizes that (and goes a long way to avoid scandal).

  6. robtbrown says:

    George @ Convert Journal says:

    [I wonder how many US bishops, or elsewhere for that matter, will distance themselves from this.]

    I think you are probably right about that, but I just don’t get why.

    It’s no secret that for 40+ years the Vatican was very interested in dealing with secular govts (pro abortion or not) to the detriment of propagating the faith. The nomination of bishops reflected this policy.

  7. Fr. Frank says:

    George @ Convert Journal says:

    [I wonder how many US bishops, or elsewhere for that matter, will distance themselves from this.]

    I think you are probably right about that, but I just don’t get why.

    It’s the money — federal funds for Catholic social work, government textbooks for Catholic schools, federal school lunch programs, etc. They’re probably afraid to say or do anything because they wonder if the government is already in too deep for the Church to be able to extricate itself. I often wonder if our preaching would be bolder, and if our discipleship would be more radical (in the best sense) if we lost our tax-exempt status.

  8. Central Valley says:

    The See of Fresno has been vacant for some time now due to death. Pray God the Holy Father sends us a sheperd like this.

  9. ttucker says:

    10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, …

  10. DFWShook says:

    Aquila, who has been the spiritual head of the diocese of Fargo in North Dakota for ten years, is well known for his support for the pro-life cause.

    Shouldn’t every Bishop be well known for his support for the pro-life cause?

  11. Random Friar says:

    Well done, good and faithful servant! Ad multos annos!

  12. contrarian says:

    “…we leave them in their sins and confuse the faithful.”

    Exactly and exactly.

    I love the clear language of the bishop. It’s as simple (and as serious) as that.

  13. WGS says:

    Perhaps the prevalence of receiving communion from an EMHC has something to do with the problem. I hope that some politicians would not be brazen enough to present themselves to a priest for communion. Still, I can’t image a pastor warning his EMHCs to deny communion to a specific named public sinner.

  14. FrAWeidner says:

    Bp. Aquila’s non-promotion to this point is definitely a top-five head-scratcher among U.S. bishop appointment strategems in recent years. Of course, Denver, San Francisco, and Chicago are all open or soon-to-be so.

  15. JoAnna says:

    I LOVE Bp. Aquila. North Dakota is fortunate to have him!

  16. Joseph-Mary says:

    He would make an excellent next archbishop of Denver especially as he was once rector there and so forth. What has been instituted in Denver is very precious and another strong archbishop will be needed to protect what Archbishop Chaput has in place.

  17. EXCHIEF says:

    The currently vacant Diocese of Baker could use one like him as well. Fortunately our Pastor is as direct on this and similar subjects as Bp Aquila. . . and is very much criticized by the (not so very) faitthful because of it.

  18. AJ says:

    The open and upcoming Metropolitan vacancies are something to be watched. I pray that Our Holy Father works more diligently with promoting Prelates like His Excellency Aquila and those others who have “Episcopal backbone” like him. With regards to my former boss and Archdiocese, I pray fervently that the young “Lion Hearted” bishop across the bay replaces him.

  19. wanda says:

    Bravo, Bishop Aquila! Way to weild that crozier! Pure and simple, no ambiguity, no wishy-washy, namby-pamby language! Well done, good and faithful servant!

  20. benedetta says:

    Though I have never been there this makes me want to visit and live in Fargo, North Dakota. Bravo.

  21. JohnE says:

    Anyone smeared by the NCFishwrap is just about guaranteed to be alright in my book. They should consider it a badge of honor.

  22. americangirl says:

    May the Lord bless this courageous Bishop for this position. A true Shepherd of the Church! Oh, how the people of God long to see our faith defended especially by our Bishops! It appears fewer in number exist who will stand for authentic Catholic teaching. When we do find those who are loyal to the Church and in union with the Holy Father, let us remember to pray and offer a rosary for them. God Bless You Bishop Aquila!

  23. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Did this man quote from the Bible, in simple, black and white terms, and actually say that unrepentant pro-abort politicians who claim to be Catholic should be treated like the Gentiles? Am I reading this correctly? How unpastoral and insensitive, to quote things directly from Jesus that are going to hurt people’s feelings!

    Just who does he think he is, quoting from the Bible like that, as if we were some kind of right-wing Christians? I’m in such shock, to think that this man is a Catholic bishop! Why can’t he be like other bishops, and preach about the benefits of solar energy, or healing the memory of the Church from the past evils of male domination?

    Yes, I’m being silly, but am sincerely in shock to hear a bishop who has the nerve to take all this religion stuff so seriously.

    On a serious note, why all this talk about moving the man to this or that diocese, as if bigger territory, or more people, equals more promotion in the eyes of God? His reward for being orthodox and faithful is that he is glorifying God and living with a clear conscience, while he takes good care of the people of North Dakota, who deserve a great bishop as much as any larger see in the Church. You would think that North Dakota is chopped liver or something undesireable. I say, if he is doing a great job, let him stay in North Dakota and be a shining light where the Church has planted him.

  24. Supertradmum says:

    We need more brave, truly Christian men like this excellent bishop. The USCCB should make a statement on this and other subjects relating to pro-life and homosexuality, which they have refused to do. I sincerely hope he will continue to receive support from his diocese.

  25. Martial Artist says:


    I trust you were speaking metaphorically about being in shock. On the day that the appointment of Most. Rev. J. Peter Sartain to be Archbishop of Seattle was announced, I was most heartily cheered to read him quoted in an online article as saying “to be Catholic is to be pro-life.” And last Monday I had the honor to be able to share my joy in knowing that he would speak so directly. The occasion on Monday was a reception at our parish following the Mass in the Dominican Rite on the occasion of that Saint’s feast day.

    So, I can only conclude that there are bishops out there who are not afraid to speak simply and directly, and I regularly pray that God will guide the Holy Father to continue appointing such Bishops, and senior priests like them to be our shepherds. This part of Pope Benedict’s reform of the reform still has much work to be done, so I also pray that God will keep Benedict with us ad multos annos, and, when next convened, will guide the College of Cardinals to select the right man to succeed him. I think it is likely to take some time to undo the damage of the past decades.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  26. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Keith: My words above, at the beginning, should not be taken literally and seriously, because I was being silly, and somewhat sarcastic. What I mean to get across is that it is indeed refreshing to see one of our bishops speaking boldly from the Word of God, and correcting us not with hesitation and apologies, but with holy authority and conviction in the truths of Catholic Faith. I agree totally with your praise of his action.

  27. irishgirl says:

    Bravo to Bishop Aquila! Way to wield that crozier, as wanda said!
    Would that all Bishops spoke so fearlessly and frankly!
    We need to hear more of this!

  28. jrobinson says:

    Three cheers for Bishop Aquila! Hard to believe that he is an alumnus of my alma mater…wait for it…University of Colorado, Boulder.

  29. benedetta says:

    Fr_Sotelo, Indeed, black and white.

    Also agree with MissOH that we start from the standpoint that Jesus spoke the truth. And further Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, and the life. He loved who were His, to the end, it is also true that He loved them from the very start. He placed His own spirit in us. He came into the world as we all do, He could have come any way but He came through a woman who gave birth (and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in, a manger). If the way, the truth, and the life, itself, was born of a mother in the humblest of places, why should we think we could advocate that others not be permitted the same and call ourselves righteous believers all the same?

    If we think it is ok to deny others the ability to find the way, the truth and the life, by snuffing them out of existence during their most vulnerable times on the earth, then, how can call ourselves self-respecting disciples of the way, the truth, and the life? How can we have communion and celebrate when others aren’t around to have an opportunity to be united in that human experience, due to our own advocacy of inherent evil that only wishes to destroy humanity?

    I will pray for this Bishop’s continued witness to the truth.

  30. John Nolan says:

    You should be grateful that you have bishops of the calibre of Aquila, Olmsted and Chaput.

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