February 17, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In the lead-up to Speaker Pelosi's meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, a nationwide petition project was launched requesting the Catholic Bishops of the United States to withhold Communion from her and other prominent Catholics in public life that obstinately persist in their dissent from Catholic teaching on serious moral issues.
This nationwide Withholding Communion petition was launched by Pewsitter.com, a Catholic News Portal. The goal of the petition drive is to gather a least 1 million petitions for presentation to the U.S. Bishops and the Vatican.
The basis for withholding communion is Canon 915, which stipulates that those "obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion." Archbishop Burke, the head of the Church's highest court, reiterated his view on this subject in a recent interview with LifeSiteNews dated January 30, 2009, in which he stated, "The person who persists publicly in grave sin is to be denied Holy Communion, and it [Canon Law] doesn't say that the bishop shall decide this. It's an absolute."
Most Catholics don't know that in addition to Canon 915, Canon law also compels Catholics to take action. Canon 212 S3, states that the Catholic faithful have "the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church."
According to a Pewsitter.com release, "While the Catholic faithful understand and support the behind-the-scenes dialogue and diplomacy that goes on with prominent Catholics, by the Bishops, to reconcile them with the Church, when such dissent continues for years and in some cases decades … then it becomes necessary for a Bishop to take a formal public stand to prevent further scandal.
"Unfortunately," continues the Pewsitter release, "what has happened is that prominent, dissenting Catholics, in public life have continued to receive communion with impunity-and this has led to the false impression that the Church condones or at least tolerates such dissenting opinions on serious moral issues such as abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research to name a few.
"Not only do these prominent Catholics disregard the Church's teachings, but in many cases they actively and publicly promote policies and legislation that undermines, opposes and contradicts the Church's teachings. Examples of such Catholics include Speaker of the House - Nancy Pelosi, Vice President - Joseph Biden, Senator Ted Kennedy, and Senator John Kerry, to name a few."
(For more information or to complete the petition go to http://www.pewsitter.com/petition/)
For the perspective of a canon lawyer (yep, the Church has 'em) go to Dr. Edward Peters' blog here; http://www.canonlaw.info/2009/02/pewsitter-petition-on-canon-915.html